Fall Reopening Update
President Woodward sent the following message on May 30.
As we ready to turn the page on another month, my thoughts continue to be with you and your family. I hope this update gives us all something to look forward to.
As we approached the end of the spring semester, I communicated with you about the comprehensive planning teams that are working diligently on our fall 2020 scenario planning. While that work continues, the messages I have received from so many of you over the last several weeks have been strong and very clear. Our students are eager to continue their education at the University of Hartford in the fall—in person and on campus. Faculty and staff are equally determined to safely resume in-person teaching, learning, and residential life for the fall 2020 semester, being ever mindful of the need to protect the health and safety of our community.
The summer months will allow us necessary time to develop robust and specific plans for the creation of a blended approach to learning in multiple formats, thoroughly meeting the needs of our students, faculty, course types, and program curricula. UHart is well-positioned to meet health requirements and to implement best safety practices for our community due to our small class sizes; personalized support; and the variety of classroom, residential, and dining facilities across our 350-acre campus. Hartford HealthCare, one of Connecticut’s largest health-care systems and our on-campus student health provider, continues to assist us in putting in place the staffing, tests, and equipment necessary for our fall opening.
As all of these pieces come together toward welcoming you back to school safely in the fall, we are innovating every part of the UHart experience—from the academic calendar to residential living—to provide options and access for the best and safest possible combination of on-campus and high-quality remote teaching. We will soon provide further details about health screening and specifics on any possible housing changes within our residential facilities.
For now, please note the following important changes to the academic calendar for the fall 2020 semester. Our plans and schedule, of course, are dependent on the ongoing guidance from the state of Connecticut and public health officials.
- Saturday, Aug. 15–Sunday, Aug. 23: The University will offer an early drop-off period during the week leading up to the start of the semester for residential students who can easily travel to campus. This will be a same-day, in-and-out process to drop off belongings in rooms and return home without an overnight stay. Similar to our ongoing move-out process, advance sign-up will be required for preset time slots. This will allow us to accommodate testing requirements, maintain social distancing recommendations, and minimize traffic.
- Monday, Aug. 24–Wednesday, Aug. 26: Students begin living in residence halls, with arrivals scheduled on a staggered basis. The early drop-off of belongings by as many students as possible will help to accelerate this process.
- Wednesday, Aug. 26: Instruction begins for all students. Online instruction may be utilized during the first week to allow for move-in and the administration of state-required COVID testing of all students upon their return. Please note, some academic programs may begin in-classroom instruction prior to Aug. 26, per Connecticut state guidelines for graduate and select student populations. Information will be provided directly to these groups.
- Monday, Sept. 7: Classes will be held on Labor Day.
- Tuesday, Nov. 24: On-campus classes conclude at the end of the day. Students depart for Thanksgiving break and will not return to campus until Jan. 17, after winter break. This schedule reduces the risks of virus spread during flu season; allows for a thorough cleaning of all campus facilities; and limits the possibility of students, faculty, and staff returning to campus after potentially being exposed to the virus during travel over the Thanksgiving break. We recognize this change means less time for students in our residential and dining facilities. As a result, we will proactively reduce room and board costs by two weeks. Revised bills for residential students will reflect this reduction.
- Monday, Nov. 30–Tuesday, Dec. 15: Fall classes, review sessions, office hours, reading days, and final exams will be completed remotely. We recognize that Commencement is Dec. 15, and we will work with all graduating students requiring accommodations.
- Winterterm and Spring 2021: Winterterm will be fully online this winter, and will begin on Saturday, Dec. 26, and end on Friday, Jan. 15. The spring 2021 semester will begin as planned on Wednesday, Jan. 20, with residence halls reopening on Sunday, Jan. 17.
The University of Hartford has demonstrated the strength of our institution and the resilience of our community during this crisis. We have taken a phased approach to a complex and evolving situation, being thoughtful and informed in our analysis and decision making. Above all, we are working together to act in the best interest of the safety and well-being of our entire campus community, while delivering an excellent and student-centered educational experience. Please know that our dedication to these priorities remains the same as we prepare to welcome you back to the University of Hartford in August.
I will share additional details as we move forward together. Updates will also be provided at hartford.edu/fall-opening.