(WWLP) – The Massachusetts State Universities will welcome students back on campus in September for on-campus classes and residence life this upcoming fall semester.
In an email to 22News Thursday, the university system said all nine state universities intend to repopulate their residence halls and offer an on-campus experience for students while following state and federal Covid-19 safety protocols.
“Because the state universities have very few large lecture-style classes, and maintain low student-to-faculty ratios, we are confident our campuses will be able to provide students some level of in-classroom instruction,” said Vincent Pedone, executive director of the State Universities Council of Presidents. “Our campuses are well-positioned to adapt to gathering size limitations and social distancing requirements while providing the high-quality and affordable programming that is our hallmark.”
The universities include Bridgewater State University, Fitchburg State University, Framingham State University, Salem State University, Westfield State University, Worcester State University, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay.
The university system serves more than 52,000 students in the Commonwealth each year altogether. Westfield State University President Ramon S. Torrecilha, Ph.D., in an email to students, faculty, and staff announced plans for the school’s Safe Fall 2020 Opening, adding that the first day of classes is September 2.
He stated, “We anticipate a portion of classes to be delivered in a hybrid fashion, involving both on-ground and online components, while a substantial number of classes will be delivered exclusively online. On-ground classwork will be implemented with proper social distancing and other health and safety precautions.”
Torrecilha added that the University’s plans to de-densify residential halls to limit the use of shared facilities and common areas. Find Westfield State’s Safe Fall Open plans here.
“We continue to appreciate the patience and understanding of students and families as we ensure thoughtful and careful measures to welcome our students back to campus in September. Every decision will be carefully considered and will reflect the University’s top priority, the health and well-being of the Westfield State community,” said Torrecilha.
All nine state universities moved from large in-person classroom sizes to remote learning in March to prevent the spread of the virus. They intend to resume face-to-face coursework beginning in September after phase three of the governors reopening plan goes into effect.
Pedone added that the all-in cost for tuition, fees, room, and board is below the cost of peer institutions in the northeast.
The universities are still accepting admissions and residence hall applications through the summer and will be releasing more detailed safe return plans in the coming days and weeks.