Marist students will be returning to campus this Fall, but with some major changes to their schedule.

President Dennis Murray announced this weekend that Marist College will reopen its campus for the 2020 Fall semester when in-person classes resume on Monday, August 24. The semester, which is beginning a week earlier than usual, will also end earlier too.

Marist's plan is based on predictions that there will be a surge in COVID-19 cases in December. The school is hoping to get students on campus early, keep them there and wrap up the semester before Thanksgiving break. Classes will be held on Saturdays, Labor Day and the usual mid-semester break will be canceled, forcing students to stay in Poughkeepsie instead of traveling home where they could come into contact with people who are infected. When classes end, students will be expected to leave campus for Thanksgiving and not return until the spring.

Students that do return to campus will need to wear face masks, practice social distancing and be subject to many new protocols. The ambitious change in college operations is contingent on federal, state and county guidelines, but Murray says the college is "firm in this plan to reopen."

If there's one thing I've heard from students and families, it's that they are excited to get back to campus, continue their education and reconnect with friends.  We are confident that our reopening strategy will protect the health and safety of the entire Marist community.

Marist says that any students who feel uncomfortable returning to campus will be given "online options."

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