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Knox College COVID-19 Update


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Galesburg, IL 61401



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Student paintings stacked in preparation for the Al Young Student Art Show.

President Announces Plans To Welcome Students Back for Fall Term

Knox College COVID-19 Update

In an email to the campus community on April 30, Knox College President Teresa Amott informed Knox faculty, staff, and students that “it is our expectation that Knox College will welcome students back for the start of in-person classes this fall.”

In planning for fall term, Amott looked to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, for guidance. “Earlier this month, he predicted that the United States should be ‘in good shape’ to reopen schools in the fall,” said Amott. “But to do so, schools and colleges will need to have measures in place to control the spread of the pandemic, including expanded access to testing and contact tracing of people who test positive for COVID-19.”

Senior administrators and faculty leadership are preparing for the possibility that a second wave of the virus could interfere with the College’s plans and are developing contingency plans to ensure the continuity of instruction, including a remote option for students who cannot be in a classroom due to health concerns or travel restrictions.

As the College engages in additional preparations to ensure a successful fall term at Knox, President Amott wanted the Knox community to be aware of the following four points:

  1. The College’s top priority is protecting the safety and well-being of students, faculty, and staff and will continue to follow federal, state, and local guidelines regarding social distancing, sheltering in place, testing, and best practices regarding the use of face masks, handwashing, and sanitizing of facilities.
  2. Human-powered, one-on-one learning remains a hallmark of a Knox education. The intellectual partnerships between students and faculty, as well as the energy and creativity that come from living and learning among a diverse community of insatiably curious people, will continue to be an essential part of the work done at the College.
  3. Knox alumni, parents, and friends have readily reached out with words of encouragement for Knox students, especially seniors, and with increased gifts for the College overall and to help students hit hardest by this crisis.
  4. The College is making plans for the return of students to campus. This fall, the College will launch a new major in data science and welcome students back to fully completed improvements to the Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center’s A-Core. While the tradition of Pumphandle will likely change (as Dr. Fauci would likely not condone shaking hands with 1,200 people), the close-knit community it represents will be as strong as ever.

Amott and members of Senior Staff followed up the announcement with a live virtual event with alumni and donors where they answered questions and gave additional detailed information about the College’s response to the pandemic and plans for fall. Listen to a recording of the event.

In the closing of her email, Amott noted that one of the most valuable lessons the College has learned this spring “Is that our small size and our resourcefulness have been advantages in weathering this crisis. Going forward—and with the luxury of more than two weeks to plan—I am confident that the experience our students have this fall will be both personally and intellectually rewarding.”

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Printed on Wednesday, May 27, 2020