June 17, 2020

UC Riverside announces plan for fall 2020 instruction

Plan calls for default to remote instruction with limited in-person classes

Author: UCR News
June 17, 2020

Fall 2020 instruction at UC Riverside will be primarily remote, with some limited in-person instruction that will also offer remote learning options for students.

Priority for in-person classes will likely be given to graduate courses and undergraduate laboratory and studio courses, which by their nature include fewer students. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, and limitations on medium and large public gatherings, in-person lecture sizes will be limited to 30 students, with other students participating remotely.

“We expect the number of in-person classes to be relatively small, probably no more than 20% of all courses offered,” said interim provost Thomas Smith.

The fall instruction plan is a nuanced one, given the varying circumstances among UCR’s myriad disciplines and course offerings, which traditionally include lectures, discussions, and workshops; laboratory or studio work; research in the field; and internships. The plan encompasses six pages, and is available online. A summary of the fall plan from the chancellor and provost was sent Wednesday to all employees and students.

The decision was recommended by the Instructional Continuity Working Group, which met over the past two months. The group included faculty, academic administrators, staff, and student members, and its plan was developed in close concert with the Academic Senate, among other campus working groups.

“The Instructional Continuity group is just one of several campus committees addressing the variables related to fall quarter,” said Smith, who co-chaired the committee with associate provost Ken Baerenklau. “As the committee weighed our options at this stage of the pandemic, we found there is compelling reason to proceed with care while we await more effective COVID-19 treatments, or a vaccine.”

The plan is predicated on campus being in a COVID-19 Phase 3 mode by fall 2020; it is presently in Phase 2. The campus is following state guidelines in distinguishing the campus operating stages. According to the fall plan, the provost’s office will publish a course proposal form that includes required safety protocols for in-person instruction.

Specifics about fall quarter classes will be posted in the UCR Banner Student Information System this summer. Plans for winter and spring quarters will be announced about three months prior to the start of each term.

“We will to continue to watch COVID-19-related developments closely as we step toward an eventual full return to campus,” Smith said. “Front-of-mind is the safety of our students and employees.”

Campus housing will be available for fall quarter, though its density among occupants will be lower. UCR Housing Services will contact students interested in on-campus housing once more details are available.  

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