Indiana University announced its plans for the 2020-2021 school year, including a mix of online-only and in-person classes throughout both fall and spring semesters and eliminating fall and spring breaks.
Plans For Classes, On-Campus Housing
A news release from the university says during the fall semester (Aug. 24-Dec. 20), classes may meet either in person or online until Nov. 20. And beginning Nov. 30, classes will go virtual for the remainder of the fall semester.
IU spokesperson Chuck Carney says the university hasn’t worked out specifics on what classes will be in-person and what classes with be virtual.
“We’ll be scheduling for what will work best for the schedules, will work best for classes being offered, and also the type of class that it is,” he says.
He says staff and students can expect more information on what classes will be in-person in the next several weeks.
As for spring semester (Jan. 19-May 9), classes will be virtual through Feb. 7 and move to either in-person or remain online through the end of the semester.
There will also be a new, online-only Winter Session held Nov. 30-Feb. 7.
Dorms at IU campuses will move to single-occupancy rooms, but the release says "following a rigorous exemption process," some shared rooms will be available.
Carney says student housing contracts with IU still stand.
He says Wednesday's announcements were meant to provide general dates, so that students, faculty and staff could start making plans for the coming months.
As more information is released, Carney directs people to stay updated by going to fall2020.iu.edu.
What's Next For Campus Culture, Safety?
In a Wednesday evening email to faculty and staff, IU Provost Lauren Robel said the university's path forward will include remote work and education; social distancing measures; physical mitigating strategies like masks and plexiglass barriers; and the "willingness to step back away from campus if need be."
Robel acknowledged the difficulties with transitioning a largely residential university to one that is virtually accessible and workable.
"The communities of learning that we create and nurture on our campus are precious, and the students who were forced from them last spring were anguished to lose them," she wrote.
The university's plans for the next academic year are based on recommendations from the Hess Report, a study done by IU's Restart Committee headed by IU School of Medicine Dean Jay Hess.
Robel wrote that her first immediate concern was with whether IU administration would be able to impress the importance of mitigating strategies on the student body.
"I have seen messages that bluntly state that it is naïve or foolish to believe that we can educate our students around this virus," she wrote. "Of course young people on a college campus want to congregate and test boundaries, and I have also seen some criticism of the behavior of students who rode out the spring in their Bloomington rental properties, and much criticism of college students on spring break at the very outset of the pandemic."
She said she will gather a group of faculty, staff and students to consider how to address this, as well as how to proceed in the first few weeks of the fall semester.
This story has been updated.
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