FSU Repopulation Plan for the Fall – June 19, 2020
Dear FSU Community,
I’m writing today to provide you with important details of Framingham State University’s plan to repopulate campus in the fall. Based on guidance from the Baker Administration and Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and in coordination with our fellow state universities, Framingham State University will start the semester on its regularly scheduled date of Wednesday, Sept. 2, in a modified in-person capacity, which will include a mix of in-person instruction – complying with social distancing and public health guidelines – and remote courses. Residence Halls will also open at a reduced capacity to allow for proper social distancing. Starting in mid-July and building through the end of August, FSU employees will gradually resume working on campus as we prepare for the start of the semester.
Six continuity teams made up of more than 100 faculty, staff and administrators from across campus are currently working to ensure that Framingham State continues to offer an excellent educational program and academic experience in this new environment, while protecting the health and safety of our community.
Key details of the plan are outlined below. It should be noted that the University’s plans are contingent on the continued downward trend of COVID19 in Massachusetts, as well as the guidance and directives we receive from state and federal authorities, including the Baker Administration and Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
- Courses: Approximately 30% of courses will be offered fully or partially on-campus during the fall. A preliminary list of these courses will be made available on our website by June 26th. Academic Affairs has prioritized those courses that are better suited to an in-person experience. For courses that will be taught remotely, extensive training is being offered to faculty throughout the summer months to ensure a high quality remote learning experience.
- Classrooms: Classrooms are being reconfigured to ensure that there is plenty of space for six feet of physical distancing. The need for the instructor to have access to a white board and to move around in front of the class will be considered in this configuration. Face coverings will be required for all participants in all classrooms in accordance with the Commonwealth’s requirements. All classes will allow for remote participation for students who are unable to attend. Recordings will be available for students unable to participate at the time of the class meeting.
- Residence Halls: At this time, we are projecting residence halls to be open at approximately 65% capacity, which will allow us to reconfigure spaces in a way that reduces the number of students using shared bathrooms. Students who have reserved rooms for the fall semester will receive an e-mail from Residence Life with further details about specific policies and procedures related to COVID-19 within the next 24 hours.
- Dining Services: Dining Services will be open with public health compliant safety modifications and will offer individual meals and takeout options.
- Face coverings: Everyone on campus will be required to wear a face covering on campus. Further details on this requirement will be released soon outlining individuals’ responsibilities for complying with this directive.
- Campus Health and Safety: The safety of our community is paramount, and every step we are taking is made with that in mind. The university will adhere to CDC and State guidelines related to cleaning, providing protective barriers, controlling foot traffic flows, and using elevators and stairwells. Requested work adjustments will be reviewed for anyone who falls into a high risk category for complications resulting from contracting COVID19.
- Screening and testing: The University, in coordination with the Department of Higher Education and Department of Public Health, will develop plans over the summer to address screening and testing for campus community members. No matter how careful we all are, we must anticipate that we will face Covid-19 cases in the fall. Therefore, we want to be confident that we have the capacity to spot an outbreak quickly and limit its spread.
Unfortunately, campus life will feel very different this fall. That is simply the reality of the situation we are all facing right now. The decision to open in a modified, reduced-capacity environment gives us the best opportunity to preserve our mission of providing an active, collaborative learning environment that prepares students for a productive life, while ensuring the safety of our entire community.
I join you in feeling frustrated by the persistent uncertainty of our situation. As the summer progresses, we will be in touch with you on a regular basis with updates and important information as our plans are finalized and implemented. All of this information will also be available on our webpage at: www.framingham.edu/covid
F. Javier Cevallos, President
Framingham State University