Margaret Hazlett

Thu, Jul 16, 12:20 PM

Dear Franklin & Marshall Students and Families,

We continue to plan for a return to campus in the fall with a full residential, liberal arts experience while observing the latest health and safety guidance from federal and state authorities.

On behalf of the College’s Re-Opening Operations Task Force (ROOT) and F&M senior officers, I’m pleased to share more information on COVID-19 testing and housing as it relates to the fall 2020 campus reopening plan. Please keep in mind that these plans remain a working draft. We may need to adapt our plans at any time based on changing health policies or best practices.

Fall Commitment Deadline

We appreciate everyone who has assisted our planning efforts by replying to our preliminary survey. At this stage of our preparations, it is important for us to finalize the number of students who will be living and learning on campus.

By the end-of-day on Monday, July 20we ask that all students complete this new “Fall Commitment” questionnaire to communicate their commitment to one of the following options for the fall 2020 semester: 1) return to campus for in-person instruction, 2) commute to campus for in-person instruction, 3) remote learning status, or 4) leave of absence. 

As you consider your options, please note the following:

●      Life on campus will be significantly affected by COVID-19. Students who come to campus will be required to adhere to an F&M Pledge, which will include protocols to support the health and safety of our community. The pledge is currently being drafted in collaboration with student leadership.

●      We strongly encourage students to commute to campus if they live with an adult family member within a 75-mile radius of F&M. (We understand that this will be an option for only some students.)

●      Students who choose to engage solely in remote learning are also encouraged to live at home.

●      Students who take a leave of absence or who study remotely in fall 2020 will be able to choose to come to campus for in-person instruction in spring 2021. We will make housing available for students returning to campus in the spring.

To make an informed decision, please read carefully the details below on COVID-19 testing and housing, as well as the information available on our fall 2020 reopening plan website.

Move-in and COVID-19 Testing

F&M has committed to a staggered return to campus beginning in mid-August. In order to manage the number of students returning to campus on a given day and conduct move-in more safely, we will use a move-in reservation system in which students will reserve time slots on the specified move-in dates. Please keep in mind each student will need to move in all their own belongings themselves, as the student will be the only one permitted in the building. For this reason it is very important to bring only the minimum necessary items with you to school in the fall.

Move-in will include a COVID-19 test for each student. The number of students arriving on a given day will align with our estimated testing capacity. The cost of testing will be covered by the College.

Immediately after moving in, students will be quarantined in their rooms until their test results are received. Meals will be delivered to on-campus residence halls and campus housing locations during the quarantine period. Students will be able to leave their rooms only to use the bathroom, get their meals from the hall delivery point, or in case of an emergency.

We recognize that some students have already moved into their off-campus housing, and we will be announcing dates soon for testing students currently living in these locations.

As we approach the start of the semester, we will continue to monitor the list of states with high numbers of COVID-19 cases as determined by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. We will use this information to help any students traveling to Lancaster from those states to schedule an earlier move-in when possible and abide by Pennsylvania’s guidance on quarantine following their return to campus.

In the next week, we will share the move-in dates and the online reservation system, as well as additional move-in guidelines.

Commitment to Housing Students

To create a safe living environment, F&M is taking steps to “de-densify” our residential spaces.

F&M is committed to housing its students on campus as safely as possible. Many will be in single rooms, although we also have the possibility of housing some students in large doubles. Some housing assignments will be adjusted as we arrange to bring students back to campus safely. Students currently assigned to some singles and smaller double rooms or double rooms within suites will be reassigned through a new housing process in order to accommodate all students who wish to return for in-person instruction. Details about this process will be available in the coming weeks.

We have confirmed arrangements with a local hotel to provide space off campus for isolation and quarantine of any F&M students exposed to or affected by COVID-19.

We continue to ask students who want to live and learn on campus to “pack light” in case they need to relocate on or off campus, or in case campus needs to shut down entirely. As a reminder, if campus must close, all students in on-campus housing will need to vacate their rooms.

Planning your exit strategy is an essential part of arriving on campus this fall. The College plans to close on Sunday, November 22, and at this time, ALL students (both domestic and international) will need to leave campus and remove all items from their rooms. While we anticipate you will return to your same assigned room for the spring, campus conditions may warrant a change in your room assignment.

More details on these topics and answers to frequently asked questions are available on the Return to CampusLiving on Campus, and Health and Safety sections of the website. As always, please consult the College’s fall reopening website for the latest information.

I hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy!

All the best,

Margaret L. Hazlett

Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs