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College Announces Fall Schedule

by | Jun 22, 2020 | News, Stories from Davidson College

The college released the plan for Fall 2020 in an announcement made on social media.


The fall semester will begin an academic year like none before at Davidson College.

Our teams have been working to make sure we are ready to return to campus with safety as our foundational priority. We learned a lot from the disruption of the spring semester and have continued to gain knowledge, tools, techniques and the relationships with experts that we need to return in August. We are aided by a strong medical staff and the guidance of trustees with relevant epidemiological and medical expertise. 

In April we organized design teams made up of students, faculty and staff who developed plans for, among others, the academic calendar, changes to the experience of first year students and living and staying well in these unprecedented times. In addition, staff across the college have reconfigured spaces, processes, and practices to safeguard our health. 

We have designed new ways of going about each day, whether serving meals, deeply cleaning residence halls or sitting farther apart in class.   

We are establishing protocols for COVID-19 testing, quarantine and isolation. We are working with Charlotte’s largest medical center to provide a full-time public health nurse and exploring additional staffing needs. 

We still have details to work out and we are ready to adapt as circumstances change.

The Calendar

  • We will reconvene as a residential campus in August with the first day of classes on August 20.  
  • First year students and transfer students will arrive by August 15 and start orientation the following day.
  • Upperclass students will follow a phased move-in and will be notified of their move-in date.  
  • As previously shared, all in-person class instruction will end by Thanksgiving, and students who go home for the holiday will not return to campus afterward. Those who stay on campus through Thanksgiving may stay until the end of the semester. Exams will be held remotely after Thanksgiving. 
  • There will be no announced fall break. 

Testing, Tracing and Responding

  • All students will be tested during the week prior to returning or the first week back. We have a protocol in place for targeted testing throughout the semester. 
  • We will have established procedures for campus contact tracing. 
  • Students, faculty and staff on campus will use a daily symptom checker app that will enable monitoring and following up on any concerning symptoms. 
  • Dr. Robert Lutz, a physician with Atrium Health and Davidson’s Primary Care Sports Physician, is leading our medical efforts. Dr. Lutz, a Davidson graduate, spent 30 years as an Army doctor, including service in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. 
  • We are working with Atrium Health to provide a public health nurse for the campus. 
  • We have secured space for student quarantine and isolation.
  • We will, in most cases, require an annual flu shot.


  • We will create the indoor and outdoor spaces needed to accommodate classes, including utilizing a variety of other campus spaces as additional classrooms. 
  • Classrooms will be configured so that students sit six-feet apart.
  • We will encourage and support teaching outside when practical.
  • Some classes or program experiences will be entirely remote.
  • Most in-person classes will be designed so that students can learn remotely if they are sick, in a high risk category or unable to travel to campus. 
  • Students with health issues that preclude returning to campus will be able to take classes remotely, though some classes may not be available remotely.

Housing, Dining and Life on Campus

  • We are converting residence hall lounge spaces to rooms to eliminate gathering spots and gain additional housing space. 
  • We will work with students with health issues on appropriate housing through the reasonable accommodation process. 
  • No overnight, off-campus guests will be permitted in residence halls.  
  • We have a dining plan that eliminates self-service, limits seating in Vail Commons and provides a variety of carryout options at Vail, Davis Café and the Wildcat Den. 
  • You will see screens, spacing, markers and occupancy rules at counters and offices that play a ‘customer service’ role. 
  • Only essential college travel will be permitted.


  • We are working within NCAA guidelines as well as with our Athletic Conferences – A10, Pioneer League and Southern Conference – on the testing and accommodations necessary to return to play.  
  • We are altering game schedules to sharply reduce overnight and commercial air travel by teams. 
  • Approximately 40 athletes are currently training on campus this summer (with more to phase in throughout the summer), and they already are using the symptoms app as well as strict social distancing and sanitation protocols. 
  • We do not expect to hold large events, such as basketball and football games, with normal capacity crowds. Other options would include required spacing or broadcast-only events. 

 What Each of Us Does

  • Facemasks will be required indoors unless noted otherwise and, in some cases, outdoors.
  • Physical distancing will be required in all indoor spaces.
  • Everyone will make daily health checks through a smartphone app, computer, or, for staff, through a method worked out with their supervisor.

Faculty and Staff

  • Some faculty will teach and work remotely. 
  • To reduce density on campus, staff whose work can be done from home should work from home, with permission of their managers. 

We will share more information as we finalize other plans and secure resources and arrangements. 

The most important element to take from this message is that each of you play the most important role in our ability to return to campus with minimal risk. Students, you may feel and be resilient in the face of COVID-19, but your classmates, your friends, your neighbors, your professors and mentors may not be. Each day we must live our obligation to each other as members of this community. Your simple and easy decisions – recording your symptoms, wearing a mask, keeping distance – determine how safe we all are. 

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