July 29, 2020
To: University community
From: President Ralph W. Kuncl and the President’s Cabinet
Subject: Change of Plans for the Fall
Given the state of the pandemic in California at this time, the University of Redlands must begin the next semester/session with remote teaching and learning. We will continue offering classes remotely until state and county guidance indicates we can pivot and bring students back to our campuses, at which point we will begin the process of reintroducing in-person and hybrid experiences with all necessary safety protocols.
While the U of R School of Business, School of Education, and Graduate School of Theology have been providing classes in a virtual format over the summer, we had announced plans to offer College of Arts and Sciences fall coursework in a mix of modalities—in person, online, and hybrid (using both methods)—in order to offer a variety of choices to meet the needs of students and faculty. We were also planning to open the Redlands campus residential communities (with measures to limit density) for College students to live on campus. And the Graduate School of Theology had tentative plans to offer some in-person classes on the Marin campus in the fall. Unfortunately, given the course of the pandemic, these options are no longer possible for the beginning of the fall semester.
We realize this is disappointing news for many, and we share in the disappointment of diminished opportunities for in-person contact in the coming months. However, as we prioritize our community’s health and safety, we continue to work to fulfill our mission to provide an engaging and personal education to all of our students. As one example of how we are balancing these priorities, several faculty members will provide virtual small-group discussions during class to facilitate student interaction and encourage deeper learning of course material.
While some details about the fall are still being worked out, we can clarify the following items.
The previously announced changes to the College of Arts and Sciences academic calendar will remain in place, with the fall semester’s instruction beginning on Wednesday, August 26 and ending on Monday, November 30. The academic calendars of the School of Business, School of Education, and Graduate School of Theology will also remain as previously announced.
No matter the modality in which they are teaching—online, in-person, or hybrid—U of R professors across the University are working hard to offer an engaging and personalized education. Faculty members remain committed to developing meaningful connections within and outside of classes. In contrast to the spring semester, faculty have had time to plan ahead and adapt their teaching to approaches tailored to a virtual format. Throughout the summer, faculty have researched and participated in workshops on the best practices for online teaching and learning. Also, the University has had the opportunity to invest in enhanced technology to help ensure students have a high-quality experience. This includes upgrading on-campus classrooms that faculty can use to provide instruction using fast, stable internet connections, as well as ensuring technology assistants are available to help if connection or software difficulties arise.
If you are a student who has unmet needs related to the technology required to support virtual learning, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Options include short-term loans of laptops and portable “hot-spot” wi-fi devices.
As above, Information Technology Services will remain available to assist students, faculty, and staff in need of technology support.
The Office of Academic Success and Disability Services will continue to work remotely.
The Office of Career and Professional Development remains open and has transitioned all of its offerings to an online format.
The Office for Campus Diversity and Inclusion and Native Student Programs will remain active in planning programming and events.
The Counseling Center will resume services via video platform and phone to all registered U of R students starting Wednesday, August 26. In the meantime, students with counseling emergencies should call the 24/7 crisis line at 909-748-8960. The Counseling Center also encourages students to reach out to care providers they have worked with in the past or who are near their home, as they may be offering virtual therapy and can help prevent gaps in care. If you are a student having difficulty finding a community mental health provider, please reach out via email to Counseling Center Director Matt Gragg, at email@example.com. If you know a student who needs help, please also encourage the student to connect with the Counseling Center.
The Armacost Library, Registrar’s Office, and Center for Spatial Studies all continue to provide services remotely to students and faculty.
We anticipate that state guidelines will require undergraduate residential communities to remain closed at this time. Limited exceptions may be possible, for example for continuing international students and students who have already been identified as housing insecure. Students with a significant need to reside on campus can complete the Housing Exception Request form located on the MyRedlands Housing Portal under Applications and Forms.
Residence Life and Housing will communicate instructions for arranging a return to housing when that becomes possible. Those students who received off campus approval by “temporary suspension of the residential requirement” maintain their status for the duration of the 2020–21 academic year.
Because graduate housing units, including on the Marin campus, are apartments for family dwelling (rather than residence halls), no changes are anticipated.
As recently announced by the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), SCIAC presidents and athletic directors have reluctantly, but unanimously, agreed to cancel conference competition for high-contact sports (as defined by the National Collegiate Athletic Association) in the fall semester even with the chance we might be in residence; the affected sports teams include football, volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s water polo, and men’s and women’s basketball. If the state enters Stage 3 of its reopening plan, SCIAC will consider opportunities for conference competition in low and medium contact risk sports including men's and women's cross country, tennis, golf, and swimming and diving. Additional information about the Bulldog student-athlete experience may be found in the FAQs at https://goredlands.com/Inside_Athletics/Current_Student_Athletes/FAQ-COVID19.
Tuition will remain the same. While the modality of instruction will be different for many of our students this fall, students can expect a deeply personalized educational experience from our faculty. The University has invested in technology to improve the delivery of instruction and our faculty has invested great energy in preparing for adapted modalities.
Student Financial Services is working to update bills for College of Arts and Sciences students to remove charges for housing and meal plans; updated bills should be available by Thursday, July 30 and are due Monday, August 10. In recognition of the changes caused by coronavirus to the fall 2020 campus experience, the Associated Students of the University of Redlands (ASUR) student government has removed the fee of $175 for the fall. All existing payment plans for fall 2020 will be automatically updated to reflect these changes and future payments will be reduced. Fall 2020 payments for room and meal plans will be refunded to the student. Billing due dates remain the same.
Students in the College of Arts and Sciences who had planned to live in the residence halls and received financial assistance in the form of an “on campus grant” will retain this grant for the fall semester. In some limited cases, scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance will require adjustments; those students will be notified individually.
Tuition and fees for School of Business, School of Education, School of Continuing Studies, and Graduate School of Theology will continue to be processed under the existing timeline. Students should reference Self-Service Student Finance for details related to their individual accounts.
In a remote learning environment, available student employment positions will be limited to those performing essential functions, including direct support of an academic need (for example, classroom technology assistants and tutors). Given the limitations of paying employees outside the State of California and the limited number of available positions, employment possibilities will also be evaluated on the ability of the job to be performed remotely, state tax obligation, and a student’s demonstrated financial need.
In recognition of the financial strain limited work opportunities may cause our students, the University of Redlands has transitioned some Federal Work Award funds into Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) funds. Pell Grant recipients who previously relied on work opportunities to support their education will be awarded additional FSEOG funds as an offset. Affected students will be notified by Student Financial Services when their award has been adjusted.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected the finances of many households; if you are a student who has had a change in financial circumstances, please complete a Special Circumstance Appeal or reach out to Student Financial Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, the University of Redlands received funding to assist students through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by the U.S. Congress on March 27. After the initial distribution of this funding to help students through the spring and summer disruption of campus, U of R continues to allocate these funds to students through direct grants to support technology upgrades, transportation, food, or housing. For more information about U of R CARES funds, see https://www.redlands.edu/caresact/; students can apply at https://admissions.redlands.edu/register/CARES.
Over the next week, deans from the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, and Graduate School of Theology will reach out to provide additional information on the upcoming semester/session. Several virtual town hall meetings are also planned to help answer questions; details will be announced as soon as they are available.