As I look to the fall 2020 semester, I can’t wait to reunite with students I haven’t seen in-person since March, and I am also eager to meet our new students. This fall semester may not look the same as it has in the past; still, we eagerly anticipate another season of living out Dordt University’s mission to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of life.
Dordt’s leadership team is in the process of making plans to welcome you to campus this fall. Our goal is to provide face-to-face instruction, with residence hall life, community dining, and the full spectrum of co-curricular activities, including athletics, fine arts, clubs, and cultural events.
We plan to open on Tuesday, August 25, as previously scheduled. New students will move in on Saturday, August 22, kicking off our Week of Welcome. We will communicate more this summer regarding what the move-in process will look like.
This fall, we will not have Heartland Break. To provide respite during the fall semester, Campus Ministries may offer spiritual retreats on select dates, and there will likely be mid-week breaks throughout the semester as well.
Thanksgiving break will take place Wednesday, November 25, at 5 p.m. until Sunday, November 29, with classes resuming on Monday, November 30. Given present circumstances, at this time we would like students to plan to remain close to campus during Thanksgiving break to lessen the likelihood of a COVID-19 spread due to traveling. We will also provide special meals and activities during the week so that students will have a chance to make the most of their break. We will be able to speak more definitively on these matters as Thanksgiving break draws closer.
Students, as we make plans to start the fall 2020 semester on August 25, please know that we are striving to prepare well for you.
We want to ensure that campus is a safe place for you and for Dordt employees. Dordt’s leadership team is working to implement a variety of measures, including testing protocols, heightened health monitoring, increased sanitization, self-isolation in residences in case of illness, controlled campus access, and more. We are partnering with Sioux Center Health to receive COVID-19 tests so that we may test the campus community as needed. We are making plans for regular temperature checks, contact tracing protocols, and other practices.
We also want to ensure that you have an excellent academic experience when studying at Dordt. This summer, our faculty are working hard to prepare courses in new ways. Knowing that we will have many students who can meet in-person as well as those whose health makes it best for them to participate in blended course work for a time, our professors are preparing to provide additional Canvas support for our face-to-face courses. COVID-19 is giving Dordt an opportunity to innovate in creative ways in order to deliver a great educational experience for you—an experience that is personalized and highlights the care and concern we have for each student.
Throughout the summer, Dordt will provide more information about what the fall 2020 semester will look like. Right now, we ask that you begin thinking ahead for how you can best prepare. We recommend that you take the following steps:
- Stock up on hand sanitizer, face masks made from 100% cotton, Tylenol or other fever-control medications, tissues, wipes, and other items that might help with social distancing practices or to alleviate sickness.
- Bring a personal water bottle and a thermometer to campus with you.
- If you plan to fly to campus, consider buying a one-way airline ticket. This will provide you with flexibility if you need to return home on short notice or if there is a change in the academic calendar.
- If you live outside of Iowa, please check that your health insurance covers out-of-state needs.
Our world is filled with uncertainty, yet we know that God is in control. We ask for your prayers as we make plans for the fall 2020 semester. I look forward to welcoming you to Dordt’s campus!
President Erik Hoekstra