Bowie State University Plans for Spring 2021
Bowie State University will continue with the hybrid, first-year intensive instructional model for the spring 2021 semester, and select upper-level courses will be offered to accommodate some upper class and graduate students seeking to return to campus for in-person hybrid courses. The spring 2021 plan is based on responses to surveys of the Bowie State University campus community, review of the current scientific understanding of the virus and data from our experiences of the past 10 months.
I commend the entire BSU community for the commitment and dedication you have demonstrated in the collective effort to assure a vibrant, productive and safe educational experience for all of our students this semester during the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic. Through your resilience and creativity, we were able to realize many of the components of the First-Year Hybrid Model that had been envisioned for our freshman students.
As we now look toward the spring 2021 semester, we have heard an earnest request from our first-year students for more in-person classes and in-person student services next semester. I am pleased that more faculty members have already expressed commitment to teaching in-person classes in the spring for our core freshman courses, as well as some upper-level courses.
While we cannot predict the future course of the pandemic, we can build on lessons learned to continue delivering on BSU’s mission. We have learned that:
- Students adapted well to the hybrid learning environment, and most are progressing well academically.
- Students valued the on-campus experience, but need more in-person components of classes and support services.
- Direct assistance to help faculty prepare courses for the new modalities is essential.
- Teaching assistants are an effective tool to expand availability of select courses.
I want to share information about the decisions that have been made regarding the academic calendar, instructional modalities, staffing and residential housing for the winter session and spring semester.
- For the winter session and spring semester, we will again staff campus offices with up to 50% of employees on campus to assure optimal availability of services, consistent with Phase Two of the Fall Return to Campus Plan.
- Employees will work with supervisors to develop proposed work schedules for approval by division heads. The timeline and a workflow form for reporting schedules will be available soon.
- Staff members are strongly encouraged to telework Jan. 4-8, 2021, which will allow you adequate time to take the required COVID-19 test before returning to the university on Jan. 11. Essential employees who must return to work the week of Jan. 4 or those who are unable to telework will be required to submit your report of a negative test to COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org before Jan. 4.
- Employees with documented high-risk health conditions or special circumstances should contact Human Resources to discuss options for accommodations.
- All winter classes will be offered via online instruction only.
- The Winter Session will run from Jan. 4-22.
- The spring semester will begin on time as scheduled on Jan. 25.
- The first-year hybrid model will continue with freshman courses offered with a 50/50 split of low-density, in-person and synchronous online instruction. Fully online sections will continue to be offered for freshmen who cannot come to campus.
- A select number of upper-level courses will be offered in the hybrid model for upper-class students. Most upper-level courses will be virtual.
- Spring break for students and faculty will be observed as scheduled, March 15-19, and spring break for staff will be March 15.
- Residential students will not return to the campus after spring break, and all classes will be fully online. The leasing terms for the Christa McAuliffe Residential Community (CMRC) will remain active through May. Adjustment to some fees is being considered.
University Residential Housing
- We will be able to accommodate up to 100 new students in university housing on campus and at the Enclave with single-occupancy bedrooms. Seventy-eight spaces will be available in CMRC.
- Students new to residential housing can submit applications through the housing portal on the university website beginning Nov. 13.
- Spring move-in will be scheduled by appointment beginning Jan. 15, allowing students time to resolve any outstanding issues in advance of arriving on campus.
As we move into this next phase of operations with the ongoing pandemic, we will continue to make health and safety our highest priority, observing all of the state, local and federal guidelines and making adjustments as the situation warrants. We are building on the knowledge of our lessons learned to improve campus operations and the educational experience for our students.
Our comprehensive, ongoing testing and screening strategy has enabled early detection and isolation of potential COVID threats, resulting in a very limited occurrence or spread of positive cases on campus. The layered approach of providing individual personal protective equipment to students, faculty and staff, Plexiglas and other workspace and classroom modifications, and enhanced cleaning protocols all contribute to maintaining a safe campus environment. The campus community has collectively shown that “we protect our own” by consistently wearing face masks, observing six feet social distancing and regularly washing hands.
Your continued support of these efforts provide the foundation for achieving similar success in the spring semester. We will provide additional information as details are solidified. Please share any questions via email at email@example.com.