By Grace St. George

Principia is back and set to open despite the pandemic, welcoming freshmen to campus Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020. According to the town hall on Aug. 21 and the same-day email from Dean of Students Maya Dietz, reopening procedures remain what they were several weeks ago, with added clarifications.

President John Williams,Dean of Academics Meggan Madden, and Dietz released Principia’s updated color-coded three step plan for opening the college amidst the pandemic – and remaining open. The plan starts in the red phase, and moves sequentially through orange, then yellow with restrictions loosening along the way. 

Beginning with everyone’s most immediate questions about the red phase, which is just the first week back at school, Aug. 30 through Sept. 6: 

Yes, you can have help moving in (up to two people, including members of your household). 

Yes, you must wear a mask in all indoor common spaces. No, you don’t have to wear masks while exercising, eating, in your own room, or when you are outside alone. 

No, you may not visit friends in other houses or go off campus; however, you may visit friends outside or in common areas of buildings other than houses. 

All meals will be to go, and you may have to sign up for certain pick up times. Indoor athletic facilities are closed. There are no changes to the daily schedule. Kitchens are closed. 

Yes, it’ll be a fun time anyway! Don’t worry it’s just a week. 

One important thing to note is the daily screenings, which take the form of online wellness forms. The link will be under the Student Resources tab on PrinWeb and QR codes will be posted around each house. Filling out the form (assuming you are symptom-free) brings you to a page with a green check mark. Showing the gate house the green check mark is required for entry to campus for everyone. 

Part of the daily screening is your temperature, so Principia will be providing thermometers in each house. These daily screenings will continue throughout the semester. 

After week one at the college we will begin to see the orange phase, Sept. 7 through Sept. 14 . Major changes in this phase are that you may visit friends in other houses with a maximum group of 10 people. All other rules still remain. 

After September 15th comes the yellow phase. You may leave campus. You may visit friends in other houses while wearing masks (still with a maximum of 10 people in rec rooms and 50 outside), though you do not have to wear masks in your own house. The dining room has the potential to be open, and the athletic facilities will open with social distancing and wellness checks. Kitchens in houses will be open and off campus work will be permitted. 

This plan moves forward in hopes that it will keep everyone safe and keep our school in session for the semester, says Williams. Following these protocols is greatly appreciated. 

More details on this plan can be found in an email sent out by Dietz on Friday, August 21st.