Planning for students' return to campus has been complex—from classrooms and labs to housing and dining to activities and events. Below is guidance provided to undergraduates regarding fall return; updates will be provided here and via email as they become available.
Graduate and professional students should follow guidance from their school deans.
Teaching and Learning
We have committed to dual-delivery of courses whenever possible this fall.
For those able to attend in-person offerings, we worked closely with internal and external facilities experts to assess existing and potential academic spaces. From there, we collaborated with faculty and deans regarding the nature of specific academic offerings, as well as their prior enrollments. Those conversations catalyzed impressive creativity regarding ways to engage students on or off campus.
In the end, we determined that about 60 percent of the courses from our undergraduate-serving schools will have some or frequent in-person instruction. A few of the remaining offerings might have select opportunities for in-person activities, but primarily will be remote in nature.
As part of this planning and assessment, we have 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, 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 has updated Fall 2020 listings to indicate which courses will be in-person, fully remote, or a combination of in-person and remote. If, after reviewing that information, students prefer to take all courses remotely, they should contact their navigators promptly to determine what schedule changes may be necessary. In addition, students planning for remote learning should review [U]Tech’s recommendations for technologies.
Campus Housing and Dining
As of Aug. 6, the university has moved to limit the number of individuals in campus housing. For the fall semester, each residential student will live in a single room (but continue to pay the rate of the room they originally reserved).
To accomplish this goal, only the following undergraduates will be eligible to live in on-campus housing during the fall semester:
- First-year students;
- New transfer students;
- Students already living in residence halls this summer;
- International students able to enter the U.S.;
- Second- and third-year nursing students; and
- Students scheduled to graduate in January or May of 2021.
No other students will be permitted to live in residence halls or Greek housing (whether the chapter members live in university or privately owned housing).
To be clear, this policy applies only to the fall semester. Plans for spring semester housing will depend on the extent of pandemic-related progress in the coming months.
For the latest updates, visit the university's COVID-19 FAQ page.
As part of preparations for the fall semester, the university retained a certified infection control and prevention specialist from Cleveland Clinic to inspect all campus housing and provide recommendations. We also consulted with university faculty in infectious disease, public health and epidemiology, and colleagues at other leading universities.
Based on those conversations, our approach is as follows:
- Rooms: As of Aug. 6, everyone in on-campus housing will be in a single room.
- Restrooms/Shower Areas: We are modifying these areas to maximize distance among those using them. In addition, Student Affairs staff will communicate with students about the number of people permitted to be in the area at any one time, and also work with them on developing schedules for showers.
- Residence Hall Common Areas (e.g. elevators, laundry rooms, etc.): These areas will have capacity limits and reconfigured furniture arrangements to encourage social distancing.
- Sanitizing Supplies: Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout residence halls, including entrances, common areas, elevators, stairways, and hallways—as well as in buildings throughout the rest of campus. In addition, disinfectant wipes will be located in all common areas.
- Cleaning Common Areas: Facilities and custodial staff will follow enhanced cleaning protocols for common areas, including more frequent cleaning in general with particular attention to “high-touch” surfaces such as door knobs and handles, railings, bathroom fixtures, etc.
- Other Cleaning Information: As with classroom buildings, university facilities staff are assessing all residence halls with regard to ventilation and circulation. Details include preventive maintenance of mechanical HVAC systems, upgraded filters and edge-sealing, and maximized outdoor air supply.
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 have extremely limited seating, but 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.
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.
However, campus life will differ dramatically from students’ typical experiences. Students may not enter residence halls or rooms in which they do not live; students must maintain physical distance and wear masks at all times (indoors and out) unless in a room by themselves. Student organizations will be permitted to have in-person meetings, but must submit detailed event plans (including risk-mitigation measures) for each of them as part of securing permission to use campus spaces. Fall varsity athletics are canceled, as are winter ones through the end of the calendar year. Dining halls will serve grab-and-go meals, and also enforce physical distancing indoors.
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
Our ability to continue in-person offerings and on-campus housing in the fall will depend heavily on your ability to comply with measures designed to protect your health and that of the rest of the campus community. We detail several of those expectations below:
Health Protocols Orientation: Prior to arriving on campus, undergraduates 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.
- We 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. In addition, according to Ohio's Travel Advisory, announced in late July, students from select states will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
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.
Throughout this time, 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 “contact 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.