July 17, 2020
Dear Members of the Hobart and William Smith College Community,
With the fall semester fast approaching, we are in the final stages of preparation for fall reopening. Given the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have modified the structure of the semester and aspects of campus life to ensure that classes can proceed safely and effectively. We are thankful to the members of our community who provided feedback on our draft plan. While the core structure of the plan remains the same, many of your suggestions are reflected in the final plan and your requests for clarification make up the bulk of the frequently asked questions. With this plan, we remain committed to providing a safe environment for our students, faculty and staff that also allows us to deliver what we firmly believe is the most effective path for higher education – the residential living and learning environment.
Because this is a fluid situation, we will continue to adapt our opening plan as conditions suggest and invite feedback throughout the semester to the Fall2020@hws.edu email address. We invite you to explore the plan and our FAQs on our Fall 2020 Opening web page, which we will continue to update as necessary.
As you will see on the web page and associated documents, we have assessed campus buildings and planned for physical distancing; integrated in-person, hybrid and remote modes of instruction; worked with local healthcare providers to institute screening and testing; and prepared for contingencies regarding all aspects of campus life. Each person’s situation is different, and we have created a model for learning, teaching and working that affords the greatest amount of flexibility for personal choice in deciding how to participate. As always, the Colleges will work with each student, faculty member and staff member on a one-on-one basis to accommodate any special circumstances as they arise.
The Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs is working with each faculty member to determine the teaching mode of every course offered this fall and the appropriate room assignments. Later today, we expect to post in PeopleSoft an updated course schedule, including room assignments, enrollment limits and modes of instruction for each course. We anticipate that about 55% of courses will be in-person, 25% will be hybrid and 20% will be fully remote. Unlike in the spring, when the pandemic forced us to shift quickly to a remote learning model, should a class be fully remote this fall, it will involve direct student engagement with faculty during its regularly scheduled time slot. The drop-add period for returning students will begin on Monday, July 20 and remain open until the end of the first week of classes, August 28.
As we reopen campus, the health and safety of all faculty, staff and students will be defined by the resolve and discipline of each one of us. Opening for residential education will require cooperation and accountability from all members of our community. Simply stated, the success and safety of our collective HWS community is dependent on the individual dedication of each member of our community. We must expect this from one another.
We look forward to seeing you this fall, which, because of the challenges we will face together, may well be the most enriching and meaningful semester of our students’ academic career as we learn and grow together in the face yet another historic moment in the 198-year history of Hobart and William Smith.
Joyce P. Jacobsen
Provost and Dean of Faculty
Vice President for Campus Life