Remote Start to Winter Quarter
The following message was sent to faculty and professional staff about starting the winter quarter remotely in response to available COVID-19 data and forecasted pandemic conditions:
- The start of the winter quarter and of some spring semester programs has been modified in response to available COVID-19 data and forecasted pandemic conditions.
- For quarter programs, Week 1 of winter quarter (week of Jan 3) will be conducted in a remote synchronous format (and lectures and class discussions will be recorded where possible) to allow for a more gradual return, boosters and targeted testing.
- For clinical and semester programs in the Colleges of Medicine, Education, Law, and Nursing & Health Professions, please see below for more details.
- On-campus research activities will continue. Current health and safety protocols remain in place and more details will be shared early next week.
- All eligible faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to get a COVID-19 booster. New booster clinic dates are below.
- A version of this message will go out to students on Monday. More details on testing and boosters will be shared with the full Drexel community early next week.
The health and wellbeing of our University community remains the utmost priority as we head into the new year and winter term. In response to public health factors including the highly transmissible Omicron variant and heightened holiday-related travel, the first week of the winter term (week of January 3) will be conducted in a remote synchronous format. This will provide additional time for boosters, COVID-19 testing and an assessment of pandemic conditions before the return to in-person instruction.
What we learn over the next several weeks and through data gathered in Week 1 of the term will determine whether we return to in-person instruction or remain remote for Week 2. Currently, our goal is to return to in-person instruction for Week 2. That decision will ultimately be guided by science, regional transmission and campus conditions to reduce risk to our community. All updates will be communicated as early as possible.
Clinical & Semester Programs
In the College of Medicine, remote learning will occur in Week 1 for first- and second-year medical students and biomedical graduate student didactic sessions. Third- and fourth-year medical students are expected to participate in clinical rotations as scheduled.
The remote Week 1 does not apply to students on clinical rotations in the College of Nursing & Health Professions and the School of Education. Students with clinical assignments are expected to attend.
The remote Week 1 does not apply to semester programs in the Kline School of Law, which begins its spring semester on January 10.
Preparing Your Courses
Instructors should begin to prepare now to deliver remote synchronous instruction in Week 1. Please be aware that Blackboard Learn course shells are currently available and will open to students on Dec 27. Courses and class discussions should be recorded, where possible, and course material should be made available to allow access by students in different time zones or who will be attending scheduled COVID-19 testing appointments.
Faculty who are teaching labs or design studios should communicate with students as early as possible about how the labs/studios will be handled during the first week.
For resources related to remote teaching, please see the Provost’s Office COVID-19 Response page.
Boosters & Testing
If you have not already, we strongly recommend anyone eligible for a booster obtain one by the start of winter quarter. Emerging data on the highly transmissible Omicron variant indicates that a booster dose of vaccine markedly increases protection from infection. While boosters are currently increasingly challenging to schedule at retail pharmacies, Drexel is offering employee booster clinics, including upcoming appointments on Monday, December 20 and Tuesday, December 21 in Behrakis Hall.
Please note that boosters may soon be required for eligible students, faculty and staff. A forthcoming email from the Return Oversight Committee will provide more detail on boosters, testing and any further changes in campus activities.
I fully recognize that changes to the winter term at this late date can be extremely disruptive and time-consuming to manage. After discussions with members of Academic Council, we felt that the switch to remote synchronous delivery (as opposed to asynchronous or a compressed term schedule) would be the least burdensome for all. We want to make sure faculty have as much time as possible to rest and enjoy the break, while also ensuring that we prioritize the health and safety of our community.
Thank you, as always, for your ongoing flexibility.
Paul E. Jensen
Executive Vice President
Nina Henderson Provost