Mount Aloysius to bring students back to campus
CRESSON — As summer break heads into its last two months, area colleges are formulating plans to bring students back to campus for the first time since March.
Mount Aloysius College in Cresson plans to resume in-person classes on Aug. 24, which is one week earlier than the usual start date, according to college President John McKeegan.
McKeegan said that by beginning classes one week earlier, it eliminates the fall break, keeping students on campus until just before Thanksgiving. McKeegan said that was done to reduce the risk of students who may travel during fall break of being exposed to COVID-19 and carrying the virus back to campus.
“The health and safety of our community is the most important thing going forward,” McKeegan said.
McKeegan said two task forces, one focusing on academic and student life, and the other focused on employees and operations, were formed to come up with the reopening plan.
“We had some 30 people on the task force,” he said. “The plan itself is more of a direction than a detailed map because it will have to evolve.”
McKeegan, who took the reins of the college’s presidency in June, said jumping in during the pandemic has been challenging.
“One has to respond to the challenges put before them,” he said.
The Mount’s reopening plan includes coordinating with local health officials, monitoring the health of the campus community and avoiding non-essential travel for students and employees.
McKeegan said the plan was built on the assumption that Cambria County will still be in the green phase when students return to campus.
McKeegan said he has not heard from students who may be reluctant to return to campus but said any requests to continue studies remotely will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
McKeegan said that although no one can make guarantees during a pandemic, they can minimize the risk.
“Our detailed plan has strategies on how we will go about making sure our health and safety measures can best mitigate risk,” he said.
McKeegan said the plan will evolve as more information on the virus becomes available.
Mount Aloysius’s detailed plan to reopen campus can be found at www.mtaloy.edu.
Mirror Staff Writer Rick Boston is at 946-7535.