Safety and agility are key parts of the plan, which will combine on-ground, online, and blended options for courses.
Centenary University has announced that it will reopen for the fall semester guided by a flexible plan combining on-ground, online, and blended course options that maximize social distancing and safety.
Centenary’s plan complies with guidelines announced today by the New Jersey Office of Higher Education. A multidisciplinary team at the University considered every aspect of on-campus and virtual operations to develop a roadmap for the fall semester that prepares for various contingencies that could arise as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop.
University President Bruce Murphy, Ed.D., said the team’s top considerations were maintaining academic excellence, safety, and agility to respond to new developments. “We developed this plan over the past two months, placing a high priority on the safe return of our students to campus for the fall semester,” Dr. Murphy explained. “Like all colleges and universities around the nation, Centenary is adjusting to a ‘new normal’ following this spring’s COVID-19 outbreak. As a small university, we are uniquely positioned to respond with agility to developing situations, ensuring that our students continue to receive a superior education.”
The semester will begin as originally planned on campus on Monday, Aug. 31, and will continue in person through Wednesday, Nov. 25, when students leave for Thanksgiving break. The final weeks of the semester will continue online, although exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for students who need access to campus to complete their coursework or for student-athletes who are in season.
While students will return to campus as scheduled, hybrid courses combining in-person and virtual classes will be utilized as much as possible to reduce population density on campus. Students who are not comfortable returning to in-person classes will have the option of taking all courses remotely for the fall semester.
The University’s plan for fall includes new guidelines to promote social distancing on campus, including in classrooms, residence halls, and dining halls, as well as responsible hygiene practices such as proper handwashing. Social distancing will be introduced to student activities as much as possible to enhance student safety. Centenary will continue to follow guidance for intercollegiate athletics from the NCAA and the Colonial States Athletics Conference (CSAC). Competitions will commence when it is deemed safe by these two entities, as well as the governor of New Jersey.
“We anticipate that the COVID-19 situation will continue to evolve and Centenary University will be prepared for every contingency,” Dr. Murphy said. “All decisions will continue to be made for the safety and academic benefit of our students.”
Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township. The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs at two locations, Parsippany and Edison, as well as online and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.