Nearly all of UMass Amherst’s courses will be online this fall amid coronavirus

University of Massachusetts Amherst students will have the option of living on campus or at home as nearly all of the university’s courses will be taught remotely this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, the state’s flagship campus announced on Monday.

“Students who choose to attend UMass Amherst do so not only for the quality of the faculty and the academic programs, but also for the immersive experience, which offers opportunities for enrichment that can be undertaken with a diverse group of peers,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in a statement.

“As best we can — and there are severe limitations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — we will strive to sustain the community connections that represent UMass at its best,” the chancellor added.

Subbaswamy said, “It is important to understand that life on campus will not be anything resembling normal college life.”

Students on campus will be required to follow strict physical distancing, wear face coverings outside personal living spaces, limit social contacts to a minimal number of people per day and refrain from allowing guests in residence halls.

They will also have to get tested for coronavirus on demand, follow daily self-monitoring and reporting, assist with contact tracing, and limit travel away from campus for work and/or emergencies only.

A majority of the fall curriculum will be fully remote, with only essential labs, studios, performance and hands-on courses offered in-person. Some students who live on campus may have a fully remote curriculum.

Classroom capacities will be limited to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Course schedules will be adjusted to increase time between classes to reduce interactive foot traffic on campus, and provide time for increased cleaning of lab and classroom spaces.

Also on Monday, Williams College announced that it plans to have a combination of in-person and remote classes this fall. Students can choose to return to campus, study remotely, or take a leave/gap year.

“Faculty have been working hard to prepare for the fall — a challenging task, given the pandemic and the difficulty of developing ‘hybrid’ courses that blend in-person and remote instruction,” President Maud Mandel wrote to the campus community. “Thanks to their work, however, students who opt to study remotely will still have full access to our courses, although not necessarily all sections.

“Indeed, a significant percentage of courses will be entirely remote even for students on campus, so that we can manage class sizes, ensure social distancing and meet the needs of faculty and staff who must remain off-campus for their own safety,” Mandel wrote. “It’s possible that a student living on campus could even have all of their courses be remote, depending on their choices.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *