Final decisions about which fall 2021 classes will be in-person are at least several weeks away. But with May registration for fall classes looming, an Instructional Continuity working group has released a roadmap for what fall 2021 will look like.
A March 2 letter from Interim Provost Thomas Smith said UCR’s strategy is a return to 75-80% in-person instruction, with department chairs responsible for determining which courses will be in-person and which will be remote.
That follows the direction of UC President Michael V. Drake, who previously said instruction will be primarily in-person for fall 2021. But in making the announcement, Drake left it to the UCs 10 campuses to work out the logistics.
The working group relied on a wide-reaching survey of students and faculty before releasing its direction to department chairs and the rest of the campus community.
In the survey, most faculty and students favored a default to remote learning for large, lecture-style classes. Faculty and students surveyed were split on remote vs. in-person options for smaller classes. By about a two-to-one margin, all favored a return to in-person instruction for classes such as labs and studios.
Smith said that it will be easier to revert to remote learning from in-person than to revert from remote to in-person, a sentiment echoed by the Instructional Continuity group, which includes faculty, staff including representatives from admissions and the registrar's office, and students.
“We’re all looking forward to getting back to campus,” Smith said. “But UCR won’t suddenly slam the brakes on all remote learning and return exclusively to an in-person model. We’re viewing fall as a transition quarter and planning for some remote instruction to help faculty and students who are not quite ready for a full return to campus.”
Among the variables the Instructional Continuity group will continue monitoring in the coming months are the status of vaccine distribution; active COVID-19 cases and progress toward herd immunity; student housing logistics; and K-12 considerations for students and faculty with children.