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Reopening for Fall 2020


We are working diligently to put a plan in place that will keep our community safe this fall. We hope that this information helps to put your mind at ease

Academic calendar

We have made several changes to the Fall 2020 academic calendar. Here are some important dates:

August 31: First day of classes
October 8–9: Instructional days, no Fall Break
November 20: Final day of in-person instruction
Thanksgiving week: No classes; most students travel home.
November 30: Online instruction begins
December 13–16: Final exams administered remotely.

Note that once you leave for Thanksgiving, you will not return to campus for the rest of the semester. This schedule will allow you to have the on-campus college experience while minimizing travel between home and campus. Rest assured, though, that students who need to remain in campus housing for the duration of the semester will be accommodated. Please see the entire Fall 2020 academic calendar here

Updated daily schedule

We have adjusted our daily class-time schedule to support safer physical distancing and more cleaning of classrooms throughout the day. In addition to extra time between classes, we have extended each official time period by 5 or more minutes in order to stagger start and end times. Please note that these time changes maintain overall consistency in student schedules. If your schedule “worked” previously, then it will still work. A draft of the new schedule can be found here.

Changes in the classroom

We are modifying classrooms to promote the health and safety of our students and faculty. In making these modifications, we are following guidance from the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission. This includes altering room layouts, reducing the density of available seats, spacing all seats at least six-feet apart, and limiting class sizes or the number of students who are physically present in class on any given day. It includes adjusting ventilation systems, which in all academic buildings will be set to use only 100% outside air. We will also increase our cleaning schedules to minimize transmission through infected surfaces or aerosols.

Additionally, we are adding new technology to our classrooms to allow better remote access for those students who do not attend class in-person whether on a particular day (due to the impact of social distancing on room capacity, or the need to self-isolate for a given period) or for the term (because they have chosen not to come to campus this semester). We are utilizing larger campus spaces—Smith Hall and others—for classes, and we are exploring outdoor classroom options. Building and classroom entrance and exit patterns will be marked to reduce density during peak traffic periods. And of course, as a community we will strive to adopt new behaviors that care for the health of all, from mandatory face coverings to physical distancing and frequent hand-washing.


Throughout the summer, faculty have been engaged in a series of pedagogy workshops, exploring ways to create exciting and innovative approaches to teaching and learning in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most courses will take place as a mix of in-person and online instruction. A few courses will have required and significant in-person elements, while others will be taught mainly online. Here are the three categories of courses for the Fall 2020 semester:

  • The default class type makes use of a mixed access format. Mixed access classes are designed with both in-person and remote components. The in-person components of these courses will be built to foster and support the connections and relationships that are so essential to a complete LC experience, while the remote components will allow students who are not present in the classroom to fully participate. Mixed access courses are designed to be flexible and adaptive, with the goal of making the excellent teaching for which LC is known available to every student, regardless of their circumstances, as we navigate the challenges this pandemic poses to public health.
  • Some courses will be offered in a remote access format. These classes are accessed primarily or entirely online.
  • A few courses will require in person components. Due to the unique nature of these courses, it is not possible to complete these courses remotely.

We will give students flexibility in deciding whether to return to campus this semester or access their classes remotely. Students who are on campus or in Portland can take classes of any type: mixed access, remote access, or classes with required in-person components. Those students who are unable to be physically present in Portland should enroll only in mixed access and remote-access classes. We are developing a system for communicating to students how each of our courses will be offered and a system for students to register their decision to be in-person or remote for Fall semester. You will be notified when these communication systems are in place.

Overseas study

While Lewis & Clark continues to be deeply committed to the value of overseas study, we have determined that we cannot confidently support study abroad at this time. Given health and safety concerns, as well as the lack of clarity around the effects of the virus on travel in the months ahead, we have canceled all study abroad programs for fall 2020.

Your social experience

There’s no way around it: COVID-19 is going to have an impact on your social experiences on campus. Campus events will be limited in size, according to the guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority. We will temporarily reduce the number of common areas in the residence halls and the dining room will have limited seating.

If you’re a new student, we’re confident that you’ll still have fun and make friends. Each floor in the residence halls is like a family during non-COVID times, and the collaboration required to keep everyone safe during a pandemic might just bring you closer together. Your campus social life will start with New Student Orientation, when you’ll be placed in small cohorts for a dynamic, engaging suite of in-person and virtual activities. Your NSO activities are peer-led, and will give you a chance to get to know a group of students who share your interests. A wide variety of activities is on the agenda, including the opportunity for every cohort to participate in a series of engaging and interactive virtual new student trips to introduce you to our dynamic College Outdoors program and the beauty of our Pacific Northwest setting.

Responsibilities of Residential Students

There are steps that LC community members can take prior to arriving on campus to aid in slowing transmission of the virus. All residential students should review What Residential Students Need to Know Before Coming To Campus, paying particular attention to our requirements for self-isolation prior to your arrival.

Working together to keep our community safe and healthy

The strength of our community is one of our biggest assets, especially now when taking care of one another is more important than ever. All students are expected to review and comply with all of the information contained here: Health and Safety Expectations for All Community Members. In addition, more health-related guidance will be sent to you on or about July 29. Together, we can really reduce the spread of coronavirus and keep our campus safe.