+ Academics – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
Spring 2021 Opening


When will the list of classes and associated modes of instruction be published and where?

All courses and modes of instruction have been published on PeopleSoft.

Once a FDA-approved vaccine has been administered to faculty, staff and students, will classes that started as hybrid or remote stay in those modes of instruction?

No. Shortly after the campus community has received the recommended vaccine dose or doses, all courses and student programming will move to an in-person model.

What’s the difference between in-person, hybrid and remote modes of instruction?

  • In-person classes are those that follow a traditional model of instruction, with instructors and students meeting in an assigned classroom at the time designated in the course schedule.
  • Remote classes are taught virtually, with instructors and students connecting through video (i.e., Zoom) or other direct engagement technologies (chat rooms, discussion boards). Students will not be assigned a classroom for remote courses but will access them through computers or other devices.
  • Hybrid courses are courses that have both in-person and remote components, facilitating necessary de-densification and social distancing. The in-person component involves students meeting with the instructor in an assigned classroom at the designated class time. The nature of the in-person component can vary (i.e., alternating meetings with a percentage of the entire class, simultaneous remote and in-person classes). The remote component of a hybrid class can also vary, ranging from asynchronous lectures to remote participation in an in-person class. The precise nature of the in-person and remote components will be determined by instructors.

Who is making the decision about the mode of instruction for each course?

Faculty are making those decisions in consultation with the Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs. We anticipate that about 72% of courses will start the semester in-person or hybrid (a combination of in-person and remote) and about 28% will be fully remote. Note that once an FDA-approved vaccine has been administered to the campus community, all courses will pivot to an in-person mode of instruction.

What are the expectations of the hybrid mode of learning? How often do the classes meet in person?

Classes will meet at the times designated in the course schedule, but the precise framework for hybrid classes will vary. Students can expect to meet weekly with their instructor with some classes that require in-person attendance coupled with other classes that will be taught remotely.

Has training been provided to faculty for remote teaching techniques and technology?

Yes. The Center for Teaching and Learning and the Digital Learning Team have offered and continue to offer faculty an extensive array of workshops and pedagogical development opportunities to enhance remote and hybrid teaching and course planning.

Can you drop hybrid or remote classes?

Yes. Students can add and drop any classes as long as they do so by the spring semester deadline of January 29.

Will classrooms be reassigned after the add/drop period is complete?

Potentially. If the registration of a course exceeds the revised number of people allowed in the assigned room, the course will be assigned a new space so that students can follow social distancing protocols.

Will in-person classes still employ field excursions?

Yes. Field excursions will be allowed as long as the excursion stays within an hour or so radius of Geneva and social distancing protocols are used during transportation.

Some students cannot learn effectively in a remote mode of instruction. What can be done for them?

Students who are unsure about taking a remote class should engage in dialogue with their dean and/or academic adviser, consult with the Center for Teaching and Learning about possible resources and, potentially, consider adjusting their schedule so they are taking all in person or hybrid classes.

How are you determining density for the different classrooms and are there sufficient large rooms to meet the social distancing guidelines for all classes?

  • The Colleges have undertaken a complete review of every classroom, office, common space, residence hall and athletic/recreation facility to design plans to ensure that social distancing of at least six feet is maintained between individuals on campus. This effort includes:
    • Reducing seating and furnishings in all areas to ensure social distancing.
    • Placement of clear markings for seating and standing to promote social distancing (6 ft. circles surrounding desks, work spaces, 6 ft. spacing for lines or gathering points).
  • The Building Environmental Space Review Plan includes floor plans of every academic space on campus including seating charts.

Is there a plan (and, if so, what is it) to reduce the number of minutes per class period to avoid hallway congestion between class periods?

Instructors may take as much as 5 minutes at the start and end of class to allow for additional passing time between class periods. This effectively increases passing time from 10 to as many as 20 minutes.

Can students have study groups?

Yes. Students can continue to meet to study as long as they follow social distancing protocols and/or wear face coverings.

Will the library be open and if so, will desktops still be available?

  • Our library director has been very proactive to make sure that students can benefit from the library but also remain safe. The library has developed a plan to ensure that it will be open for campus use only. Desktop computers will be available.
  • Students will be able to check out books from the library’s collections, and the reserve desk will operate. There will be study spaces available, but social distancing will be required.

Will there be more spaces readily available to study besides the library to ensure social distancing?

There are plans to use numerous classrooms across campus for additional study space.

Will there be a limit on the number of faculty working in their offices so that there is only 50% capacity in the building? If so, how will that be communicated to faculty, staff and students in the building?

