Fall Semester 2020: Return to Campus

A nursing student practices hand washing techniques as their professor looks on.

As we prepare for our return to campus for Fall Semester 2020, CWRU will continue to follow health and safety protocols informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health, Cuyahoga County and University Health Services.

In addition, we are working with all our clinical partners (hospitals and other clinical sites) to ensure that faculty and students are prepared to follow COVID-19 and related protocols at each clinical site. Please note that, at all sites, no students will be assigned to a COVID positive patient or someone suspected of being COVID positive. Our clinical partners also are not allowing students in areas that are designated for placing COVID patients and intensive care units who are being used for COVID patient care.

We know that you are eager to begin or continue your education as an FPB student, and we are also enthusiastic about welcoming you. That said, as President Snyder and Provost Vinson wrote on July 8, circumstances are extremely fluid right now—including trends for cases in our region and state, as well as the places from which you will be arriving. University leaders will continue to update you regarding these overall issues as more information becomes available, and we also will share new school-specific details as promptly as possible.

You can find all university COVID-19 campus communications here. Additionally, there are some important dates to remember for Fall Semester 2020. They are listed below.

  • Monday, Aug. 24: Classes Begin
  • Monday, Sept. 7 (Labor Day): Classes Held
  • Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 19-20 (Usually Fall Break): Classes Held
  • Monday-Tuesday, Nov. 23-24: No Classes (in lieu of Fall Break)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 25: No Classes (in lieu of Labor Day)
  • Thursday-Friday, Nov. 26-27: University Holidays (Thanksgiving)
  • Monday-Friday, Nov. 30-Dec. 4: Final Week of Classes Held Remotely
  • Monday, Dec. 7, Friday, Dec. 11: Reading Days
  • Tuesday, Dec. 8-Wednesday, Dec. 16: Final Exams (Excepting Dec. 11) Held Remotely

Dear Undergraduates Students,

To our returning undergrads, we are looking forward to seeing you back on campus for the Fall 2020 semester. To our first-year students, we are excited to welcome you to the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. Though it is thrilling to be coming to campus, we want to emphasize that our priority is your health and safety as we navigate a return to CWRU. As much as we want the return to the regular routine, we know that this fall semester will be far from normal.

As you know, the semester will begin Monday, August 24, and on-campus classes and clinical activities will end Friday, November 20, although classes will continue remotely after Thanksgiving. A list of important dates to remember for Fall Semester 2020 follows the conclusion of this email.

As President Barbara R. Snyder and Provost Ben Vinson III wrote last week to undergraduate students, measures required to limit risk of COVID-19 infections mean that many aspects of campus experiences will differ significantly from those in the past. The CWRU Undergraduate Student Government officers have been actively involved in this planning with faculty and staff from across the university, and there will be an emphasis on making CWRU a healthy and safe environment. More details about the undergraduate experience will be forthcoming. 

At FPB, our faculty and staff have been working for weeks to ensure that your learning remains as rich and robust as you would expect from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. The school has submitted space requests for Fall classes to the university planning committee. Instructors have not yet been notified of space assignments, except for August intensives (NURS 371, 372), which are remote.

As usual, we plan for labs to be conducted in the Samson Pavilion Simulation Center with teaching assistants and faculty. We will be doing face-to-face lab activities and clinicals. Didactic, or theory content, will be taught face-to-face in some cases, and remotely in others. Remote courses will include those delivered using a live, synchronous (Zoom) format, or a combination of asynchronous and synchronous formats. 

CWRU will continue to follow health and safety protocols informed by the CDC, Ohio Department of Health, Cuyahoga County and University Health Services. These include completing a daily online symptom assessment (including a temperature check), maintaining proper personal hygiene (e.g. washing hands, using hand sanitizer, etc.), maintaining physical distance (6 feet) from others, and wearing cloth masks at all times indoors, except within personal living areas and/or when alone in a room. 

In addition, we are working with all our clinical partners (hospitals and other clinical sites) to ensure that faculty and students are prepared to follow COVID-19 and related protocols at each clinical site. Please note that, at all sites, no students will be assigned to a COVID positive patient or someone suspected of being COVID positive. Our clinical partners also are not allowing students in areas that are designated for placing COVID patients and intensive care units who are being used for COVID patient care.

We know that you are eager to begin or continue your education as an FPB student, and we are also enthusiastic about welcoming you. That said, as President Snyder and Provost Vinson wrote last week, circumstances are extremely fluid right now—including trends for cases in our region and state, as well as the places from which you will be arriving. University leaders will continue to update you regarding these overall issues as more information becomes available, and we also will share new school-specific details as promptly as possible.

We have had questions about clinical work if we must go totally remote again, or if someone chooses not to return to campus because of concerns about traveling to Cleveland. The BSN (and all prelicensure programs in Ohio) must follow the Ohio Administrative Code that only allows us to do student clinical experiences in the State of Ohio for approved prelicensure programs. Students cannot complete clinicals for the BSN program in other states.

This upcoming semester, and likely the entire year, will be a unique experience for students and institutions of higher education across the world. Returning to campus—for students, faculty and staff—is an important decision, but we and the broader university are continuing to work to mitigate risks as much as possible. This is an exciting time to be pursuing a career in nursing, and the faculty and staff at FPB are here to help you achieve your academic goals this year at CWRU.

Stay safe and be well. We look forward to seeing you in a few weeks.

Sincerely,

Carol M. Musil, PhD, RN, FAAN, FGSA
Dean and Edward J. and Louise Mellen Professor
Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Case Western Reserve University

IMPORTANT DATES FOR FALL SEMESTER 2020

Monday, Aug. 24: Classes Begin

Monday, Sept. 7 (Labor Day): Classes Held

Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 19-20 (Usually Fall Break): Classes Held

Monday-Tuesday, Nov. 23-24: No Classes (in lieu of Fall Break)

Wednesday, Nov. 25: No Classes (in lieu of Labor Day)

Thursday-Friday, Nov. 26-27: University Holidays (Thanksgiving)

Monday-Friday, Nov. 30-Dec. 4: Final Week of Classes Held Remotely

Monday, Dec. 7, Friday, Dec. 11: Reading Days

Tuesday, Dec. 8-Wednesday, Dec. 16: Final Exams (Excepting Dec. 11) Held Remotely

Dear FPB graduate and professional students,

With the start of the academic year just six weeks away, I write to share important information about the fall semester.

While some MSN students and the new DNP nurse anesthesia students already have arrived, the majority of you will start coursework Monday, August 24. As President Barbara R. Snyder and Provost Ben Vinson III wrote last week to undergraduate students, measures required to limit risk of COVID-19 infections mean that many aspects of campus experiences will differ significantly from those in the past. Nevertheless, our faculty and staff have been working for weeks to ensure that your learning remains as rich and robust as you would expect from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

Because much of the information the president and provost shared last week applies university-wide, the text that follows reflects a blend of their updates and guidance specific to FPB graduate and professional students. First, though, a reminder that the university will follow a modified calendar for the Fall 2020 semester, with Friday, November 20 as the last day for all on-campus classes (the full calendar is included at the end of this message). Also please note that intensives begin August 11. Additional information specific to your program may be forthcoming from your program director.

Finally, as we all learned in March, new developments involving this pandemic can require significant and rapid changes to existing plans and programs. The president and provost have committed to communicate as quickly and thoroughly as possible in such instances, and we will provide additional information specific to FPB students.

Teaching and Learning
The university recognizes that some international students may not be able to get to Cleveland before classes begin Aug. 24, while others—international and domestic—may need or prefer to take courses remotely. Given that context, Case Western Reserve will provide dual-delivery of courses whenever possible this fall.

After extensive university-level consultation with various experts and our own work with nursing faculty, we have determined that about 50 percent of all of our school’s courses will have some or frequent in-person instruction, with a higher percentage for our BSN students. For professional students in the MN and MSN programs and DNP nurse anesthesia program, clinically focused courses will be held either in person or in a hybrid model using both in-person and remote delivery; we plan for clinical and lab experiences to be in person. All of the post-master’s DNP courses and most PhD courses will be held remotely, with some hybrid work for the latter.

As part of this planning and assessment, the university has set capacity limits on all instructional spaces and are in the process of installing Plexiglas dividers and removing or covering chairs to ensure physically distant seating. In addition, masks are required to be worn by all individuals in all indoor settings and, as of a state order issued this week, in outdoor settings where physical distancing is not possible. In addition, HVAC equipment is being upgraded to meet national standards, which can be found online.

The Office of the Registrar is in the process of updating Fall 2020 listings to indicate which courses will be in-person, fully remote, or a combination of in-person and remote. We will notify you once this process is complete. At that time, returning students will be able to review the courses they had selected and consider modifications to their schedules, if changes are permitted within their program plan. In addition, students planning for remote learning should review [U]Tech’s recommendations for technologies.

We recognize that last week’s federal announcement regarding temporary exemptions for international students has created significant confusion and concern regarding potential implications for visa status. International Student Services is communicating directly with these students and will provide ongoing updates on this extremely fluid situation. Of particular relevance to our PhD students, we will carefully review plans and options for in-person offerings to support students maintaining their visa status.

Campus Dining

With regard to campus dining, all locations will offer a small range of boxed meals that include vegetarian choices as well as those for individuals with specific dietary restrictions. Because of physical distancing requirements, dining halls will require registration for time slots to accommodate extremely limited seating; in addition, the university is adding outdoor tables and chairs for student use while the weather is warmer. Finally, we are working with Bon Appetit on the possibility of allowing customized pre-ordering at campus retail dining options—such as those in the Tinkham Veale University Center.

Student Life
The Division of Student Affairs has been working on campus programming that accommodates physical distancing and related protective measures. Staff also plan to provide engagement opportunities for students not on campus. To date, a small number of student leaders have been involved in these discussions. Now that we have greater clarity about our overall fall plans, the division is expanding its outreach to involve more student leaders in identifying more ways to enhance student life within the constraints the pandemic requires.

Later this month, Student Affairs leaders will share more extensive information regarding plans for other extracurricular activities, as well as a document that student leaders are developing that details a collective commitment to help protect the health of all members of the campus community.

Testing and Other Pandemic-Related Health Measures
As President Snyder and Provost Vinson explained last week, the university’s ability to continue in-person offerings and on-campus housing will depend heavily on students’ ability to comply with measures designed to protect everyone’s health. Below are several of the expectations they cited:

Health Protocols Orientation: Prior to arriving on campus, all students must participate in an online orientation session involving infection prevention and control. This requirement applies whether living on or off campus.

This session will cover such student responsibilities as:

  • Completing a daily online symptom assessment (including a temperature check);
  • Proper personal hygiene (e.g. washing hands, using hand sanitizer, etc.);
  • Maintaining physical distance (6 feet) from others; and
  • Wearing cloth masks at all times indoors, except within personal living areas and/or when alone in a room.

The university will share more details about dates and registration processes for these sessions once they are finalized.

Personal Health Monitoring Prior to Coming to Campus: Students will be expected to monitor for COVID-19-related symptoms for 14 days prior to arrival on campus. University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS) will direct students with symptoms to appropriate clinical consultation, testing, and result management. UHCS also will work with local providers to help coordinate and speed the testing process. Students with symptoms should notify UHCS and delay arrival on campus until health services provides written permission.

Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, students coming to campus from outside the country will be required to quarantine for 14 days before coming to campus. Tomorrow the university is sending international students a more detailed communication about scheduling their arrivals in the U.S.

Health Kits: Upon arrival to campus, all students will receive a drawstring bag containing the following items: two cloth masks, one thermometer, travel-size disinfecting wipes, alcohol swabs, tissues, two individually wrapped disposable masks to be worn in the event of illness, and travel-size hand sanitizer on a silicone strap (so it can be attached to a backpack or the like).

Initial COVID-19 Testing: The university plans to test all undergraduates living on campus following their arrival on campus. After completing that process, efforts will turn to testing undergraduates living off campus, and finally, graduate and professional students. The university will provide additional details about this testing process as soon as they become available.

UHCS will promptly arrange testing of symptomatic students and those potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19.

We will finalize plans regarding the nature and timing of subsequent testing of asymptomatic students (also known as surveillance testing) based on key disease indicators, including the incidence on campus and disease prevalence in Cuyahoga County, and will provide additional details when they are available.

Positive Tests and Potential Exposure: When a student tests positive for COVID-19, UHCS will follow its protocol for notification, isolation and contact tracing. For students living in campus housing, the university has set aside a substantial number of individual rooms in separate buildings for students living on campus who develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. During that time, UHCS staff will contact them daily and Residence Life staff will coordinate delivery of meals and provide additional support.

In addition, UHCS staff will immediately begin “contract tracing,” which involves reaching out to those individuals (students and others) whose interactions with the student represent close contact (as determined by the nature and duration of those interactions). Students living in campus housing who have been in close contact also will be relocated to one of the rooms previously set aside for exposed students, with check-ins, meals and support similar to that provided to students who have tested positive.

Meanwhile, the national surge in cases—with specific states emerging as new “hot spots”—has spurred questions from some about whether the university will require students from certain areas to quarantine in Ohio before arriving on campus. Given the speed of recent developments, it is difficult to provide precise responses to such questions at this moment. The university will comply fully with all state, county and local requirements.

Similarly, the university has received questions about what campus developments would prompt a return to fully remote operations. Again, directives from government officials would cause such steps, as would a significant number of positive cases among students. We certainly learned a great deal from the spring about the execution of such a transition—particularly with regard to on-campus students—and will apply those lessons to our protocols for such situations. As with so much else in these uncertain times, definitive answers offered now are likely to become moot—or at least somewhat inaccurate—in the wake of quickly evolving new circumstances.

The complexities of this pandemic mean that no single message—even when as long as this one—can cover every point students and families want addressed. Please know that everyone across the university—and within our school—are working as quickly and thoroughly as possible to continue to finalize plans.

For now, we encourage you to continue to follow best practices in wearing masksphysical distancing, and hand-washing.

With best wishes for the health of you and your loved ones,

Carol M. Musil, PhD, RN, FAAN, FGSA
Dean and Edward J. and Louis Mellen Professor of Nursing
Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing

IMPORTANT DATES FOR FALL SEMESTER 2020

Sunday Aug 11 Intensive courses begin

Monday, Aug. 24: Regular Academic Semester Classes Begin

Monday, Sept. 7 (Labor Day): Classes Held

Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 19-20 (Usually Fall Break): Classes Held

Monday-Tuesday, Nov. 23-24: No Classes (in lieu of Fall Break)

Wednesday, Nov. 25: No Classes (in lieu of Labor Day)

Thursday-Friday, Nov. 26-27: University Holidays (Thanksgiving)

Monday-Friday, Nov. 30-Dec. 4: Final Week of Classes Held Remotely

Monday, Dec. 7, Friday, Dec. 11: Reading Days

Tuesday, Dec. 8-Wednesday, Dec. 16: Final Exams (Excepting Dec. 11) Held Remotely

Health Updates from CWRU

Given the quickly evolving nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, Case Western Reserve University has updated its health updates webpage to allow visitors to find information of greatest interest to them quickly. Note: as answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are updated, the question will note the date of the most recent change.

Review CWRU Health Updates