How Lindenwood navigated the 2020-21 school year; plans for next year

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Photo by Kat Owens

A stone gate to one of the entrances on Lindenwood’s St. Charles campus.

Alexis Montgomery, Editor-in-Chief

Lindenwood was able to navigate the school year without a single COVID-19 shutdown, and was even able to host many events.

Last semester, Lindenwood reached a high of 58 positive student cases and 14 positive employee cases. In November, a rave alert was sent to students warning of a “drastic increase” of COVID-19 cases. 

Julee Mitsler, director of communications for Lindenwood, said in an email that Lindenwood was able to avoid a shutdown due to the Lindenwood Pandemic Preparedness Task Force and COVID-19 Emergency Response Teams that created solutions throughout the year.

“Particularly in the fall semester, with the rise in cases, our plans needed to pivot and our meal delivery required volunteers,” Mitsler said. “So many employees at Lindenwood stepped up to volunteer their time and make sure that students in isolation or quarantine received a healthy, warm meal, that was delivered to them.”

Mitsler also said the goal for the 2020-21 academic year was to be a safe and sustainable year on campus. 

“As a direct result of the diligence in following protocols and caring for one another, our campus was able to remain open and finish the academic year as we had all planned,” Mitsler said.

Mitsler said Lindenwood was able to host many events throughout the year, including Student Engagement hosting nearly 1,000 events with more than half offering in-person options. 

“The Spring into Service event and the year-end Evans Unlocked traditions continued with safety protocol in place. We are also grateful to have partnered with Compass Health Network and provide space for their COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic which distributed to Lindenwood employees and students, as well as community members,” Mitsler said. 

Mitsler said the university is thrilled to be able to host in-person commencement ceremonies for graduates this year. 

As for the upcoming academic year, Mitsler said that Lindenwood is planning construction that will serve students. 

“Lindenwood has an exciting master campus plan that will continue to expand our campus facilities for both academic and student-serving needs,” Mitsler said. “We have several projects that will be underway in the coming year to continue providing a wonderful experience for our students, staff, and faculty.” 

In the spring 2020 year, it was announced that Lindenwood was planning to build student apartment buildings, but was put on hold due to COVID-19.

Students will still have things to look forward to next year as the relaxation of COVID-19 begins. Lindenwood plans to host on-ground classes again and will not require six-feet social distancing within classrooms, according to the guidance for fall 2021 website

In contrast to this year, Mitsler said the Scheidegger Center will be able to host performances from visiting talent and Lindenwood artists. 

“We anticipate being able to expand the allowable audience for these events,” Mitsler said. “Our Athletics programs are eager for a return to a traditional fall-spring sport schedule for a majority of the competitive teams which also provides increased opportunities for students to attend sporting events. 

“Student Engagement is already planning for the fall and will offer a wide variety of events for the campus community.”