campus in fall
By Roanoke College News

Return to Roanoke details for Fall 2020

Dear Maroons and families, 

I look forward to seeing you all on campus next month. In the meantime, I hope you stay well and can find ways to rejuvenate this summer. I have enjoyed catching up on some summer leisure reading, taking walks with family and friends, and streaming concerts from some of my favorite musicians.  

As promised, we have a lot of details to share with you today regarding our plan for a safe return to campus in August. On July 6, Roanoke College submitted its plans for reopening to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). This plan is under review by SCHEV and is posted to the College’s website. Our plan will be updated based on any recommendations from Commonwealth of Virginia authorities and as the College adjusts to an ever-changing environment. 

I encourage you to take time to read and review all of the reopening information on the Return to Roanoke website. You will find details about: 

  • The move-in and orientation process for all students
  • Class formats for the fall (approximately 15% of course offerings will be remote; class  formats are reflected on student schedules in Self Service and Ellucian Go.)
  • How we will maintain appropriate social distancing throughout campus
  • Our enhanced cleaning protocols and hygiene recommendations
  • Policy changes related to the residential experience
  • Guidelines for international students and anyone traveling from international destinations
  • Face covering requirements
  • Student Health and Counseling Services resources to include tools to monitor student health and symptoms
  • Education and training plans for all students

“It is critical to our success that all students adhere to the measures included in our reopening plan. This is necessary to keep everyone safe and healthy.”

Brian Chisom, Ph.D., Dean of Students

Our plan also details our containment plans, including quarantine guidelines, for any outbreaks of COVID-19 and how a potential campus shutdown and move to remote courses would be handled, if necessary. We certainly hope to avoid a possible shutdown of campus, but we must be prepared for numerous scenarios.  

It is critical to our success that all students adhere to the measures included in our reopening plan. This is necessary to keep everyone safe and healthy. We realize this year will be a different experience for those who are enrolled in college, but we must all work together to keep our community on campus this semester and as healthy as possible. We are asking students to sign a health pledge to indicate their willingness to abide by these new guidelines. 

Much of our focus this semester will be on our core mission and operations. At this time, Virginia is in Phase 3 of the reopening plan; gatherings are limited to 250 people. Therefore, many large events normally scheduled for the fall semester have been canceled. This includes the Fall Student Activities concert and the President’s Ball. While we have also canceled Family Weekend 2020, the Office of Alumni and Family Relations is actively working on other opportunities to engage and support students and their families. Stay tuned for more information for families that will be released soon. 

I realize that many of you may have questions or concerns that are not addressed in this letter or on our Return to Roanoke website. I invite you to participate in a Zoom webinar at which members of our COVID-19 preparedness team will review our plans for returning to campus and answer questions. [Zoom webinar information was sent to students via Roanoke College email.] You may also submit questions in advance to We can accommodate up to 500 people on the Zoom webinar. A recording of the discussion will be posted online afterwards for anyone who couldn’t attend the online session. We will continue to send updates and have forums for questions throughout the fall semester.

Thank you again for selecting Roanoke College and entrusting us with your undergraduate experience. Our faculty and staff remain steadfast in our commitment to offering you an outstanding education and out of classroom experiences that are encompassed in The Roanoke Difference. Please stay safe and be well.


Brian Chisom, Ph.D.
Dean of Students