Colleges and universities across North Carolina have begun announcing their plans for the Fall 2020 semester and deciding whether it’s safe enough for students to return to campus or continue remote, virtual instruction.
North Carolina A&T’s Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. and senior members of his administration held a virtual town hall with student leaders focusing on the Fall 2020 reopening plans.
In-person and online classes will begin as scheduled on Aug. 19 at N.C. A&T and will end early at Thanksgiving. Students will return home for the remainder of the year and take final exams online.
“None of us know what the circumstances will be in August, so we are speculating on what those will be and all of our plans are contingency plans subject to be altered as we move closer to August,” said Chancellor Martin.
Options for students that are interested in taking their classes completely online are being considered, Martin said there were possible budget implications since fully online students don’t pay most of the in-person fees. Students were recently sent a survey to gauge the amount of students who are interested in returning to campus.
Classes will be offered both in-person and online or through a combination of in-person and readily able to transition exclusively online if public health restrictions are reimposed in the event of a resurgence of COVID-19.
Social distancing will be required in communal spaces and students and employees will be checked regularly for COVID-19 symptoms. The campus will also have a designated quarantine area for those with symptoms.
N.C. A&T, in accordance with the UNC System, has begun to acquire masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment. Students and faculty will be required to wear masks during instruction and in communal areas.
“When you are going into your class you will be able to take the sanitizer and wipe and clean your area,” Robert Pompey, the Vice-Chancellor of Business and Finance said. You can make sure you take your safety into your own hands.”
Campus housing is being reduced to accommodate for restroom health and safety. At this time Housing and Residence life has an approximate total of 5000 beds for N.C. A&T students during the Fall 2020 semester.
“Visitation for the Fall 2020 semester will be restricted in order to protect the family units in each of the halls,” Melody Pierce, the Vice President of Student Affairs said.
Furthermore, Portions of older tradition halls are being converted from doubles to singles including Cooper, Morrow, Vanstory. Their occupancy has reduced by 50% and the reduction will result in single rooms. None of these halls will be used for quarantine.
As mandated by the NCAA, student-athletes will be brought back to campus in a three-phased approach beginning with a testing and quarantine period.
“In athletics, these are opportunities that cannot be repeated, I believe we can have athletics safely and so I am heavily on the side of trying to move forward,” said Athletic Director, Earl Hinton.
At this time, the football season and other fall sports are expected to continue. Social distancing will be enforced at BB&T Stadium, with expected occupancy to be slashed to approximately 7800 available seats.