Continuing through August 29, Hollins University is welcoming new and returning students back to campus under the theme “Carefully Onward” as part of the school’s comprehensive plan to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The foundation of this plan is a Culture of Care, in which students, faculty, and staff pledge to approach the challenges of this fall with a renewed focus on mutual accountability and collective responsibility to protect one another and mitigate the spread of the disease.
“Our Culture of Care is an explicit articulation of the ideals we have long valued: dwelling in community, caring for one another, and acting with integrity,” said Hollins President Mary Dana Hinton.
Based on guidance from epidemiologists at the Virginia Department of Health, Hollins advised new and returning students to self-quarantine for 14 days before coming to campus. Upon arriving for move-in, all residential students will be tested, and test results will be received within 48 hours. The campus community will undergo randomized weekly testing within the population throughout the fall term.
“Given current COVID-19 trends in the region and our ability to develop a strong partnership with CoVerify Health, we will conduct ongoing, comprehensive COVID-19 testing as part of our Carefully Onward reopening plan,” Hinton said. “Providing this added measure will enable us to continue to be proactive in our efforts to support the health and well-being of the community and provide greater peace of mind to many of our students and their parents as well as faculty and staff.”
Hinton emphasized that the testing initiative in no way diminishes the significance of the Culture of Care philosophy as the pillar of a successful fall semester at Hollins. “The university has implemented a phased move-in schedule and extended the number of days students may return in order to follow the recommended six-foot physical distancing in buildings,” she explained. “Moving forward, all community members are expected to complete a daily self-monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms, including a duty to report if you have symptoms, feel ill, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Proper hand hygiene, maintaining physical distancing, and wearing face masks, both indoors and outside, are the most important steps in supporting campus health and well-being, while testing will enable us to identify disease transmission.”
Fall Term classes begin at Hollins on August 31. The university is making returning to campus fully optional for students and faculty; those who are not comfortable with an in-person learning environment can choose to learn remotely for the semester.