When the University of Connecticut reopens for the fall semester, things will look a little different for students and staff.
UConn President Thomas Katsouleas has released the first set of guidelines for the reopening of the campus, though they are subject to change depending on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“Our goal is to provide the highest-quality UConn education and campus experience as possible while also protecting the health of our community,” he said. ‘So returning’ does not mean ‘back to normal.’
“Our draft plans call for an academic semester and campus experience that will be unlike any we have seen previously,” he added. “Successfully coming back and maintaining safety will require the cooperation and flexibility of our entire community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
Under the plan, the first day of classes would be Monday, Aug. 31, with a hybrid-learning model that includes both in-person and remote classes. Students will not return following Thanksgiving break and the remainder of the semester, including final exams, will be entirely online.
The capacity of classrooms will be reduced, with social distancing protocols put in place to ensure six feet of separation between people. Face coverings will also be required by all, which will be provided by the university when necessary.
“We have purchased enough masks to supply our entire community,” Katsouleas added. “If someone is unable to wear a mask, due to a medical condition for example, we will work with you to identify a solution before you return to campus.”
Katsouleas said that residence halls in Storrs and Stamford will be open with reduced density and a new housing assignment process. There will also be dedicated spaces for any student that contracts COVID-19 and needs to be isolated.
Students living in campus housing will have to arrive on campus two weeks early to be tested for the virus and quarantined as per state requirements.
“Health screening and monitoring will be continuous and we will reinforce the ‘stay home when ill’ mandate for both employees and students at all times,” he said. "We will promote frequent hand washing and/or sanitizers, physical distancing, and regular cleaning and disinfection of campus spaces.
“This is new for all of us. And returning successfully and safely depends on all of us,” Katsouleas continued. “The hallmarks of success will be resiliency, flexibility, understanding, cooperation, and, as always, creativity.
“Fortunately, Huskies have each of these qualities in abundance. I believe there is no challenge we cannot meet and rise above as long as we remember that we are in this together.”
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