Skidmore College plans to bring “all or nearly all” of its roughly 2,500 students to campus in August, according to reopening plans announced Thursday.
The plan calls for an Aug. 24 start to the new school year, about two weeks early, with a raft of health precautions aimed at monitoring and limiting any COVID-19 infections.
Like other area colleges, Skidmore is planning to work with the Broad Institute, a Harvard and MIT partnership, to test students and staff for infections both when they arrive on campus and throughout the year.
The plan follows a similar framework announced by Union College, RPI and other schools in recent days, giving students and faculty the flexibility to opt for remote work if concerned about personal health while still starting to ramp up in-person instruction. Like at other schools, faculty members have been asked to determine whether their courses will be taught remotely or in person and many faculty members are making plans for a combination of the two. About one-third of Skidmore courses are expected to be taught remotely, according to the college’s announcement.
All events that would have included large gatherings have been moved to a virtual format, including Homecoming weekend and the inauguration of Marc Conner, the college’s new president.
“Our focus will be on bringing our student body back to campus, providing as much instruction in person as we can, and completing the semester with the quality expected of a Skidmore education intact and fulfilled,” Conner wrote in a message outlining the reopening plans.
The college also plans to limit the number of students living in on campus-facilities as well as reserve hotel rooms in Saratoga Springs for students to use. The school will also set aside some campus housing to use if students need to be isolated after testing positive for COVID-19.
While college’s have started to roll out their reopening plans, with most, if not all, Capital Region colleges and universities planning to bring students back in August or September, the plans all acknowledge the uncertainty of ever-changing guidance from state and local officials.
“This plan will continue to be a work-in-progress, as several key details remain to be worked out, and health guidelines will continue to be refined and will further inform out planning,” Conner wrote.