While schools quickly try to figure out plans for the fall, Villa Maria is excited to welcome all students, faculty and staff back to campus for the Fall 2020 semester. The College will begin the Fall 2020 semester as planned on August 31, and College leadership has spent the summer months preparing to ensure all students receive the same personalized, hands-on academic experience to which they are accustomed, in an environment that has been optimized for the safety of the entire College community.
“The safety of our students, faculty, and staff members is our paramount concern,” said Dr. Matthew Giordano, Villa Maria’s president. “We are fortunate to have a very safe campus—we have lots of space in which we can spread out and reduce population density. Our cleaning staff has stepped up their protocols and they are ready to keep our campus clean.”
“Our faculty have been working hard all summer to be ready for the start of classes, Dr. Giordano continued. “The classroom experience will be a bit different, to be sure. Classes will meet face-to-face, but they will also include online components. Students and faculty members will be wearing masks, and classroom capacities will be reduced. If, in the unfortunate event it becomes necessary to move our classes completely online, students can be assured that they will continue to have a high-quality educational experience, as we learned from the spring semester and have had the summer to prepare.”
Some of the new safety measures students can expect to see on campus in the fall include:
Social distancing: All members of the College community will be expected to maintain a safe distance of 6 feet from others. Signs, flyers, and floor markers will be posted throughout campus to help facilitate social distancing.
Facial coverings: Masks will be worn in shared spaces. The College will give face masks to students and employees at no cost.
Reduced classroom capacity: Capacity of all shared spaces will be reduced. Large spaces like the dining hall and auditorium will have a reduced maximum capacity of 25%. Small spaces, like classrooms and meetings rooms will be set up to ensure physical distancing.
Cohort-style classes: Many classes will be placed into cohorts, or small groups. A class that normally meets on Tuesday and Thursday may only meet as a cohort one of those days, with half the class present in-person at a time. Student schedules have already been updated and are available on D2L. Your schedule has not changed. The cohort will meet on the same days and times that you were expecting, but the method may be different.
Tech Lending Program: When we had to unexpectedly transition to distance learning last semester, Villa Maria lent out computers and other technology to over 25% of its student body. The College’s tech lending program will extend to the Fall semester, with junior and senior students in technology-driven programs being lent a computer to take home this fall. Students in all grade levels and programs who have a need for a computer but struggle to afford one will be given or loaned one, too.
With the addition of all these new safety measures, plus additional measure details in the reopening video below, campus is sure to look and feel a little different than it has in the past. Regardless, the College will offer the same caring, supportive, and welcoming atmosphere as always.
This video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYmT4wpovd8) details the Villa experience students can expect to see in the fall. All members of the Villa community are encouraged to watch the video in its entirety. Brian Emerson, vice president for enrollment and operations, should be contacted with any questions about the Fall 2020 semester.
The College has also updated and expanded its Coronavirus Response Policy and Procedures, which can be found online at https://villa.edu/coronavirus.
We look forward to welcoming students back to campus on August 31 for a productive and safe fall semester.
About Villa Maria College
Villa Maria College is a private, Catholic college, founded in 1961 by the Felician Sisters. Located in Buffalo, NY, Villa Maria is the premiere student-centered college in Western New York characterized by an unyielding commitment to student success.
Offering Bachelors and Associates degrees in 18 different academic programs, Villa Maria’s strength lies in its studio-based education, a 9:1 student to faculty ratio, and educators who bring their real-world experience into the classroom. Students learn and grow with a culturally diverse population that lives its core values instilled by the Felician Sisters. Students participate in intercollegiate athletics in eight sports as the Villa Vikings and are involved in nearly 20 clubs and organizations on campus. Villa Maria is home to the Achieve Program for Students with Learning Differences, and an academic success center, which provides robust academic support for all students. For more information call 716.896.0700 or visit www.villa.edu.