SRU finalizing plans for fall 2020 semester
June 5, 2020
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University today announced preliminary plans pertaining to the fall 2020 semester, including the resumption of face-to-face classes.
"Many of those in our University community have been asking what SRU is planning for the fall," said William Behre, SRU president. "In light of the newest guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, we wanted to share with students, faculty and staff that those plans do include a return to face-to-face instruction. In sharing this news, I want everyone to understand that the health and safety of our community remains our top priority. As such, these plans may be altered if conditions at the beginning or during the semester do not permit meeting in person."
Behre said that while all of the University's plans will respect the collective bargaining agreements that SRU has with its various bargaining units, the return to campus in the fall will not have the same structure as experienced in the pre-pandemic environment. "We will be adding new protocols and practices to keep our campus as safe as possible," Behre said. "Still, even with these modified structures in place, we will never be able to guarantee that the virus will not emerge on our campus. Our goal is to minimize that chance and to respond immediately and effectively if it does occur."
A return to on-campus, in-person instruction will involve a hybrid fall semester. While that structure is still being designed, it will likely include synchronous face-to-face courses that will also be available via Zoom or a similar technology for those students who cannot, or do not want to, be in class. Additionally, course sections will be divided so that classrooms are less crowded. Behre said that at any point, a student can choose to attend any or all classes remotely by viewing a course session via distance technology.
"Each course will likely be supplemented by an asynchronous online component as well," said Behre. "If a faculty member is at a health risk, all of that instructor's synchronous classes may be moved to a distance modality. If we are again forced to move to a fully online modality as we did in the spring, the synchronous portion will continue via Zoom or a similar technology and the online component will already be in place. Certain courses may be shifted to fully online if it is determined that they cannot be delivered safely in a face-to-face manner."
Also, as part of the University's COVID-19 mitigation efforts, SRU will be adhering to a revised academic calendar, highlighted by the following:
- Aug. 10-16: Week of Welcome.
- Aug. 17: First day of fall semester classes.
- Oct. 26-Nov. 6: Registration for winter 2020 and spring 2021 classes.
- Nov. 20: Last day of fall semester classes.
- Nov. 21, 23-25: Final exams.
The University has also eliminated fall break in order to facilitate an earlier conclusion to the semester. Details regarding the December commencement ceremony will be announced at a later date. At present, there are no changes to the winter 2020 or spring 2021 academic calendars.
Administrators are also working on various housing and dining plans that would involve fewer people on campus at any given time. Details on each will be forthcoming.
"All of us at SRU are committed to academic excellence and the success of our students in whatever format we need to use," said Behre. "Our faculty and staff have been working to create remote learning environments that maintain rigor and deliver that 'Rock Solid' education that our students have come to expect.
"I know this situation has been difficult in a variety of ways. I am grateful to our entire community for its willingness to do what has been necessary in order for our University to continue moving forward during this challenging time. We know that we are stronger together, and together we will navigate our way through these unprecedented circumstances."
Additional details about the fall semester will be announced as particulars are finalized.
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