June 29, 2020

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Dear Berry students and families:

I am writing with a mid-summer update regarding the opening of school for the fall 2020 semester. Over and over, we have heard from students how eager you are to return to campus and immerse yourselves in the wide array of opportunities that Berry offers. At the same time, we have all learned that COVID-19 is unpredictable and that we are living in a time of extended uncertainty.

That uncertainty has been apparent this last week as the number of new confirmed cases in Georgia and other southern states has showed consecutive days of significant increases. It is frustrating not to know what the situation will look like six weeks from now when the fall semester begins, much less what it might be in mid-October. 这意味着我们今天所做的决定必然是偶然的.  我们将在未来几周根据需要进行调整和调整. Vigilance coupled with ongoing flexibility is surely a realistic response to ongoing uncertainty.

As I have indicated in previous messages, our planning is rooted in three priorities:  

  • 学生和员工的健康和安全
  • 我们的学术和教育项目的质量
  • 我们的住宿校园体验的完整性

In the sections below, we provide a broad outline of what we believe the fall will look like. We will hold Town Hall meetings in mid-July to provide an update and answer your questions. We have also created a webpage to serve as your central source for information regarding fall re-opening: www.inpursuitofitall.com/fallopening. 

We will post updated FAQs periodically and encourage you to review these prior to the Town Hall meetings. Town Halls for July are scheduled as follows: 

  • For returning students: July 15, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., July 16, 5-6 p.m.
  • 归国学生家长:7月15日中午1点.m., 5-6 p.m.
  • For new students and parents: July 16 noon-1 p.m., 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Login information will be sent by July 8th. 如果你不能参加的话, 所有的会议将被记录下来,并在秋季重新开放的网页上提供.

Our Path Forward:  Managing the Risk


Working with public health and medical leaders, 我们持续监测当地(弗洛伊德县)的风险水平,其定义如下:

  • The number of confirmed new COVID-19 cases
  • COVID-19 (PCR)检测呈阳性的百分比
  • 因病住院的病人人数

We are attentive both to current levels of activity as well as sustained changes in activity (across 7 to 14-days).

我们也密切关注校园里的任何潜在案件. Last March, 一名校园访客的新冠病毒检测呈阳性, 今年6月,一名校园员工被证实患病. That employee isolated at home, and another employee quarantined at home as a precaution. In both the March and June cases, we implemented rigorous cleaning protocols immediately. Neither case resulted in any spread on campus. 

Managing Access to Campus

贝瑞是幸运的,因为它可以在短时间内限制访问校园. 我们的前门和欢迎中心作为一个物理边界的校园需要.

  • From March into May, 校园对公众和学生关闭, 除了少数获准在那段时间在校园里生活或工作的人. 
  • In June and July, we are screening all students, employees and other visitors entering campus during the day for fever and other symptoms before admitting them.
  • In June and July, 我们限制一般公众进入校园,仅供户外娱乐使用. 从8月开始,校园将再次对公众关闭.

Managing the Return of Residential Students

The general re-opening of campus for the fall semester is necessarily a period of increased risk.  学生们将来自不同的地方和不同的夏季环境. 

我们已经有了一些重返大气层的经验. 目前学校有200多名Berry学生, taking classes and engaging in student work. 我们在这些学生返回校园时对他们进行了筛选. 他们能够参加各种各样的校园体验. Another 100 students from other colleges are working on the Mountain Campus this summer, supporting WinShape’s virtual camping program. 在校学生中没有确诊的新冠肺炎病例. However, by the very nature of this pandemic, 我们预计在某个时候校园里会有零星的病例, 我们准备立即和适当地应对这类案件.

尽量减少学生宿舍的拥挤, 秋季入场的过程将持续几天, 与我们在5月份使用的搬迁流程相比. Additional details and sign-up opportunities will be provided in July by the Office of Residence Life.

