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July 10, 2020
Augustana University students will be able to choose whether to attend most classes this fall in person or in a hybrid online format.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, about 90 percent of courses will be offered either face-to-face or in a hybrid/flex format that emphasizes in-person learning.
Classes will have modified reductions in overall capacity and will be shifted into rooms where the entire class can meet face-to-face while also practicing physical distancing. Class times also have been modified to support health and safety protocols that allow for sanitizing in between to limit the risk of transmission.
The moves are part of Augustana’s Viking Flex Plan, which was developed by an 18-member task force.
“Each course offering was carefully evaluated for student needs as well as room availability,” said Joni Krueger, the university’s registrar and associate dean of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies who serves as co-chair of the academics working group.
“All classrooms are being outfitted with technology to allow students to participate virtually if necessary. The committee is working diligently to provide the resources faculty need to prepare for the fall semester and plan for various scenarios. We are so thankful for the dedication of our faculty to make this the best experience possible.”
While international students, fall athletes, Viking Advisors and others will move in earlier, the university will move students into residence halls Aug. 21-25, with classes starting Aug. 26.
Students are able to schedule a specific move-in date and time, with a limited number of guests who are allowed to assist them. Augustana plans to honor students’ requests to have roommates and accommodate those who wish to have single rooms based on needs and availability. The university will continue to provide full-service dining, including a new to-go option. Modified operations will include physical distancing protocols and one-way traffic lines.
“We realize that it will take every member of our community to keep us safe this fall,” said Ben Iverson, chair of the scenario planning task force and director of international programs and enrollment.
“That’s why we’re implementing a multipronged approach that will include a commitment from each and every member of our campus community to adhere to the latest health and safety guidelines, as well as providing ongoing health education, new sanitization processes, protocols for quarantine and isolation if needed, and a number of other practices designed to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Students have said loudly and clearly that they want an in-person experience this fall. The Viking Flex Plan allows us to deliver that for them in the safest possible way.”
Augustana has asked its students to take responsibility for the health and well-being of the campus community as they live, learn and study on campus, which includes signing a health and safety pledge.
The university also is requiring that masks be worn in all indoor public spaces on campus, including classrooms, study spaces and hallways. Buildings on campus indicate that masks should be worn inside, have had plexiglass installed where appropriate and stickers added to the floors to remind people to distance themselves from others. Scenario planning is in place should health and safety concerns require a quick pivot, the university said in a statement.
Classes in the fall are scheduled to be held through Nov. 20. The plan forgoes a fall break to allow students to return home right before Thanksgiving. After the holiday, the university will transition all classes to online instruction that it said “will allow for innovative course engagement, creative projects, as well as a safe and successful finish for course instruction on Friday, Dec. 4.”
In-person and hybrid classes, to-go meal options and mask requirements: What fall will look like at Augustana University.