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University announces plan for the fall semester

The 2020 fall semester will be quite different, and the university released more in-depth plans on how it will kick off in August. 

In an email sent to the Bradley students, faculty and staff on June 26, from university president Stephen Standifird, changes to campus life, including the academic calendar, course delivery and residential living were announced.

Academic alterations

Classes will still begin Aug. 26 and end Dec. 8, as planned on the academic calendar. Dates for adding and dropping classes will remain the same, as well as the dates for finals, which are scheduled for Dec. 10-16.

Without a traditional fall break, classes will be held on Oct. 12 and 13, but there will be no classes the week of Thanksgiving. 

Instructors and students must prepare for hybrid-style learning. This means some classes may be taken both in classrooms and asynchronously, as no more than 50 people will be allowed in the room at the same time, according to an email sent from the Provost to faculty and staff.

The university will work with students who are unable to return in the fall or wish to continue classes virtually; however, there may be exceptions such as lab requirements. Information on how to request this option will be communicated soon, according to the email.

Classrooms will also be set up to ensure proper physical distancing, which means many classes will be relocated. According to Bradley’s Return to Campus webpage, some meeting rooms may also be converted into classrooms such as ballrooms, Markin Center, Hartmann Center and Dingeldine Music Center.

Sakai will continue to be available for the academic year, but the university is also introducing Canvas as a learning management platform, and better exam monitoring capabilities may be used.

Undergraduate students can request a leave of absence if they are in good academic and judicial standing. Students should also check with financial aid before requesting a gap year.

Residential living arrangements

Some students, including freshmen, will be allowed to move into a limited number of St. James apartments. A single dorm room in the residence hall can be requested, based on circumstance, while other rooms will remain doubles.

More information on residential living requests will be communicated to returning students in the coming weeks.

The university is working with Aramark, Bradley’s food service provider, for safety guidelines in the dining halls and other food service areas. 

Expectations and guidelines

According to the email, the university’s plans are in alignment with the state’s guidelines for the start of the academic year as Illinois moves into Phase Four of its recovery plan.

Students, faculty and staff will receive expectations and guidelines to follow throughout the fall semester. Some expectations include testing, wearing a mask or face covering and proper hand hygiene. 

A mask or face covering will be required when a 6-foot physical distance cannot be maintained. These places include classrooms, common areas, shared workspaces and labs. A mask is not required when someone is alone in their office or outside with no one else around. 

“Everyone is expected to abide by these guidelines,” the email stated. “They are for our collective safety.”

Antigen surveillance testing is planned to occur every week from Aug. 24 through Nov. 20 at no cost, and health services will conduct testing for students with symptoms associated with COVID-19 or for those who may have been exposed to the virus.

The university is also looking into contact tracing technology. Isolation and quarantine locations have been identified in case they need to be utilized. 

Accommodations will be made for those who are unable to wear a mask to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Communication will be ongoing and people are encouraged by the university to keep an eye on the Return to Campus webpage for more information.

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