Dear Bennett College Family,
We hope that you are staying safe and healthy. We have seen some very powerful social media posts from our students and alumnae who have been in the streets, halls of power, board rooms and even on their couches championing the cause of social justice and equality. Continue the good fight.
Public health is at the forefront of our minds as Bennett College students, faculty and staff engage in social activism on various fronts, and as the coronavirus continues to surge in many parts of the US. The decision for the fall semester is a challenging one and must be grounded in public health and the Bennett College context. College leadership is weighing a variety of issues and challenges for evaluating a decision regarding the fall– keeping in mind that the course of the pandemic cannot be perfectly predicted.
While our smallness is our strength and we have the ability to practice social distancing in classes with 5:1 student faculty ratio, the residence halls with their shared bathrooms and the dining hall require more careful assessments. We are also evaluating the following issues:
- Ongoing prevalence of the disease in NC and Guilford County
- Availability of sufficient COVID-19 tests
- Availability of sufficient PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as facemasks
- Ability to isolate, quarantine and contact trace
- Cleaning and sanitation equipment, products and processes
- Hospital/ healthcare surge capacity when colleges and universities return to the region
- Academic calendar modifications
- Distance and/or in-person learning options
- Related issues
College Leadership continues to closely monitor COVID-19 in NC and is in weekly contact with the Guilford County Department of Public Health. We will be meeting with the Board of Trustees to review options for the fall and anticipate providing an update no later than the second week of July to ensure that we are using the most current information before the beginning of the academic year. Communications about Fall 2020 will come via email and via the Bennett website (www.bennett.edu).
Stay healthy and stay safe.
Suzanne Elise Walsh, JD