For the fall 2020 semester, we will be modifying our approach to classroom teaching to offer two primary modalities: all online; and in-person, with remote accessibility into the classroom for students who are off-campus (national or international) or in quarantine. Faculty also will have the option of embracing a hybrid approach where some elements of a course are delivered online and others in-person, or where student cohorts take turns participating remotely versus in-person. Students will be provided with information in advance about the modality of each class and can use that information in selecting their courses.
Modifications to Academic Activities: Undergraduate Students
Will all classes be available to me regardless of where I live (in Ithaca, domestic, international)?
Yes. When the revised course roster is published, it will indicate the “modality” of a course. Online courses are courses in which all students and instructors will interact virtually. In-person courses will meet in person on campus but will provide remote access into the classroom for students who are off-campus or are in Ithaca but in quarantine/isolation.
Please note: We anticipate that there could be a small subset of hands-on courses that require access to special facilities or materials for which a full remote option may not be possible (except short-term accommodations for students who are in quarantine/isolation but otherwise able to participate in the course in-person).
Can students opt to participate in all of their Fall courses remotely, from outside of Ithaca, but return to Ithaca for in-person instruction in the spring?
Yes, students can do this. All we ask is that students share up to date information with the university about the location from which they participate in courses so we can ensure that all students in Ithaca are included in our viral testing program.
Can I move back to Ithaca and take all online classes?
Yes, this is possible. However, for public health reasons you will be expected to register your presence in Ithaca and local address with the university even if you are taking all of your courses online so that you are included in the university’s testing program, receive communications tailored to Ithaca residents, and can be given access to campus facilities (provided you complete all required elements of the re-entry checklist).
If I return to Ithaca but enroll only in online/remote classes, will I have access to campus facilities?
Yes, as long as the university is aware that you are in Ithaca, you have completed items on the re-entry checklist, and you agree to the new student behavioral compact (which includes new behavioral requirements related to wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing, participating in the university’s testing, and public health restrictions on social activities).
Who decides what classes are offered in what format?
There are many factors that will influence which classes are ultimately offered in-person (with remote access) versus online. They include: instructor preferences (including TAs), course learning goals, course size, classroom availability (which will be constrained due to the need to ensure 6’ distancing between students), and the need for hands-on instruction.
Will I be able to choose each day if I want to attend my classes in person or online?
The way students participate in courses (in-person versus online) will depend on the modality of the course, which will be indicated in the revised course roster. Classes will be taught either all online, in-person (with remote accessibility for students residing outside of Ithaca or in quarantine), or a hybrid approach of on-line and in-person as determined by the instructor. Students will be expected to participate in a way that is consistent with the modality of the course in which they enrolled.
Will students be able to (or expected to) continue with their studies even while in quarantine/isolation?
In most cases, we expect that the answer will be yes. Many individuals who are quarantined because they have been identified as a close contact of an individual who has tested positive do not develop symptoms, and similarly some people who are isolated because they have tested positive remain asymptomatic. Other individuals who have tested positive experience a range of symptoms. Cornell Health staff will monitor the symptoms of students who have been quarantined/isolated.
Provided students feel well, the expectation is that they continue with their studies so that they do not fall behind. Not only will online courses be accessible from anywhere, in-person courses will also provide remote access into the classroom for students who are in quarantine/isolation to that they can keep up with their coursework.
Faculty have been advised to plan ahead to support students who are unable to attend in-person classes for 14 days, including hands-on lab, studio and performance classes.
Will the course drop, withdraw, and grade option change deadlines be the last day of classes, as it was last semester?
As is the case with peer institutions across the country, regular grading and enrollment policies will be reinstated for Fall 2020. Students will be able to see the modality and grading options for each course when they enroll so that they can choose courses that are best suited for their needs and circumstances.
When will pre-enrollment occur?
The Fall 2020 course roster is being revised based on the complex interplay of faculty and TA preferences for instructional modality and new course scheduling and classroom assignments. Revised layouts are currently being drawn for ~2,000 classrooms on campus to calculate their revised occupancy after accounting for 6’ distancing between students. These revised enrollment caps must be established before students can enroll in classes! Our goal is to finish revising the roster by the end of July, with pre-enrollment to follow soon thereafter. We will keep you updated.
Please keep in mind that in order to be eligible to pre-enroll, students will be required to register their intended address/residence for the fall, and students who intend to take classes from Ithaca will need to agree to the behavioral compact.
How will classrooms, studios, and labs be modified to ensure physical distancing?
Classrooms, teaching labs, studios, and other academic use spaces will be de-densified according to NYS and Tompkins County Health Department guidelines. In classrooms, students will have assigned seats that are at least six-feet apart, and to every extent possible, faculty will remain further than 6’ from the first row of students. Both instructors and students will be required to wear face coverings in class. In labs and makers spaces where the norm is for students to move around the room as they interact with equipment, modified workflows and protocols will be in place to facilitate physical distancing.
What are semi-finals?
The best way to think about this is as you would the exam period we normally have after the last day of instruction. The only difference is that we’ve moved it a few weeks earlier so that in-person exams can take place before students leave for Thanksgiving and transition to online instruction from home. There would be no classes during this period. As is the case during the ordinary final exam period, classes that do not give one of these semi-final exams can have assignment deadlines during this period.
What spaces on campus will be available to me for quiet study?
We are hoping to find campus facilities in which we can set up study spaces with sufficient six-feet of distancing. Details to follow.
Will my transcript reflect whether my class was in-person or online?
No. Transcripts only indicate the course numbers and titles, course credits, and grade earned.
What happens if my instructor goes into quarantine or isolation?
Faculty are being asked to develop a back-up plan for such situations, which could include some combination of teaching remotely, having a colleague take over their course, switching to remote delivery (for instructors of in-person courses), or having students work on assignments or projects in their absence.
Will advisors be available to meet with me in person even though they are predominantly working remotely?
Because de-densification of campus will continue to be important, some faculty and staff will work remotely while others will come to campus to interact with students in person. We expect that there will be a mix of in-person and virtual meeting options (via Zoom) in most offices.
If I was unable to finish my spring 2020 courses, can I use the summer to catch up?
Students who need more time to complete their spring 2020 courses may ask their faculty for an incomplete (INC). Reasons for requesting an INC must be acceptable to the instructor, who will then establish specific makeup requirements. Policies related to the amount of time students have to complete INC courses, and the consequences of failing to complete remaining coursework within the time permitted, are determined by the student’s college of registry. Students are encouraged to check with their college advising office if they have questions.
Graduating seniors need to resolve any INC courses by June 9 in order to make the deadline for a spring 2020 degree date, and by August 17 to make the deadline for a summer 2020 degree date.
I received a reminder that the deadline for completing a previous incomplete was during the spring semester. Will I be able to get an extension?
Yes. The deadline for completing courses in which students have an INC grade has been extended to August 17.
How will spring 2020 grades impact decisions related to academic warnings/probation and dismissal?
Choices at individual colleges may vary, so please check with your college registrar. The recommended and most likely practice is as follows:
Students who were unable to show the expected improvement during spring 2020 as required, but whose performance also didn’t get worse, will remain in the status they had at the beginning of the term, whether warning or probation. Any grade of S will be counted as a positive step, even if the original expectation and goal was a letter grade of A or B.
Students whose measured performance and progress worsens will have another round of academic review before they would have any change in status.
Students who have been expected to resolve previous INC grades should still plan to resolve the INC or to show progress and continuing support from their instructor.
I plan to graduate in August 2020 and have not completed my swim test or my PE requirement. Will I be able to graduate?
Yes, given the circumstances, you will receive a waiver.