"We did not come to this decision lightly. The Senior Leadership Team and Board of Directors reviewed the growing body of research showing that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionately negative impact on Black women. As a Black women’s college, we could not afford to put our students at risk. We were equally concerned about faculty and staff--many who are in demographic groups that are more likely to be at risk of negative outcomes from COVID-19."
The college said it looked at a lot of scenarios to make its decision but believes it was the right one to make given the situation.
"At first I was shocked because we were just kind of waiting, the school is giving us updates," said Taylor Adkins, who will be a senior at Bennett College in the fall.
She said the school kept students and parents updated throughout the process, and when she heard she'll be taking classes online in the fall, she understood.
"We were like, 'OK, sad face, but thank you for doing your due diligence and all of the research necessary and presenting it to us,'" said Adkins.
"We looked at dozens of scenarios and determined that there was no way for us to bring students back to campus and keep them safe from the pandemic. When we weighed the benefits versus the costs, there was nothing that outweighed the value of the lives of members of our Bennett family," Bennett College said.
Adkins is heavily involved in the Bennett College community, participating in the student government association, and Miss Bennett College for the 2019-2020 school year. She said spending her time off-campus at her Tennessee home will be very different.
"I think the thing I’m going to miss most about being on campus is the sisterhood and getting to meet the incoming freshwomen, so the class of 2024. Getting to meet them and encourage them and be with them at the start of their college journey," said Adkins.
Bennett College stated that while they will miss seeing everyone in person, the students will still get a great education!
"We will miss seeing each other in person, but students won’t miss out on a high-value education."
Adkins is hoping students can be back on campus in the fall, so she can finish off her college career with her friends.
"That’s why I’m really excited and I commend Bennett for saying, 'You know what, we’re not gonna come back in the fall to give us a better chance of coming back in the spring,' Give everybody the chance to just kind of adjust to this new life," said Adkins.
A breakdown of the fall 2020 plan can be viewed on the Bennett College website.