An update on fall 2020
We hope that you, your family and your loved ones are healthy and well and enjoying the summer. As promised, we write today with an update about plans for the upcoming fall semester, which begins on Monday, August 17.
Albright’s college-wide Pandemic Planning Task Force (PPTF), which originally formed during the avian flu in 2008, has been meeting twice weekly since January, continually monitoring and carefully reviewing the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and from Pennsylvania State health officials. With the health and safety of Albright’s community at the forefront, the PPTF and its sub-committees, which are comprised of faculty, staff and students, have been working to develop flexible plans for the fall semester.
The goal has been to create a path forward which prioritizes the health of our community, maintains flexibility and delivers an exceptional education to our students. We are grateful to the many faculty, staff, and students who have dedicated themselves to develop a plan which meets our goal, and which also aligns with a pandemic and guidelines that evolve at an amazing rate. As we begin to implement this plan as a Pride of Lions, we will all need to roar together in order to truly be successful this fall.
Following is information about Albright’s staged return for employees, revised academic schedule for fall 2020, as well as details about housing, dining, athletics and important health and cleaning protocols. Additional details and other information such as personal protective equipment, off-campus experiences, events, bookstore and mailroom operations, and much more may be found on the Return to Campus webpage on the Albright website. This webpage will be updated regularly so please check back often.
Employees Staged Return to Campus
Since March, the number of employees working on campus has been limited to emergency essential personnel only while Berks County remained in red phase. As the county moved from red to yellow phase, all custodial, maintenance and grounds crew members returned to full-time campus work on Monday, June 8 — allowing for the readying of our residence halls, facilities and grounds for our early August start.
As Berks County enters the green phase of the state’s reopening plan, a staged return to campus is being initiated. This staged plan, which will begin on Monday, July 6, enables the college to bring back various groups of employees at different intervals, ensuring strict adherence to social distancing and sanitizing guidelines. Yesterday, this first group and other leaders met with some members of the Pandemic Response team to discuss requirements and answer questions. Supervisors in each area will be communicating with staff members regarding this staged plan. A teleworking policy is also being developed to provide that option for those who need to work away from campus.
Classes for traditional undergraduate students will be conducted in two, seven and a half week sessions, instead of one 15-week semester. Students will take two classes during each session. Upon successful course completion, students will still earn four course credits over the full fall semester. This plan allows faculty and students to be flexible and creative as we continue to monitor the pandemic and guard against resurgence.
In the residential college program, approximately one third of Albright classes will be held in-person, one third will be fully online, and one third will be a hybrid of on-campus and online experiences. Lab and studio classes in particular will include on-campus components. Taking fewer classes at a time allows students and faculty to focus more deeply on each topic, while also cutting down on the number of people to which students and faculty are regularly exposed.
Classes for our students in the School of Professional Studies will continue online for fall 2020.
For a full academic calendar, please visit www.albright.edu/academic/academic-calendars/.
Course drop/add period for returning students
Returning students will still be registered for the same classes they originally signed up to pursue this fall. However, to accommodate the change to seven and a half week sessions, course sessions and times will be updated and will require review in Self Service.
During the add/drop period in early July, changes may be made in Self Service to resolve conflicts, sessions or replace cancelled courses. Advisors and the registrar’s office will be available to answer questions through this process.
Students will be able to order “to-go” meals from the Student Center Dining Hall via GrubHub, or dine-in with limited seating capacity. In keeping with CDC recommendations, directional signage and floor decals will control flow, and seats will be arranged or removed to encourage social distancing.
Jake’s Place and Peg’s Café will offer mobile order and pick-up only. Condiments will be provided with orders instead of self-serve. Floor graphics will be used for social distancing in Rockland Market.
Albright will be utilizing a “family” housing model in traditional residence halls (the Quad), grouping students with the peers they will naturally contact most often. For instance, incoming student-athletes will be housed by their athletic teammates and other incoming students will be housed with similar peer groups and classmates. This grouping will not be applied to single rooms, affinity housing, apartments, or suite style living, as these areas are for returning students and are generally self-selected based on peer groups. Roommate pairing requests for first-year students will be honored within these peer groupings.
Returning students will continue to be able to select housing, beginning July 7. Specific, phased move-in details will be emailed to all resident-students. Residential policies and procedures are continuously being evaluated to support the well-being of the residential community. Any changes will be communicated prior to students’ arrival to campus in the fall.
Health & Cleaning Protocols
Following CDC guidelines, high traffic campus areas will be sanitized nightly. In addition, sanitizer stations are located at the entrance area of each residence hall, as well as in campus common areas, high traffic areas, and in close proximity to campus bathrooms. Please use hand sanitizer or wash your hands often!
The Pandemic Response Team is developing Community Health Guidelines, which will be shared with everyone in the community when it is ready.
Albright’s athletic directors Rick Ferry and Janice Luck have been meeting regularly with the athletic directors from the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC). To date, a recommendation about fall sports is about to be made to the college presidents and a decision is expected by mid-July. We will inform you of this decision when the MAC makes its announcement.
Throughout this pandemic, the Albright College community has shown an amazing can-do spirit, moving forward and tackling every challenge with resiliency and pride. As the pandemic continues to present uncertainties, we must continue to move forward, providing a balance between campus well-being and flexibility. The plan may be modified, as the pandemic and the guidelines from the CDC and the state continue to evolve. If, later this month, we determine that it is not safe to bring students, faculty and staff back to campus for in-person instruction, the scheduling that has been planned will allow us to quickly pivot to online learning.
We know, because we’ve heard from so many of you — you want to be back in our face-to-face community. We do, too! Our goal is to be back together on campus where all Lions may thrive and roar together. We hope you continue to stay healthy, safe and well, and we look forward to seeing you soon!
Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ’82
President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Karen A. Campbell, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer