Mount St. Mary’s University will resume on-campus, face-to-face instruction for the 2020 Fall semester.
The announcement was made by university President Timothy Trainor in a video released by the school on Friday.
In the video, Trainor said he and staff believe in-classroom instruction can resume while adhering to social distancing guidelines and any other restrictions in place as a result of COVID-19.
“Because of our spacious 1,400-acre campus in a rural location and because we are proud of our small class sizes, we believe we can open campus, offering the excellent educational experience the Mount is known for while instituting prudent measures to protect the health and safety of our community,” Trainor said.
“Mount Safe” teams composed of various staff and administrators have been formed to oversee different aspects of the reopening such as learning environment options, athletics and seminary operations.
Students will most likely be required to wear masks, which the university will provide, and meal times will be staggered to prevent crowding in the university’s dining hall.
Specifically regarding instruction, Trainor said more classrooms are being outfitted with the technology needed to provide remote learning to some students.
“This means we can have students take classes from their dorm rooms or other locations on campus to spread out as needed,” he said, but added that since the Mount’s average class size ratio is 13 students to one faculty member, he is confident a majority of the instruction will be able to be delivered in person.
Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the campus and Trainor said the university’s custodial staff has undergone extensive training on best cleaning procedures. The university is also working with their health care provider for access to testing and contact tracing capabilities as needed.
Trainor reiterated several times that the health and safety of the campus community will always be the top priority.
“We will continuing responding with innovative solutions to tough problems... so we are positioned to enjoy another 212 years,” Trainor said.
Trainor’s video message came to Mount students on their last day of class. Trainor thanked seniors and graduate students for finishing their degrees in an unexpected way and asked all students, as they enter final exams, to “finish strong.”