Our Plan: Back on Campus This Fall!
With a focus on health and safety, Elmhurst University plans to return to in-person learning beginning in August. Below is a letter from President Troy D. VanAken detailing the University’s goals.
Dear Current and Prospective Bluejays,
I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy. As we approach the end of an unprecedented Spring Term, we already are beginning to prepare for the fall.
I’m happy to share that our plans are to resume in-person, campus-based learning and living in August, as we begin our first academic year as Elmhurst University.
We believe the best Elmhurst experience is an on-campus experience. It is personal, student-focused, lived in an atmosphere of community, and defined by how we look out for each other and tackle challenges together.
Over the next few months, we will welcome students back to campus in a way that is responsible and responsive, and that prioritizes the safety and well-being of our entire community while offering the best education possible.
Senior leaders, including the Board of Trustees, our COVID-19 Task Force and working groups with representation from across campus, are developing and executing our plans. Throughout the process, we will look to our core values of social responsibility, inclusion and mutual respect to guide our decision-making.
Here are some of the areas that we will be addressing:
- The return to an in-person campus experience will require additional public-health precautions in our classrooms, residence halls, and dining and athletic facilities. We will need to expand our capacities to offer testing, contact tracing, sanitization and other health-safety protocols so that we can respond quickly to any cases that arise.
- The University will leverage its access to testing, medical facilities and other resources through its close relationships with the City of Elmhurst, Elmhurst Hospital, the DuPage County Health Department and other health partners.
- As a university that has always been committed to offering small classes (the average class size is 18 students), Elmhurst may be better positioned than larger institutions to abide by any physical distancing policies that may be in effect, and to accommodate Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) best practices. At the same time, we will make every effort to ensure that students have access to all campus facilities, from the gym to the library, in order to maintain all the benefits of an on-campus experience.
- Nationally recognized for the quality of our teaching, we are continuing to develop innovative, flexible and robust learning options for our students, including hybrid combinations of online and in-person learning that incorporate the best of each.
- Understanding the ongoing economic impact of the crisis, we will offer enhanced financial aid opportunities for the families most affected by it, and will continue to raise money for the Bluejay Nest Fund, our student emergency fund.
We are also regularly updating the most recent information on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In anticipation of students’ arrival to campus, we are forging ahead with significant improvements to some of our campus facilities. We also are proceeding with the highly anticipated launch of new programs in cybersecurity and public health, two programs that have never been more relevant in today’s highly interconnected world.
As developments continue to unfold, we remain committed to maintaining the safety and well-being of our campus community, as well as the broader society to which we all belong.
As we navigate the new realities caused by the COVID-19 crisis, I hope that your ongoing education will remain a priority. More than ever, the world needs the knowledge and skills you will develop in college and bring to your endeavors once you graduate. We will be here for you as you continue to make this vital investment in yourself and your future.
I look forward to seeing you on campus this fall.
Troy D. VanAken