IUPUC announces reopening plan

Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus is revising its academic calendar and adding safety protocols as it prepares for classes to begin Aug. 24, including requirements for staff and students to wear masks.

“Our decisions regarding the return to campus have been made under the leadership of Indiana University in partnership with local and state health departments, including collaborations between Indiana colleges and universities,” said Dr. Reinhold Hill, vice chancellor and dean at IUPUC. “Our top priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff as well as visitors to campus and the community at large.”

The fall semester will see a mix of blended and online classes. The semester will be 13 weeks for many courses, ending Nov. 20, with proctored exams Nov. 21 and 22, if needed, university officials said.

Other courses will maintain the standard 16-week format. In order to achieve a 13-week semester, there will be no fall break. Students in courses that go beyond Thanksgiving, however, will have a 10-day holiday break and finish with three weeks of online-only study, the university said.

The 2021 spring semester will reverse that strategy and start with online-only classes beginning Jan. 19. On Feb. 8, the campus will reopen for blended instruction through the end of the semester. There will be no spring break.

IUPUC’s plans for instruction include a combination of online and face-to-face learning experiences. The format and length of each course is mainly dictated by its learning goals, though class size and social distancing are also important factors, university officials said.

All IU employees and students will be provided with two washable face coverings before the fall 2020 semester begins, according to the advisory sent to IUPUC students. While face coverings will be provided, individuals also may choose to wear their own, which must comply with IU guidelines.

Regulations currently in effect require all members of the IU community, including employees, students, contractors, suppliers, vendors and visitors, to wear cloth face coverings in all hallways, elevators, public spaces, common areas and when entering and exiting buildings.

In locations where physical distancing is difficult to ensure or maintain, face coverings are required. This includes office spaces (including cubicles), outdoor spaces and other locations where intermittent interactions with others might occur, such as seating near aisleways and other passages, according to the guidelines.

IUPUC will be providing hand sanitizer stations at the entries/exits of each high-traffic building.

More detailed information about specific instructional formats is online at fall2020.iu.edu/iupuc.

IUPUC also will implement strategies designed to minimize risk and prevent the spread of COVID-19. These include:

  • Cleaning protocols
  • Managing room capacities and schedules
  • Maintaining safe distancing
  • Wearing masks
  • Regulating personal health checks
  • Quarantining when necessary

In addition, IU has announced a statewide partnership with IU Health to provide all students, faculty and staff with COVID-19 symptom checking, virtual visits with a health care professional and testing with continued monitoring when needed.

Indiana University also has created a Return to Campus Guide, developed by public and environmental health leaders with input from faculty, staff and students. The 29-page document provides information about health and safety, guidance for physical spaces and transportation and logistics. It can be downloaded at fall2020.iu.edu/doc/iu-return-to-campus-guide.pdf.

IU and its satellite campus also are limiting travel to only essential trips in 2020, requiring anyone who travels internationally to spend 14 days at home monitoring health before returning to campus.

“While it’s not possible to eliminate all risks of COVID-19, we have been working diligently to make informed decisions that support a return to operations which puts students, faculty, staff and our community’s safety first,” Hill said.

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More information and ongoing updates about IUPUC’s return to campus can be found at fall2020.iu.edu/iupuc.

For more on all IU campuses’ return to instruction, visit fall2020.iu.edu/doc/iu-return-to-campus-guide.pdf.


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