Randolph College announces changes for fall semester in response to pandemic


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Randolph College is announcing changes to the fall academic calendar in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, the college announced plans to alter its fall semester schedule by starting classes one week earlier, on August 24 instead of August 31 and ending in-person classes before Thanksgiving break on November 20. Exams are to be held online after Thanksgiving break.

Because classes will end sooner, there will also be no fall break.

“As you know, our COVID-19 Task Force has been planning and deliberating the best course of action for Randolph for many weeks and months now,” President Bradley W. Bateman wrote in an email to community members. “The full Randolph experience involves being together behind the Red Brick Wall. This is reflected in the fact that while our students gave our faculty high marks for their work moving to online education this spring, they have communicated to us very clearly that they prefer to learn on campus.”

Randolph College plans to go by the following schedule:

  • August 20: New student move-in
  • August 24: Classes begin
  • November 20: Last day of classes before Thanksgiving break / Students return home for the semester
  • November 21-29: Thanksgiving break
  • After Thanksgiving: online exams

There are many details that are still being worked out, including the dates for international student arrival. Randolph is also waiting for more information before making a decision regarding athletics.

“This schedule allows us to conduct the majority of classes on campus and eliminates the risks associated with students traveling away from campus and returning shortly after, potentially bringing the coronavirus back with them. It also allows us to avoid having students on campus during what many expect will be a high-risk time in terms of both COVID-19 and the flu,” Bateman said.

In the letter to students, faculty, and staff, Bateman outlined measures the school would be taking to ensure safety on campus, including:

  • Enhanced cleaning protocols
  • Safe physical distancing rules
  • Per the Governor’s orders, masks are required on campus
  • Foodservice changes
  • Classroom set-up changes to comply with recommended guidelines
  • Increased presence of hand sanitizer on campus
  • Changes to events and programs that require audiences and other large gatherings
  • Protocols for quarantining should students, faculty, or staff test positive for COVID-19

“The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff is our highest priority, and every decision we make is based on that commitment. We have followed a deliberate approach in developing our plans for the new academic year and are relying on the best health and safety guidance available to us at this time. That guidance does change rapidly, however, and the course of the pandemic is unpredictable at best. Therefore, all of us must realize that our plans must remain flexible and adaptable as we move forward. I assure you that we will always put our community’s health first . . . These are extraordinary times for all of us as we try to return to some sense of normalcy. If we have learned anything from the past few months, it is the need to stay flexible and adaptable as the pandemic evolves and changes . . . I am confident in our community’s commitment to providing the best possible educational experience for our students, and I believe we are prepared to handle whatever challenges await us in the fall. I look forward to welcoming everyone back home in August.”

Bradley W. Bateman, President at Randolph College

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