James Madison University planning for in-person learning to resume in October

Students plan to return to campus for in-person learning
Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 8:14 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - On September 7th, 2020, James Madison University transitioned to online classes and some on-campus students returned home. Now, the university is finishing plans to return to in-person learning and bring those students back to campus October 5th.

University President Jonathan Alger said about 15% of the student body left campus, temporarily, earlier this month and that 99% of cases so far have had mild symptoms or were asymptomatic. The university reports positive cases are going down at University Health Center.

Vice President of Student Affairs, Tim Miller said they have seen student behavior change.

“It’s sort of the touching the stove moment. That a lot of our students have touched the “COVID stove” and had to quarantine, or had a friend quarantine, or had to take care of a roommate who was quarantining in their apartment and have said this should never happen again,” Miller said.

The university has added about 300 more quarantine beds to bring the total to over 430. There are also a new “quarantine-in-place” option for students to quarantine in their rooms if the space allows for it, such as a room with a “Jack and Jill” bathroom. This adds 1,430 more quarantine spaces.

JMU will also begin random testing of 300 non-symptomatic students a week to hopefully prevent any outbreaks and will have the University Health Center open on weekends for additional testing.

Classes with more than 50 students enrolled will be online or hybrid and dining halls will lower capacities.

The university will be canceling its 'Fall Break" to reduce student travel and those two additional days will be added to the end of the semester.

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