Faculty Senate hosts May meeting remotely, deliberates on important issues
As the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise in Delaware, the university’s Faculty Senate recently met to deliberate on several important issues, including the status of fall 2020 classes and the question of returning to campus.
With summer classes completely shifting online, President Dennis Assanis announced that the university is considering various options to reopen buildings that can facilitate teaching online labs.
He also plans to reopen campus as soon as “conditions improve.”
“I go to bed every night thinking about it,” Assanis said. “Safety is our first consideration, and everyone will need to wear masks if they come back to campus.”
Speaking on the university’s plans regarding the fall 2020 semester, Provost Robin Morgan said that she was hopeful that the school will reopen by September. Consequently, the 2021 winter semester is considered most likely to get cancelled.
“Winter will be cancelled so that we are able to complete the academic year on time,” Morgan said.
Taking into account a possible resurgence of the coronavirus, the university will conduct some in-person classes. A number of classes will still remain online, and some may become “hybrid,” meaning they will be held both online and in-person.
“We want to be prepared to transition to online learning if a similar emergency arises again,” Assanis said.
As the university still debates in-person classes for the fall semester, the senate resolution for online classes was defeated by a 70 to 30 voting percentage, with the majority of faculty members voting against it.
Numerous important changes will be made on campus to create a safe and healthy environment for everyone.
The time duration between two classes will become longer, as the usual fifteen minute gap will not be sufficient for students and faculty members to commute from one class to another while also practicing social distancing. As a result, the scheduled class timings are also subject to change.
The university also intends to increase the efficiency of the university’s shuttle bus service, as people will need to maintain a safe distance from each other on the bus. This means a reduction in the number of people travelling together at a particular time.
The university has not yet specified if it plans to add more buses or if it will adopt a different strategy.