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Skidmore College
Fall 2020 Planning

FAQs

FAQS will be continuously updated as new questions are asked and new information is available.

Return to Campus

Following weeks of extensive, collaborative work, information-gathering and outreach, we have determined that Skidmore will bring back all or nearly all of its student body for in-person learning and a residential experience this fall.

We acknowledge that some students will be unable or unwilling to come to campus for a range of reasons, and we will work equally hard to provide a high-quality educational experience for those students through remote avenues.

The College is currently working to better understand the unique challenges that the advisory poses for higher education and will share updates on required processes as soon as possible. 

Please note that regardless of where a student is traveling from, all students must complete a daily symptom check for seven days prior to their return to campus. Students who screen positive for any symptoms (answer yes to any symptoms on the screen) must be tested prior to coming to campus. It is also our recommendation that students self-quarantine for the same seven-day period to limit potential exposure to COVID-19. A student who is in isolation or quarantine prior to their arrival on campus needs to postpone travel until cleared to return by a medical professional. 

Given the rapidly changing situation, the College is closely monitoring state and federal guidelines related to COVID-19. We are currently revising orientation schedules and developing ways to safely and creatively deliver programming. Schedules and key dates will be shared when updated information is available.

Classes

As previously announced, we will begin the fall semester two weeks early, on August 24, and end on Friday, November 20, prior to Thanksgiving week. Students will finish exams and final projects remotely. We will not have any break during the fall term.

Classes will be taught remotely, in person and through some combination thereof. We anticipate that most of our classes — something like two thirds — will be some form of in-person instruction, with the remaining third taught in a remote mode, a figure that is very much in line with what our peer schools are planning.

This will help us reduce density in academic buildings and make safe, in-person engagement more possible. The exact mode for each class will be determined in the coming weeks and this information will be made available to students by late July. 

We will be reconfiguring our academic spaces, classrooms, labs and performance spaces so they can accommodate the health guidelines we are implementing to ensure the maximum degree of safety possible for students and faculty. Classrooms will include social distancing spacing, personal protective equipment, including plexiglass where appropriate, enhanced cleaning protocols and more. In addition, we are pursuing outdoor classroom options and longer passing times between classes to help de-densify the social presence in our buildings. Facemasks will always be required in all public settings, regardless of distancing or room capacity.

To help faculty prepare, the College will strongly support a robust series of faculty pedagogy trainings and workshops featuring academic technology, instructional design, shared pedagogy practices and teaching-the-teacher workshops throughout the summer.

Health and Safety

Yes. To mitigate risk in every way possible, following the best guidance from health agencies, facemasks will always be required in all public settings, regardless of distancing or room capacity. There will be different requirements for residential spaces. Each student, upon arrival, will receive a starter kit of personal protective equipment (PPE) consisting of two Skidmore reusable facemasks and a bottle of hand sanitizer. Similarly, each employee will receive the PPE starter kit upon returning to campus.

The Saratoga County Department of Public Health website provides local resources, a continuously updated dashboard and additional information, as does the NYS Department of Health website.

Some residential spaces will be reserved for on-campus students who require quarantine and isolation. Any student who is placed under quarantine and isolation for COVID-19 and resides in Skidmore housing, including hotels, will have daily contact with Student Health Services. Provisions including laundry, meals, psychological care, medication and supplies will be coordinated based on student need. Students living in off-campus housing who are in isolation or quarantine will have daily contact with Saratoga County Public Health to assess their needs. Skidmore staff will continue to help students keep up with their coursework, and faculty are committed to helping any student continue to meet course requirements while in isolation or quarantine.

Skidmore will work in partnership with Saratoga County Public Health for rapid COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing when cases are identified. To assist with contact tracing, we will be asking community members to track their movements and close contacts on campus. 

Campus Life

The Dining Services team is working on plans to provide the high-quality food that our students appreciate while maintaining a safe environment. For complete information regarding dining, please visit the Skidmore Plan for Fall 2020 here.

The Liberty League Presidents Council has agreed on a plan for a return to athletics competition this fall. Detailed information can be found in the Athletics Update from Gail Cummings-Danson

All major public events that would bring large numbers of visitors to campus, such as Celebration Weekend, Homecoming and the Presidential Inauguration, will be shifted to virtual experiences.

Gatherings on campus will be limited to no more than what health officials’ safety guidelines recommend, always with appropriate distancing and masking; this figure may shift as the semester goes along.

Many of the events of typical college social life simply cannot occur this fall. That must be understood by all of us. We will employ technology to make possible group events such as speakers, performances and other programs and events so we can still have communal events, even if they are not in person in the same way. 

Housing

In order to meet or exceed state health guidelines, we are setting up residential space for students that will allow for appropriate social distancing, maintain standards of health and safety, and prevent too much social density in residential spaces. No more than two students will be housed per room for the academic year. There will be no triple-occupancy rooms. In our apartment spaces, which consist of single rooms only, we will be operating at full occupancy.

In order to bring all, or nearly all, of our student body to Skidmore, we are arranging for housing in local hotels, consisting of both double and single rooms, comparable to a residence hall living arrangement. All rooms in the hotels have a private bathroom and additional amenities. Shuttle buses and parking will be available to students living in these hotels. Buses will provide regular access to campus.

The Office of Residential Life is sending out a short survey that will provide students with the opportunity to rank their housing preferences. Staff will use the information to help guide housing decisions for the 2020-2021 academic year.