Dear Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students,

School faculty, staff, and administration have been discussing the evolving plans for coming back to campus for a residential Fall 2020. I want to share what we know about how Fall might play out.

We start by noting that the current thinking and planning are emergent. The Roadmap for Fall 2020 is continuously being revised and expanded as additional information and guidance are received from local, state, and national health experts, as well as from the UNC System and the State of NC. The guiding principles and goals in that Roadmap inform our thinking in the SOE, as well. Below, we share the major points we have considered thus far:

Research

In the next few days, Jill Hamm, associate dean for research and faculty development, will send detailed guidance around research to faculty and staff, who can communicate with their student colleagues as relevant and needed. The general guidance is for faculty and research staff (e.g., post-docs and RAs) to continue to work remotely if they are able to carry out their research activities. Please be on the lookout for detailed guidance.

Some Highlights of Health-Related Community Standards and Measure

  1. Faculty, staff, students, and visitors in Peabody Hall and CCEE should wear masks and observe a 6-foot physical distance throughout their interactions with community members within the buildings (e.g., classrooms, hallways, small gatherings)
  2. Campus is working on procuring masks. As of yet, the plan is to issue individuals one mask per week
  3. Hand sanitizing stations and solutions, as well as sanitizing wipes will be made available for general use. Housekeeping staff will observe enhanced cleaning protocols such as Increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting building surfaces from once a day to four times a day. Surfaces such as stairs, light switches, furniture in corridors, restrooms, elevator, water fountains, and handrails would be included
  4. All meetings should be conducted by Zoom or equivalent technologies. Exceptions include very small meetings where all participants wear masks and can observe the 6-ft physical distance in the meeting space, with the understanding that any person can request to attend a meeting virtually without penalty
  5. Several measures will be taken to reduce people density within Peabody and CCEE
    • The 6-ft physical distance standard will decrease density within classrooms. As a result, it is estimated that classrooms will have 35% student capacity depending on their specific layout and furniture. Classrooms will be arranged and marked to ensure the adopted standard for physical distancing
    • We are in conversation with campus to further reduce building density by differentiated foot traffic flow (e.g., unidirectional flow in certain hallways) and following the campus’s decision to extend the gap between class times to 30 minutes
    • Three classrooms will be made available for teaching graduate courses at CCEE to, again, further decrease density in Peabody

Teaching Modality

  1. Courses with 50+ students will be taught fully online. Please note, the campus does not have and has never had any policy capping enrollment for online education modalities
  2. Courses with less than 50 students
    1. Will be taught via face-to-face or hybrid modality in cases where all students enrolled can be accommodated in their assigned classroom with the physical distancing standard
    2. Will be taught hyflex modality in cases where the assigned classroom cannot accommodate all enrolled students with the physical distancing standard.
    3. See here for more information on these various teaching modalities.
  3. The University is working to upfit many classrooms to be equipped with technologies to support hybrid or hyflex teaching
  4. Given the possible scenarios and the need to plan for off-ramps should the situation require us to leave campus, all courses should have plans for pivoting to online instruction
  5. The campus and our School will provide opportunities for supporting the development of online or hybrid courses during the summer. Online resources will continue to be added to the Keep Teaching website (see here) and we are working to fund additional slots for the two-week intensive training course Jeff Greene advertised to faculty previously. The SOE’s application for that training course has been submitted.

If you have any questions about teaching, please reach out to Jeff Greene, associate dean for academic affairs.

Accommodations for Instructors, Graduate Teaching Fellows, and Teaching Assistants

  1. If you have personal health related factors that put you at higher risk for COVID-19 and you would like to seek an accommodation, please initiate the Equal Opportunity and Compliance (EOC) process. Please note that an expedited and streamlined campus EOC process has been instituted for this purpose. Please click here for details. Also please recall that no health information will be shared with anyone in the School of Education as part of this process
  2. If you have other non-personal health related risks (e.g., providing care to an individual who is at high risk) or other concerns that might entail accommodations, please touch base with Catherine Vorick, our HR Director, at cvorick@unc.edu as soon as possible
  3. Teaching Assistants and Graduate Teaching Fellows are eligible to seek the same accommodations as faculty. Faculty who supervise TAs or GTFs who receive accommodations will be notified of the accommodation (but not the reason for the accommodation) as soon as possible so they can plan accordingly.
  4. If you are planning to submit for accommodations, we ask you submit that request no later than Wednesday, June 17, 2020. Accommodations will have implications for course scheduling and room assignment, which we need to address as soon as possible. Our apologies for the short timeframe; we just recently were made aware of the timeline for addressing and inputting course schedule changes due to accommodations.

We understand that you might have additional questions, clarifications, and/or concerns. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Finally, please recall that the situation continues to be fluid and that additional information and guidance continue to be provided to us. We will keep you posted.

Stay well, stay safe,

Fouad