Spelman College’s brief COVID-19 controversy has come to an end. The professors, who vowed not to return to teach in-person until the school addressed its COVID-19 safety guidelines, ended their standoff with school officials on Friday (Aug. 20), according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
“Spelman faculty members have decided to return to in-person teaching effective Monday, Aug. 23,“ Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell said in a statement. “The College continues to work with the faculty to provide additional guidance on health and safety protocols as rapidly changing circumstances around COVID-19 continue to develop.”
Classes for Spelman students began on Wednesday (Aug. 18). The decision to not return to campus by the Spelman Faculty Council was announced in an email to students on Thursday (Aug.19) morning.
“The faculty at Spelman College were excited about returning to in-person instruction… However, much to our disappointment, faculty have not received clear and enforceable protocol and safety guidelines that will ensure our health and wellbeing when teaching face-to-face,” they wrote. “While awaiting acceptable responses to these concerns, we have decided not to teach in person. Most faculty will use alternative instructional methods for course delivery.”
Thankfully, the esteemed HBCU was able to work the matter out with its teachers. The announcement by the faculty arrived on the same day the school released an extensive 22-page document with updated COVID safety measures. The AJC reported the new guidelines include putting masks and other sanitation supplies in all classrooms and portable air purifiers in areas on campus where social distancing is not possible. Spelman’s administrators also announced on Friday that 98% of its students are fully vaccinated.
The school, like several others across the country, required all faculty and employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to come back to campus this fall. Students spent all of last year learning remotely.