First US colleges begin to re-open as states ease restrictions

The schools announced plans to open in May and August respectively.

California Maritime Academy and Radford University are two of the first schools to announce specific dates for campus reopenings.

California Maritime Academy and Radford University have announced specific dates to reopen their respective campuses and resume in-person learning. While other institutions have announced tentative plans to reopen, most have done so without any commitments.

In a letter to the campus community, Cal Maritime President Thomas Cropper announced the school had received approval from California Gov. Gavin Newsom to reopen campus to complete the spring semester. 

“I am pleased to report that as a result of the hard work and good planning of our COVID-19 task force and the academic leadership team, Cal Maritime received approval from Governor Newsom’s office for a limited reopening of our campus to resume face-to-face instruction for the completion of our Spring 2020 semester as planned,” Cropper wrote. “This decision was run through the Chancellor’s Office and various internal entities of the Governor’s Office, including the State Department of Public Health, who provided additional guidance consistent with our current plan.”

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Local news outlets further reported that Cropper said classes are set to resume on May 20.

Newsom’s press secretary explained that Cal Maritime is a special case because of its mission in training marine merchants. 

“The CSU Maritime Academy trains merchant marines, and the maritime workforce is required for shipping and logistics,” Jesse Melgar, said.

Melgar added that to reopen, the school must abide by strict health and safety guidelines. 

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At Radford University, school officials announced a late August reopening. The university announced reopening will begin August 3, and that operations, including housing, dining, and in-person classes, will begin August 24.

University President Brian Hemphill stressed health and safety remained the priority. 

“The health, safety, and well-being of you and your fellow Highlanders remain our top priority,” Hemphill said. “As a result, we are working diligently on contingency planning to account for continued developments based on analysis and research by public health experts. Additionally, we are examining policies and procedures regarding social distancing protocol; personal protective equipment, or PPE, utilization; testing availability; classroom configuration; event size; etc.”

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