Carroll Releases Plan for Early Start of Fall Semester
HELENA, MONT. – Carroll College announced on Wednesday that they will begin in-person instruction for the fall 2020 semester on August 17. This timing is 10 days earlier than the previously scheduled start date of August 26. This modified semester eliminates the traditional fall break and ensures that all students will complete their courses, including finals, by November 25, prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.
The decision was made in consultation with medical professionals, Lewis and Clark Public Health, and upon reviewing the latest information available about the potential progression of COVID-19. Montana has seen relatively few COVID-19 cases but the concern remains that the virus will reemerge, and it will be particularly difficult to manage cases once the flu season occurs. An effective strategy in reducing virus transmission has been limiting travel. This schedule allows the college to limit some of the large-scale student travel that typically occurs during a traditional fall semester.
According to Carroll College President, Dr. John Cech, “We are committed to opening Carroll College this fall to in-person classes and residential students. We have been working around the clock to help assure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. We are proceeding based on the positive trends Montana has witnessed including the Governor’s recent decision to move to Phase Two in the gradual reopening of the state.”
Cech made it clear that the COVID-19 pandemic and the guidelines the college has received from the public health authorities will mean a significantly different environment on campus than in previous autumns. “In addition to these changes to our fall calendar, we will be implementing several other modifications to the campus experience. We will adhere to strict health and safety protocols, including: social distancing; disinfection of residence halls, academic buildings, and other campus spaces; testing; frequent cleaning; and wearing face masks,” Cech said.
In May, Cech created a “Marching Back” task force which has been meeting regularly in order to develop a plan to provide a comprehensive on-campus educational and residential experience for the fall 2020 semester. The team is being advised by Dr. Andrew Gilbert, a physician with St. Peter’s Health, who also serves on the Carroll College Board of Trustees. Cech complimented the incredible dedication and support of the members of the “Marching Back” task force noting they have demonstrated both determination and innovation along with an amazing spirit of collaboration.
This change in the academic calendar affects a number of events and operations on campus and the college is working through those adjustments currently. Updates and information on the planning process will be shared with the Carroll community and on the Carroll website on a regular basis throughout the next several months.