Bradley plans to resume on-campus classes in August

Chronicle Media

Bradley University announced this week it plans to reopen in August for on-campus classes. (Bradley University photo)

Bradley University has announced plans to resume on-campus classes this fall.

The Peoria-based private school said in a statement this week it is considering plans for reinstating campus operations, with the final determination of how and when to be based on federal, state and local health guidelines.

“Bradley is eager to return to normal and welcome home our students, faculty and staff,” said Stephen Standifird, the institution’s incoming 12th president. “We are taking every possible health precaution and preparing for all scenarios. So, while normal may look a little different in the fall, we are excited to reunite safely with our Bradley family.”

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Bradley to close and convert to online learning this spring and postpone the schedule May 20 graduation to December.

Bradley has approximately 5,000 students and an average class size of 21.

The university said Bradley’s size and the small-city setting of Peoria make it easier for students to maintain safe distances and avoid unnecessary exposure to potentially dangerous germs.

“The size and location of Bradley have been a boasting point for many years,” Standifird said. “Now, at a time when crowding and bigger cities pose a real health threat, these unique characteristics make Bradley a safer choice than schools in larger urban areas.”

Bradley University is scheduled to reopen residence halls on Aug. 22, with on-campus classes resuming Aug. 26. The university will continue to update students and their families as the new school year approaches.

A Return to Campus team is looking at various areas of the campus and to determine the safest and most efficient means of operation.

Subcommittees are considering how to modify classroom setups, laboratory access, common area access, residential living and event protocols in an effort to incorporate social distancing.

Other plans may include hybrid learning, with some instructional elements continuing online while others resume on campus and in smaller class sizes.

The university said it has already implemented enhanced cleaning protocols — including the use of disinfectants, specialized equipment and adjusting when and how commonly used surfaces are sterilized in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

These measures have given university leaders confidence that regular operations can resume in a safe environment. These plans are preliminary and subject to change based on the fluidity of the situation.

Bradley has a fully operational physician’s office and health services unit on campus. The university also partners with OSF Healthcare System – St. Francis Medical Center, located within a few miles of the learning institution.

The region’s medical community is regarded as one of the best in the state. The Peoria area has the only Level I trauma center and children’s hospital in downstate Illinois.