Washington College today announced that all students are invited to return to campus for the upcoming spring semester. This represents a change from the initial announcement, which capped the number of students at 450 and prioritized those limited spots for first-year students who had not yet experienced life on campus.
The revised housing model has one student per bedroom/per suite, along with a reserve of 10% of available beds for quarantine and isolation space. The single factor allowing for the increased capacity is the sharing of fixtures within suites. Previously, the plan accounted for one student per suite only, in order to fully eliminate sharing of bathroom fixtures in suites. By lifting that one restriction and instead proceeding with limited sharing — while still housing all students in single rooms – the College is able to invite back all students plus maintain the 10% reserves for quarantine.
In benchmarking other colleges’ efforts to return students to campus and following best practices as laid out by various departments of health, three conditions essential to safely reopening campus were identified. They are:
- House every student in a single room
- Have sufficient space available for quarantine and isolation
- Have a robust testing plan, to include both gateway testing and regular surveillance testing throughout the entire semester
Even with this revised housing model, the Washington College spring plan accounts for all three of these conditions, in addition to a large number of other equally important safety measures and protocols. These include but are not limited to: Physical/social distancing measures, enhanced cleaning protocols campus-wide, required daily use of an app for symptom attestation, mandatory face coverings (indoors and outdoors) on campus, mandatory flu shots for all returning students and heavily restricted visitor and travel policies.
This decision was made in close consultation with the Kent County Health Department and in accordance with guidance issued recently by the Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) in Maryland Department of Health’s Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs).
Decisions about many services and other campus operations will be announced much closer to the start of the spring semester. These decisions remain contingent upon where things fall within the Key Indicators Chart that is currently in development and the Alert Level at which the College is operating within at any given time.
Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.