MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Christian Brothers University is the last undergraduate institution in the county to announce their plans for the fall. The university said Thursday they will be going back on-campus in August, with conditions.
“I’m a parent, and I take seriously the responsibilities that have been entrusted to me by the families of our students,” said Jack Shannon, CBU President. “This is not an easy decision, because quite frankly, there is no perfect choice that lies in front of us.”
CBU president Jack Shannon said Thursday in an interview with WMC Action News 5 that the university will return to campus for the fall semester on August 17.
Residence halls will be open but single room occupancy only, and space will be limited, with priority to international students and students from across the country. Testing will be offered on campus, along with contact tracing.
Shannon said in-person classes will be used along with remote learning in a shortened semester, and the university will work with students and make accommodations for those who do not feel comfortable attending in-person classes. The semester will conclude at Thanksgiving.
Lemoyne Owen College announced this week they will be virtual until Labor Day. Rhodes College is starting the fall virtual and could stay that way all semester. The University of Memphis and CBU are holding in-person classes.
“We have a large number of students who may come from backgrounds of limited economic resources,” Shannon said. “And once again for those students, it’s very important to have an in-person instructional experience with that level of support.”
The Shelby County Health Department is advising educational systems from K-12 schools to colleges and universities on their reopening plans.
“We do anticipate as we go back to school, we are likely to see cases in our community,” said Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department Director.
Haushalter said they’re emphasizing the importance especially to K-12 districts of six feet of space between students.
She also noted in looking at a confirmed case at any type of school, contact tracers will have to quickly identify if transmission occurred in the school setting or in the living situation, like at home.
“Our role is to provide technical assistance, so that if there is something we see in the plan that could be revised to make it a safer environment, we give that feedback. We are not formally approving or disapproving plans. It really is to help that plan be as safe as possible,” she said.