Some classes and fitness routines moved outdoors under tents. Reconfigured classrooms and dining halls. Schedules changed to allow for extra cleaning time. Temporary housing constructed to accommodate fewer students per residence hall room. Mask-clad students shouting greetings to friends across Martin’s Way.
Hamilton’s campus may look a little different, but the goal is the same: providing students with a rich, highly personal academic and residential experience that is also safe.
The new Class of 2024 arrived, moved in, and completed orientation the week prior to the Aug. 24 start of classes. For those first-year students, selecting Hamilton came without the opportunities to visit in person at such traditional events as Accepted Students Open House. Instead, they connected to admission officers and future classmates exclusively online. For most returning students, it was the first time they had been on campus since March when COVID-19 forced the College to send students home and finish the semester remotely.
Since then, Hamilton’s faculty, staff, and administration have focused efforts on planning a safe return to campus. All students were tested upon arrival and required to quarantine until receiving their results. Among ongoing protocols, students must complete a daily health check-in app, be tested twice a week, wear masks, and maintain social distancing guidelines.
Employees who interact directly with students must complete the same safety protocols; others who work on campus must be tested once a week. While some employees, including faculty members, are continuing to work remotely, most classes are offered on College Hill.
As of this writing, 1,904 students are enrolled this fall, with 175 of them studying remotely and 1,729 choosing to learn and live on campus. The fall first-year Class of 2024 numbers 470, with 438 electing to be on campus this fall (new students did not have the option of studying remotely), and 32 deferring to spring largely due to travel restrictions. The College also welcomed 16 transfer students, 12 of whom are on campus and four having deferred to spring.
In a recent email to the campus community with the subject line Let’s Double-Down on Safety, President David Wippman closed with this reminder: “Together we can safeguard our campus and make this semester a rewarding one. If any college can do this successfully, it is Hamilton. Let’s not throw away our shot.”