Fall Opening FAQ

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Updated June 29, 2020

Once the health of the campus community has stabilized, it is advantageous to limit the amount of travel to other areas. For that reason, and consistent with most other colleges, we have developed a calendar that encourages students to stay on campus for the fall term.

  • Classes will begin one week early, on Monday, August 17.
  • The last day of on-campus classes will be Friday, November 20.
    Monday, November 23, and Tuesday, November 24, are designated as Reading Days.
  • Final exams will be held remotely from Monday, November 30 to Friday, December 4. The final exam schedule will be posted on VikingWeb on the Registrar’s page.
  • Classes will be held on Labor Day (Monday) September 7.
  • There will be a one-day fall holiday on Wednesday, October 7. Classes will be held on October 19-20.

This calendar allows us to meet the normal number of class days, without the need to return after Thanksgiving. 

The revised 2020-21 Academic Calendar can be accessed HERE.

All students (and accompanying visitors) will need to complete screening measures before and upon arrival to campus.

Depending on the level of risk in your home area in early August, we may also require you to take a COVID-19 PCR test before you return to campus. We will provide more details in this regard in coming weeks. 

  • Please restrict your social access for two weeks prior to your return.
  • Please limit your interaction with people outside your immediate family. That will increase the likelihood of a healthy community in the first weeks of school.
  • Bring a couple of face coverings – we’ll have some available on campus, including fabric masks available at the campus store, but you’ll likely want to have your own.
  • Include disinfectant spray or wipes as part of your cleaning supplies.

There will be a transition or re-entry period during which we will implement stricter and more widespread safety measures until we have confidence in the health of the campus community overall. 

Groups and event sizes will be limited for the time being. 

Face coverings or face shields will be required in classrooms, academic buildings and other public areas. Students are encouraged to wash their hands frequently, according to CDC protocols; this remains one of the best means to reduce spread of the virus.

A faculty-led committee has studied a number of approaches for ensuring a productive teaching and learning experience that emphasizes faculty-student relationships, even on occasions when a faculty member or student(s) must maintain physical distance. The emphasis has been on flexibility enhanced by technology. We anticipate that some faculty members will have to teach remotely, at least in part, for health-related reasons. The same may well be true for some students along the way. 

During the semester, we encourage students to remain on campus and in the area local to campus. For students wishing to travel home or elsewhere, there may be some restrictions, including an approved check-out and re-entry process.

Research to date suggests that transmission of the virus is more likely in indoor areas, especially in areas of increased density and proximity. 

  • We have instituted rigorous cleaning procedures in all buildings in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control recommendations.
  • We are installing hospital grade HVAC filters in all of our buildings (academic and residential).
  • We are investing significantly in new classroom technologies that will enable us to provide classes in person and remotely, as needed.

Berry is fortunate to be located in a town with excellent medical services. Two hospitals are located with 3 miles of the college, and the Northwest Georgia regional public health offices are within a mile as well.

  • We are arranging with local health partners to provide access to rapid (24-hour) PCR testing.
  • Berry is coordinating with the regional public health office to employ a team of Berry students as contact tracers. A number of students took a regular course this summer that included a contact tracing module (and certification) from Johns Hopkins University.
  • The college has set aside a number of rooms for isolation or quarantine as needed.
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