Sweet Briar College announces steps for safely reopening

Published: Jun. 15, 2020 at 11:57 AM EDT
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announced Monday some of the steps it’s taking to return students to the classroom.

SBC will begin its fall semester on August 11, which will allow students to finish classes and return home before Thanksgiving.

The college says it will conduct regular testing and require everyone to wear a face covering. Anyone who has tested positive or has been exposed will be quarantined in Sweet Briar’s Patteson House.

In addition, single dorm rooms will be offered to all students who need or want one.

The college says it is making significant investments in remote learning technology to be used when needed.

“We believe that small colleges, and particularly our institution, are best equipped to deal with the challenges of the pandemic. It behooves the policy makers to let these colleges thrive so they can continue to serve both their students and the surrounding communities that depend on them. The first step is by not imposing the one-size-fits-all solutions that are created for a different set of circumstances,” said President Meredith Woo.

Sweet Briar College has an 8-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio and a campus with more than 3,000 acres, allowing for optimal social distancing. Its new 27,000-foot greenhouse will also provide students and the local food bank with fresh, farm-to-table food.

The college notes that it faced a similar challenge a century ago: the Spanish flu pandemic. During that time, SBC made sure students were closely monitored and provided excellent medical care, as well as making sure the campus was safe. No one at SBC died during that time.

For more information on the school’s reopening plan,

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