COVID-19 Update: Fall 2020 Course Schedules Available, Other Academic Updates
July 17, 2020
Dear Saint Louis University community,
Over the past month, our entire University community has come together in unprecedented ways to help us prepare to return to hybrid instruction for the fall semester. Hybrid instruction combines in-person instruction, for those students who can be on-campus, with online for students who cannot. From student and faculty feedback, to a myriad of meetings involving units from all across campus, I have seen the power of consultation and collaboration.
This message contains several academic-related updates in anticipation of the start of fall semester on Aug. 17, including:
- Course schedules available in Banner
- Academic calendar updates
- Updated policies for fall 2020
- Impacts to off-campus programs
Additional information on preparations for the fall semester is available on our Back to SLU: Fall 2020 website.
Fall Course Schedules Posted in Banner
Course schedules are now available for students and faculty in Banner. These schedules include the days and times for all courses, specific campus locations, and the instructional modality in which the course is being delivered.
I am happy to report that an overwhelming majority of our new and returning students have no more than two fully-online courses for the fall.
Please note that approximately 400 in-person course sections will be listed in Banner as a split section. Split sections will rotate in-class and online instruction among groups of students. Course sections that need to move to this instructional approach will be updated in Banner in the coming weeks.
As I mentioned in my previous messages to faculty and students, these schedules were informed by the recent surveys, while ensuring we adhered to our required public health safeguards. To date, we have:
- Surveyed faculty members to understand which course sections need to move online due to their health circumstances or other, special considerations
- Converted event and meeting spaces to classrooms, with the help of Event Services staff
- Identified those spaces where required social distancing may be challenging for students and faculty due to the nature of the course, such as our clinical labs
- Surveyed students to understand their plans to attend their courses in person or online
With course schedules set, I hope that our faculty and students feel they can better prepare for the complexities of this fall semester. As Dr. Pestello and I have stated repeatedly, fall 2020 will be vastly different due to all of our COVID-19-prevention protocols. But we are all committed to doing all we can to make it the best and most inspiring learning experience possible.
Academic Calendar Updates
The revised academic calendar for fall 2020 is now available. For the health and safety of our entire campus community, we are strongly considering holding classes on Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 7). Fall Break will be held on a Tuesday. Key dates for the semester include:
- Aug. 17: Start of classes
- Oct. 12-16: Mid-term exams
- Oct. 20: Fall break
- Nov. 24: Last day of classes
- Nov. 30-Dec. 4: Final exams (online)
Please note that certain schools and colleges at SLU (such as the School of Medicine, School of Law, School for Professional Studies, CADE and SLU-Madrid) have different academic calendars, so please check with your individual schools for specific dates.
Updated Policies for Fall 2020
In preparation for our return to in-person courses, the University has implemented a number of public health safeguards to ensure the health of our entire community, particularly those who are most at risk of experiencing severe consequences from a COVID infection. In addition to the information available on the previously-mentioned Back to SLU website, several academic-related policies have been updated for the fall semester.
Some of this information will be included in individual course syllabi, specifically related to face masks and attendance. See below for additional information.
- Face masks: The University’s interim policy on face masks details that all persons present on campus shall wear a face mask. A statement about face masks being mandatory will be included in course syllabi.
- If any individuals are unable to wear a face mask due to medical reasons, they may contact the Office of Disability Services (students) or Human Resources (faculty and staff) to discuss their individual situations.
- Students should contact Disability Services as soon as possible, prior to the start of the semester, and share those accommodations with their professors as far in advance as possible before classes begin in August.
- Social distancing: We will continue to require 6 feet of social distancing in all public University spaces indoors and outdoors. Classrooms, laboratories, dining halls, meeting rooms, elevators and residence hall common areas are being reconfigured to accommodate this requirement across campus.
- Class attendance: We are finalizing a policy that will provide specific guidance to students about when to attend and not attend classes in person based on their health symptoms or circumstances. This policy also will become a mandatory statement on all course syllabi.
Impacts to Off-Campus Programs
SLU hosts programs at a number of non-SLU locations throughout Missouri and in other states. Note that some of these institutions may not be following the same protocols as our St. Louis campus. Please consult your SLU program leaders about COVID-related expectations and requirements.
I hope this message has provided pertinent information for everyone, and I know that the uncertainty around the virus is causing anxiety for many of you. Please know that we will continue to prioritize the health and security of our entire University community as we prepare for the fall semester.
Thank you again, and we look forward to seeing you on campus and online in August.
Michael Lewis, Ph.D.