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Hillsdale College com­mencement on July 18, 2020. COURTESY| Hillsdale College Mar­keting Department

Stu­dents may have to con­tinue wearing masks, getting tem­per­ature checks, and fol­lowing dis­tancing guide­lines after the second week of school if there’s an out­break of COVID-19 cases on Hillsdale’s campus, according to Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn. 

Arnn added that he plans to reduce restric­tions as soon as pos­sible, as they interfere with the purpose of the college.

“We’ll stop the extra restric­tions on the first day we can — any­thing that inter­feres with the purpose of this college,” Arnn said. “What are we waiting for? We’re waiting to see if we have an out­break of the virus. We half expect we will. We expect stu­dents will get it, and it will spread to some, but hope­fully not many, and hope­fully none will be harmed. We’re waiting to see how many cases we get. If we get a lot, then we’ll extend the pro­tocols.”

Hillsdale College released its official return-to-campus pro­tocols for stu­dents, staff, and faculty on Aug. 5. Among some of the biggest changes: mandatory masks indoors, daily tem­per­ature checks, and newly-installed anti-viral tech­nology in campus air fil­tration systems. The com­plete plan is posted at returnplan.hillsdale.edu

In early August, Arnn addressed stu­dents in an email, saying freshman con­vo­cation and the first day of classes would “occur as scheduled” on Aug. 23 and 26, respec­tively. He stressed the college is doing every­thing in its power to resume normal activ­ities in a safe and legal manner.

“Right now there are no legal imped­i­ments to our resuming,” Arnn wrote. He said the college con­sulted with three leading public health and epi­demi­ology experts to craft its reopening plan.

More than 260 Hillsdale College staff members from across campus worked throughout the spring and summer to con­tribute to the fall reopening plan, according to Arnn. The college spent a com­bined total of more than $500,000 on new ion­ization equipment, a four-person on-call nursing team, quar­antine loca­tions for stu­dents, and extra san­i­tizing and dis­in­fectant equipment, Chief Admin­is­trative Officer Rich Péwé said. 

“Like its Com­mencement activ­ities, the college is com­mitted both to having college and to doing it in a safe and legal manner,” Péwé said. “As Dr. Arnn reminds us, the work and study that happens here is important and we must not sur­render it will­ingly.”

In the original email, Arnn empha­sized that the college was also taking many steps to ensure the safety of those in vul­nerable groups. 

“You will see that they are far-reaching,” Arnn said in the email.

In an interview with the Col­legian on Aug. 25, Arnn said the college’s key concern is the stu­dents’ health.

“I don’t pretend to be an epi­demi­ol­ogist, but I am respon­sible for this, so I’ve read up on it quite a bit,” said Arnn, who noted that he spoke to Ambas­sador Deborah Birx, coor­di­nator of the U.S. Gov­ernment Effort to Combat AIDS and member of the White House Coro­n­avirus Task Force. “My key question is, ‘is it dan­gerous to the young?’ I asked her that, directly. And what she said was ‘no.’ That was in a Zoom call with a bunch of people about col­leges reopening. Well, there’s your answer.”

In addition to man­dating masks indoors and daily health screenings until Sept. 5, the college will have four nurses on call after hours, and dining hall capacity reduced to 50% with two new grab-and-go food loca­tions for stu­dents, one in Stro­sacker Science Center and one in Lane Hall. The college will also reserve four apart­ments in the College Park Town­houses to quar­antine any stu­dents who may con­tract COVID-19. 

“These steps comply with the law as it exists today, and will be adjusted as nec­essary,” Arnn said in the email. “Also it com­plies with the best evi­dence about the nature and course of the virus, insofar as we can determine what that is.” 

In addition to these pro­tocols, equipment has been installed across campus to help reduce the rate of virus trans­mission indoors.

All campus buildings have been equipped with modular ion­ization tech­nology ”doc­u­mented to neu­tralize and elim­inate COVID-19.” High-effi­ciency par­tic­ulate absorbing (HEPA) air filters will also be installed in high-traffic areas, and four Clorox 360 machines — elec­tro­static dis­in­fectant sprayers — will be used to dis­infect large rooms in “an average of five minutes.” 

Arnn con­cluded the email with an exhor­tation to the Hillsdale com­munity not to shrink from this chal­lenge, nor neglect its work as a college. 

“We should proceed about that work intensely, as always we do,” Arnn said. “We should be cau­tious about any­thing that spreads the coro­n­avirus, but we should not forget the joy of being together.”

This joy of being together is some­thing Vice Pres­ident of Student Affairs Diane Philipp does not want the college to lose sight of. 

“We’re trying so hard to keep this momentum going of the typical, fun Hillsdale atmos­phere,” Philipp said. “It’s going to be a chal­lenge. So we’re going to try to get everybody to partner with us to keep that momentum and joy hap­pening.” 

Philipp eyes the Class of 2020’s grad­u­ation, which took place the weekend of July 18, as the model for a suc­cessful semester. 

“We’re really trying to create that same culture that occurred during grad­u­ation. We had 2,700 on campus,” Philipp said. 

During the weekend, grad­uates and their guests were required to wear masks indoors and were subject to daily tem­per­ature checks. The com­mencement cer­emony took place outside at Frank “Muddy” Waters Football Stadium, where everyone sat six feet apart. There are no known coro­n­avirus cases con­nected to the event.

Stu­dents may have to con­tinue wearing masks, getting tem­per­ature checks, and fol­lowing dis­tancing guide­lines after the second week of school if there’s an out­break of COVID-19 cases on Hillsdale’s campus, according to Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn. 

Arnn added that he plans to reduce restric­tions as soon as pos­sible, as they interfere with the purpose of the college.

“We’ll stop the extra restric­tions on the first day we can — any­thing that inter­feres with the purpose of this college,” Arnn said. “What are we waiting for? We’re waiting to see if we have an out­break of the virus. We half expect we will. We expect stu­dents will get it, and it will spread to some, but hope­fully not many, and hope­fully none will be harmed. We’re waiting to see how many cases we get. If we get a lot, then we’ll extend the pro­tocols.”

Hillsdale College released its official return-to-campus pro­tocols for stu­dents, staff, and faculty on Aug. 5. Among some of the biggest changes: mandatory masks indoors, daily tem­per­ature checks, and newly-installed anti-viral tech­nology in campus air fil­tration systems. The com­plete plan is posted at returnplan.hillsdale.edu

In early August, Arnn addressed stu­dents in an email, saying freshman con­vo­cation and the first day of classes would “occur as scheduled” on Aug. 23 and 26, respec­tively. He stressed the college is doing every­thing in its power to resume normal activ­ities in a safe and legal manner.

“Right now there are no legal imped­i­ments to our resuming,” Arnn wrote. He said the college con­sulted with three leading public health and epi­demi­ology experts to craft its reopening plan.

More than 260 Hillsdale College staff members from across campus worked throughout the spring and summer to con­tribute to the fall reopening plan, according to Arnn. The college spent a com­bined total of more than $500,000 on new ion­ization equipment, a four-person on-call nursing team, quar­antine loca­tions for stu­dents, and extra san­i­tizing and dis­in­fectant equipment, Chief Admin­is­trative Officer Rich Péwé said. 

“Like its Com­mencement activ­ities, the college is com­mitted both to having college and to doing it in a safe and legal manner,” Péwé said. “As Dr. Arnn reminds us, the work and study that happens here is important and we must not sur­render it will­ingly.”

In the original email, Arnn empha­sized that the college was also taking many steps to ensure the safety of those in vul­nerable groups. 

“You will see that they are far-reaching,” Arnn said in the email.

In an interview with the Col­legian on Aug. 25, Arnn said the college’s key concern is the stu­dents’ health.

“I don’t pretend to be an epi­demi­ol­ogist, but I am respon­sible for this, so I’ve read up on it quite a bit,” said Arnn, who noted that he spoke to Ambas­sador Deborah Birx, coor­di­nator of the U.S. Gov­ernment Effort to Combat AIDS and member of the White House Coro­n­avirus Task Force. “My key question is, ‘is it dan­gerous to the young?’ I asked her that, directly. And what she said was ‘no.’ That was in a Zoom call with a bunch of people about col­leges reopening. Well, there’s your answer.”

In addition to man­dating masks indoors and daily health screenings until Sept. 5, the college will have four nurses on call after hours, and dining hall capacity reduced to 50% with two new grab-and-go food loca­tions for stu­dents, one in Stro­sacker Science Center and one in Lane Hall. The college will also reserve four apart­ments in the College Park Town­houses to quar­antine any stu­dents who may con­tract COVID-19. 

“These steps comply with the law as it exists today, and will be adjusted as nec­essary,” Arnn said in the email. “Also it com­plies with the best evi­dence about the nature and course of the virus, insofar as we can determine what that is.” 

In addition to these pro­tocols, equipment has been installed across campus to help reduce the rate of virus trans­mission indoors.

All campus buildings have been equipped with modular ion­ization tech­nology ”doc­u­mented to neu­tralize and elim­inate COVID-19.” High-effi­ciency par­tic­ulate absorbing (HEPA) air filters will also be installed in high-traffic areas, and four Clorox 360 machines — elec­tro­static dis­in­fectant sprayers — will be used to dis­infect large rooms in “an average of five minutes.” 

Arnn con­cluded the email with an exhor­tation to the Hillsdale com­munity not to shrink from this chal­lenge, nor neglect its work as a college. 

“We should proceed about that work intensely, as always we do,” Arnn said. “We should be cau­tious about any­thing that spreads the coro­n­avirus, but we should not forget the joy of being together.”

This joy of being together is some­thing Vice Pres­ident of Student Affairs Diane Philipp does not want the college to lose sight of. 

“We’re trying so hard to keep this momentum going of the typical, fun Hillsdale atmos­phere,” Philipp said. “It’s going to be a chal­lenge. So we’re going to try to get everybody to partner with us to keep that momentum and joy hap­pening.” 

Philipp eyes the Class of 2020’s grad­u­ation, which took place the weekend of July 18, as the model for a suc­cessful semester. 

“We’re really trying to create that same culture that occurred during grad­u­ation. We had 2,700 on campus,” Philipp said. 

During the weekend, grad­uates and their guests were required to wear masks indoors and were subject to daily tem­per­ature checks. The com­mencement cer­emony took place outside at Frank “Muddy” Waters Football Stadium, where everyone sat six feet apart. There are no known coro­n­avirus cases con­nected to the event.