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BW announces plans for fall return to campus

together Aug 24 graphicBaldwin Wallace University President Bob Helmer has announced a framework for returning to campus for the fall 2020 semester.

The outline includes an August 24 start for classes and a range of changes that are aimed at prioritizing the safety of all members of the BW community, while providing a quality campus learning and living experience.

Read the entire communication to students, parents, faculty and staff here:

To the BW community,

Baldwin Wallace University has resumed campus operations and faculty and staff are working daily to prepare for resumption of on-campus instruction for the fall 2020 semester including residence hall living. We look forward to welcoming all our new and returning Yellow Jackets!

I am proud of the work we did this past spring to keep our students on track during the COVID-19 outbreak. Now it's crucial that we move forward in a way that supports safety while allowing students access to the full BW experience.

The first step in our approach is to conduct a 16-week semester with a schedule modification that provides flexible academic instruction. The reduction of long weekends will reduce travel while allowing the University to best utilize the available time on campus. (Note: Graduate programs will maintain their current calendar, including those that are online.)

  • The first day of class will be August 24.
  • Classes will be held on Labor Day, Monday, September 7.
  • Fall Break will not be held. Classes will meet on October 16.
  • Thanksgiving break will remain from November 25-29.
  • The last week of classes and week of finals, November 30 through December 11, will be completed remotely.

In general, students are not to return to campus after Thanksgiving. Students may request to return to campus residences after Thanksgiving if members of athletic teams, engaged in research projects or if a student shows personal need best served by remaining on campus. Please note, all Students living on campus during this time will attend classes remotely. Post-Thanksgiving residency request forms will be available to students October 1.

BW is planning for the necessary changes to our life on-campus - from the classroom experience to residence halls and dining experiences. A team led by Dr. Trina Dobberstein, VP of Student Affairs, that includes advisors from the Cleveland Clinic and Southwest General Health Center and relies on evolving state and federal guidelines, is fine-tuning all necessary adaptations that will impact every facet of our life together on campus.

Faculty, staff, students and visitors will be required to wear masks in common areas, maintain 6-foot social distancing, and self-monitor their health. Facility changes will include increased cleaning frequency of high-touch surfaces, installation of physical barriers, room capacity reductions, and signage that reinforces the school's safety protocols.

This year residence halls will be "de-densified" with many students in singles and no more than two students per room. Bathroom facilities and common areas will have restricted occupancy levels. First year resident students and returning residential students will be notified about a phased move-in schedule.

Baldwin Wallace University's policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are rooted in safety for students, faculty and staff with whom we interact. The well-being of our community is critical. Protecting the health of the BW community will require long-term effort and commitment, cooperation and understanding - all values that our community has shown in a multitude of ways in recent months. We will implement three phases through this summer and the 2020-2021 academic year.

  • Phase One: Preparing - Implementing best practices and safety measures for all members of the BW community for instruction, residence life and student services.

  • Phase Two: Returning - Gathering as the BW community to learn and live together following new safety measures that allow all students to have an extraordinary BW experience.

  • Phase Three: Sustaining - Maintaining safety measures and ensuring clear communication to provide a healthy campus experience through the entire 2020-2021 academic year.

BW is committed to making college affordable for all. To those with concerns about costs, especially with the financial challenges presented by COVID-19 - please reach out. We will do all we can to support our students and their families. There are financial aid options available. You can contact one of the helpful people at the Financial Aid Office: (440) 826-2108,

We want to keep our students and their families informed. This information and additional updates throughout the summer will be made on

BW has always been at its best when we are together. We look forward to seeing you all on campus soon.

Bob Helmer
Baldwin Wallace University

Media Contact

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