Fort Hays State University today launched a planning process it expects will lead to the reopening of its Hays campus for face-to-face classes this fall.

In an email message to the campus community on Friday, university president Tisa Mason said, “While none of us has a crystal ball to see into the future, we have already started working on our return to campus-based operations and a comprehensive plan for the delivery of classes on campus, online and on our China partner campuses.”

Mason has asked the university’s Critical Incident Planning Group and Executive Leadership Team to work closely to develop a comprehensive plan for delivering on-campus classes this fall.

While no timeline has been established at this point, Mason indicated that the process and the final reopening plan will be founded in a commitment to five guiding principles:

Prioritizing the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and the greater community.

Protecting the mission of FHSU – strive to ensure completion and success for students.

Maintaining critical operations and fiscal footing of the university.

Remaining mindful of good governance principles.

Remaining nimble and true to FHSU’s innovative culture – communicate centrally, but problem-solve locally.

University leaders are exploring a number of return strategies and recognize that potential COVID-19 driven contingencies may require adjustments as the planning process unfolds. Any return to campus-based operations will involve consideration of various safety measures, including things like wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and adhering to enhanced sanitizing and cleaning processes.

No date has been finalized for when faculty and staff currently working from home will return to campus, but employees were informed that they would receive at least one week’s advance notice.

When asked about the university’s next steps, Mason said, “I see the days ahead as an opportunity for the university community to innovate and adapt to the new challenge of delivering the highest quality learning experience in healthy and safe settings. We have been through a lot together and there is still much to do before we can commit to sharing when and how we will bring our students back home to Hays and the beautiful campus we all love.”