Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy emphasized this week that UMass Amherst is fully committed to resuming classes in the fall of 2020, whether remote, face-to-face or in some combination.
In a message to current students, Subbaswamy said, “While our final approach for the fall will depend on the progression of the pandemic – and the attendant restrictions on travel, size of gatherings, and general threat to health and safety of individuals and the community – we are engaged in extensive planning for every possible scenario, and will communicate decisions as soon as they are made so you can also plan accordingly.”
Under any scenario, he said, it is likely that at least some instruction in academic year 2020-2021 will be delivered remotely. “Given our decades-long experience with UMass Online and University Without Walls, and with more time to prepare, we are confident we can build on what we learned this spring and provide an even richer, more personalized remote learning experience should that be necessary,” he said.
At whatever point the university resumes in-person instruction – whether at the start of the semester, during the semester or later – the process will likely be gradual, with certain types of classes transitioning sooner than others. Also, recognizing that some students may not be able to safely travel to campus when in-person classes resume, UMass Amherst plans to offer remote instruction as an option for all of fall 2020.
When in-person instruction resumes, changes will be implemented within classrooms and laboratories to observe public health directives and guidance. Some examples may be increased hand washing, avoiding shared equipment, and recommendations on facial coverings and physical distancing.