Planning for Fall Return to Campus
April 7, 2021
As President Fry shared on March 15, it is our intention to return to a full face-to-face experience in the fall, beginning with a further ramp up of in-person and hybrid instruction this summer.
With the ongoing vaccine rollout efforts, recent COVID-19 studies and the CDC's revised 3-foot physical distancing recommendations for K-12 schools, we are optimistic about a full return in fall; however, it's important that we are responsibly optimistic. This year, we have learned much about COVID-19 and creating safe and healthy teaching and learning environments. Our plans are based on a solid track record of testing, care and containment of infection, the promise of widespread vaccination among our campus community, continued attention to ventilation and ongoing use of face masks.
Based on available data, we are currently working with Real Estate and Facilities and the Office of the University Registrar to plan for 3 feet of masked socially distanced in-person instruction in the fall term. Instructors will be able to distance 6 feet or more and we will continue to follow guidance from public health authorities as it becomes available. Our plans strike a critical balance of allowing us to build a full on-campus experience while also positioning us to pivot quickly if needed. As President Fry stated, our goal is to provide every student with the opportunity for face-to-face learning experiences, and even under the 3-foot guidance, we would expect to offer more than 50 percent of courses face-to-face or hybrid.
Planning for these fluid circumstances requires the continued creativity and collaboration of faculty, schedulers, advisors, department heads, Facilities, the University Registrar and many others, working together. As we've pivoted to remote, hybrid and HyFlex deliveries over this past year, we've learned valuable lessons and enhanced technology (and will continue to do so) in ways that have broadened the possibilities for face-to-face teaching. The University Registrar and Return Oversight Committee members will continue to work closely with all units to maximize the classroom and lab space available while adhering to health and safety guidelines. Department schedulers should look for a meeting invite from the Office of the University Registrar for the week of April 14 to further discuss options for the fall and should also review their previously shared creative scheduling guidance.
As we plan for our return in the fall, I look forward to the opportunity to see you all in person once again. Thank you, as always, for your continued leadership, creativity and flexibility.
Paul E. Jensen
Executive Vice President
Nina Henderson Provost