Mary Baldwin University announces plans to open residential campus in fall
MBU began the process of closing its residential campus on March 11 and moved in-person courses to online instruction effective March 18 in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“Throughout our 178-year history, Mary Baldwin has proven time and again the ability to survive the most challenging of circumstances,” said MBU President Pamela R. Fox. “The uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is no different. In this spirit of grit and determination, and based on the best information available at this time, we are pleased to move forward with plans to welcome our residential undergraduate and graduate students back to campus in August.”
A planning committee of faculty, staff, and healthcare providers from across MBU is reviewing the university’s daily routines, policies, and procedures to determine what adaptations are necessary to accommodate social distancing and other precautions. Ensuring compliance with all national, regional, and local public health orders is also part of the committee’s charge, including delaying the Aug. 31 opening if necessary by government directive.
As plans are finalized, MBU will share them with the university community, including local officials.
Mary Baldwin also enjoys several distinct advantages that make returning in the fall possible. These include its small town location in Staunton, which has seen relatively few cases of COVID-19 to date; the pandemic preparations and superior care available at nearby Augusta Health; and the medical expertise available within MBU’s own Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences.
The university has also established a track record of successfully managing the considerable operational shifts required by the pandemic, from moving to online instruction in one week to creatively adapting new student recruitment strategies.
“It is far more than our ability to reopen our campus that drives us: it is our student-centered mission,” Fox said. “We must continue our work to empower students to pursue lives of purpose and professional success. More than ever, our changed world will need the critical and creative thinkers, champions of equity and inclusivity, and bold changemakers that are Mary Baldwin graduates.”