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Lindenwood announces final plans for reopening Aug. 24

Lindenwood University (Lindenwood) has been researching, discussing, and planning for the fall semester while observing and considering all that has happened during the past four months. Those months have included 2.9 million Covid-19 cases and 130,133 deaths in the U.S. as of July 7, with 23,856 cases and 889 deaths in Missouri. St. Charles County has had 1,140 cases and 77 deaths so far. Recently, those local numbers have been rising even more quickly. 

The pandemic situation has led to widespread economic problems for citizens, businesses, institutions and governments, along with conflicting desires to open more things or lock down more. 

Concurrent with all of that, the country has seen continuing social unrest and protests about systemic racism, marches to object to use of deadly force by police against African-Americans, and a popular, widespread Black Lives Matter movement.

Within that fluid environment, Lindenwood President John R. Porter, Ed.D., conducted four virtual town hall meetings during the week of June 29 – July 3, for more than 1,100 students, parents, faculty and staff. In addition to discussing proposed plans for the upcoming fall semester, he obtained additional timely input from the stakeholders. 

On Tuesday, July 7, Porter distributed an email to the Lindenwood community announcing final reopening plans.

In that email, Porter said, “This is an important time for our institution as we address the two most pressing issues in higher education today: our racial equity response and our coronavirus response.

“It is the unequivocal stance of Lindenwood University, its Board and its leadership, that Black Lives Matter. Our black students’ lives matter, our black faculty and staff’s lives matter.”

Porter explained that with the goal of helping to make the world a more just place for people of color, Lindenwood is evaluating their own policies, procedures and practices, including recognizing where they have fallen short. He said he recently established an Equity and Inclusion Council to perform this work and that they already have identified a list of initial action items.

He clarified the council’s mission: “To assess the systems, culture, and climate of the university through an equity lens, to develop recommendations that foster a more wholly inclusive and equitable culture university-wide.”

Porter asked all members of the Lindenwood community to help do this work by providing their ideas, experiences and suggestions to the Equity and Inclusion Council via email to diversity@lindenwood.edu.

The reopening of the campus for the fall semester has been dubbed “Roaring Return.” 

“Lindenwood leaders have worked together with public health officials and medical experts to develop a comprehensive set of guidelines designed to help protect the health and safety of our community,” Porter said. “Lindenwood students will return to campus for the fall semester as scheduled, with classes beginning Aug. 24.” The campus opened to employees and to visitors on July 15.

The plan includes integrating the fall break into the Thanksgiving holiday break, to reduce the need for travel away from campus. The result will be all courses being virtual-only after Nov. 20, so students can remain home after Thanksgiving.  

Porter clarified that “campus residences and dining will remain open and available for those who wish to return to campus for the duration of the semester; however, there will be no in-person class meetings after Nov. 20.”

Porter also said that fall classes will be offered in a hybrid in-person/virtual format to align with physical distancing and room capacity guidelines.  He said further that Lindenwood has installed upgraded technology and added protective barriers in every classroom to support a safe classroom experience for students and faculty.

“To facilitate this [hybrid format], Academic Affairs is reviewing the course schedule and making necessary modifications,” he said. “All students will be contacted to review their schedule and answer questions regarding the fall semester.”

Ensuring the health and well-being of the campus community has been named “Protect the Pride.” Porter asked everyone to do their part, including:

  • Wear a mask: All students, faculty, staff and visitors will be required to wear a face mask on campus. Lindenwood will provide every student, faculty, and staff a washable, reusable mask upon return to campus.
  • Physical distancing: Observe 6-foot distancing in all campus spaces, including offices, classrooms, and meeting rooms.
  • Wash your hands: Frequent handwashing will reduce the spread of germs and help keep you and your fellow community members healthy. Hand sanitizer stations have also been added in many locations on campus.
  • Small gatherings: Limit gatherings to 10 or fewer. Help protect your fellow Lions.
  • Daily self-monitoring: All campus community members will be responsible for taking their temperature and monitoring their health, prior to leaving their residence each day. We’ve purchased digital thermometers for all residential facilities to help our students in this effort.

Details about Roaring Return, including a full list of university safety protocols, can be viewed here.

Mid Rivers Newsmagazine published a story about Lindenwood’s preliminary plans on June 30.

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