As students prepare to return for the fall:

  • All students (and accompanying visitors) will need to complete screening measures before and upon arrival to campus. 
  • 这取决于8月初你家附近的风险水平, 我们可能还会要求您在返校前进行COVID-19 (PCR)检测. 我们将在未来几周提供这方面的更多细节. 
  • 请在回国前两周限制您的社交访问. 请限制与直系亲属以外的人交往. That will increase the likelihood of a healthy community in the first weeks of school.
  • 带上一些面罩,我们学校会有一些, 包括在校园商店里可以买到的织物口罩, but you’ll likely want to have your own.
  • 包括消毒剂喷雾或湿巾作为清洁用品的一部分.

Managing the Transition Period

There will be a transition or re-entry period during which we will implement stricter and more widespread safety measures until we have confidence in the health of the campus community overall. There is no set time for when the transition period will end; it will depend on an ongoing evaluation of risk in the local community and on campus.

  • Berry is evaluating several web-based applications that will allow students to submit screening information during this transition period and during periods of increased risk. This information will aid campus health professionals in monitoring the overall health of the Berry community.
  • During this transition period, 学校将制定有关社交距离的政策, 特别适用于密度较大的室内区域. 团体及活动规模暂时会有限制. 
  • 在教室里需要面罩或面罩, academic buildings and other public areas. 
  • Students are encouraged to wash their hands frequently according to CDC protocols; this remains one of the best means to reduce spread of the virus.

Managing Travel

一旦校园社区的健康稳定下来, 限制到其他地区旅行的次数是有利的. For that reason, and consistent with most other colleges, we have developed a calendar that encourages students to stay on campus for the fall term.

  • 课程将于8月17日星期一提前一周开始.
  • 校园课程的最后一天是11月20日(星期五).
  • 期末考试将于11月30日(周一)至12月4日(周五)远程举行. 期末考试时间表发布在VikingWeb的注册页面上.
  • 课程将于9月7日星期一劳动节举行.
  • 10月7日(星期三)秋季放假一天. Classes will be held on October 19-20.

这个日历允许我们满足正常的上课天数, without the need to return after Thanksgiving. 

During the semester, we encourage students to remain on campus and in the area local to campus. 适用于想回家或到其他地方旅行的学生, 可能会有一些要求,包括批准的退房和再入流程.

Managing Campus Facilities

Research to date suggests that transmission of the virus is more likely to occur in indoor areas, 特别是在人口密度增加和邻近的地区. 

  • We have instituted rigorous cleaning procedures in all buildings in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control recommendations.
  • We are installing hospital grade HVAC filters in all of our buildings (academic and residential).
  • We are investing significantly in new classroom technologies that will enable us to provide classes in person and remotely, as needed.

Managing Potential Cases

贝瑞幸运地坐落在一个拥有优良医疗服务的城镇. 两家医院离学院不到3英里, 西北乔治亚地区的公共卫生办公室也在一英里之内.   

  • We are arranging with local health partners to provide access to rapid (24-hour) PCR testing for COVID-19.  
  • Berry is coordinating with the regional public health office to employ a team of Berry students as contact tracers. A number of students took a regular Berry College epidemiology course this summer that included a contact tracing module (and certification) from Johns Hopkins University.
  • 学院根据需要预留了若干间隔离室.

Ensuring Quality of Programs

贝瑞学院的教师仍然致力于面对面交流的价值, 无论是常规的课堂教学还是辅导, 监督和第一手的经验,学院是众所周知的. These interactions and experiences are equally true in our LifeWorks program and for our coaches and athletic teams. 在贝瑞的头脑、心灵和双手教育中,人际关系至关重要. 

A faculty-led committee has studied a number of approaches for ensuring a productive teaching and learning experience that emphasizes faculty-student relationships, 即使在某些情况下,教师或学生必须保持身体距离. 重点是通过技术提高灵活性. 我们预计一些教员将不得不远程授课, at least in part, for health-related reasons. 同样的情况也可能发生在一些学生身上. 

We recognize also that the state and national context in which we operate may dictate changes that require us to pivot. Still, to the extent that we have a choice, we will strive to operate as normally as possible and in the best interest of our students and their success.

We look forward to the return of our students and the start of the fall adventure in learning.

Steve Briggs

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