Lindenwood to reopen campus this fall with safety protocols

Alexis Montgomery, Culture Editor

Lindenwood will reopen campus to staff and visitors starting July 15 with safety protocols that include wearing masks and socially distancing. 

University President John Porter made the announcement in a virtual town hall meeting on July 2, which discussed the future plans and answered questions from staff, students, and parents.

“This semester will look very different than any semester from the past,” Porter said in the virtual meeting. “We will respond appropriately if and when the situation changes.”

The virtual town hall meeting was held to inform faculty, staff, students, and parents of the changes and new safety protocols for when students return to campus. Other members of Lindenwood’s leadership in the event were Mark Arant, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs; Terry Whittum, senior vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Engagement; Brad Wachler, vice president of Intercollegiate Athletics and Campus Recreation; Diane Moore, vice president for Operations; Deb Ayres, president of Human Resources; and Cynthia Shroeder, dean of the School of Health Sciences.

Students will be welcomed back this fall in reentry phases, starting Aug. 7 with athletes, through Aug. 23 with remaining students. 

Classes will begin on Aug. 24 for students, and students will have the option to attend classes online or in person. Face masks that are both reusable and rewashable will be offered to faculty and students, and must be worn while on campus. Students are also encouraged to socially distance.

Classes will move online after Nov. 20, the Friday before Thanksgiving, and will remain virtual for the rest of the semester. 

Here are some of the questions and answers presented during the meeting:

Will I have to wear a mask in class?

According to Arant, students will be asked to wear a mask on campus at all times. If a student does not wear a mask to class, they can be asked to leave to go get a mask or attend the class session online. 

Will the classrooms be different?

Porter said Lindenwood will be providing movable plexiglass barriers in classrooms. Studio and lab classes will have modified protocols that the instructors will communicate when classes begin. There will also be hand sanitizer widely available near classrooms.

Will my room and board reservation remain the same?

The housing reservations for the Fall 2020 semester will still stand, Porter said. If a student was not able to get their preferred housing, they may put in a request through the Preferred Housing Waitlist

What will move in look like?

Whittum said there will be a staggered move in. New students will arrive between Aug. 17-19. Each student will receive a notification starting July 10 of the specific day and time they can move in. There will be a limitation of two family members to assist students in the move in.

Will visitors be allowed in my dorm/house?

Visitation will be limited, Porter said. Only one visitor per resident is allowed, and all visitors must be LU students.

Will the dining halls be open? Will they have dine-in options?

Students with meal plans will still be able to access the food options, but indoor seating will be limited and spaced out in the dining halls, Porter said. All dining halls will have grab-and-go capability, as well as mobile ordering available. There will also be self-serve kiosks available in the Spellmann Center. Students will be discouraged from eating in large groups in the dining halls if possible. 

Will there still be student employee opportunities?

Student employee opportunities will still be available, Ayres said. Available student positions will be posted by July 24.

Will there still be sports? Are spectators allowed?

Wachler said Lindenwood will begin a phased program of returning to sports. All athletes will have their temperatures checked before entering practice facilities or conditioning. They will have to complete an online daily form to track symptoms as well. Masks will be required in the facilities. Spectators will be allowed to some events but there may be limited seating. There will be a virtual town hall meeting for athletes and parents July 6 at 2 p.m. with more information. 

What if I need to change my schedule?

Porter said academic advisers will reach out to students by August 15 to discuss changes to individual schedules. 

What if I test positive for COVID-19?

Students are allowed to quarantine off campus at their homes if they want in the case they test positive, Porter said. Lindenwood has also set aside housing for quarantining students. Those who quarantine may continue class virtually. Anyone showing symptoms is encouraged to stay home. Anyone who tests positive must report it to Shane Williamson, dean of students and associate vice president for Student Life and Diversity

If I travel out of state will I have to self-quarantine for 14 days?

Students will not be asked to quarantine. Schroeder said if a student tests positive or if someone they have been in contact with tests positive, then they would follow public health recommendations and quarantine, as well as inform Williamson of a positive test.