Clark University has announced its plan to resume in-person teaching and learning and welcome students, faculty, and staff back to campus for the fall semester.
The Healthy Clark COVID Plan outlines the measures that will be taken to safely reintroduce in-person instruction, reopen the residence halls, and sustain productive and flexible work environments. Clark’s plan is consistent with Gov. Charles Baker’s phased reopening of Massachusetts and public-health practices and protocols.
“Reconvening on campus amid a pandemic, of course, is not entirely free of risk, but we will do all that we can to minimize and mitigate that risk and know that everyone in our campus community will join in this obligation,” said President David Angel and President-elect David Fithian in a message to the Clark community on Wednesday. “From the beginning of this crisis, the Clark community has demonstrated an extraordinary will to work together, find ways to learn and support one another despite many obstacles, and honor the truth that the Clark experience we share matters deeply.”
The plan, they said, will “enable us to re-engage in many of our most important and cherished ways, allowing us to fulfill our mission and to be together as one community at this critical time in our society.”
Included in the plan is the academic schedule for the 2020/21 year with the following key dates:
Learning at Clark will be accomplished primarily through in-person formats, with additional online offerings as well and a hybrid model for larger classes. In-person class sizes will be reduced and classrooms reconfigured to accommodate social distancing. The Clark plan specifies measures that will allow for impactful instruction while underscoring student, faculty, and staff health and safety. Everyone will be asked to strictly follow guidelines for social distancing and carefully and regularly use masks, wash hands, and make the most of other personal protective equipment. The plan calls for shared expectations of healthy practices by all students, faculty, and staff through the forthcoming Clark Commitment.
Living on campus has been reimagined to promote safety and comfort with as little disruption as possible. Protocols for living in residence halls require students to wear face coverings when outside their rooms and establish well-defined patterns of travel in, out, and within the halls to emphasize social distancing. All buildings on campus will shift to card-access only.
Protocols will be put in place to allow access to the Bickman Fitness Center, the pool, and other fitness spaces. These procedures will meet all Massachusetts requirements for fitness centers, including for restricted maximum occupancies, appropriate precautions and sanitation, and increased spacing of equipment.
Campus dining regimens have been redesigned, with seating capacity reduced in the Higgins Dining Hall, fewer stations at the Bistro, and additional dining spaces added inside the Higgins University Center.
The plan highlights the protocols that will be followed to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on campus, including testing of students, faculty, and staff; daily self-checks for symptoms; flexible working arrangements for Clark employees; and enhanced sanitation practices and procedures.
Under the plan, campus visits are significantly restricted, as is travel by employees on Clark business.
“We are proud and grateful for how the Clark University community has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Angel and Fithian said. “You have demonstrated courage, creativity, and compassion, and it is with great anticipation that we look forward to our community returning to campus and resuming the in-person instruction and co-curricular experiences that are at the core of a Clark education. The Clark community is strong and together we will meet the challenges before us.”
Extensive information about the plan is on the Healthy Clark COVID Plan website, where new information will be regularly added and updated over the coming weeks.