The College of Idaho says it is planning to reopen campus for the fall.
“Our plan is to share more specific details with our extended Yote family by the end of May,” Co-Presidents Doug Brigham and Jim Everett said in a Friday letter to the college community. “But we feel it is critical that we communicate now our continuing commitment to in-person classes, on-campus living, and a timely start to the fall semester.”
The Caldwell-based private college is the first Idaho college or university to announce its fall plans — or at least its intentions for fall, in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The state’s public colleges and universities continue to weigh options for the fall, decisions that will have a profound effect on enrollment and finances.
The College of Idaho moved spring semester courses online on March 13 — the same day the State Board of Education approved a remote learning plan for the public colleges and universities.
However, the college has continued to provide housing for about 185 students, including international students who were unable to return home.
“We have been grateful to our frontline staff and our students who have helped us maintain a safe campus community for our students who have no other place to be during these times,” Everett said. “While we still have much to learn, we have gained some experience in meal delivery, cleaning practices and de-densification of living spaces. None of this is possible without the cooperation of our students and that will continue to be an important component as we move to the fall.”
The college says it will put together four task forces to look at various issues surrounding the reopening: student life (including housing, food service and student travel, etc.); academics (including class sizes and the academic calendar); athletics and activities (including events and physical distancing); and facilities (including sanitation and hygiene). The four task forces will work on reopening timelines and contingency plans.
“Based on our ongoing consultation with the local healthcare community, our senior administration and trustees, we feel that as long as people adhere to appropriate guidelines, the systems in place can safely handle the cases we experience here in southwest Idaho,” Brigham and Everett said Friday.
More reading: From the Idaho Statesman, a look at what other colleges and universities are saying about their fall plans.