Given the capacity of academic buildings, we do not expect to limit the number of faculty working in their offices. Because of the size of faculty offices, we recommend that faculty hold office hours elsewhere (through Zoom or in unoccupied classroom spaces).

What plans are in place to disinfect classrooms and bathrooms in between classes; will there be hand sanitizers available in all classrooms or masks if students forget to bring them?

  • The Colleges have purchased large quantities of face coverings, face shields and disinfectant supplies, and will eliminate the use of shared objects to the extent possible.
    • • Disposable face coverings are available at the public safety office at all times upon request for any faculty, staff, students or visitors who request one.
    • • The Colleges have put into place substantially enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols and added accountability and record-keeping policies regarding hygiene, cleaning and disinfection.
      • o The Colleges have added more than 300 hand sanitation stations across campus. Locations can be seen on the detailed maps of the Building Environmental Space Review.
      • o All student rooms, offices, classrooms and shared spaces are supplied with cleaning and disinfecting supplies for individual use.
  • The Colleges have developed an extensive facilities cleaning and disinfecting plan that significantly increases the cleaning and disinfecting schedule on campus.

Is there a chance that you will go fully online for classes and students can still live on campus?

In the event that we are forced to move to a fully remote model at some point in the semester, we will provide room and board on campus for those students who must remain.

Classes in the Sciences, Arts and Education

What is the plan for lab environments in classes where labs are an important component and student interaction would normally be encouraged and required for collaboration?

In-person labs will be conducted in observance of social distancing requirements, which in some cases will mean a smaller number of students in a lab session that will be repeated to address the needs of all enrolled students.

Are students who must take labs required to return to campus or can they take a lab class remotely?

Many labs are scheduled to be held in-person, while some will be adapted for remote learning. Students unable to participate in the in-person labs (those who must participate remotely) are advised to speak with the professor to determine reasonable accommodations.

How are you coordinating “student teaching” opportunities with the local schools for those in the education program, especially if the local schools do not return to in-person learning?

The Education Department is working closely with NYSED and local school partners to develop plans for remote teaching opportunities, if and when needed, so that TEP and MAT students can continue to make progress on their teacher certification requirements during the upcoming school year. Please contact Mary Kelly, Chair, Education Department (kelly@hws.edu) (315-781-3084) with any questions.

How will dance, theatre and music classes be held?

Classes in dance, theatre, and music will be a mix of remote, hybrid and in-person.

Will music lessons be in person?

Applied music lessons will be offered remotely. When it is safe to do so, remote lessons will pivot to in-person.

What are the plans to open the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts and hold public events there?

The Gearan Center will begin the spring semester with a focus on classes instead of public events. Once a FDA-approved vaccine is available and administered on campus and pending the approval of necessary governing bodies, public events may resume.

How will architecture and art studio classes be affected and will those studios be open to students outside of class time?

The Art and Architecture Department has developed a plan to de-densify spaces and to create temporary spaces that will allow for proper social distancing. Availability to studios will be arranged with the Department.

Academics if Ill

What will happen to assignments and deadlines if a student becomes ill?

Generally, we will follow the same policies and procedures that we do when a student becomes ill with any issue – students will work with their dean and each faculty member to set up appropriate accommodations.

If a student cannot get to class because they are sick or have decided to remain at home, will in-person and hybrid classes have remote components?

We anticipate being able to provide students who can only engage remotely with video-conferencing access to in-person classes. For students who are sick or fall into certain high-risk categories, this will be the same as other ADA accommodations, and in these instances, instructors work with the Deans and the Center for Teaching and Learning to determine the range of reasonable accommodations.

Once classes begin, if an instructor becomes unable to continue teaching a class due to Covid-19 health care issues, what plans are there for students to complete the learning experience of the class?

Departments have plans for potential substitution if a faculty member were to fall ill. How the classes progress depends on the department and the faculty who would substitute. For some it might make sense to maintain the syllabus and format. However, if the course is being taught fully in person and the substitute faculty member is in a high-risk group, the course might need to move to a remote framework.

Grading and Transfer Credits

Given the COVID situation, will you extend the approval of transfer credits taken from accredited online classes?

The Committee on Academic Affairs has extended the transfer credit policy that was in place for the spring semester, Maymester and Summer Sessions to include all of the 2020-21 academic year. Details on the policy are available here.

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New Positive Cases Identified by Provost and Dean of Faculty Sarah Kirk and Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students B.B. Barile - August 25, 2021

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Questions and comments should be directed to:

Office of Campus Life
Smith Hall, First Floor
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3900

Questions regarding health issues should be directed to:

Hubbs Health Center
119 St. Clair Street
Geneva, NY 14456
Phone: 315-781-3600
Appt. Phone: 315-781-4530
Fax: 315-781-3802