Dear campus community,
I want to provide you with an update on our reopening planning process as we prepare to return to campus for the fall 2020 semester.
Throughout this entire process, students and employees have worked diligently and followed the latest science, guidance, and recommendations from the CDC, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Governor's Higher Education Working Group, and the UMass System.
Our Pandemic Emergency Response Team (PERT) committees are addressing their respective areas to guide all facets of campus life. By July 1, 2020, every committee noted on the website will have detailed guidelines identifying protocols, processes, and procedures for reopening. As I have stated before, our efforts are guided by two principles: prioritize the health and safety of our students and employees and provide an outstanding educational experience for our students as we begin face to face courses on campus, in online modalities, and the opening of our residence halls for the fall semester.
To our returning students, a very important aspect of our ‘new normal’ is that you register for classes now. In the past, many students waited to register for classes until the add/drop period at the beginning of the semester. Since we have engaged in focused class scheduling and planning due to COVID-19, there will be fewer class seats available during drop/add. It is important for your academic progress that you register as soon as possible.
However, living and learning on campus will look and operate differently than before. We will practice social distancing to provide an environment for everyone to be safe and thrive. The new modes of operation will require all of us – students, faculty, staff, and visitors – to understand and commit to the safety protocols, which may include but are not limited to social/physical distancing guidelines, limits on gatherings, visitation/access policies, adherence to the requirement to wear facial coverings, and completing the daily COVID-19 checklist.
We know some students will not be able to return to campus in the fall safely, and our planning considers their needs. Students who self-disclose a pre-existing health condition will have some flexibility to take online courses. Residential students will receive information regarding living on campus this fall as well. Further information to address student health concerns and residence halls will be provided in the coming weeks.
Please refer to our Returning to UMassD website for additional details and stay tuned for further policies and procedures for fall 2020.
Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D.