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July 14, 2020
To the University of Miami Community:

As we prepare for the start of classes next month, your well-being remains our top priority. We continue to closely monitor the rise in COVID-19 cases in South Florida, working with our local, state, and federal officials to ensure we follow, and in many cases exceed, the latest guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

We are moving forward with our plans for reopening in the fall. Our success will require that we all work together, as One U.

In recent weeks, we have received many comments and questions regarding the details of our plans for the fall semester. We have grouped responses to the most common questions below by topic. We will provide weekly updates to keep you informed of any new developments or changes along the way.

Teaching and learning
  • Fall 2020 classes will begin on Monday, Aug. 17, and on-campus instruction will conclude on Friday, Nov. 20. Final exams, which will be conducted exclusively online, will take place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4.
  • To ensure continuity in teaching and learning, and to provide students with flexible teaching and learning options, fall courses will be provided in three modalities:
    1. In-person and on-campus
    2. Hybrid or blended, with a combination of in-person, on-campus instruction and virtual/remote sessions
    3. Virtual/remote in synchronous (live) and/or asynchronous (recorded) formats
  • The tuition rates will remain the same regardless of course modality; however, certain fees will not be charged to students who are entirely virtual/remote for the fall semester.
  • We identified new classroom spaces to support appropriate physical distancing, and we have upgraded our classroom technologies for instructional delivery in all modalities.
Health and well-being
  • All students, faculty, and staff will be required to complete the “We Are One U: COVID-19 Safety Principles” online module, which will be available at the end of July. The module highlights key steps to safeguard everyone’s well-being while on campus and at other University-affiliated sites. More information about the module will be shared soon.
  • An online health screening is required for all faculty and staff before they return to campus.
  • Faculty, staff, and students returning to campus will be required to use an online symptom checker daily and respond appropriately to the guidance it provides. It takes no more than two minutes and provides an easy way to keep the U healthy. More information will be shared soon.
  • Faculty and staff who are experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms or believe they have been exposed to the virus, are not to come to campus, and should call the employee hotline at 305-243-8378. The employee’s exposure risk will be evaluated, and a test will be scheduled if indicated (based on CDC guidelines). If an employee is directed to a campus location to receive the COVID-19 test, they are to remain quarantined until the results of the test are known. They are not to return to work until informed to do so by the employee health office and their manager.
  • Any faculty, staff, or student who tests positive will be required to quarantine for up to 14 days, and all positive persons will be asked to identify their close contacts, or those individuals with whom they have spent more than 15 minutes of time within less than 6 feet of space in the 48-72 hours prior to the onset of symptoms. We will be providing testing to close contacts as symptoms develop and/or based on personal risk. More information about this process will be shared soon.
  • All students, faculty, and staff will receive a wellness kit when they return to campus. The kit includes a face covering, hand sanitizer, gloves, and other essential items; these items will be the responsibility of faculty, staff, and students thereafter. The University will maintain an appropriate inventory of all items should they be required.
  • A new team of Public Health Ambassadors is forming to support the University’s COVID-19 reopening and operating plan. The student team will be positioned around campus to educate members of the University community on healthy behaviors including physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and encouraging hand washing and using hand sanitizer. Student applications for ambassador positions are due July 22.
  • Face coverings are mandatory at all times while in public spaces (whether indoors or outdoors) and at any time when physical distancing cannot be guaranteed. Failure to follow this requirement will result in disciplinary action for students, faculty, and staff. This is a matter of public health in which the entire community must act in concert to help one another. 
  • Hand-sanitizer and disinfecting-wipe stations are located throughout our campuses, and signage is posted to remind individuals to wash their hands frequently, clean personal items, and maintain physical distancing.
  • Students, faculty, and staff on all campuses will be required to receive the seasonal flu vaccine, as already required for clinical employees on our medical campus. We will grant exemptions for legitimate health and religious reasons.
  • All University-related international travel is prohibited. University-related domestic travel must receive prior approval by a supervising dean or vice president. See current University travel guidance.
  • Anyone who has traveled internationally must quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to campus.
  • Students may elect remote-only attendance using an online form through July 22; this election will apply through the fall semester and may not be changed. Students who choose remote attendance-only enrollment will not be permitted to live in on-campus housing for the fall semester. Housing can still be reserved for the Spring 2021 semester; however, we cannot guarantee that you will receive the same assignment. Selecting the remote attendance option also has implications for financial aid, student fees, and housing. Additional information is available at (select “Request for virtual/remote learning” in the “Academic information” section).
