Allegheny College Planning to Open for On-Campus Living and Learning in Fall 2020

Allegheny College President Hilary L. Link announced today that the college is planning to open for on-campus living and instruction in the fall. Members of the campus community were notified of the decision through a campus-wide communication today.

“We do not make this announcement lightly,” said Link. “We have undertaken a comprehensive and extensively detailed planning process that will continue throughout the fall, including consultation of a wide array of public health and pandemic experts, to be able to create as safe an environment as possible on campus. We fundamentally believe that the fact-driven, innovative and collaborative teaching, learning and thinking for which Allegheny is known is needed more than ever to address such challenging global events. We also recognize the important role residential institutions like Allegheny play in providing our students with ongoing academic, technological, emotional and health support, as well as the tools to process the rapidly changing world they find themselves in.”

Since mid-April, the college has been working to develop a comprehensive planning framework to evaluate how to reopen the campus with safety as the highest priority. The framework reinforces making focused decisions at various points in the coming months and has included input from across the campus, from key stakeholders in the local community, from alumni global health and policy experts, and from a wide variety of epidemiological and medical professionals.

The college has established several fundamental principles for returning to campus, which guide all decision-making throughout the planning process: protecting the health and safety of students, employees and members of the greater Meadville/Crawford County Community; maintaining its commitment to equity and diversity and equal access for all students to the academic, social and wellness (physical and emotional) resources available at the college; and preserving the college’s core mission as a residential liberal arts institution that equips graduates with the skills to address complex global challenges.

“As committed as we are to resume on-campus living and learning, and as confident as we are that we have a number of unique factors that allow us to do so safely, our return to campus must factor in realistic contingencies for the college to be nimble and responsive to ever-changing global health circumstances, conditions on campus and policies at the state and federal levels,” said Link. She elaborated that “reopening our campus will also come with constraints such as a campus-wide commitment to continued mitigation strategies and following a cautious, strategic and carefully monitored plan of action as determined by our newly formed Allegheny College Health Agency.”

Added Link: “The college is evaluating how to maintain physical distance and proper safety measures through the academic calendar, the student experience, athletics and recreational sports, among others, and is looking at many areas that impact bringing students, faculty and staff back to the campus safely.”

Areas under evaluation include residence hall occupancy, dining hall protocols, classroom occupancy, mitigation and containment strategies such as testing, isolation and contact tracing, and behavioral and travel modifications that prioritize the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff.

Allegheny College will continue to share the details of its Return to Campus Plan as its planning process is finalized and as health guidance and policy impacts evolve.