Provost Robert Clark announced in an email on May 28 that the upcoming fall semester will be mostly in person.
He emphasized that all plans are pending approval from NY Governor Cuomo, but in the face of constant uncertainty, he wanted to give the UR community some idea of what to expect for next fall. Classes will start in late August, and be offered in-person and online through Thanksgiving, according to the email. There will be no October fall break, but students will have their regularly scheduled Thanksgiving break. After Thanksgiving, all courses will be online until the end of the semester.
“There are obviously many details to work out, and again, any of our plans must be approved by Governor Cuomo,” Clark wrote in the email.
Many of those details were mentioned in Clark’s last email, sent May 22, which included an in-depth explanation of the University’s decision-making process surrounding reopening campus.
The May 22 email also included a Guiding Principles and Framework for Recovery document written by the Coronavirus University Reopening Team (CURT), which lays out several recommendations for how to proceed safely into an in-person semester. Notable recommendations include having only single dorm rooms, and outsourcing any overflow to off campus residences such as hotels. Classrooms, break rooms, conference rooms, and similarly-sized spaces are recommended to have one person per 40 sqft. Large gathering spaces such as the palestra, Eastman Theater, and Fauver stadium are recommended to be used at 25% capacity. Libraries are recommended to have one person per 50 sqft, with furniture spaced out to facilitate this. CURT also recommends that there be quarantine and isolation housing available for students.
For employees, all work that can be done from home should be. Those working in-person are to check in with Dr. ChatBot, an app developed by UR that screens people for COVID-19 symptoms.
Dining halls are recommended to operate at 35% capacity, with mostly take-out food available, and little to no in person seating. Food will not be allowed in classrooms or laboratories.
Everyone will be required to wear masks any time they are indoors or within six feet of another person.
“In unsure times like this, it is difficult to provide concrete answers,” Clark wrote. “You have my thanks for your continued patience as we work through our current complexity.”