UD rolls out plans for return to campus, other institutions grappling with fall semester

The University of Delaware is one of the first of the state’s higher education institutions to lay out its path forward for the fall semester in the wake of coronavirus.

The university will begin classes Sept. 1 for the fall semester. Following Thanksgiving break, however, the semester will turn to an online model for the remaining portion of the semester. 

Residence hall assignments will focus on reduced density and protocols for traffic flow, shared bathrooms and common places will be designated. Additional custodial staff members to allow for multiple daily cleanings in each hall. Move-in will be staggered over a series of days in late August.

UD will maintain a block of vacant residence hall rooms for quarantine and isolation spaces, if needed. 

Dining will also see changes: to go and express dining options, additional off-campus dining partnerships, mobile ordering, physical distancing practices, occupancy alerts and monitoring, changes to service hours, expanding seating and modifications to dining menus will be on the table. 

Classes will be offered in a hybrid format, with a mix of online and face-to-face instruction and class sizes will be reduced. 

Athletics will follow the guidelines of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Football will begin its competitions as scheduled on the road on Saturday, Sept. 5. Campuswide health and physical distancing guidelines will be announced later this summer and will be used for fans during home athletic events. 

Other universities and colleges in the state have yet to unveil their full plans for the fall, but several — like Delaware State University and Wesley College — began the move out process for students earlier this month. 

Goldey-Beacom College announced that it will shorten its fall courses by one week. The 15-week courses will be 14 weeks in length, while 8-week courses will be 7 weeks in length. Most classes will end Nov. 24, with one-week seminars concluding the semester on Dec. 5. 

In a letter to the campus community last week, Wesley College said that the college plans for students to return to campus in the fall, with specifics of return to be provided by the end of June regarding how the return will be executed. 

The college also cited NCAA guidelines regarding the return of student-athletes to campus and the fall Season for determining next steps. 

Delaware Technical Community College posted a note that plans for fall 2020 courses will be announced on or around Aug. 1. 

Wilmington University decided to continue its in-person and hybrid courses online until at least Aug. 23. All university campuses and sites will also remain closed with all services and business conducted remotely through Aug. 23.