CALDWELL, Idaho — The College of Idaho announced Tuesday it will begin its fall semester one week earlier than previously scheduled and on-campus instruction will be done by Thanksgiving. The change is to mitigate the effect of a potential COVID-19 surge and protect the campus community. Students will begin classes on August 19 and finals will be finished before the Thanksgiving holiday on November 26.
In a press release from the college, officials say by finishing the semester before the holiday, they hope to minimize travel and potential campus-wide exposure by students returning from various locations across the country and world. The week-long break has been eliminated to keep students on campus and allow for enough class time to finish before Thanksgiving.
“All of the changes have been made with the safety of our students, faculty and staff in mind,” College of Idaho Co-President Jim Everett said. “We also know that the total educational experience at The College of Idaho includes much that happens outside of the formal classroom and we want to preserve that in-person experience as best we can.”
The college is also planning a multi-tiered approach to safeguarding campus for in-person classes in a post-coronavirus environment. There are six task forces working on multiple areas of campus and college life: academics, health and safety, athletics, student life, finances and the summer student work program. Each task force is undertaking contingency planning in the event of an on-campus outbreak or any other reason to change to a distance-education model.
The college has been consulting with the healthcare professionals in Idaho and has COVID-19 testing in place for when students return to campus. The college is also enhancing the sanitation of all of its buildings, meeting places, classrooms, dorms, apartments and athletic facilities to ensure that best practices are in place for the health of the entire campus community.
The one-day "Move-in Day" for new students has now been structured to go over four days. New students will have designated times on August 13 and 14 to move in while maintaining social distancing. Returning students will move in on August 16 and 17 to move back to campus. More details will be released as those dates get closer.
The Athletic Department, in conjunction with the NAIA, announced that the fall sports seasons will begin competition starting September 5, with the exception of football, which will begin a week later on September 12. The practice start date for all sports will be August 15.
180 students remained at the college for the remainder of the spring semester after the majority of the student body was sent home. Those who stayed on campus were students who could not return home due to travel restrictions, financial hardships or lack of a safe place to go. The college provided essential services to those students while employing new models of delivery to ensure social distancing and hygiene. 115 students remained on campus through the summer and the college instituted a summer work program for those students to assist in the expense of room and board.
The College of Idaho began offering in-person campus visits for prospective students and families who live in Idaho recently. The visits are limited to ten people with social distancing and other precautionary measures observed. An Admitted Student Week will be held June 22 through June 26 and students will have the opportunity to interact with faculty, staff and current students. More information about that event can be found here.