Susquehanna University is altering plans for students' return to campus with older students beginning classes remotely before returning to campus in September.
The university announced revisions to move-in schedule on Thursday, presenting a phased-in plan as part of its ongoing health and safety initiatives.
Susquehanna will begin the semester with 25 percent of students in residence halls. Two weeks later, seniors will return, pushing the university to 50 percent capacity before moving in all of its students in late September. All students will be required to test negative for COVID-19 before arriving on campus.
“We have been watching prudently and planning ardently for the return to campus, as well as learning from the successes and mistakes of others. As much as we want to welcome students back to campus, we want even more so to complete the fall term together, which is why we’ve adjusted the move-in schedule,” said university president Jonathan D. Green.
First-year and transfer students will register for blocks of time to move in between Aug. 18-20, based on the new schedule. Seniors will return Sept. 5-6, and all other students will return Sept. 19-20. Susquehanna will prorate housing and meal costs based on students’ move-in date.
Classes are scheduled to begin on Susquehanna’s campus Monday, Aug. 24. Upperclassmen will attend classes remotely until they arrive on campus.
“We are committed to fulfilling our mission to educate students for productive, creative and reflective lives of achievement, leadership and service in a diverse, dynamic and interdependent world. Part of that commitment is to do all we can to keep all members of our community safe and healthy,” Green said.
Earlier this month, university officials announced all Susquehanna University students, faculty and staff arriving on or returning to the campus next month will be required to be tested for COVID-19 as detailed in a student agreement. Students will be provided testing kits from the university and administered during a telemedicine appointment with a Vault Health medical professional, spokesman Amanda O'Rourke said.
Results will be sent simultaneously to the student and the university within 48 hours of the completed test being received by the company. A positive result will require an individual to quarantine off campus, she said.
The university will cover any of the students' costs not covered by individual insurance companies, according to the agreement. Failure to meet the requirements could lead to sanctions, including expulsion.
Additional measures being taken is to limit occupancy of spaces to no more than 40 percent capacity, prohibit gatherings of more than 250 people and bar students from entering residence halls other than their own.