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Hollins University announces plans to reopen in the fall

Hollins University announces plans to reopen in the fall

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Hollins University announced it will reopen its campus to students on Aug. 31 for the fall semester.

The university is encouraging students to move into their residences by the time classes begin and to stay on campus until Thanksgiving break. After the holiday break, students will have one week of online classes, a reading day and one week for final exams and projects. Students will return to campus again for the next term in January.

Fall break, originally scheduled for Oct. 15 and 16, has been canceled.

“We will adapt our ways of learning, living and working in order to protect the safety and well-being of all,” interim President Nancy Oliver Gray said in a statement. “We are committed to a culture of care, and as members of the Hollins community, we share a mutual responsibility to adhere to health and wellness guidelines.”

Hollins will require everyone on campus to wear a mask indoors and when in the presence of others. The school also will require students and faculty to keep a 6 foot distance from others and will reconfigure office and working spaces to maintain social distancing. The university also plans to introduce more rigorous cleaning and sanitation protocols, according to a news release.

Hollins sent students on spring break in mid-March and has remained closed ever since to prevent further spread of COVID-19. When students return in August, classes will be limited to 25 people and there will be changes to campus dining.

Students will be tested for COVID-19 by the student health office if they are symptomatic or have been in contact with someone who tested positive. If a student tests positive, the Virginia Department of Health will initiate contact tracing, according to the news release.

“We are considering not only the present situation, but also the very real possibility that dramatic changes in the trajectory of the coronavirus may require changes in our plans,” Gray said in a statement. “Even though we place a very high priority on learning in a residential community, we must remain flexible in response to changing public health conditions and local, state, and federal guidance.”

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Alison Graham covers Roanoke County and Salem news. She’s originally from Indianapolis and a graduate of Indiana University.

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