Averett University today announced its phased, on-campus reopening plan for the upcoming fall 2020 semester called “One Averett, Together Again.”
Like colleges across the nation, Averett shifted to remote instruction and moved most employees to teleworking in mid-March due to health and safety recommendations aimed at decreasing the potential spread of COVID-19. The university underwent extensive scenario planning for all facets of academic, campus life and operations to prepare for bringing students, employees and visitors back to campus as soon as public health guidance and government mandates allow.
“We remain completely committed to delivering an exceptional, on-campus experience while doing our part to keep everyone safe,” said Averett President Dr. Tiffany M. Franks. “Averett thrives on close, personal connections and access to supportive relationships between our students, faculty, staff and the larger community. We are one Averett, one family, and we are ready to be together again.”
Averett’s academic calendar will largely stay the same, with classes beginning and ending on time. However, in order to reduce the times people travel in and out of the region, students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving break, and final coursework and exams will be completed remotely. The university will also hold classes on Labor Day and forego its fall break to make up for instructional time. Fall sports will resume under the guidance of the NCAA and the USA South Athletic Conference.
Current health and safety measures, like health self-assessments, the use of face coverings, social distancing and increased disinfecting will continue for anyone on campus. Averett continues to work closely with local health officials and higher education leaders across the Commonwealth to ensure compliance with all current health and safety guidelines and best practices.
“The health, safety and wellbeing of our students, employees and campus guests are paramount,” Franks said. “We have prepared for things like social distancing markers, signage, spatial reconfigurations and increased cleaning and disinfecting in our facilities, and have plans in place should any student become sick and need to be separated and learn remotely.”
Staff and faculty members still working remotely will begin incrementally returning to their campus offices, with a small number returning next week and continuing throughout July and early August. Students moving into on-campus housing will arrive on a staggered schedule to avoid large crowds on move-in dates. Averett will provide all students and employees with a reusable face covering to wear when in spaces around others, as well as cleaning and disinfecting items for their on-campus spaces.
Coursework will include in-person instruction as well as virtual elements as needed for social distancing. Additionally, all classes will be prepared to move to remote coursework in cases of students or faculty needing to stay home because they are sick. Classrooms and community spaces on campus could have decreased maximum occupancies and more largely spaced seating configurations to aid in social distancing. The same will be true for the dining hall, which will also suspend self-serve buffets and extend meal hours to avoid large crowds.
“Looking back over the unprecedented — almost unimaginable — spring semester, and then at the tremendous work over the summer of almost 50 employees through extensive scenario planning, I am extremely proud of how well Averett swiftly pivoted to meet the unique challenges of delivering alternative instruction methods and to continuing operations. The innovation, collaboration and commitment by all of our teams have been inspirational, and we can feel confident in our agility and well poised as we prepare for the unusual upcoming fall semester,” said Franks.
For more information on Averett’s “One Averett, Together Again: Fall 2020 Reopening Plan,” as well as a video detailing the university’s plans, visit averett.edu/alert.