March 12, 2021
On March 1, I sent a campus-wide message about our plans for summer and fall teaching. I am writing today to give more details about summer; more about fall will come later.
Summer will be much like the current spring semester, with a significant number of on-campus courses but still a majority of classes taught remotely. All of the current COVID precautions will continue throughout the summer: classroom capacity will remain limited with physical distancing in effect, face coverings will be required, and we will continue with extra cleaning measures and COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.
For Summer B, I have asked deans to try to add more face-to-face classes. In many cases, this will involve dividing courses into two or more sections and using the smaller rooms that are still available. This, of course, requires more instructors. We are able to use some of the university’s share of recently released federal relief funds to cover this extra cost. Many new first-time-in-college students start in Summer B, so I have asked that their courses be prioritized.
Because of the recent wide availability of vaccines for university faculty and staff in Orange County, we will not continue to use the exemptions from face-to-face teaching granted this past fall and spring. I believe that everyone who is able and willing can become fully vaccinated before summer.
Some of you may have limitations due to a medical condition that qualify for an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We will use our usual request process for those cases — namely, if you have a medical condition requiring an accommodation please complete the Reasonable Accommodation Request form and submit it to the Office of Institutional Equity.
For more information about the accommodation request process, please visit the OIE website. Please note that being at increased risk of severe illness related to COVID-19 alone does not qualify for an accommodation under the ADA.
We also will continue to offer more online and remote classes this summer than in typical semesters. Colleges and departments may move a modest number of classes to face-to-face teaching if that is best for students. But they should not make wholesale changes to the posted summer schedule because of the new availability of vaccines.
We are scheduling a more normal fall semester with our typical classroom capacities. Most courses that were face-to-face in fall 2019 should be scheduled to be taught in the same mode this coming fall. More details about our COVID-19 protocols for the fall will be finalized and communicated later.
So far, projections for the virus’ trajectory in the coming months are good, as more people are getting vaccinated and we are seeing fewer cases. As always, if health conditions change, we will be ready to pivot to more remote teaching and operations if needed.
I hope your semester is going well, and that you are beginning to see hope of a return to normality.
Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs