FAQs: Bryant University Fall 2020 Reopening Plans

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Bryant is in the final stages of developing reopening plans that will be submitted to the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) for its review, feedback, and comments. The top priority of our collective efforts in this planning is to ensure a safe and healthy environment for every member of our community.  In an announcement shared with the Bryant community, incoming University President Ross Gittell, Ph.D., who takes office July 1, outlined plans for students to return to Bryant’s Smithfield campus in August.

When will students return to campus?

August 4:    Some varsity athletes return to campus

August 5:    International students return to campus and begin mandatory quarantine

August 19:  First-year students arrive on campus

Aug 23-24:  Sophomores, juniors and seniors arrive on campus

When will fall classes begin and end?

August 25:  Classes start for all students

Nov 13:       Classes end

Nov 14-24:  Final examinations

Nov 24:       All finals complete, semester concludes, students depart campus

Dec 10:       Grades submission deadline

Why has Bryant modified its fall academic calendar?

The early arrival will allow students to finish their fall academic work and complete final examinations by November 24, before Thanksgiving break, a modification of the academic calendar designed to mitigate any potential spread due to a fall COVID-19 resurgence. Bryant’s revised academic calendar ensures that all fall semester requirements related to instructional hours are met, and personalized interaction with faculty and staff maintained, while addressing health and safety concerns.

Are face coverings required on campus?

Throughout Bryant’s summer reopening and fall semester, all faculty, staff, students, and visitors will be required to wear a facemask while on campus, in accordance with campus guidelines, and to adhere to strict physical distancing practices.

What is planned to ensure safety in Bryant classrooms?

All faculty and staff will be required to wear a facemask while on campus, including in the classrooms. To ensure appropriate physical distancing within Bryant classrooms, some class attendance will be split between alternating sessions. All classrooms, residence halls, and community spaces will be cleaned with appropriate disinfectant on a frequent basis. Our plans for heightened cleaning include using electrostatic sprayers to clean classrooms multiple times each day, cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces on a four-six hour rotation.

Bryant has also made a significant investment in additional classroom technology, to ensure remote connectivity and further advance the University’s progressive teaching practices. All class sessions will be available on campus, via live streaming, and/or recorded for later viewing by lecture capture. 

How will Bryant coordinate testing for COVID-19?

Effective testing is essential to the safety of our community, and we are taking steps to ensure that timely, high quality, on-campus testing for COVID-19 can be conducted and overseen by our health services staff. This includes the acquisition of PCR testing equipment and expansion of our health services staffing. This will enable expeditious turn-around and accurate test results while avoiding potentially long waits as demand for testing in the community increases during any potential surge in COVID-19. The PCR testing equipment Bryant will deploy has been used successfully by major hospital systems (including Lifespan in RI) and other organizations domestically and internationally.

Bryant expects to begin testing when the equipment arrives in July. Detailed information on testing will be provided to the community and updated on a regular basis.   

What will Wintersession look like?

The period from Thanksgiving through January 25, 2021, between the fall and spring semesters, will allow students to take one or two courses specifically designed for effective, condensed, and remote delivery.  We plan to offer two sessions during this break: December 3-22 and January 3-22.  This will give students the opportunity to accelerate degree completion and even take an extra course or two to expand their learning and interests. 

Will the academic calendar for the spring 2021 semester be modified?

There are significant uncertainties associated with the coronavirus outbreak. We know that more information about the virus, its contagion and containment practices, and testing capabilities and protocols will be available over time. This makes contingency planning and organizational agility especially important. Bryant will continue to adhere to CDC guidelines and follow the guidance of government officials and health experts. Our reopening plans will be incremental.

Who created the plans for Bryant’s fall reopening?

Six Bryant committees, composed of more than 50 faculty and staff members, worked on the interdependent aspects of the University’s fall reopening. These committees include Health & Safety; Academic Programs & Technological Support; Student Life & Support; Athletics & Recreation; Facilities, Staff & Budgets; and Communications.

Will Bryant charge added fees for safety measures implemented to address the pandemic?

To achieve a successful and effective response to the global pandemic; by securing testing capacity, enhancing academic technology, and implementing facilities and operations redesign; will require Bryant to incur additional unplanned expenditures.  It is important to note that these unplanned but necessary expenditures will not be passed on as additional costs or fees for our students and their families.