Fall 2020 Opening Information

Coordinating Preparation and Response

PSU’s Fall 2020 Opening Task Force has been working hard to plan for students’ safe return to campus this fall. This and related webpages include information for students and families, faculty and staff, and community members, and will be updated throughout the summer as issues arise and decisions are made.

On July 10, 2020, the University released its Fall 2020 Opening Plan, which has been carefully vetted by the USNH Board of Trustees. Please note that this plan is fluid and constitutes a moment in time, and will continue to be fine-tuned as new information becomes available.

The foundations of our approach include New Hampshire state guidelines for reopening, public health guidelines for supporting higher education on campus, and COVID-19 testing for the campus community. The health and safety of the campus community is our highest priority.

Pemi wearing a face mask

Informed Consent Agreement

All students are required to review an informed consent agreement regarding their return to campus. A electronic version of the agreement is available at go.plymouth.edu/informedconsent. This agreement needs to be signed by August 3, 2020. Any questions should be sent to psu-informedconsent@plymouth.edu.

This agreement acknowledges the expectations we have that individuals will engage in the social and hygiene practices we have identified as important. An informed consent is not the same as a waiver of liability. It is a recognition that a student understands what is expected and that it is their individual responsibility to follow behavioral and safety practices that we hope will mitigate risks for students, faculty and staff who return to our campuses.

You must be an active student and 18 years old and above to access the electronic agreement. If you are having issues accessing the page please contact the PSU Help Desk.


Recordings of previous Town Hall events can be found in the Resources section.

Important Updates

PSU Move-In Assistance Update - July 27, 2020

PSU knows that families are anxious to assist students moving into our Residence Halls. We know, particularly for our first-year students, that in many ways this is an important milestone in their journey to PSU. While we are not requiring COVID-19 tests for those helping students move-in we are placing restrictions on this process:

  • Only 2 people can assist a student moving into a residence hall.
  • Students will be assigned 90-minute move-in periods to limit the number of people in the Res Halls at one time.
  • Each Parent/Move-in helper will be asked the standard COVID-19 health attestations (do you have symptoms, have you been in contact with anyone with Covid-19, etc.,)
  • Everyone will be required to be masked while they are in the Residence Halls.

Finally, students will be told their exact move-in day the first week of August. Please be patient as we work together to assure everyone is safe during this unprecedented time.

We look forward to seeing you here in your scheduled move-in day.

Expanded student move-in begins approximately 5–7 days before classes start on August 24, 2020

  • Move-in days. Students will be assigned move-in days, which will begin approximately 5–7 days before the first classes on Monday, August 24. Each student residing on campus will receive notification of an arrival date. Please do not come in advance; only scheduled students will be allowed on campus. Dates will be shared with individual students by mid-July.
  • Student athletes will be contacted by their coaches regarding the timing for their return to campus.

Fall 2020 classes will run from August 24–November 19 - Revised

  • Fall semester classes will begin on Monday, August 24 (both online and in-person), and run through Thursday, November 19, 2020. Many classes will be available in both in-person and online formats to accommodate students who may need to attend remotely.
  • Finals will run from Friday, November 20–Tuesday, November 24. This will include the weekend, i.e., Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, with students leaving campus for the Thanksgiving holiday and end of semester on Tuesday, November 24, after 5 p.m. (The Registrar’s Office will update the final exam schedule accordingly over the coming weeks.)
  • Classes will be held on Labor Day (Monday, September 7), Indigenous Peoples Day (Monday, October 12).
  • Veterans Day (Wednesday, November 11) will be a holiday.
  • Fall 2020 concludes on Tuesday, November 24. All students return home until Spring 2021 begins on Monday, January 18, 2021.

Enhanced health and safety measures

  • Population density limited to enable social distancing indoors
  • Face masks will be worn indoors when social distancing is not possible
  • Public health campaign will inform of public health and safety guidelines
  • Comprehensive health screening and monitoring
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing
  • Dedicated quarantine housing to be prepared. We are establishing a clear process for isolating students who test positive.

Regular testing of all students, faculty, and staff

  • Based on current health recommendations, regular COVID-19 testing will be required for all campus community members, including students, faculty, and staff, prior to the start of classes. We are partnering with New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Speare Memorial Hospital, and third-party testing firms to ensure enough testing capacity. In addition, weekly testing will continue throughout the semester for a variety of students including members of athletic teams and student clubs and organizations, and other student, faculty, and staff populations. Details including a testing schedule will be available in mid-July.
  • Health screening and monitoring will be required for all faculty, staff, and students. A strict ‘stay home when ill’ policy will be in effect at all times.

Contact tracing performed in collaboration with state health officials

  • Contact tracing will be performed in collaboration with state health officials working with a dedicated group of specially trained PSU staff and students. Our goal is to identify and isolate any infected individuals within 24 hours of a positive test.

Prepared to adapt as needed to changing COVID-19 conditions

  • The changes to our 2020 calendar are based on current modeling that predicts a spike or second wave of COVID-19 cases at the beginning of December, which will also likely coincide with the traditional beginning of flu season in late November or December.
  • An extensive public health campaign will be initiated in partnership with student leadership around hygiene, face mask usage, health monitoring, and testing/tracing/physical distancing.
  • We are working now to update the Student Rights and Code of Conduct to reflect our COVID-19 policies, including use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and hosting and/or attending events on- and off-campus that do not meet the rules related to size of group, social distancing, etc. Living and learning on campus are privileges that will be lost for students who do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • For students who do not feel comfortable living on campus or taking classes in person, opportunities to commute and/or take classes via remote instruction will be available.

Previous Updates

Task Force Formed

On May 8, 2020, the University System of New Hampshire (USNH), which includes Plymouth State University, announced that it intends to welcome students back to campuses for the fall term. The system as a whole is working closely with state leaders and health professionals to support a safe return, and each individual institution is planning for a range of scenarios. The full USNH announcement is available here.

PSU has formed a Fall Opening Task Force with involvement and representation from across campus. This group, led by Vice President for Communication, Enrollment & Student Life Marlin Collingwood, is comprised of 12 teams that are considering every aspect of opening, from academics and logistics to health and safety. Student input will be sought and incorporated into the process.

May 11, 2020 – Plymouth State University Plans for Students’ Fall Return