Heritage University will partially reopen campus for the fall semester, both in Toppenish and at its regional site at Columbia Basin College in the Tri-Cities, school officials said Wednesday.
The school previously planned to continue remote learning, aside from small groups of on-campus learning for some labs, clinical practice, one-to-one tutoring and orientation activities.
But in light of Gov. Jay Inslee’s guidance for colleges and universities to reopen, released late last month, and Yakima County’s recent progress to a modified Phase 1 of reopening, the school decided to offer more on-campus learning, Heritage President Andrew Sund said in a news release Wednesday.
“Heritage exists to serve students who face difficulties accessing higher education for various reasons,” said Sund. “Many students do not have the conditions in their homes to conduct significant academic work. Internet connectivity is unreliable and space is limited — especially if they have siblings in the home all of whom need quiet study space and access to high-speed Internet. … For them, access to higher education means coming to campus.”
The university’s reopening plan was approved by the Yakima Health District, according to the news release. Many courses will be offered with a combination of in-person and remote learning. Masks will be mandatory and cleaning and sanitation will be ramped up. Class sizes will be reduced to allow for social distancing and attendance will be staggered.
Most student support will be offered online, but in-person tutoring will be made available with precautions like Plexiglas dividers between tutors and students.
Students will have the option not to attend on campus.
“Above all else, we must continue to lead with our mission, always acting in the best interest of our students across all aspects of their beings, their health and safety and their determination to continue to move forward with their lives and education,” Sund said.