Update on Resuming In-Person Instruction Following Thanksgiving
As the Thanksgiving break rapidly approaches, I want to provide as much clarity as I’m able to during the ever-changing circumstances of the pandemic. We have maintained throughout this situation that we will follow local and state health agency guidelines and adjust as those mandates change. As of today, we remain in the RED tier on Gov. Newsom’s 4-tier county risk level and continue to provide in-person instruction in addition to remote instruction.
Our current plan is to resume in-person instruction after the Thanksgiving break. However, with the growing number of COVID-19 cases across the country, we are approaching decisions with caution and trying to communicate those decisions as early as possible to allow better planning for students, faculty and staff. If cases continue to increase and Orange County is moved back into the PURPLE tier of Gov. Newsom’s 4-tier county risk level, Orange and Rinker campuses would return to the limited instruction and limited onsite presence that was in place prior to Orange County moving to the RED tier in October. Academic deans and faculty would communicate additional details based on their academic program.
We strongly recommend that undergraduate students and families determine for themselves if they would like to return to campus after the Thanksgiving break even if in-person courses are moved back to remote instruction. Returning to campus is entirely optional for most students unless you are enrolled in the limited courses that require in-person activity. While we are not discouraging students from returning to campus, in many cases, it could be prudent to complete the term at home, allowing those living on campus to bring the necessary belongings with them for Thanksgiving break knowing in-person instruction may not resume until spring term for most students.
For faculty, staff and students who do return to the campuses after the Thanksgiving break, you will be scheduled for a COVID-19 test upon your return.
Interterm will be mostly remote instruction for students, with a limited number of exceptions. For those faculty teaching remote courses, they will have the option to teach in the classroom for Interterm if they choose. However, most students will only have a remote instruction option. Please also recognize that Interterm capacity is limited and we may not be able to accommodate every student who wishes to enroll in an Interterm class.
With no way to predict the state of the pandemic in February, we remain optimistic that we will have the ability to provide in-person instruction at that time. To that end, we are working with the faculty and their deans on the return-to-campus plan which will provide both in-person and remote instruction for students. Additionally, we are expanding our housing capacity for the Spring 2021 semester to further accommodate those students who choose to return for in-person classes.
After our recent town halls and listening sessions regarding our plans for spring semester, we heard and understand the concerns raised regarding the return to in-person instruction. We are working with groups across campus, including the Faculty Senate Executive Board (SEB), for further recommendations regarding the need for accommodations and to integrate additional feedback into our return-to-campus planning. We are all committed to providing the best possible experience for our students, while accommodating the unusual challenges and circumstances presented by the pandemic.
As we head into another weekend, I want to continue to remind everyone of the resources available on campus to cope with these challenging times. I encourage each of you to be mindful of your mental health, physical health, social health, and, if appropriate for you, your spiritual health. Please stay connected through Chapman resources. The Working Remote Committee has also launched today a nine-month program called Paws Up for Workplace Wellness and Engagement that I encourage you to take advantage of.