PITTSBURG, Kan. — Pittsburg State University announced plans Wednesday and Thursday to fully reopen campus to students, employees, and the public on July 7, and announced changes to the fall academic calendar as well as to plans for commencement ceremonies.


“In recent weeks, some services and facilities have opened on campus, and more will become accessible to the public on a weekly basis,” PSU President Steve Scott said in a press release. “While we’re proud of how well our employees have adapted to working remotely, it’s important that we get back to campus and grow accustomed to new social distancing and other processes in advance of our students’ return.”


The university intends to resume face to face instruction on Aug. 17, and administrators are closely monitoring and planning how to continue to adhere to national, state, and local public health guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of students, employees, and visitors to campus.


In an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the university has shared with employees a guide for reopening, which will be updated and expanded in coming weeks. It is also following KDHE requirements, according to the release, and has reminded employees who travel this summer to high-risk areas to quarantine for 14 days upon their return.


The university has encouraged employees to stagger times in the office to minimize density, with the goal of fully being back on Aug. 3. Additionally it has put safety measures in place including purchasing masks for all full-time employees and prospective students and parents who visit; worked with a local manufacturer to make sneeze guards for high-traffic, public-facing areas; produced social distancing floor stickers for areas that might have lines or congregating; and maintained a thorough cleaning schedule of buildings since March, even when the majority of faculty and staff were working remotely.


The university has moved its fall break from October to Nov. 23-24, the week of Thanksgiving. Instruction will move online after Thanksgiving. Commencement for those who will be graduating at the end of the semester — traditionally held the second Saturday in December — will be held on Nov. 20.


PSU had originally said a commencement ceremony for spring 2020 graduates would be held the same day, but announced Thursday that based on feedback it had received it would be moving that ceremony to the following day — Saturday, Nov. 21.


“We considered very seriously the feedback of our Spring graduates, who expressed the challenges involved with the time of day chosen,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Howard Smith said in a press release. “We want those graduates to have their own special ceremony, and we appreciate their input to ensuring we get it right.”