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September 2020

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19Sep.

SonFest - CANCELLED

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MVNU prepared to welcome students to campus

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — The anticipation is palpable as Mount Vernon Nazarene University welcomes students back to campus this month. With an adjusted fall schedule and a plan to reduce COVID-19 exposure and spread in place, students will begin moving into residence halls beginning Aug. 15.

MVNU’s plan, entitled Return to the Vern, was released July 27 as part of a week-long series of engagement events with students, faculty and staff which included a virtual Town Hall for the entire campus community, and Student Q/A Sessions with staff and faculty throughout campus.

“Since moving to distance education and closing our dorms in March, we have worked to find a path for opening in the fall. Our students told us in clear terms how much life on the campus means to them. Our plan honors this desire and ensures the maximum amount of safety for faculty, staff, and students,” said president Dr. Henry W. Spaulding II. “We want to get back to work in the safest possible way. Everyone concerned should understand that the safety of this community is our first priority. I believe we have achieved this in our Return to The Vern plan.”

Part of the Return to the Vern plan has classes starting on Aug. 19, reducing the fall break to one day and concluding the semester before Thanksgiving. This strategy, adopted by multiple universities across the nation, reduces long breaks minimizing travel and danger of virus exposure and spread.

Built into the plan are protocols and contingencies designed by the COVID-19 Response Task Force and Working Groups for health services, academics, student life, events, athletics, retention, communications, and facilities and housekeeping.

Developing these protocols required collaboration between on-campus experts and those in public health, higher education and state government. Guidelines and recommendations from Smart Restart Ohio for Institutes of Higher Education, American College Health Association, Centers for Disease Control, Ohio Public Health, Knox Public Health and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics were also reviewed and considered.

The well-being of the Mount Vernon and Knox County communities at large figured in the design and strategy behind the Return to the Vern plan. This includes the cancellation of large on-campus events that bring sizable numbers of visitors to Knox County such as youth athletic tournaments, conferences and the University-sponsored SonFest Christian Music Festival.

“One of the hallmarks of our campus is our sense of community and we want to continue to provide that for our students,” said Beth DaLonzo, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing. “We know some things on campus will be different this fall, but our goal is to maintain the richness of campus and its activities while keeping our community safe. Our goal to safeguard the MVNU experience means that some events will be smaller, some will be just for our students, and some simply won’t happen, but we believe it is in the best interest of keeping our community safe and in good health.”

The Task Force will continue to meet throughout the semester to evaluate needs of students, faculty and staff, as the pandemic remains a fluid situation. For more information on MVNU’s Fall semester plan, visit mvnu.edu/ReturnToTheVern.

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education both in-seat and online to more than 2,200 students from 34 states and 14 foreign countries.

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