Adjustments to the 2020-2021 academic calendar
June 17, 2020
This summer, two University-wide planning groups have been working to address our student academic and non-academic experiences along with our safety and campus operations to prepare for in-person teaching and learning to resume this fall. Bowling Green State University continues to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and regional and local health care partners to comply with directives and guidelines to safeguard our students, faculty, staff and visitors and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 on our campuses.
While we plan to share more details this month and throughout the summer, we have made the decision to adjust the 2020-2021 academic calendar in the best health and safety interests of our community and in our responsibility to promote public health.
Fall semester classes will now start on Wednesday, Aug. 26. To best plan and to lessen the impact COVID-19 may have on our campuses, in-person classes will end on Wednesday, Nov. 25. The last week of classes will be Nov. 30-Dec. 4, 2020, and will be conducted remotely. Final exam week will be Dec. 7-11, 2020, and will also be conducted remotely. In addition, to provide maximized flexibility, we have also canceled Winter Session in 2021. Based upon current planning, classes for spring semester will now begin on Jan. 11, 2021, and end on April 30, 2021. We are planning for the spring semester to be in-person. While there are changes to the academic calendar, previously announced University holidays will continue to be observed.
There is no doubt that returning to our campuses will look and feel different. I recognize your eagerness to learn more about planning for the fall and resumption of activities later this summer. We are being intentional as we consider a variety of scenarios and are developing a multi-phased plan for your return to campus. Students planning to live on campus will be assigned a specific move-in time during Aug. 20-25.
While there are many unknowns, we are learning more each day. Our plans are still evolving, requiring us to be flexible and adaptable. As we make decisions, the very health and safety of our community requires us to work together. Based upon our current knowledge and the recommendations of the CDC and ODH, below are some of the expectations for the fall semester.
- Before returning to campus, students, faculty and staff will successfully complete online trainings to ensure awareness of recommendations and orders from the CDC and the ODH.
- Before returning to campus, the University will conduct a health and safety assessment of its facilities. Classrooms will be retrofitted or reconfigured for appropriate physical distancing. All personal workspaces must be cleaned and sanitized. Supplies and personal protective equipment will be made available. In addition, the University will enhance its daily cleaning protocols in all facilities.
- Before coming to campus each day, all individuals will complete a self-administered wellness check.
- In accordance with current recommendations, individuals will be expected to wear a face covering in all indoor public and shared environments. In the absence of the ability to physical distance, face coverings will be required at outdoor spaces as well. Everyone will be required to adhere to physical distancing requirements in classrooms, common spaces and outdoors.
- In collaboration with the Wood County Health Department, the University will conduct health monitoring, contact tracing, testing surveillance and will work to assist with quarantine and isolation protocols.
- Each student, faculty and staff member will be required to comply with the University’s current business travel restrictions.
- Everyone will be required to sign a COVID-19 social commitment outlining the University's shared expectations to minimize risk for the public health of our community. This commitment will include detailed expectations regarding public health protocols.
This month, critical personnel and researchers began returning to campus. Additional faculty and staff members will begin to repopulate our campuses in phases in July. Those employees will be notified in advance by their supervisor or chair about when to return. To ensure physical distancing and to allow for the appropriate office and facility safety measures, the density of our employee footprint will be reduced. Faculty and staff should be prepared to work alternating schedules to avoid high density on our campuses.
We recently provided faculty and staff members with an opportunity to request alternative work considerations. We believe it is equally as important to make similar considerations for our students. If they want to limit their classroom exposure, we will offer online classes, and if they learn better in-person but are still hesitant, we will also offer a hybrid learning approach called BGSUSync. This technology and program allows students to participate in a live class from the comfort of their residence hall room or off-campus location. If students have concerns about returning to an in-person experience, I want to hear directly from you, and please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you can see, we are reinventing a new normal, which will necessitate adapting course delivery, classroom management and configuration, curriculum offerings, residence and dining hall safeguards, student life programming, and many operations and functions across the University. We will balance the interactions that make a residential campus like ours so valuable with a priority of creating a safe environment.
Bowling Green is a vibrant college town, and the strong partnerships we have developed with local health officials, hospitals, government and first responders will continue to be leveraged to mitigate the spread of the virus.
I recognize our planning will be welcomed differently throughout our University. However, we will continue to proceed thoughtfully. I also know that this message does not answer all of your questions, and I am sure you have more concerns. However, we continue to appreciate your understanding and willingness to be flexible during these challenging times. We are working on a list of frequently asked questions and value hearing from you. Please submit any questions you have as we work to provide additional information. It is our plan to resume in-person teaching and learning in the fall, but we would also comply with any state restrictions and let science and the expertise of health officials guide our decisions. Flexibility and adaptability will be required of all of us. Together, we will position BGSU to thrive on the other side of this COVID-19 crisis. More details and updates regarding planning for the fall semester will be shared in the coming days.
Rodney K. Rogers, Ph.D.