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August 14, 2020

Dear Students,

Through the summer we have been working to ensure as much face-to-face interaction in classrooms as possible while meeting COVID safety guidelines. This has meant moving small classes into larger spaces and larger classes into hybrid modes that combine remote and in-person instruction. This transformation of the schedule has been ongoing right up until the beginning of this week to maximize our faculty-student contact time. As the first day of the semester approaches and the schedule is settled, faculty teaching classes with room limitations are communicating with our students about the nature of the revised format.

The modified classes you see will vary depending on class sizes, available room sizes and academic disciplines. For example, in some courses you my attend class on alternating days in an environment where the traditional dynamic of the class is flipped; lectures in such a class would be delivered via video, with engaging demonstrations and engagement with material happening in the in-class session. Other classes will review material in the remote environment, saving valuable class-time for discussions and workshops. And other revised classes will treat the in-class meetings as opportunities for more individualized problem-solving sessions. A large number of classes required no hybridization at all once we calculated a final enrollment and changed room assignments.

Please know that this unusual classroom schedule is a means of making sure we can have significant interaction with our students in a situation where social distancing limits our classroom spaces, and not a stepwise progression to moving fully online. While many of our classrooms will look a bit different this semester, our commitment to offering you a personally engaged, quality education remains the same. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Best,

Kurt Haas, Ph.D.

Vice President for Academic Affairs