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Announced to students and families last month, Lycoming College plans to resume residential education in the fall, but with significant adjustments in order to keep its campus community safe and healthy.
The 2020-21 academic calendar has been adjusted, and the changes have been adopted following the release of guidance from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania encouraging colleges to consider an earlier beginning to the semester. “The idea behind this change is to reduce the risk that could be created by having large numbers of students leave campus and return,” comments President Kent Trachte. “The change in the academic calendar is one of many measures that the College is implementing to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and maintain a safe environment on campus.”
The first day of classes will begin on Aug. 20 rather than Aug. 31. Long Weekend (fall break) has been eliminated on Oct. 16, and classes or in-person instruction will end on Nov. 24 prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.
The faculty has agreed that the College will not offer traditional in-classroom final exams during the fall semester. Instead, students will prepare for and complete final exams either at home or on campus should they choose not to leave campus during the holiday break. Students will remain on break until the spring semester begins in January 2021.
The College is determining the best means for the Class of 2024 and returning students to arrive on campus prior to Aug. 20, as the process will be different than in prior years. State guidelines recommend a phased repopulating of the campus and the use of screening measures, and a specific schedule and related information will be provided to every student and family for their return to campus.
The College is awaiting additional guidance from the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Middle Atlantic Conference, and the State of Pennsylvania regarding athletics on campus, and a separate communication will be shared with student-athletes and their families.
This summer, College personnel has implemented additional safety measures throughout campus, including the installation of plexiglass partitions in public service areas, hand sanitizer dispensers, extended times between classes to ease congestion, enhanced cleaning of living and learning spaces, and the repurposing of additional campus spaces for classrooms. In addition, students will be expected to commit to a social compact that prioritizes the health of wellness of the community.
Homecoming and Commencement Weekend is scheduled for Oct. 2-4, and homecoming activities will be conducted virtually. The College will celebrate the Class of 2020 at the 172nd Commencement on Sunday, Oct. 4. Graduates were honored with a virtual conferral of degrees on May 16, and the Lycoming community looks forward to their return to campus for a socially distanced commencement in which they will be able to process through the Oliver Sterling Metzler Gates before gathering on the Fultz Quad. Attendees will be expected to wear masks, and seating will be appropriately spaced to allow for social distancing.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation as the College continues to develop and finalize its protocols for a safe and responsible resumption of residential education,” says Trachte. “Living and learning in residence this fall will require many new practices and shared sacrifices, but we have incredible confidence in the resilience and resolve of our students, faculty, and staff to deliver a first rate education in both a safe and thriving environment.”
Please be sure to follow campus updates and planning here over the course of the summer and fall.