This message was sent to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences community from Dean Burgmayer on July 6, 2020.
Greetings to each of you,
"It's surreal." That is often how I have heard folks refer to this unexpected and unprecedented way our lives have been affected by COVID-19.
I know that for many of you, this has been an extraordinarily stressful period full of uncertainties. For all of us, the adjustments we've made in this pandemic have often not been pleasant and have carried disappointments. But I do believe if we proceed with care for each other, we'll make it through.
Those of us in the Administration have spent hours over the past months trying to determine how classes will resume and what life will be like back on campus this coming fall semester. This letter is to provide you with current information on both topics.
Fall semester schedule. You have already received information from President Cassidy concerning the fall semester schedule:
On-campus classes will resume on Tuesday, September 8 through November 20, with a one week break during Thanksgiving week November: 23-27, and concluding with two weeks of remote classes from November 30 to December 11. Final exams will also take place remotely. Undergraduate students will depart campus during the Thanksgiving recess and return when the spring semester begins in 2021.
Fall course formats. While the College will open with in-person classes, some faculty and students may be uncomfortable returning in person due to health concerns. For this reason, many courses are being offered remotely allowing students to take courses from home. Most graduate seminars will be offered in-person, often using a 'hybrid' mode to allow remote students to enroll. Please see the attached document listing all graduate courses available for fall 2020, including the mode of delivery and where the preferred days and times of instruction are noted. You should be in contact with the Graduate Director in your program to discuss any questions you might have concerning your course selection.
Open Registration. Due to the need to promote social distancing in classrooms and buildings, the College course schedule has been redesigned by the Registrar in consultation with the faculty. You can see effects of this reconfigured schedule on the attached list, where classes meeting twice each week may be taught on either Monday/Thursday, Tuesday/Friday or Wednesday/Saturday. There will be an open registration period in mid-July when you can review or change your course registration.
International Students need to be mindful of specific regulations regarding their student visas. Though regulations may change by September, there are federal restrictions regarding remote and distance learning that pertain to all students with F-1 visa whether inside or outside the U.S. There are also travel restrictions in place from various countries to the U.S. While the current conditions and restrictions are subject to change, you should be guided by current rules in choosing your courses. All international students are urged to to be in contact with the graduate director in their program and to consider pertinent information.
Health and safety on campus:
The fall campus re-opening is the result of considerable planning. This included an analysis of facilities to assure that offices, classrooms, laboratories, and other spaces meet health standards for air filtering, ventilation, cleaning, and social distancing. Consultation with a team of medical and public health experts guided the development of protocols for COVID-19 testing and quarantine to prioritize health and safety. Detailed information about these plans and the College expectations for students, faculty and staff will be shared with the community in the coming weeks as the plan is finalized.
To ensure the health and well being of each member of the BMC community, all students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the Bryn Mawr campus will be asked sign a Community On-Campus Agreement to abide by the following COVID-19 health and safety personal behaviors:
- Check for possible COVID-19 symptoms daily
- Stay home from school or work if you become aware of any symptoms or feel sick
- Wear a mask anytime you are around other people, including:
- in a classroom or office
- in the library
- when traveling around campus
- in communal restrooms
- Keep a distance of at least six feet from other people
- Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer
- Practice safe sneeze and cough etiquette
For your information only, spaces on campus have been set aside for undergraduate students who become sick or test positive for COVID-19 so they can be monitored by our Health and Wellness Center staff in isolation.
The College will continue to examine every aspect of our operations to assure that our educational and business practices prevent virus transmission. A successful and healthy semester will be achieved only if every individual takes responsibility for their health and the health of others by observing the Community Agreement. Individuals who do not adhere to these requirements may be required to leave campus.
Those students who will be teaching assistants this fall should contact the professor whom they are assisting with questions or concerns about their role as TA. You may direct any general concerns to me by email, and please copy Maria Dantis.
I look forward to seeing you in the fall, as Maria and I have really missed being on campus with you!
Stay safe, be well.
Sharon J. Nieter Burgmayer
W. Alton Jones Professor of Chemistry and Dean of Graduate Studies