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June 19, 2020: COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 | 06.16.2020

Dear students,

We’re so excited to see you return to The Woods this fall! We want you to know that your health and safety as well as your academic, athletic and co-curricular experiences are at the forefront of our minds as we continue to plan for what the fall will look like at The Woods.

You may expect the following as you return to campus for in-person, face-to-face instruction in August:

  • The residential experience will use protocols that carefully follow health and safety guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the majority of returning students moving in on August 16. All move-in protocols will be designed to minimize interactions and provide proper social distancing measures. You will receive more information about the schedule from Student Life.
  • The fall academic calendar will be adjusted to minimize the likelihood of spreading the virus. Monday, August 17 is the Opening Day Celebration. In-person classes will begin for campus students on Tuesday, August 18 and will continue in-person through November 20, at which time campus students will move home. Following a week-long break for Thanksgiving, students will finish the last two weeks of the semester with remote finals. There will be no fall break.
  • Classrooms are being evaluated with the safety of students and faculty in mind. The College will be utilizing several new spaces to provide proper social distancing standards, allowing for time in the schedule for cleaning in between classes. 
  • O’Shaughnessy, The Woods Café and The OSC dining hall options are being reengineered to meet safety standards and dietary needs. Students will dine differently as meals will be either served or carryout with new prepared on-the-go options. 
  • The College is recommending everyone wear face masks in public spaces and common areas as well as when it is difficult to maintain social distancing standards. Masks will be provided for all students, faculty and staff by the College. Usage of masks in classrooms will be determined by department. 
  • Student athletes in women’s and men’s soccer, women’s and men’s cross country and volleyball will move in August 10. All athletes will be required to follow strict health and safety precautions as set by the USCAA and NAIA, but what the fall schedule might look like has yet to be determined.

Of course, even the most carefully laid out plans for fall have to be flexible. While much is still unknown about COVID-19, we appreciate your understanding and patience as we continue to navigate through this new era of learning. A contingency plan may be necessary, which could include a period of remote learning with little advanced notice.

The SMWC website offers the latest guidance on the College’s response to COVID-19 and plans for reopening outlined in The Avenue to Reopening Plan.

We realize plenty of unanswered questions remain, but please know our faculty and staff are focusing on finalizing the details of your safe and healthy Fall 2020 experience.

Best wishes and stay well,
Janet R. Clark, Ph.D.
Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs