Dear Clarkson Students and Parents,
We appreciate your patience and attention as we share our current plans in a dynamic national environment subject to evolving directives and guidance from local, NYS and federal representatives as well as new best practices emerging from industry. our peers and from within our own community. Clarkson University is taking steps to adjust and respond in ways that uphold the vision of a Clarkson education, while putting student, faculty and staff safety at the forefront. We understand that we are asking a lot of our Clarkson students and their families to help us meet all of the objectives – we thank you for placing your trust in us on all these fronts.
There has been much national conversation about students returning to classrooms. Clarkson University has spent the past four weeks reviewing the Fall 2020 class schedule, and revising it in accordance with state and federal guidelines. Decisions about how courses will be taught are grounded in best practices for student learning, our classroom/space capacity in light of public health requirements, and the availability of faculty to teach in person. This revised class schedule will be released later today and will include courses held 100% in person, courses held 100% online, and courses that blend the two modes of delivery. We can assure you that our faculty have been intentional this summer in instructional preparations for in person education to be conducted safely as well as focused on online and other innovative learning experiences that replicate the same learning objectives while serving different learning styles.
The following are some of the steps that Clarkson has taken to provide a safe learning environment for students, while also continuing to deliver the quality, personalized education that Clarkson families have come to expect:
- All students and faculty will be required to wear appropriate face coverings while inside classrooms, lecture halls, labs, and other learning spaces.
- All classrooms and lecture halls on Clarkson’s campus have been reviewed by Clarkson’s Environmental Health and Safety department to ensure that the space can adequately hold the number of students assigned to it, while allowing a six-foot distance between students and faculty.
- Clarkson has retrofitted several large spaces on campus, not traditionally used as classrooms, to allow faculty to hold in-person instruction while accommodating social distancing recommendations. In addition, all existing classrooms were outfitted with distance learning technology.
- Understanding that physical space is not limitless, many classes will be delivered in a hybrid approach, which augments in-person instruction in small groups, with some web-based online learning. With technology enhancements in classrooms, this approach is also inclusive of students who can not return to in person classes.
- The class schedule was modified to provide 20-minute breaks in between class periods, to reduce traffic congestion, and to allow time to sanitize surfaces.
- Faculty have participated in RISE (Reframing Instruction for Success Everywhere): highly interactive workshops led by experts in online learning, which allowed faculty to engage in hands-on practice to learn and develop research-informed, instructional best practices in online course delivery.
- Acknowledging that this will remain a fluid situation, Clarkson faculty rose to the challenge to develop innovative teaching strategies that are adaptable between delivery modes.
- Faculty are encouraged to use Clarkson’s vast 640-acre campus to teach outside when weather and pedagogy allow.
- Common Hours (blocks of time with few scheduled classes) have been worked into the class schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The addition of these breaks allows a common free time for study, group work, on-campus events, athletics, co-curricular activities, and student down time.
- Clarkson has developed plans and protocols to respond to positive or suspected cases as well as preventative policies and practices. Students who test positive for acute COVID-19 will be contacted immediately by Student Health Center personnel (these are St. Lawrence Health System employees) at the University as well as St. Lawrence County Department of Health staff. For detailed information, please review the Clarkson University Positive Case Response Plan. More information about testing regimes is coming.
When viewing your class schedule in myCU, if you have any concerns or need help making modifications, please reach out to your academic advisor, or the Office of University Advising for assistance.
The University-wide announcements and copies of most communications based on the specific cohort you are in (fall sports, first-year, state of residence, etc.) will be posted at http://www.clarkson.edu/future-ready and other checklists in MyCU. Thank you for your patience. We know you have already adapted to many, many challenges and life changes that this pandemic has created. Best wishes for your continued health and safety.