University Fall Semester Plans Announced

The University of Scranton announces its plans for returning to campus safely for the 2020 fall semester on Aug. 17.
University of Scranton President Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., shared “Royals Safe Together: A Plan to Reopen Campus” with members of the University community today.
University of Scranton President Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., shared “Royals Safe Together: A Plan to Reopen Campus” with members of the University community today.

Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., president of The University of Scranton, announced today more detailed plans for return of students to campus for the fall 2020 semester, which begins on Monday, Aug. 17, and ends on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

“We must carefully and calmly prepare to respond to the next phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in ways that are grounded in our Catholic and Jesuit mission and in the commitment to community that defines and distinguishes us. We are here to educate our students and to help them achieve their goals and aspirations. We must, therefore, be creative in choosing appropriate and necessary measures that respond to the virus but also support our students,” wrote Father Pilarz in a message to the University community that linked to a 15-page document titled “Royals Safe Together: A Plan to Reopen Campus.”

The plan reminds members of the University community of their individual responsibility to follow guidelines to protect the health and well-being of themselves and others. Face masks and social distancing are required on campus in addition to personal hygiene practices, cleaning and disinfecting regimens that comply with Pennsylvania’s Preliminary Guidance for Resuming In-Person Instruction at Post Secondary Institutions and Adult Education Programs as well with relevant guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH). The University has also added a wellness self-screening application for use by students and employees that provides an easy way for them to review symptoms each day by responding to a series of simple questions as recommended by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Classes will be offered in a variety of formats including: traditional face-to-face formats in classrooms adjusted to meet social distancing recommendations; a flexible format with students rotating to in-person classes and remote viewing of the class period either synchronously or asynchronously; a format where some students will attend in-person classes and others will view the class remotely either synchronously or asynchronously; and classes that are fully remote in either a synchronous or asynchronous format. Faculty will provide fallback support to traditional face-to-face classes for quarantined students by allowing them to remotely view the class.

Laboratory classes will also follow social distancing protocols. Undergraduate, graduate and graduate clinical coursework in off-campus locations will be permitted with the cooperation and permission of external partners.

In an effort to reduce possible exposure to COVID-19, internships and community-based learning projects are only allowed that can be completed remotely during the fall semester. The campus will remain closed to visitors and the general public except by appointment (i.e. admissions visitors), including the use of the Weinberg Memorial Library. Non-University guests are prohibited in all residence halls.

The plan also addresses cleaning protocols, dining services, University ministries, health services, student life and a number of other critical areas including off-campus students as well as COVID-19 testing protocols, contact tracing, and housing arrangements for students requiring isolation or quarantine which include students returning home for a designated time when possible.

The plan recognizes the need to continue to adapt to changing circumstances, noting that the University “will continue to monitor the spread of the virus, especially within the broader region, and will respond accordingly.”

"Royals Safe Together: A Plan to Reopen Campus" can be seen here.

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