Passing by the Chapel

March of the Mountain marchers pass the  St. Francis University Chapel on Wednesday, January 22, 2020.

St. Francis University has released its return to campus plan in a 47-page document available on the school’s website.

“While it was a difficult and stressful exercise, it was vital to go through in order to create the plan we have developed that will allow us to come back face-to-face and offer the on-campus experience our students have told us that they want,” said Don Miles, St. Francis’ director of Resident Life and co-chairman of the planning committee.

When classes resume in a few weeks, St. Francis is planning to go back to in-person learning beginning Aug. 17.

Students will wear masks in the classroom and other personal protective equipment will be made available for experiences that require closer contact.

Masks also will be required while moving through any building, and social distancing is being encouraged.

The pandemic response team has created several operating scenarios in order to be ready for whatever the situation may be, including modified in-person learning, restricted instruction, essential operations only and fully remote.

In the modified face-to-face instruction phase, which is how the university is reopening, students will be allowed in campus housing, but there will be no large gatherings permitted and limitations on recreation and dining, according to the plan.

Prior to arriving on campus, students are expected to self-quarantine for at least 14 days, review state and university rules and pack a face covering, personal thermometer for daily checks, hand sanitizer and any other disinfecting products for personal use.

Temperature stations will be positioned throughout campus for regular checkups and all St. Francis community members will receive a text message every morning inquiring about their health status.

If students have any COVID-19 symptoms and/or a temperature above 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit, they should contact student health services. If employees experience symptoms or have a high temperature, they are to call their supervisor, then Zach Burk, risk manager.

The university has also implemented contact tracing policies, reduced class sizes and is requiring guests to make appointments.

“It was important for us to put in safeguards to minimize the spread of the virus, but also important for us to make sure we did what we could to make everyone feel safe as well,” Miles said.

The academic calendar will operate on a modified schedule, with no fall break and the semester ending on Nov. 20.

All remaining instruction and final exams will be done online after the Thanksgiving holiday.

As groups return to campus, St. Francis will hold several discussion sessions for groups to get clarification and better understand of “the commitment we have for their safety and their responsibility for protecting each other as well,” Miles said.

For more information and to read the plan in its entirety, visit

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

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