In a campuswide email on Thursday, University of Lynchburg President Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar announced that in-person and hybrid classes will resume on Monday, Sept. 7. Alert Level 2 remains active. In addition, the University is “cautiously restarting activities that support student engagement,” Morrison-Shetlar said.
“We are certainly aware of the anxiety felt by all in our community, especially among our students,” she wrote in the email. “ It is this concern for their mental well-being and our continued success in managing the caseload that have prompted us to adjust our planning to return to some sense of normalcy, while maintaining heightened precautions.”
Morrison-Shetlar shared that she has been in phone contact with students who are in quarantine and isolation. “Those whom I spoke to were in good spirits and ready to do the right things to keep our campus safe,” she said.
Alert Level 2 continues to be defined as three or more active positive cases on campus. The following adjustments will be in effect as of Sept. 7:
- Classes will again be delivered in person, hybrid, or online. Fluctuations in caseload (the number of positive cases, quarantines, and isolations being managed by Student Health) may require a temporary move to online delivery of classes.
- Residential facilities will remain open.
- Students will be allowed one guest per resident present up to a 10-person maximum for gatherings in residential spaces, yards, porches, decks, etc. No external guests are allowed in residential spaces. Failure to follow this protocol may be cause for disciplinary action, including possible removal from campus.
- In-person campus dining will resume.
- Masks or face coverings must be worn inside any University building and outdoors. Exceptions are permitted only when exercising alone, actively eating, and when a student is in their own residence room.
- Students are urged to limit travel away from campus.
- Students are encouraged to be outside on campus; wearing of masks or face coverings and physical distancing are mandatory.
- Outside visitors to campus are permitted; wearing of masks or face coverings and physical distancing are mandatory.
- Athletics and student organization programming will be permitted with strict physical distancing and mask protocols enforced. Activities will be supervised by trained staff.
- Indoor recreation facilities — Drysdale fitness, Turner fitness, and Turner gym — will operate on regular schedules with safety guidelines in place as outlined in the COVID-19 Reopening Plan. Scheduled use of Wake Field House is permitted under the supervision of non-student staff as outlined in the COVID-19 Reopening Plan.
Fluctuations in caseload may require adjustments to the above, including limits on student and athletic activities, prohibition of visitors to campus, and changes to dining services.
The University continues to manage the caseload of students who have tested positive, as well as their contacts, in isolation and quarantine. Moving forward, Lynchburg plans to house some quarantined students off campus in a local hotel.
“This short-term plan will give us flexibility as we expect more cases to be resolved as more time has elapsed since move-in and our initial contacts,” Morrison-Shetlar said.
It will also ensure that students have access to individual restrooms. Students placed off campus will have all the necessary support, Morrison-Shetlar added, and housing staff will be on-site 24 hours each day.
“We are grateful to our community hoteliers for stepping forward and collaborating with us,” she said. “Again, I know how trying the ongoing pandemic is for all of you. Please know that we are doing all we can to ensure both the physical and mental well-being of our students.”