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GVSU prepares for return to in-person classes this fall

Dr. Philomena V. Mantella

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, what will higher education look like as students return in the fall? Grand Valley State University officials Tuesday laid out the school’s tentative plans to resume in-person classes in August.

“I’d like to thank you all for your support, and I couldn’t be more determined to keep us growing through this period, just like this institution has done through its past six decades,” Grand Valley State University President Dr. Philomena Mantella said.

Mantella and GVSU officials were on hand to address a number of questions that students, parents and staff had raised including the most obvious: will there be in-person classes this fall, and what will that look like?

“We think that we have all of the tools to mount a successful face to face fall term,” Mantella said.

Mantella and her staff laid out a broad picture of some of those tools during the town hall, which include an increase in daily janitorial cleanings of classrooms between sessions, and disinfecting buildings overnight each day through their heating and cooling systems. And while not every class will be available with an online option, most will, for vulnerable students or those who simply want to continue practicing social distancing.

The University also addressed its financial situation and reported that the school had lost $13 million this spring semester alone as a direct result of the coronavirus. The school said, however, that GVSU had been in such good fiscal shape that the University had enough reserves to absorb the loss. And layoffs are not expected anytime soon, Mantella said, as the University is still doing well, considering enrollment for the fall semester is still going strong.

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