By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer
Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone announced that the university intends to resume in-person teaching, learning and residential life for the fall 2020 semester.
However, it should not be expected that campus life will look the same until there is a vaccine for COVID-19. In an effort to lessen any threat of the virus to students, faculty and staff, Livingstone said that class instruction, residential life and on-campus activities will be adapted accordingly.
“The President’s council —in close consultation with our COVID-19 Task Force, the deans and academic leadership, local government and public health officials — has been working through various scenarios to revive the Baylor campus and resume normal operations,” Livingstone said.
She said the “return-to-campus process” is a five-phase strategic plan that follows all governmental and health guidance. Livingstone said they anticipated beginning June 1, welcoming back those critical infrastructure and research support staff.
The return of faculty and students at the beginning of the fall semester will be the last phase of the summer-long process.
As a return to campus is phased in, summer classes remain online and all camps and campus activities have been canceled through June. Social distancing requirements are to be adhered to on campus to minimize any chance of exposure.
Lori Fogleman, assistant vice president for media and public relations said “preventive measures outlined by the CDC, such as handwashing, avoiding crowds, disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, wearing masks or face coverings as appropriate and not reporting to work if you are ill.”
Baylor also announced that the 2021 admissions cycle for freshman students will be test optional. Student support offices, all academic units, and the Office of the Provost unanimously decided on a holistic review process.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly shifted the landscape for current high school juniors, who typically prepare for the upcoming college admissions cycle by visiting campuses during the spring and taking standardized exams,” Fogleman said.
In an effort to help rising high school seniors, they are being offered a collection of discounted courses to take in the summer. The 2020 Summer of Discovery collection is an effort to compensate for travel and activity restrictions changing the plans of these students. The courses are also offered to incoming freshman and current students.