In the News


Manchester University announces reopening plan
Manchester University is finalizing plans to reopen the North Manchester campus.

 “Our priorities include the health of our students and colleagues, providing students with an exceptional learning experience, and being good neighbors as we advance our mission of educating Manchester students,” said President Dave McFadden. “As a major employer in the area, and one that significantly increases the number of people living in North Manchester during the academic year, we want to assure the community that we are planning carefully and thoughtfully in these uncertain times.”

Classes are scheduled to begin Sept. 2 at the North Manchester campus. The big move-in day tradition is replaced this year with scheduled check-in times over a number of days in August. 

Since spring, MU’s Reopen Work Group, which includes health science professionals, has been identifying and refining ways to bring students back to campus after last spring’s hasty exit and move to remote learning that was forced by COVID-19. Representatives of Parkview Health provided additional expert advice, including walk-throughs with the work group to determine best practices for each building.

“In decisions related to COVID-19 pandemic, we are following guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Indiana State Department of Health, as well as advice from local health experts,” said Abby Van Vlerah, vice president of Student Life, who leads the work group.

Students are required to sign the Spartans United Pledge, which includes educating themselves about and following health safety regulations, including requirements and guidelines pertaining to the campus and community. 

“They agree to check daily for symptoms and abide by protocols set by businesses and other organizations to help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 on campus and in our communities,” she said.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for academics, so students can expect to see a combination of online-only instruction and in-person labs and classes that maintain social distancing.

“We are so thankful to the North Manchester Parks & Recreation Department for allowing us to use some of its picnic tables this fall. It will allow us to take some classes and activities outside while the weather is still good,” said Alexis Young, assistant vice president for facilities and services. “We are working on other collaborations we hope will be a benefit to all.”

Community members may email questions or suggestions to

Van Vlerah sent a high-level overview of the reopening plan to students on Aug. 3. Her office has been hosting Zoom meetings with students to let them know what to expect and answer questions.

“This year at Manchester will look like no other, but we are eager for it to begin,” McFadden said. “Having our students back on both campuses brings an energy and vitality that we have sorely missed these past few months.”

Individual programs at the Fort Wayne campus have their own start dates. It is not a residential campus.

For the media

Vice President Abby Van Vlerah can be reached at

You can view the reopening plan here:

If you wish to speak with President Dave McFadden, please email to check his availability for an interview.

Student Jennifer Wagner was a contact tracer:

Manchester University, with campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., provides vibrant and transformative student experiences. Learn more at

Our mission
Manchester University respects the infinite worth of every individual and graduates persons of ability and conviction who draw upon their education and faith to lead principled, productive and

compassionate lives that improve the human condition.

August 2020