Franklin Pierce University students are expected to finish the fall semester online after Thanksgiving, as travel and family gatherings are anticipated to require large numbers of quarantines before students can be accepted back on campus.
FPU has been randomly testing sections of its student population, faculty and staff for COVID-19 on a weekly basis since returning to campus this fall. The most recent round of testing on Friday resulted in two positive cases.
Students at Franklin Pierce who test positive can quarantine in designated quarters on campus, or in some cases, return home to quarantine.
The two who tested positive last week were symptomatic students who were quarantined and then tested positive for the virus, according to Franklin Pierce Director of Communications Ken Phillips.
The campus has reported a total of 22 positive cases since the beginning of the fall semester, with more than 3,000 tests conducted.
The campus is preparing to enter a period of online learning following the Thanksgiving holiday, to limit possible spread from students traveling or visiting with family.
“Thanksgiving, of course, is typically a time when many students, particularly those from New England, choose to return home to be with their families,” Phillips said.
The last day of in-person classes will be Nov. 24, prior to Thanksgiving break, and students are not expected to return to campus until spring semester in January. Final exams will be administered remotely prior to the start of the winter break on Dec. 5.
The spring semester is also anticipated to start a week later than normal, with classes beginning on Jan. 27, in order to allow for a phased and staggered return to campus for students, to allow for social distancing. All students will also be tested for COVID-19 prior to the first day of the spring semester.
This month, the campus is planning a series of special meet-ups and Zoom panels to engage student families and alumni, during what is usually the college’s annual Family Day and Homecoming weekend.
On Nov. 9-13, the Homecoming programming, which is usually held on the Rindge campus, is moving totally virtual for Raven Nation Week. Panels including talks on teaching and learning through and post pandemic, the impact COVID-19 has had on the student experience, and the college’s strategic plan, will be held each night at 7 p.m., and will have a moderated discussion on a topic, including a question-and-answer session. On Friday, instead of a panel discussion, there will be an interactive trivia competition. To register for Raven Nation Week events, visit https://www.franklinpierce.edu/parents/family — day.htm.
Though there will not be on-campus activities scheduled for Raven Nation Week, the campus has begun to open its doors again to allow prospective students to visit. The campus is now accepting reservations for campus tours for prospective students, available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through November. Prospective students can register for tours online. The tours do not include the interior of the buildings, and groups are limited to the prospective student and five guests. All guests are required to wear a face mask.