Heritage University to safely reopen campus for classes for the fall 2020 semester
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Heritage University to partially reopen campus for classes for the fall 2020 semester
Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University President Dr. Andrew Sund announced a plan to partially reopen campus for fall 2020 semester classes, at the main campus in Toppenish and its regional site at Columbia Basin College (CBC) in the Tri-Cities. Dr. Sund said one of the developments that led to this decision is Washington State governor Jay Inslee’s proclamation allowing colleges and universities to reopen. Sund also said Yakima County’s recent progress in containing the spread of the virus, resulting in its classification in Phase 1.5, is another reason for the partial reopening.
Dr. Sund said there is another set of circumstances for Heritage students that require a campus presence. “Heritage exists to serve students who face difficulties accessing higher education for various reasons, one of which is that they want to stay in this wonderful valley we call home. However, many students do not have the conditions in their homes to conduct significant academic work. Internet connectivity is unreliable and space is limited – especially if they have siblings in the home all of whom need quiet study space and access to high-speed Internet,” Sund said. “For them, access to higher education means coming to campus.”
Under Heritage’s safe reopening plan approved by the Yakima Health District, many courses will offer a combination of face-to-face instruction as well as remote learning. When on campus, steps will be taken to ensure that class sizes are kept small to allow for safe social distancing. In many cases, classes will be divided into subsections where one group comes to class and the other learns online one day, and then the groups switch for the next day. Students will also determine their ability to come to campus based on health-related concerns for themselves and their family members.
The majority of student support activities will be offered online. However, students who want in-person tutoring at the university’s Academic Skills Center will be accommodated by setting up Plexiglas dividers between the tutor and student.
Dr. Sund said every precaution will be taken to ensure the safety of all students, faculty and staff while on campus. “While we recognize that it is important to open our campus for instruction because of the needs of our students, we must do so while following the strictest safety protocols,” Sund said. Other protocols include the requiring of wearing facemasks at all times and the constant cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing of classrooms and other locations in use.
“Above all else, we must continue to lead with our mission, always acting in the best interest of our students across all aspects of their beings, their health and safety and their determination to continue to move forward with their lives and education,” said Sund.
More details on the safe opening plan can be found at heritage.edu/coronavirus.
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