Ed Wingenbach, president of Hampshire College, announced in a letter to the campus community that the college will remain open this upcoming fall, MassLive first reported. He followed this announcement with the assurance that measures would be taken to combat any spread of COVID-19 on the campus.
“As long as the State of Massachusetts allows colleges to open, which seems likely, Hampshire fully intends to welcome students to campus in the fall,” Wingenbach stated.
Wingenbach pointed to the small number of students and the structure of Hampshire College housing as a way of protecting the community from COVID-19. With an estimated 550 to 600 students returning to campus in the fall and notably small numbers of students in each class, he said that social distancing would be possible. Furthermore, Wingenbach said he believes single dorm living spaces and available extra housing could be an asset.
“Hampshire has some significant advantages for ensuring health and safety of our students on campus and has already taken steps this spring to institute protocols,” Wingenbach continued in the letter. “Thankfully we have had no confirmed cases among students on campus this spring, and we instituted protocols to support a small number of quarantined students as they awaited test results.”
This announcement follows concerns about Hampshire College managing pre-existing financial strain if forced to close during the pandemic. The college is currently in a five-year fundraising plan, hoping to combat under enrollment and budget concerns.
“We have every intention of welcoming students back. That’s the core of the work we’re doing,” Wingenbach told NBC News. “If Hampshire College can’t pull off a residential college experience, it’s unlikely many schools in the Northeast can.”
Claire Healy is an assistant news editor and can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @clurhealy.