Augustana to Offer Majority of Fall 2020 Classes In-Person or in Hybrid/Flex Format
As part of the Viking Flex Plan, Augustana University is prepared to welcome students back in August and offer them the best on-campus experience possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Augustana will offer a majority — around 90 percent — of its classes in a face-to-face or hybrid/flex format that emphasizes in-person learning for Fall Semester 2020. Classes will have modified reductions in overall capacity and will be shifted into rooms where the entire class can meet face-to-face, while also practicing physical distancing. Class times have also been modified to support important health and safety protocols that allow for sanitizing in between to limit the risk of transmission.
Academics Working Group Co-Chair and Registrar & Associate Dean of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies Joni Krueger said, "Each course offering was carefully evaluated for student needs, as well as room availability. All classrooms are being outfitted with technology to allow students to participate virtually if necessary. The committee is working diligently to provide the resources faculty need to prepare for the fall semester and plan for various scenarios. We are so thankful for the dedication of our faculty to make this the best experience possible."
While international students, fall athletes, Viking Advisors and others will move in earlier, the university will officially begin to welcome students into residence halls on Friday, August 21, through Tuesday, August 25, with classes set to begin on Wednesday, August 26. Students are able to schedule a specific move-in date and time, with a limited number of guests who are allowed to assist them. Augustana plans to honor students' requests to have roommates and accommodate those who wish to have single rooms based on needs and availability. The university will continue to provide full service dining, including a new meals-to-go option. Modified operations will include physical distancing protocols and one-way traffic lines.
Scenario Planning Task Force Chair and Director of International Programs & Enrollment Ben Iverson said, “We realize that it will take every member of our community to keep us safe this fall. That’s why we’re implementing a multi-pronged approach that will include a commitment from each and every member of our campus community to adhere to the latest health and safety guidelines, as well as providing ongoing health education, new sanitization processes, protocols for quarantine and isolation if needed, and a number of other practices designed to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Students have said loudly and clearly that they want an in-person experience this fall. The Viking Flex Plan allows us to deliver that for them in the safest possible way.”
Augustana has asked its students to take responsibility for the health and well-being of the campus community as they live, learn and study on campus, which includes signing a health and safety pledge. The university is also requiring that masks be worn in all indoor public spaces on campus, including classrooms, study spaces and hallways. Buildings on campus indicate that masks should be worn inside, have had plexi-glass installed where appropriate, and stickers added to the floors to remind people to distance themselves from others. Scenario planning is in place should health and safety concerns require a quick pivot.
About the Viking Flex Plan
The Viking Flex Plan was developed by an 18-member Scenario Planning Task Force, which was charged with evaluating various scenarios for operating in the fall amid ongoing uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The task force has prioritized the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff while applying careful consideration to how the physical spaces and interactive culture of the campus community can be modified to accommodate the current situation and fulfill the university’s mission of providing an education of enduring worth.
In order to operationalize the Viking Flex Plan, the Scenario Planning Task Force announced the formation of two working groups. The Academics Working Group is focused on the classroom experience, pedagogical aspects of the hybrid/flexible instructional model, scheduling, and related topics. The Operations Working Group is focused on health and safety protocols, housing, dining, athletics and numerous other elements of the co-curricular experience at Augustana.
As part of the Viking Flex Plan, classes will begin a week earlier and will be held through Friday, November 20. The plan forgoes a fall break in order to allow students to return home right before Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, the university will transition all classes to a brief period of online instruction that will allow for innovative course engagement, creative projects, as well as a safe and successful finish for course instruction on Friday, December 4.
For more information about the Viking Flex Plan, visit augie.edu/vikingflex.
Media Inquiries: Contact Jill Wilson, public relations and communications strategist.