Mars Hill University will begin the fall 2020 semester on August 17 with remote instruction before resuming in-person classes on September 8. Citing the continuing increase in COVID-19 cases in the Southeast and North Carolina’s current Phase 2 designation by the governor’s office, university President Tony Floyd said, “We feel that we have no choice but to begin the fall semester with remote instruction and delay the return of students to our campus until after Labor Day.”
In an email message to the campus community, Floyd said, “As you return, things will be different, but we have designed policy with the safety of our campus and surrounding community as our top priority. The changes will allow us to continue to engage together, safely.” Floyd reiterated his commitment to welcome students back to campus when conditions permit.
Those changes include requiring masks, enforcing social distancing, promoting hand-washing, and increasing cleaning frequencies throughout the campus. Classrooms will be cleaned daily; sanitizing wipes will be available in each classroom; dining options will be modified; and the student health center will provide services in a new, more readily accessible, location.
In his message Floyd also addressed anticipated financial questions, assuring students and their parents that room-and-board costs will be reduced on a prorated basis due to the decision to begin the semester with remote instruction.
The university already has altered the structure of the 2020-21 academic year, adjusting start and end dates for the fall and spring semesters, dividing the semesters into two blocks of learning to provide for smaller classes and better social distancing, and adding an online “J-term” in January before the later start of the spring semester. Last week, Mars Hill and other South Atlantic Conference schools announced a delay of the fall sports seasons until September 28.
About Mars Hill University:
Mars Hill University is a premier private, liberal arts institution offering over 30 baccalaureate degrees, as well as master’s degrees in criminal justice, elementary education, teaching, and management. Founded in 1856 by Baptist families of the region, the campus is located just 20 minutes north of Asheville in the mountains of western North Carolina. The university’s Asheville Center for Adult and Graduate Studies is located on Airport Road in Arden.