Arlington-based Marymount University says it is planning for face-to-face classes in the fall, despite the pandemic.
Marymount’s Tuesday morning announcement comes as some universities consider keeping students off campus or even holding classes in tents instead of indoor classrooms, in order to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. While the virus typically affects older people and those with preexisting conditions more severely, college-aged adults can get sick — and can spread the disease to others.
Marymount says it will be taking measures to frequently sanitize its facilities while reconfiguring spaces and classrooms with physical distancing in mind. It is also prepared to move to online classes, as it did for the latter part of the spring semester.
“The University is prepared to shift again, if needed, to either a temporary online class delivery or a hybrid approach that combines in-person courses with online learning,” Marymount said.
The full press release is below, after the jump.
Marymount University intends to resume face-to-face instruction and on-campus classes for the upcoming fall semester, with a commitment to following guidance from state and federal health agencies and government officials.
A special task force consisting of individuals from various departments across the University is meeting regularly to discuss courses of action to ensure that the health and safety of all students and employees is preserved.
“For over 70 years, Marymount University has been known for its unique approach to educating our next generation of leaders, which is centered around small classes and an intimate classroom experience that meets the educational needs of all of our students,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “We are looking forward to providing that advantageous environment for learning once again, while also making certain that we have all of the proper measures and procedures in place so that students feel comfortable returning to campus.”
These measures include consistent sanitizing of all Marymount facilities, while reconfiguring physical spaces across the University to maintain social distancing for when students and non-essential employees come back and utilize classrooms, residence halls, dining areas and offices. University officials are also working to increase access to critical health services and testing, as well as personal protective equipment such as face masks.
Earlier this semester, Marymount transitioned all of its courses to an online delivery format as the novel coronavirus began to spread considerably across the country. Faculty and staff made this transition in a matter of days, demonstrating flexibility and agility in providing a high-quality academic environment despite the circumstances. Keeping in mind potential scenarios regarding the projected course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University is prepared to shift again, if needed, to either a temporary online class delivery or a hybrid approach that combines in-person courses with online learning.
“We understand there are many concerns around how higher education will respond to these uncertain times,” Dr. Becerra added. “Our community should know that thanks to the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff, Marymount is prepared for the various contingencies that could come our way, and we will be able to adapt to continue meeting our students’ academic goals. While this has certainly been a challenging period, there has never been a better time to be in school. Our country needs qualified talent in nursing, cybersecurity and other high-demand areas, and Marymount is the right place for students to prepare for those fields.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Marymount has aimed to help its students as much as possible. The University continued to offer housing, meals and support for students who were unable to get home, while prorated funds for unused Room & Board and Parking are on the way. Emergency financial assistance to students who have been affected by COVID-19 has been available, and the “Be a Saint! Help a Saint!” campaign was also established to raise funds to support students.
In addition, Marymount has rolled out two new programs that offer new incentives for students of all ages. The Saints Grant Program, which provides up to $6,000 towards a graduate degree or certificate from Marymount, is available to all degree seeking or non-degree seeking alumni and graduating seniors who register for graduate coursework in the Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 semesters by May 26 and have a qualifying 2.8 or higher GPA. The Summer Jumpstart Program, meanwhile, gives new first-year students a 50 percent discount on three-credit summer coursework that will automatically count towards academic program requirements at Marymount.