UD returning to virtual learning for fall semester

NEWARK — The University of Delaware will deliver a majority of its fall 2020 courses online, officials announced Wednesday, rolling back initial plans to bring students on campus this semester for hybrid learning.

“This latest development certainly does not reflect how we would like to begin a new academic year, with all Blue Hens back on campus,” UD President Dennis Assanis said in a prepared statement. “I am very optimistic that we will emerge stronger than ever by taking decisive measures now to ensure that UD will thrive for years to come.”

The majority of courses in the fall 2020 semester will be delivered online. This includes most undergraduate and graduate classes as well as all courses offered in the Associate in Arts program, according to a news release.

Only courses that are designated as requiring in-person instruction are to meet on campus. Classes will begin Sept. 1, and all courses and final exams will be conducted online following Thanksgiving break.

On-campus housing will prioritize students enrolled in face-to-face classes on campus. Additionally, students who meet “pre-defined criteria,” such as international students, students in field placements or clinical rotations and students who require housing due to hardship will also be considered.

Residence hall occupancy will be at lower capacity and all bedrooms will be single unit.

Each day, employees, students and visitors will complete an electronic health-screening questionnaire. Those with COVID-19 symptoms or those who have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be advised not to come to campus, the news release states.

The university will test those students, faculty and staff who return to campus this fall upon arrival.

According to a news release, the university is “planning on a variety of testing approaches including commercial testing as well as in-house testing.”

Contact tracing will be implemented in coordination with the Delaware Division of Public Health to identify people who may have come in close contact with COVID-19-positive individuals, a release states.

“You have chosen to be part of the University of Delaware community because it is an institution like no other – one that is characterized by a dynamic balance of enriching academics along with a culture of inspiration and growth,” President Assanis said. “I understand that not being together right now feels disruptive to that balance, displacing the connected experience we all share on campus. But, be assured, we will get there.”

UD was among the first to announce its intentions of bringing students back for its fall semester. It rolled out plans that addressed housing, dining and hybrid academics.

Earlier this month, Delaware State University said it too would open its doors to students, with robust testing procedures in mind. Classes will begin Aug. 25, the university’s usual start, and will operate in a mix of hybrid in-person and digital learning. The semester will conclude Dec. 11.

Wesley College rolled out its plans last week to bring students back, with a hybrid model for instruction. Face-to-face instruction will conclude prior to their Thanksgiving break, on Nov. 20, and exams and final projects will be completed online. Goldey-Beacom College will reopen for the fall semester, with hybrid courses beginning Aug. 24.

Wilmington University and Delaware Technical Community College both announced they would continue remote learning for the fall.