The University of Rochester plans to adjust the academic calendar for Fall 2020 to reduce the potential risk from the spread of the virus with students traveling away from Rochester during academic breaks. This plan involves beginning the undergraduate academic semester as planned on Wednesday, August 26, but eliminating the fall break. The last day of in-person classes would be Tuesday, November 24, at which point we would break for the Thanksgiving holiday. After that date, all instruction would be moved online, and students would not return to campus for the remainder of the semester. Accommodations will be made for international and domestic students who are unable to return home.
Modifications to mode of education delivery/technology
To meet standards for physical distancing this fall, a hybrid online and in-person approach to classes will be necessary. All large lecture classes will be conducted online. Smaller classes will be a hybrid of online and in-person to reduce density and to accommodate students who will be unable to attend in person. Instruction will take a variety of different formats, ranging from in-person and hybrid to entirely online, and these differences will depend on faculty needs and accommodations as well as the possibility government restrictions may change and require adjustment for emerging safety recommendations
Faculty at the University of Rochester have spent the summer developing online versions of their fall courses that leverage thoughtful and systematic approaches to organizing, planning, and designing effective learning experiences for our students. To support a multimodal form of instruction for Fall 2020, we have upgraded a significant number of classrooms so that required classrooms have streaming and online capabilities. The strategy of providing streaming capabilities covers a range of technology from additional high-quality microphones and speakers for smaller classrooms to newly fixed cameras with zoom infrastructure in mid-size and large instructional spaces. This is anticipated to significantly increase the quality of online education in a multimodal environment and to meet the increase in the demand for space due to overlaying physical distancing requirements.
Accessibility for students with disabilities
The University of Rochester respects and welcomes students of all backgrounds and abilities. In the event any student encounters any barrier to full participation in a course, our Office of Disability Resources will meet with the student to discuss the barriers and process for establishing accommodations. We recognize that additional concerns may arise from changes implemented to address physical distancing requirements. Guidelines are being developed specific to COVID-19 accommodations and include guidelines for arranging for additional proctoring and space for in-person accommodated exams, guidelines with respect to the use of online test proctoring services, guidelines around the provision of clear masks for instructors and peer educators serving students who are deaf or hard of hearing, and ensuring any approved tool for assessment or instruction does not interfere with assistive technology.
As New York State has approved the restart of clinical instruction, in-person learning will now include clinical learning and direct patient contact. All employees and students will be screened daily using our symptoms’ tracking app. Surgical face masks are required in all common areas of the medical center including education spaces. Masks are provided to everyone entering campus at main entrances as well as through department and program offices. For students working in clinical settings and for those who are conducting essential in-person education activities, face shields or glasses provided by the university may be required. Students will be informed if any PPE in addition to a face mask is needed. All lectures, mentorship and advising, and other learning activates will remain online.