Dear Marietta College Community,

About a month ago, I informed you that Marietta College would welcome students back to campus this fall for in-person learning. Today, I am excited to tell you that we are another step closer to this goal.

During a live Town Hall meeting this morning, I announced that the fall semester will begin August 17th — three days earlier than originally planned. The semester will end with final exams spread across seven days and wrapping up on Tuesday, November 24th.

These changes to the fall semester allow us to take advantage of better weather earlier in the year and situate classes in a time frame when experts expect lower rates of COVID-19 cases.

As I have said repeatedly, the safety and well-being of all Marietta College students, faculty and staff is our highest priority. We have included a good cross-section of faculty, staff and students to gather multiple ideas and at the same time, we are relying on the best health and safety guidance that is available at this time in controlling the spread of COVID-19.

This adjusted plan, which requires classes to be conducted on Labor Day and on the two days of the traditional fall break, was approved by the College’s Board of Trustees last week. We hope this is the only year we have to do this.

At this time, we have not made a final decision on when the spring semester will begin. We are being flexible about the spring start so we can evaluate any impact a potential second wave of COVID-19 might have on the nation and our region. Our goal is to provide more information about the spring in October or November.

Our plan also includes some online component to every course during the fall semester. There are also some faculty members who may choose to offer dual delivery courses, which allows for in-person learning and online learning at the same time.

In addition to the calendar changes, we will announce later this summer our approach to mitigating the spread of the virus.

Since the winter break will be at least six weeks — and could be as long as 12 weeks, depending on any spikes in COVID-19 cases — we are looking at offering online classes to help fill the void. And I have asked the folks in the Career Center to speak with employers about any internship opportunities that might be available during this time.

Also, we will make disposable masks available to all students, faculty and staff, and we have increased the number of hand sanitizer stations set up all over campus. Everyone will be required to wear a mask while they are on campus until they are in their residence hall room or office.

There is still a lot of work that needs to be completed between now and August 17th, but we will be ready to welcome everyone back. I look forward to seeing you in the fall, but, unfortunately, I won’t be able to give any high fives or shake any hands as we all do our best to physically distance.

Bring Forth a Pioneer!

Bill Ruud