From the President: Plans for welcoming students back to our campuses

June 5, 2020

To:  Faculty, staff, administrators, students
From:  President Ralph W. Kuncl and the President’s Cabinet
Subject:  Plans for welcoming students back to our campuses

We have been confronting extraordinary circumstances with the closure of our campuses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The University has not had to take such measures for more than 100 years, since the influenza pandemic of I918.

Based on current projections from public health authorities, we are planning for our campuses to be open in the fall.  What will that look like?  We are beginning to have some answers to guide you going forward.

The undergraduate, residential, and community-based nature of the College of Arts and Sciences makes the return of these students to the Redlands campus our most complex undertaking.  Here are some key elements of our approach.

  • Classes: The College will offer a range of classes, including those that are in person, online, and hybrid (using both in-person and online modalities).  This range of choices for students and faculty reflects our desire to respond to our community’s expectations for engagement, while also recognizing solutions to potential health concerns.  Dean Kendrick Brown will be providing additional background and details to College faculty, staff, and students.

  • Fall Schedule:  To limit the amount of travel that could heighten public health risks, we are changing the College’s academic calendar for the fall, moving it up two weeks to start Wednesday, August 26 and ending in-person classes by Thanksgiving.  The last two days of the semester, Tuesday, November 24 and Monday, November 30, will be online.  We recognize this is a large undertaking, and thank all involved in advance for all the effort this change will entail. Decisions on the spring semester will be made at a later date.

  • Residence Halls:  While monitoring federal and state guidance on residential campuses, we are currently planning for College students to have a choice between double and single rooms; no more than two students will be housed in one room.  Some double rooms will be single occupancy to limit the number of people sharing one bathroom.  Some spaces on campus will be taken offline to preserve dedicated rooms in case spaces for isolation or quarantine are needed.  College students will receive housing selection information by Monday, June 15.  

  • Meal Service:  Student Affairs continues to work with Harvest Table Culinary Group (HTCG) leadership to develop a dining experience that will manage risk while providing a positive dining experience.  HTCG will offer its signature healthy options via grab-and-go packages, Grub Hub, and expanded pick up locations.  While social distancing will limit the capacity of all indoor venues, outdoor seating will be added across campus, and lawn chairs for social distanced meals with friends are encouraged! 

We know there are many details to work out as we go forward, including orientation events and student life activities, but our hope is that these overarching guidelines help facilitate planning to serve our students in the coming months.

The School of Business, School of Education, and Graduate School of Theology will announce details of their plans for their next semesters at a later date, guided by pertinent local public health authorities at their various campuses as well as the needs of specific programs.

Faculty, staff, and administrators should look out for an additional memo about return to on-site work that outlines safety protocols and Human Resources policies and procedures.  For more information, see the COVID-19 FAQ webpage.