OWENSBORO, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky Wesleyan College will welcome students back to campus in August, while closely following guidelines and policies of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, the college announced Tuesday.
Kentucky Wesleyan adjusted to a remote learning model on March 18, completing the spring 2020 semester in the distance learning modality. The College hosted end-of-year student celebrations in virtual settings culminating with the 152nd annual Commencement ceremony on April 25.
Members of the Class of 2020 are being invited back to campus for Homecoming and a dual celebration with the graduation ceremony and an inauguration of the College’s 35th president, Dr. Thomas Mitzel, on Friday, Sept. 25.
“At present, we are working through the three phases outlined by the state of Kentucky to open our campus fully once again,” said Mitzel. “Our COVID-19 team is operating tirelessly to make sure that the campus restyles its areas to keep our students and campus visitors safe when they return to this beautiful College setting.
“We are ordering PPE, discussing potential walking pathways and one-way lanes. Our building spaces and furniture layouts have been redesigned to help enforce physical distancing and we are planning how a 24/7 campus will have to integrate correctly so that we are able to offer our education at the highest possible level while helping our students understand COVID-19 and how they can work to remain safe,” Mitzel continued.
College buildings have remained closed to visitors since April 6, and staff are being encouraged to work remotely during the phased reopening of the campus.
The College plans to ease visitor restrictions and will resume campus tours for prospective students and families on June 8.
Guests will be asked to limit the number in their party and will be asked to wear appropriate PPE, while also completing a short health survey prior to their visit.
“We plan to bring students back to the campus for the fall 2020 semester,” Mitzel added. “There are five sub-units of the COVID-19 team working to deliver plans of what is the ‘new normal’ during this time.
“These teams are tasked to view their particular areas to determine what PPE is necessary, what type of testing and monitoring will be required, and how does their particular area need to be reshaped to keep our Panther family safe on the College’s campus. The reports generated from this work will form KWC’s operation plan that will be prepared and disseminated prior to July 1. “
Kentucky Wesleyan faculty continue to prepare for a hybrid delivery of courses, providing the flexibility to offer face-to-face or remote delivery. Each course offered will be easily transitioned to a virtual environment should the need arise.
This will also allow instruction in classroom settings that meet physical distancing guidelines.
“Our academic year will adhere to the traditional August start. We are discussing the removal of fall break with a potentially early release,” Mitzel stated. “Once the students have been tested and are on campus, it is safest to keep them on campus rather than send them to myriad areas of the nation or globe for vacation during the semester. Courses and programs will be taught in a mix of traditional and hybrid delivery.
“The flexibility of this approach will allow the use of campus spaces in a more efficient manner for our faculty and students. We are working under the assumption that athletics will be held this coming academic year. We plan to field all of our Panther teams. It is possible that schedules will need to be changed from past years, and we are working with conference and national entities to determine this course of action.”
A United Methodist-related four-year institution in Owensboro, Ky., Kentucky Wesleyan College fosters a liberal arts education that nourishes and prepares students intellectually, spiritually and physically to achieve success in life.