The start of the Fall 2020 semester is just two weeks away. As we pick up the pace in our preparations, I wanted to share some updates and helpful reminders with you.
The question of how to support faculty with caregiving responsibilities is top of mind for the University, especially in light of the decision by both Miami-Dade and Broward public schools to begin their school year using remote instruction only. This is a priority. Human Resources and Faculty Affairs have been in contact with multiple vendors and many options are being reviewed. I have formed a small task force of deans, faculty, and graduate students to consider the options. We hope to have a decision later this week or early next week.
The We Are One U: COVID-19 Safety Principles module was launched last week and is available at weareoneu.miami.edu. Everyone is required to complete this informative and instructional tool as part of your professional responsibilities by August 10 and prior to the return to campus.
Mandatory face-covering enforcement has begun. You should also encourage anyone you see not wearing coverings correctly to make appropriate adjustments. UMPD is now enforcing face coverings on campus, and new electronic signs around campus remind all guests and stakeholders of these policies.
As of today, a total of 3,924 students have elected to take their classes remote/distance-only; the breakdown is 3,000 undergraduates, 836 graduate, and 88 students enrolled in other programs. With the vast majority of students planning to take classes in either in-person or hybrid modalities, we have installed three large air-conditioned and floored tents on the Coral Gables Campus. These will serve as dedicated classroom spaces that provide optimal physical distancing. The large fenced area on campus, near the Ashe Building, is the future site of the Frost Institute of Chemistry & Molecular Science.
You can require online/hybrid students to turn on their video and should make this part of the syllabus. We are preparing a document of options to add to your syllabus regarding face coverings, video, copyright/recording, etc., which will be available next week.
Last week we informed resident students who will have difficulty arriving on campus in time for the first day of class (due to quarantine or illness) that they should notify us of their delayed move-in. This ensures they do not lose their housing for the semester. Currently, 27 students have requested delayed move-in, with most expecting to arrive by Labor Day.
This applies only to residential students. Delayed move-in is not an option for students who live off campus.
These are face-to-face students and not students who elected to study remotely this semester.
These students were instructed to contact their advisor to ensure that all their classes had a virtual component they could attend during their delay. If there are exceptions to the virtual component for any of their courses, their advisor will assist them in changing their classes.
The delayed move-in option is not a new modality. These are face-to-face students and should be treated the same as those who are quarantined, due to exposure or illness, and will need to start online to avoid falling behind in their course.
Advisors will instruct students to contact their instructor regarding the delay.
Class rosters will designate students as “delay,” just as it will designate students as “remote” for those who elected to study remotely this semester.
I also want to stress the importance of all courses being accessible remotely (both synchronously and asynchronously) for students who may need to quarantine themselves due to travel or who are required to isolate due to COVID-19 exposure, residential students who have not yet produced a negative COVID-19 test, or those who may have another illness at any time during the semester. Students will be required to follow the same steps as listed above.
Schedule an appointment to access your currently assigned general-purpose classroom space. The Office of Classroom Management (OCM) has arranged for you to be assigned a technology support staff member, who will serve as both your virtual trainer and a virtual student to help you become familiar with your classroom and its technology. You will be able to test camera(s) for optimal position in teaching a hybrid course. The form to schedule an appointment is available here. If you have any questions, please call OCM Classroom Support at
305-284-3263 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teaching Guides. The Division of Continuing and International Education (DCIE) and the Office of Academic Technologies offer teaching guides for faculty:
I have heard from many of you during recent school-sponsored faculty town halls, and I understand the importance of keeping the lines of communications open. I will continue to provide you with updates as they become available and hope you will continue to reach out with your questions and concerns.
Thank you for dedication to our students and the U.