From the Provost's Desk
Finalizing and communicating fall 2020 academic schedule and promoting face mask usage
July 16, 2020
Dear K-State community,
Since my last message on July 7, much progress has been made on planning for academic instruction in the fall. We are reaching a critical point in the planning when information, guidance and decisions are coming together and we want to communicate what to expect over the next few weeks related to academic instruction.
We have previously shared a number of initiatives that are underway to help facilitate flexible, innovative and safe learning environments.
- Classroom assessment and planning to address physical distancing requirements, ventilation issues and technology upgrades is nearing completion, as well as formalizing the details of the practices to promote health and wellness in the classroom.
- Efforts are underway to de-densify all classrooms and instructional spaces by establishing limits for in-person classes, offering online or blended/hybrid formats courses, and prioritizing in-person classes for those where face-to-face instruction is maximally effective such as labs, performance courses and clinical instruction.
- Faculty, departments and colleges are in the final stages of determining how to best offer students robust and innovative teaching and learning experiences. Important information about the teaching format — in-person, online, or blended/hybrid — has been compiled.
Inevitably, these efforts are leading to changes in academic schedules, including teaching format, room assignments and class times. We recognize that these changes will feel disruptive and require a great deal of flexibility on the part of students, faculty and staff. These changes have not been taken lightly and we continue to use the following principles to guide our academic instruction decision making for fall:
- Continue to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, GTAs, staff and our communities.
- Maintain high-quality learning environments for our students.
- Balance the needs of students and faculty/GTAs.
- Be adaptable to respond to changing conditions related to COVID-19.
An important next step is finalizing the academic schedule, communicating changes to students and providing advice and support in adjusting schedules, if needed. In the coming weeks the following will happen:
- Revisions will be made to the fall academic schedule in KSIS between now and Aug. 3.
- During this schedule adjustment period, students may see changes in their fall semester course schedule.
- Changes will not be finalized until Aug. 3. Students should wait to make changes to their schedule until they receive notification that the schedule adjustments are complete.
- Students who have already enrolled in fall courses will be notified by Aug. 3 that the changes are complete.
- Students will then have the opportunity to visit with their academic advisors and make any course adjustments, if necessary, and pending availability of courses.
Many of you have also asked questions about how the university will support the requirement to wear face coverings. There are a number of initiatives designed to educate and inform students, faculty, staff and visitors about the requirement. Signage will be posted with a centralized way to order consistent, branded signage from University Printing. The comprehensive personal wellness campaign, Every Wildcat a Wellcat, and pledge prominently feature reinforcement of wearing of face coverings as a critical element to help protect our communities. A team is working to revise the mandatory training for students and employees with plans to have the training available in early August. The university has also added a number of FAQ about the process of enforcing the policy and guidance for individuals in how to address someone who is not wearing a face covering. A mandatory statement will be included on each course syllabus. A resource will be made available to serve as a script for individuals who may need to inform someone of the face coverings policy. All of these efforts are designed to support the requirement to wear a face covering, which I am viewing as a cornerstone of our health and wellness initiatives to help keep our communities safe and our campuses open for in-person activities.
I want to offer my appreciation to the many groups who are working tirelessly to advance our academic instruction planning for the fall. And, to our faculty, staff and students, thank you for your patience while we gather information, consult with experts, develop guidance and make decisions to support the health and wellness of our communities. Continue to visit the K-State COVID-19 website for information and updates. You can find the most current information regarding academic instruction under Guidance and FAQ.
Please take care of yourself and each other.
Provost and executive vice president