In an effort to mitigate the effect of a potential surge in COVID-19 cases in the fall of 2020, and to best protect its campus community while still delivering an in-person, world-class education, The College of Idaho will begin its Fall semester one week earlier than previously scheduled and will finish on-campus instruction by Thanksgiving.
With the adjustment to the academic calendar in place, students will now begin classes on the Caldwell campus on Wednesday, August 19th and finals will be completed prior to the Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 26th. By completing the semester prior to the holiday, the College is hoping to minimize travel and potential campus-wide exposure by students returning from various locales across the country and world, especially if an autumn surge in COVID-19 cases occurs. The traditional week-long fall break has also been eliminated to keep students on campus and to allow for enough class time to finish before Thanksgiving.
“All of the changes have been made with the safety of our students, faculty, and staff in mind,” College of Idaho Co-President Jim Everett said. “We also know that the total educational experience at The College of Idaho includes much that happens outside of the formal classroom and we want to preserve that in-person experience as best we can.”
In addition to the shift in the academic calendar, the College is planning a multi-tiered approach to safeguarding campus for in-person classes in a post-COVID-19 environment. Six task forces are working on multiple areas of campus and College life: Academics, Health and Safety, Athletics, Student Life, Finances, and the Summer Student Work Program. Each task force is undertaking contingency planning in the event of an on-campus outbreak or any other reason to shift to a distance-education model, if needed, at any point in the semester. The College has been consulting with the top healthcare professionals in Idaho and has COVID-19 testing in place for when students return to campus. The College is also enhancing the sanitation of all of its buildings, meeting places, classrooms, dorms, apartments, and athletic facilities to ensure that best practices are in place for the health of the entire campus community.
What previously had been a one-day “Move-in Day” for new students at the end of summer has now been structured to minimize density over four days. New students will have designated times during August 13th and 14th to move in while maintaining sufficient distancing, while returning students will have August 16th and 17th to move back to campus. More details will be available as those dates get closer.
The Athletic Department, in conjunction with the NAIA, announced that the fall sports seasons will begin competition starting September 5th, with the exception of football, which will begin a week later on September 12th. The practice start date for all sports will be August 15th, with additional details available in this news release.
The College housed over 180 students through the remainder of the Spring semester after the bulk of the student body was sent home. Those that stayed on campus were students who could not return home due to international travel restrictions, financial hardships imposed by those same restrictions, or lack of another safe place to go (which also included domestic students). The College has been able to provide essential services to these students while employing new models of delivery to ensure recommended physical distancing and hygiene. Over 115 students have remained on campus through the summer and the College has instituted a Summer Work Program for those students to assist in the expense of room and board.
The College recently began offering in-person campus visits for prospective students and families who reside in Idaho. These visits are limited to groups of 10 with appropriate physical distancing and precautionary measures observed. The College will also be holding an Admitted Student Week when students and will have the opportunity to interact with faculty, staff and current students June 22 – June 26. More information can be found here.
The College has provided updates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to do so on its COVID-19/Fall 2020 Return Updates page on the College’s website, located here.
The College of Idaho has a 129-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.