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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater
An aerial photo of Patton Hall, McWhorter Hall and the Baskin Center in the foreground, with the city of Nashville in the background

May 26, 2020 Return to Learning Update

Dear Students,

I hope this message finds you well and having had a peaceful and reflective Memorial Day.

When I wrote to you on May 12 to let you know of our sincere intention to be open for Fall classes on August 19, I referenced the six teams working diligently to create pathways to allow every current and incoming student to be a part of Belmont’s fall semester. Our “Return to Learn” team—led by our Provost, Dr. Thomas Burns, and VP for Institutional Effectiveness, Dr. Paula Gill—has made remarkable progress in outlining several options from which our students can choose how to approach fall learning. 

One option will be for students to return to Belmont for on-campus classes that may have a mix of in-person and online features. This approach will allow us to manage the number of students physically together in the classroom at any given time. We are also planning to stagger start and end times for classes as another measure of density control. For students who are not comfortable or able to come back to the physical campus in the fall but wish to begin or continue pursuing a Belmont education, there will be options to enroll in a semester of fully remote learning. More details about both of these options are forthcoming, but for now we want you to know that we’re seeking to accommodate as many different needs as possible. 

Another important component of the Return to Learning plan is to shorten the Academic Calendar for Fall. The adjustment has us still beginning classes on August 19, but completing final exams by Friday, November 20 so everyone is home for the winter break before Thanksgiving. To allow this, we will hold classes on Labor Day, cancel Fall Break and make other adjustments to class duration and the amount of outside-of-class engagement to ensure we are delivering the full content of course work. All of this is being done to minimize student travel in the fall.

These decisions were made (and future decisions will be assessed) with the goal of continuing to offer you the opportunity to “Be Belmont” – and be AT Belmont – while minimizing risk to students, faculty and staff. Toward that end, we will also implement changes that include modified processes for campus dining, new residence life protocols and enhanced health services offerings, among others.

I’ve often said that Belmont is “a small town in a big city.” Our commitment is to do our very best to make Belmont the safest small town in the United States. Please be looking for more information soon about our return plans.


Bob Fisher