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Newberry College Announces Fall Plans

June 1, 2020

NEWBERRY — Newberry College has laid out more detailed blueprints for a return to campus this fall, including a postponed commencement for spring and summer graduates, preventive modifications to campus facilities and a revised academic schedule.


The announcements come after the college’s Board of Trustees shared a preliminary action plan May 7 for the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. There have been no cases of COVID-19 on the college campus.


“We are truly looking forward to beginning the fall semester in August as scheduled,” said President Maurice Scherrens in a statement to the campus community. “In preparation, we are taking measures to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff in this ‘new normal’ of the coronavirus era. This means learning, living and working in a clean, socially distant environment. Our small and secure campus is conducive to this.”


Under the current plan, fall semester will begin on Aug. 17, and will omit the annual midterm break to end on-campus instruction by Thanksgiving. The change seeks to reduce unnecessary travel for students and end the semester earlier.


Residence halls and some classrooms will be reconfigured to maximize social distancing, and campus spaces will undergo regular deep cleansing and sanitation to prevent any potential spread of illness. A number of small living-learning communities will be created in several of the college-owned houses that adjoin the campus. For dining services, meal times will be staggered, self-serve meal lines will be eliminated, and dining spaces will be expanded. While the majority of classes will be taught in-person, the college will also hold some courses online in a hybrid format to reduce the number of people in classrooms at one time.


Special commencement exercises for spring and summer graduates will be held Sept. 19, also Lutheran Day, before the anticipated Bishop’s Trophy football game against Lenoir-Rhyne University slated for that evening. Specific information regarding location, time and tickets will be announced late July. Any graduates unable to attend in September will be invited to walk at commencement in December.


While further guidance for fall sports is expected soon from the NCAA and South Atlantic Conference, the college plans to begin the athletic season as scheduled.


Following fall semester, the college intends to reintroduce a J-Term, a month-long semester, with classes beginning Jan. 4, 2021. Further details will be announced later this summer.


“I want to emphasize that Newberry College is known and loved for its in-person, personalized instruction, and as long as health and safety can be maintained, we will come back safe and strong,” said Scherrens.


Dining services and all structured events on campus have been suspended through July 1.

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