  • We understand that students’ financial circumstances may have been adversely affected by the current crisis. We encourage students who may be facing hardship to contact ’Canes Central to discuss any available options, including federal funding through the CARES Act or a request for review of your 2020-21 financial aid application.
  • ’Cane Kickoff for new undergraduate students will be held Aug. 12-16 as a hybrid remote/in-person event, with most activities online. Additional details will be shared by the Department of Orientation.
  • In-person events and gatherings will be limited based on local, state, and federal guidelines.
  • Our facilities and operations teams are working on maintaining a healthy environment for our University community. View the latest facilities actions update.
Faculty members
  • We recognize that some faculty members may require special COVID-19-related teaching accommodations and/or modifications to meet their unique safety and well-being needs due to existing risk factors identified by the CDC, either for themselves or for those they care for during the fall semester. The deadline to request faculty accommodations to teaching assignments was July 6. The Office of Faculty Affairs will be reviewing accommodation requests and working with deans, chairs, and faculty members this week to identify best course delivery options. Solutions to course assignment modification requests are currently being discussed and will be completed by Monday, July 20. Please contact the Office of Faculty Affairs if you have any questions.
Staff members
  • Work-from-home arrangements remain in place for staff. Only with an explicit approval from your school/college dean and/or administrative vice president and manager should a staff member return to campus.
  • The COVID-19 Return to Onsite Work Policy is being finalized and will be released shortly to the University community. The purpose of the policy is to establish clear expectations for a safe return to our campuses outlining appropriate workplace standards relating to COVID-19.
  • Staff at UHealth and the Miller School of Medicine should continue following guidance shared by Medical Campus leadership and review the latest Medical Campus advisories and information here.
International students
  • On Friday, July 10, the University of Miami joined an amicus brief in support of a suit challenging the recently announced Student and Exchange Visitor Program rules barring exclusively online study for international students. The below points outline the recently announced rules. We will continue to work closely with, and communicate updates to, our international students.
  • If you are traveling to the U.S. from abroad, you should plan to arrive in the U.S. 14 days prior to the earliest start date that applies to you in order to allow enough time to quarantine. This University requirement supersedes any international travel policies by the U.S. government in which there may be less restrictive quarantine requirements.
  • While students may enroll in online classes and study remotely from abroad, currently the U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the U.S.
  • The Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) can provide assistance with questions regarding travel restrictions, visas, and other issues related to international status.
  • Faculty should continue to follow the Research Standard Operating Procedure, which is based on our robust, evidence-based strategy to reduce disease transmissibility, devised by UHealth clinical leadership and public health experts, and relies on five Ts—testing, tracing, tele-vigilance, tracking, and teamwork—to minimize new exposure and spread of infection.
Residential life
  • Move-in for new students will take place Aug. 9–11 by appointment only. Move-in for continuing students will take place Aug. 13–16 by appointment only. Family members accompanying students in this process will be limited to a maximum of two.
  • All residential students as well as students who live in fraternity houses or in on-campus religious houses will be required to complete a COVID-19 test prior to move-in day. More information regarding testing requirements and procedures will be sent directly to affected students soon.
  • Residential areas have been reconfigured to allow for greater physical distancing. Students in double-occupancy rooms and our multi-residential apartments should work with their roommates to establish cleaning routines and other practices for maintaining a healthy and clean living environment.
  • There will be no outside visitors permitted in the residence halls during the academic year and students may have a curfew (as mandated by local authorities from time to time this summer).
  • A reimagined food service program will deliver service excellence in a caring, healthy, and safe dining environment. Residential dining and retail locations are expected to resume regular schedules. Each facility will have limited seating capacities, distancing requirements, enhanced cleaning protocols, visual signage to help guide students within the spaces, and expanded outdoor seating.
  • A robust dine-in and take-out dining program providing nutritious and healthy options will be available for both residential and commuter meal plans. All-you-can-eat will continue, however there will be no self-serve stations. Visit the UM Dining website for the latest updates or email with specific questions.
Our careful and thoughtful approach to reopening campus is rooted in following the Four Pillars to help slow the spread:
  • Testing, tracing, tele-vigilance, tracking, and teamwork
  • Cleaning and disinfecting
  • Protecting personal space
  • Vaccinating
We are committed to communicating with you regularly to provide the latest information you will need to succeed and stay healthy.

For more information about our plan for a safe return to campus, please visit the coronavirus response webpage, which is updated regularly and includes frequently asked questions.

Together, we will work toward a safe, engaging, and productive academic year. We are One U. 
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