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Faculty Guidance for Fall 2020 Instruction

The consensus of the nation’s leading public health authorities — as well as Saint Louis University's own public health faculty — is that a second wave of the COVID-19 virus is likely to occur sometime during the traditional flu season (starting in mid-October or early November). Additionally, we are currently not sure if the “first wave” will have subsided to the point at which we can begin the fall 2020 term fully on ground.

Public health officials anticipate some level of social distancing requirements will be in place, and as such, some students or faculty may not be able to return to the physical classroom as the fall semester starts. Therefore, as we prepare for the fall 2020 semester, we are doing so with the following principles in mind:

  • The University is committed to ensuring courses scheduled for fall 2020 are available to students regardless of their location or ability to physically attend class.
  • The University is committed to ensuring education provided in fall 2020, regardless of modality, reflects the quality educational experience for which SLU is known.
  • The fall 2020 schedule will not follow the “normal” face-to-face course schedule, so instructors of fall 2020 courses must prepare for several instructional modalities.

Unlike in spring 2020, however, we have time to prepare for a much higher level of pedagogical quality in our various forms of distance education — and students and their families are expecting that higher level of quality. We expect it of ourselves, as well. And we expect it whether we start the fall 2020 term fully online or need to shift to fully online teaching at any point within the term.

Accordingly, a group of faculty, staff and students has been developing guidance and support for all faculty preparing their courses for the fall 2020 term.

Key Points 

  • All instructors must be prepared to teach all their fall 2020 courses virtually if necessary. Our plan is to start the fall 2020 term on-ground, but it likely will look and feel different. If the pandemic has not subsided to a point at which on-ground instruction is appropriate, SLU will begin the term with all instruction occurring virtually. Therefore, all instructors should be prepared to teach their course virtually from the start of the term or to shift quickly to remote instruction.
  • All instructors must be prepared to shift all fall 2020 on-ground courses to virtual instruction with one week’s notice, and at any point in the fall 2020 term. (It could be Week Three, Week Eight or Week 13 — we just don’t know). Learn more.

    • Faculty must prepare plans to shift their course delivery to be completely virtual, and provide those plans to their department chairs.
    • These plans must also include the identification of alternate instructors who could assume all instructional duties should the originally-assigned faculty member become ill or otherwise be unable to fulfill their teaching duties for the remainder of the term.
  • All courses that either start or shift to virtual instruction must use Blackboard. (Except courses in the School for Professional Studies, and the School of Medicine, which are using Canvas; and the School of Law which uses the standard LMS for law schools).
  • The “Fall 2020 Virtual Course Design Standards” detail the requirements for all Fall 2020 virtual courses.  Learn more.
  • Help is available for all faculty and graduate instructors as they prepare their fall courses.  Learn more .