NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Christopher Newport University welcomed back about 5,000 students on Monday for the start of the fall classes.
“Christopher Newport, its faculty, its administrators, its staff has planned for months, spent an enormous amount of money, an enormous amount of effort to get us to this day. It’s finally here. Everything is going well so far,” said CNU Chief Communications Officer Jim Hanchett.
The delayed start to the semester allowed officials to organize a system to host in-person classes while containing the spread of COVID-19 on campus.
The university is holding 70% of classes in-person. This may sound high in a time when some schools are completely virtual, but Hanchett said they have advantages over other schools. They’re small. And they pride themselves on small classes.
“Our students and our faculty made it clear that by in large they wanted to be here,” said Hatchett. “Learning works best when it’s face-to-face, so that’s why we wanted to make the effort to make that happen.”
The students WAVY News 10 spoke with are just happy to be back on campus.
“I just learn better visually and I just love the interaction with students and professors,” said senior Regan Duhadway. “It’s so much more valuable to be than being on a virtual zoom connection. I think losing last year was also sad, but that’s what makes coming back to campus that much more special.”
The school has strict social distancing rules. Masks are required in all common areas, even outside on the great lawn. There’s also daily health screenings for every member of the faculty, staff and students.
CNU started a daily dashboard where they post updates on COVID-19 cases on campus every morning. As of Monday there are seven active cases involving students. We’re told those students are isolated back home with their families.
With the precautions and effort, officials and students hope to return to normal at some point this year.
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