Update on Fall Planning & Course Scheduling
April 30, 2021
This message was sent to all faculty and staff by the Provost on April 30, 2021.
I hope the spring term is going well for all of you. With only a couple weeks left to finalize fall term course scheduling, I am sharing some important updates and reminders.
First and most importantly, it bears repeating that we will be returning to full on-campus operations in the fall to the maximum extent permittable. For course scheduling purposes, we are planning for 3 feet of social distance in our classroom spaces. This is based on the assumption that the current 6-foot social distancing guidelines will be reduced to 3 feet, as they have been for K-12 schools, and also best positions us to pivot to 0 feet (full return) if social distancing guidelines are lifted entirely.
Planning for 3 feet still impacts our classroom capacity, requiring that some courses continue to operate in a remote synchronous format (primarily large lectures) and some hybrid (e.g. alternating classroom days for enrolled face-to-face students). Our overarching goal is to maximize capacity of our classroom spaces to the fullest extent possible: The modality for any course will be determined by space requirements, availability and pedagogy, and will default to face-to-face modality whenever possible.
We anticipate only a limited number of remote synchronous HyFlex courses being needed in the fall, primarily to accommodate international students who may not yet be able to obtain visas. We will not know the number of international students unable to make it to campus until close to or after fall schedules are finalized. Faculty, advisors, course schedulers and the University Registrar will work collaboratively to accommodate these students on a course-by-course basis, as opposed to widespread HyFlex implementation. We expect all other students to return to campus fully vaccinated and ready to attend as many face-to-face courses as possible.
Even at 3 feet, faculty and teaching assistants in all departments should anticipate teaching some number of face-to-face courses, as we expect that all departments across the University will be offering at least 50 percent of their courses face-to-face or hybrid in the fall. Again, it is our hope that as vaccination rates increase and COVID-19 transmission decreases, social distancing guidelines will be further modified, and we will be operating at or near a 100 percent full return.
For assistance in maximizing your space for the fullest on-campus experience, please work hand-in-hand with the University Registrar and your college schedulers.
Whether we return at 3 feet or 0 feet, course scheduling and delivery will continue to look a little different this fall than in previous academic years. Vaccination holds the promise of supporting our collective way forward. Drexel continues to hold convenient vaccine clinics on campus, using the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. You can easily make your appointment here, if you have not already. More information concerning vaccination can be found on the Drexel Response to COVID-19 site.
Thank you all for your ongoing adaptability, collaboration and ingenuity as we continue to work together to maximize our physical spaces and deliver an enriching student experience.
Paul E. Jensen
Executive Vice President
Nina Henderson Provost