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Villa Maria College announces plan to reopen campus in fall

The school said they don't know if students will be allowed to return to campus, but the plan is for a 'phased reopening' in the fall semester.
Credit: Villa Maria College

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Villa Maria College released a 'phased reopening' plan for its Buffalo campus that they say will comply with social distancing guidelines set fourth by the state and county. 

Dr. Matthew Giordano, president of Villa Maria, said he isn't sure if students will be back on campus this fall. but he and his staff have been working on a plan to get the school back open to staff and potentially students. 

"Based on everything we are hearing right now, my assumption is that staff members will slowly return to campus over the summer, with many safety precautions in place," Giordano said in a letter that was sent home this week. "Having staff members back on campus will allow us to complete all necessary preparations for students to return to campus in the fall, assuming conditions permit.” 

Villa Maria said it anticipates social distancing guidelines to be continued into the fall, so it's planning on not holding any large gatherings of faculty, staff or students. Cleaning and sanitation efforts will be increased and people on campus may be asked to wear a mask. 

The college said it aims to provide as much in-person, on-campus learning as physically possible based on recommendations from health experts and government officials.

 Online learning resources will be available if needed, but the school said it doesn't plan on going completely-online unless forced to. 

The President said he believes the school may be better equipped than others in the area due to its small size. 

“In many ways Villa is the ideal campus for these unprecedented times,” Giordano said. “As the smallest campus in Western New York, we can reduce population density much more easily than many of our peers. Not having residence halls dramatically reduces the risks of an outbreak on campus. We have lots of support systems in place to help students navigate this new normal and to cope with new stresses and fears.”

The plan is not set in stone and the school said it will continue to evolve as new information becomes available. The fall semester is set to begin on August 31, 

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