University reconsiders position on reopening campus, shifts hybrid class format

“The majority of our academic courses in the fall 2020 semester will be delivered online.”

UD coronavirus update
Melanie Gasmen/THE REVIEW
“The majority of our academic courses in the fall 2020 semester will be delivered online.”

BY
Associate News Editor

On July 22, university President Dennis Assanis sent out an email to students and faculty regarding reopening campus. The hybrid format that was originally planned will be shifted towards a mostly online format.

Assanis said that the university has been monitoring the coronavirus pandemic and that “new and concerning developments have surfaced pertaining to COVID-19 resurgence at local, national and global levels.”

“In the context of these recent developments, and given our commitment to the health and safety of the UD community, we feel it is necessary to shift our plan until conditions improve,” Assanis said in the email. “The majority of our academic courses in the fall 2020 semester will be delivered online.”

Assanis said that exceptions may be made but only with the utmost attention to safety protocols. This applies to nursing and phlebotomy practicums, engineering labs, courses with live animals and one-on-one music instruction, among other select classes.

Classes are still expected to begin on Sept. 1 and will adhere to the normal weekly block schedules. The only exception is that classes will be held on Labor Day.

Select classes that require an in-person component will move fully online after Thanksgiving Break. The last day to meet in-person will be on Nov. 20. The Registrar will finalize schedules on Aug. 3 and open enrollment will begin on Aug. 10.

Final exams will be held online and are scheduled to take place between December 12 to 18.

The tuition rate is expected to remain the same. The university will also review student fees and financial aid, both of which will be adjusted as necessary.

Upon returning to campus, students and faculty will be undergoing frequent health inspections and coronavirus testing. However, residence halls will have limited capacity for the upcoming semester. Most Fall 2020 housing is expected to be deferred until Spring 2021.

“On-campus housing spaces in residence hall rooms, suites and apartments will be limited primarily to students whose academic program requires on-campus, face-to-face instruction,” Assanis said. “In addition, students who meet predefined criteria, including international students, students in field placements or clinical rotations, and students who require housing due to hardship will also be considered.”

Jim Tweedy, the director of Residence Life and Housing, sent an email to all resident students with more information regarding housing for the fall semester.

“It has been four months since students left our campus under unprecedented circumstances,” Tweedy said in the email. “While that word seems to be tremendously overused, one phrase that we cannot emphasize enough is we miss you.”

Tweedy said that Residence Life is reviewing all of the implications for the fall semester and is awaiting the Registrar to finalize the course schedules. At that point, a follow-up email will be sent with the next steps for resident students.

“We understand you have lots more questions about roommates, locations, and rates — we will do our best to provide complete information on our website,” Tweedy said in the email. “We ask that you wait on calling us with specific questions about your eligibility to live on campus until after our next round of communications which will be out early next week.”

Hillary Kovacs, the assistant director of Residence Life and Housing, sent an email to the resident assistants (RAs) stating that due to the limitations on campus housing, RA room assignments and duties will be reconsidered. Certain UNIV classes will also be suspended.

“The safety of the campus community is of course the most important factor, but we mourn along with many of you of the delay in having our full UD community back together sharing the incredible on-campus experience,” Kovacs said in the email.

Kovacs said that Residence Life will hold a town hall for the RAs on July 23 at 5:30 p.m. online.

“To all of you, I thank you for your ongoing patience, flexibility and understanding,” Assanis said in his email. “These decisions are not easy, and given the environment we are all navigating together, I certainly know that receiving new information that alters the course of your own planning is equally challenging. Today, we reinforce our commitment to education, to staying focused on our goals for personal and academic progress, and to harnessing the strength of our talent and creativity to inspire a safe and healthy return to campus.”

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