Town staff have been meeting with Gordon College representatives weekly and will continue to do so to collaborate with the institution as it navigates safely returning students to campus for in-person classes amid COVID-19.
“A tremendous amount of thought has gone into Gordon’s reopening plan, and we’ve met with representatives of the college regularly to work together and, at all times, prioritize the health and safety of the whole community,” Town Administrator Ansaldi said. “We want residents to know that they were in the forefront of our minds throughout this process and that the college has been a receptive, thoughtful partner in navigating these truly complex challenges.”
More than 1,000 students will be attending Gordon College this fall, a largely residential campus.
“Community safety is foremost on everyone’s mind,” Gordon College President D. Michael Lindsay said. “Our preparation has been tireless, prudent and prayerful, but not fearful. We have a high compliance among our student body. We have behavioral expectations, in general as a Christian institution, that are much higher than most colleges in Massachusetts. Additionally we have been able to effectively pilot our protocols and fall reopening plan in the last week with half the student body already, starting with smaller groups of campus leaders, athletes and first-year students.”
Wenham and Gordon officials wish to share the following details of the college’s plan:
- All students have been required to bring proof of a negative COVID-19 test, taken within 72 hours of their arrival on campus and before they were allowed to move info residence halls, or before they start classes on campus. Testing was offered on campus for students who could not obtain a test within that window, and they were quarantined pending a negative test confirmation.
- All students will be re-tested for COVID-19 during the week of Aug. 24.The college has a contact tracing and quarantine/isolation protocol in place to manage as needed anyone showing a positive test result. This is being managed in partnership with the Wenham Board of Health.
- For the past three months, Gordon College has intensively planned for a safe reopening and invested significantly in the essential resources to prepare for on-campus learning this fall.
- At all times, Gordon College prioritized the safety of all students, faculty, staff and host communities as well as student learning goals.
- Masks are required at all times in buildings and in classrooms at Gordon. Outdoors, social distancing protocols must be maintained.
- The College is closely following state guidance and will be utilizing outdoor campus space to host gatherings outside.
- The college has developed strict residential protocols for students living together, grouping them into “households.” To learn more, click here.
- Gordon College has communicated extensively over the summer a shared commitment to health and safety protocols with students in order for there to be a successful semester on campus.
- Students have been encouraged to stay on campus whenever possible. The College has eliminated its traditional quad break in October to ensure students will not need to travel, and students will also be sent home for the semester prior to Thanksgiving, not returning until late January for the start of the spring semester, at the earliest.
- The same protocols for mask wearing and social distancing that are required on campus are likewise expected by the college should students need to travel into the local area.
- Students have been required to sign a “Statement of Community Responsibility” indicating their understanding of the college’s safety precautions amid COVID-19 and their importance to everyone, including the College’s neighbors in Wenham and the surrounding communities.
- In the event a student or College employee is willful and intentional in disregarding protocols, they will face disciplinary action by the college.
- Gordon is one of nearly 40 area colleges contracted with the Broad Institute’s Safe for School Program. The program gives an institution the ability to collect testing samples on campus while the Broad Institute will conduct the testing at the Clinical Research Sequencing Platform (CRSP), the federally regulated clinical testing laboratory at the Broad Institute. Results are usually available in less than 36 hours.
- The College will continue to closely monitor campus conditions and remain aligned with public health recommendations, and is prepared to make adjustments to its plans as needed.
To learn more about Gordon’s reopening plan, click here.