Simpson College hosts town hall about on-campus classes for Fall 2020


Photo courtesy of the Simpson website.

by Alyssa Craven, Amelia Schafer, Editor-in-Chief, News Editor

Simpson College held a Town Hall Meeting on May 18 to answer questions students have about coming back to campus for the Fall 2020 semester.

There were 21 participants and the meeting lasted for 20 minutes. Answering questions was Interim President Bob Lane, Vice President for Academic Affairs Cheryl Jacobsen, Vice President for Student Development & Planning Heidi Levine, Vice Executive Director of Marketing and Public Relations Christie Denniston and Assistant Vice President for Enrollment & Financial Assistance Tracie Pavon.

Some of the most significant questions from the town hall are highlighted below.


Q: Will financial aid be similar to what students received for Spring 2020?

Simpson’s commitment in terms of your financial aid has not changed. When you started at Simpson we give you a four-year commitment and we are on par to continue that. If you have already completed your FASFA and done your paperwork you should already have your financial aid package.


Q: What is the status of athletics and what is the athletics plan for Fall 2020?

The faculty and converse reps, as well as the directors, met last Thursday and had a full day of discussions about what the future might look like. Will we be back and what will happen? On Friday, the fifteenth, the conference commissionaire released a statement. We are intending to have everyone back. Having all the athletic competitions that we would normally have. Realizing that statement is out there to tell you it’s all in the schools hopes that we will be doing that. Can we guarantee that? No, but we sure intend to and we will do all we can.

However, if we do that you should know that we will have it in a way that we can ensure all of our students’ safety as well as coaches, referees and everyone else that will be involved.


Q: Are you going to require people to wear masks?

It is a very timely question actually because we spent a good deal of time this afternoon in our crisis management team meeting talking through the first draft of the basic public health guidelines that we will be following on campus this coming semester. One of the things that is in there is guidelines about wearing masks. While that is not finalized yet, I feel pretty safe saying that you should plan to come to campus with a couple of masks that you can use. They may be cloth masks that you can wash and reuse. They may be disposable masks, but I anticipate that we will ask people when they are out and about on campus and in places where they can’t follow social distancing guidelines that they wear masks.


Q: Will you have more nurses on campus this fall?

We probably will. That is also something that we have been talking about. We know that Katie Lee is amazing. We are blessed to have her the past few months, but one part-time nurse really can’t provide the level of support that we anticipate needing.


Q: What if a student or professor doesn’t want to come back to campus? Will there be options available to both of them?

So that is something we have not yet worked through. We are going to be having discussions I’m guessing over the next several weeks, particularly among the cabinet about how we are going to address those issues. From everything from personnel issues which is for faculty and staff through the academic approaches for students. Also looking at our residential policies and whether there are any changes we need to make for the coming year.


Q: Is there anything being done about lost wages for on-campus employment in relation to CARES Act?

So CARES Act, the government has been very specific with that language. It is to reimburse [students] for expenses incurred during this pandemic due to the disruption of the normal operating of our campus. They also have been very clear that we are not to replace lost wages with this.

Simpson is not doing anything specifically at this time to help with lost wages and we won’t be. Just doing room and board refunds for students. There is just so much that we can do.