Chapman University faculty and staff are working hard over the summer to develop and implement a plan to reopen the campus this fall. The plan has been titled “CU Safely Back,” and our goal is to reopen the campus to in-person or face-to-face instruction while observing all health and safety guidelines prescribed by the State of California and Orange County public health officials. The purpose of this message is to share with all students some of these plans as they pertain to class schedules for the fall semester.
As you can imagine, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Chapman and other universities to make changes in the way they teach classes to ensure the safety of all students and faculty. For example, social distancing requirements will create new limits classroom capacities. The need for students and faculty to maintain a 6-foot social distance has forced us to reexamine the capacity of most of our classrooms. In most rooms, the maximum capacity will be reduced by 50% or more of the normal capacity. This means that a classroom that normally seats 30 students, will now have a capacity of only 15.
While safety is our foremost consideration, our goal is to offer classes that meet the preferences of our students. Many students have expressed a desire to return to campus in the fall for classes while others have expressed a preference for taking classes in a remote or online format, even if state and local officials say it is safe to return to campus.
New Class Formats for Fall
To satisfy both requests, we will be offering classes in a few different formats in the fall. First, some classes will be delivered online only. At the same time, a few classes will be designated as in-person only. Most classes will be taught in a hybrid or “hyflex” format. These are defined below:
Online classes are those classes that are delivered entirely in a remote format. The instruction may be synchronous (all students and the professor are online at the same time) or asynchronous (students can watch a prerecorded lecture at the time of their choosing. These classes are designated as “ONLINE” in the course schedule.
In-person classes are just what it sounds like. All classes are held in a classroom and taught by a professor. Students will need to attend these classes at the scheduled time in the scheduled classroom.
Hybrid or Hyflex Classes
Hybrid or hyflex classes use a blend of in-person and online instruction. One example: if a class meets at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, half the class might be assigned to attend on Tuesday while the other half attends on Thursday. On days when students are not attending in-person, they would be able to stream the lecture in a simulcast or watch it later as a recording. This way everyone in the class can experience in-person instruction while maintaining a safe physical distance. I have encouraged our faculty to be creative in how they teach hybrid or hyflex classes, so there will likely be a variety of approaches to this type of class. These classes are designated as “HYBRID” in the course schedule.
Departments have been working on making changes to the course schedule over the past couple of weeks and we can expect more changes to come. Depending on the preferences of students, we can add more hybrid/hyflex sections, or convert hybrid/hyflex sections to online sections as needed. So, it is important to regularly check the course schedule to make sure that you are getting the courses you want.
For students who may have in-person and remote classes on the same day, Chapman will be designating multiple indoor and outdoor spaces on campus for students to sit and view their remote class. We are working over the summer to increase internet bandwidth and access to recharging options for laptop use. Students will be expected to use headphones or ear buds when viewing the lectures in these locations.
Preregistration for returning students continues through Saturday, June 27. Through that date, returning students will be able to amend their schedules to reflect their preferences. After that, the registration system will be reserved for new students (first years and transfers) through Friday, July 24. Starting July 25, the system will reopen to returning students and anyone can modify their class schedule through the start of classes on August 31.
In addition, the usual “drop-add” process that occurs during the first two weeks of the semester will be modified. Because of the reduced classroom capacities, there may not be seats available for students to attend a class that they wish to add. The changes to the drop-add process will be shared with you later in the summer.
Students in Fowler School of Law and those students enrolled in classes at the Rinker Health Sciences campus will have additional registration directives tailored to the needs of those programs. In all cases, students who have questions about specific courses should contact the departments for more information.
Plans for Implementing New Safety Procedures
Also, please know that a tremendous amount of work has gone into creating new procedures on campus to keep everyone healthy. These procedures include symptom screening and testing, mandatory use of face masks, increased cleaning and disinfecting by facilities personnel, and many other changes that should reduce the risk of COVID transmission on campus and in the residence halls. You will be receiving more detailed information about our plans later this summer.
Even though we are entering a very different time for the Chapman community, I am looking forward to being together again in the fall. I hope you have a wonderful summer, safe and healthy summer.