Many students have been wondering how the fall semester will play out amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Tonight, they have finally gotten some answers. President Ioannis Miaoulis announced via all-student email that RWU is fully committed to reopening for the fall 2020 semester.
The opening will be aligned with state guidelines and protocols, in order to ensure the safety and well-being of students on campus. Miaoulis said many groups have started meeting to research and consider fall semester options and added that every aspect of the RWU experience needs to considered with contingencies in mind. This includes activities that typically foster large gatherings in one space, such as eating in the dining hall, living together in residence halls and attending athletic games or student events.
According to Miaoulis, the university is coordinating with the Rhode Island Department of Health and other Rhode Island colleges and universities to ensure a safe approach to reopening this fall. The university’s new phased reopening plan, “Reopening Roger,” will be led by Vice President of Student Life John King. Faculty, staff and student participants will be active in this process and work on considering policies that will address new protocols for campus operations.
RWU is also exploring options for testing and containment measures, according to Miaoulis. Groups are being formed to determine how the school can utilize its facilities and technology to provide COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and containment measures.
Although the university has entered these planning stages, remote learning will not completely go away. Miaoulis said many faculty will use the next few months to strengthen online instruction and the university will look for investment areas into technology infrastructure for remote learning options that will need to be available in the fall.
He said the university intends to finalize these academic and campus plans for the fall semester in June and communicate those plans to students by early July.
“This time of year, a common sentiment on college campuses across the country is “See you next fall!” This year more than ever, it is not just a passing remark,” Miaoulis wrote in the email. “Rather it is our collective intent and hope for a return to campus and being together again.”