Dear Beach Community:
We have been engaged in intensive planning for the 2021-22 academic year. I'm pleased that this fall we will continue our progress toward "Reuniting The Beach," offering 4,276 course sections with a full or hybrid in-person component (roughly 47% of the total). Our fall class schedule is subject to change in case any adjustments become necessary.
By spring, we anticipate resuming to 100% of our pre-pandemic, in-person campus course offerings.
We have long offered online and hybrid classes — roughly 5% of our total sections — and that will continue or increase based on best pedagogical approaches.
As further evidence of our progress, fall will see the majority of our residence-hall capacity in use by students, the resumption of in-person library hours, and many student services provided face-to-face, joining those provided virtually. We also anticipate being able to allow some on-campus convenings of student organizations and the reintroduction of hours, for example, at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.
Planning for the fall was done in the context of what we anticipate will continue to be prevailing public health guidance — namely, necessary social distancing and increased cleaning in our facilities. In light of our many smaller learning spaces, this work has been challenging. However, we have been successful in expanding options for how instruction is offered.
One new format allows some students in selected classes to be on campus, while the remaining students learn online synchronously (“Hy-Flex”) or asynchronously (the more traditional “hybrid” model). Meanwhile, our colleges and departments have prioritized courses for on-campus instruction based on specific needs of their students. Some are prioritizing laboratories, activities, or performances, while others are prioritizing smaller freshman or graduate seminars.
While our return to normal — or perhaps the next normal — is slower than what we all had hoped for, the health and safety of our campus community remains our priority.
What can you do to aid our continued progress? Most importantly, seek all options to obtain a vaccination. I encourage you to even look beyond our own campus program if you have not yet received an invitation to make an appointment at our vaccination clinic. And when we do convene on campus in greater numbers in the future, continue to wear face coverings, avoid coming to campus if you feel ill, get tested when appropriate, and follow any other public-health requirements in place. Our Reuniting The Beach website remains a resource to you particularly as plans and guidance evolves.
I’m grateful for the OneBeach spirit so evident in our community throughout this pandemic. I am confident that spirit will continue to guide us into the next academic year.
Jane Close Conoley, Ph.D.