Working Together to Protect our Community and Advance our Academic Mission

Education 

The University is eager to welcome our community back to campus for Autumn Quarter. The pandemic and public health protocols will change the way academic instruction takes place this year. However, the University is fully committed to providing you its distinct, transformative education – one that will continue to challenge you to question common assumptions; explore how, not what, to think; and provide access to field defining faculty experts.

An Academic Setting Unlike Any Other

As you join us in Hyde Park, it will be a different experience this year. The campus itself remains as beautiful as ever with the Quads and Botany Pond providing picturesque settings. New buildings will further define the University’s renowned architecture and landscaping. What is different this year is how we, as the UChicago community, work together to create a healthy environment for each other.

The University has been collaborating with UChicago Medicine to design a campus experience that makes your personal health and well-being the top priority. These plans have been informed by state and local guidelines and include several important steps:

  • Augmenting our classroom settings to provide each person space for physical distancing.
  • Ventilation specifications and cleaning protocols will be compliant with guidance from the University’s epidemiology team and relevant governmental agencies.
  • Restructuring the academic calendar to decrease student travel demands and simultaneously limit the spread of the virus.
  • Providing options for students to join classes in-person or remotely.
  • Allowing schools and instructors to inform the delivery modes for their classes.

Here is important information related to the 2020-21 academic experience:

Academic Calendar

Autumn Quarter

The Autumn Quarter calendar has been altered in an effort to protect the health of you, your families, and the UChicago community.

  • Classes for most parts of the University will begin as scheduled on September 29.
    • The Pritzker School of Medicine, the Law School, and the Booth School of Business will start classes earlier than September 29 as originally scheduled and will communicate details to their students soon.
  • In-person instruction will end at Thanksgiving.
  • Those traveling to Chicago for Autumn Quarter may need to arrive earlier than usual. We encourage flexibility in travel arrangements and timing to account for the potential for quarantine requirements. We will provide updates if quarantine requirements change between now and the start of the quarter.
  • The final week of Autumn Quarter instruction as well as reading period and finals period – from November 30 through December 12 – will take place fully remotely.

While the evolving situation with the pandemic means that there are inherent uncertainties, concluding in-person instruction before Thanksgiving is intended to help decrease the chance of an increase in COVID-19 cases between the Thanksgiving break and the end of the quarter.

Winter and Spring Quarters

Winter Quarter for most schools, divisions and the College will begin on January 11, 2021, instead of January 4 as originally planned. While the University will be shifting from 10 weeks of instruction to 9 for both Winter and Spring Quarters, the change means only two fewer days of instruction per quarter. The Law School, the Pritzker School of Medicine, and some Graham School courses will start classes earlier, as originally scheduled.

  • Winter Quarter Calendar
    • January 11, 2021: Winter Quarter classes begin
    • January 11 to 15: All College courses will be conducted remotely
    • January 19: In-person instruction begins for applicable classes
    • March 13 to 15: Reading period
    • March 16 to 19: Final exams
    • March 20: Winter Quarter ends
  • Spring Break: March 22 to 26
    • While we do not know what the pandemic will look like in March, we are encouraging students on campus to consider remaining in Chicago for the week of Spring Break to reduce unnecessary travel.
  • Spring Quarter Calendar
    • March 29: Spring Quarter classes begin
    • March 29 to April 2: All courses will be conducted remotely
    • May 29 to June 1 (May 31 off for Memorial Day): Reading period
    • June 2 to 5: Final exams
    • June 6 to 11: Senior Week
    • June 12: Convocation and Spring Quarter ends

Instruction

It is our intent to safely welcome as many students as possible in Hyde Park for the 2020-21 academic year. To do so, the University plans to hold in-person and remote classes.

  • We have worked to create a safe classroom environment by establishing spatial configuration guidelines that will provide adequate physical distancing in classrooms and other spaces across campus.
  • New classroom configurations that reduce the density of students will also reduce the University’s overall in-person learning capacity thus limiting the number of in-person classes.
  • To maximize in-person learning opportunities, we have and will continue to explore the use of non-classroom space for instruction.
  • A limited number of classes will be held in-person. Many classes will include a combination of in-person and remote instruction and discussion. Others will be conducted fully remotely.
  • Each academic area and its instructors determine the delivery mode for its courses, to serve curricular and pedagogical needs and align with public health guidance.
  • The College, schools, and divisions will continue to provide a range of remote course options for students who are not able to return to campus for the remainder of the academic year. All students will have the opportunity to determine the mode in which they take their courses. 

We recognize that travel restrictions, particularly for our international students, and health risks mean a portion of our community may not be able to return to campus. We are continuing to work on new and improved ways for these members of our campus community will be connected and supported.

For more academic information and resources for the 2020-21 school year, instructors should visit Teaching Remotely, and students can go to Learning Remotely.

COVID-19 Classroom Protocols

With guidance from University of Chicago Medicine and governmental agencies, the University has developed protocols to protect the health and well-being of our academic community as we resume in-person coursework. Below is information on COVID-19 classroom and building operations, as well as additional resources for those teaching in-person this Autumn.

Classroom Building Access
  • Individuals entering campus buildings must have completed COVID-19 attestation and training and abide by the UChicago Health Pact.
  • Building access will be controlled by ID card readers. These have been programmed to accept the IDs of instructors and students participating in Autumn Quarter courses in that building. Access lists will be updated regularly to reflect course enrollment changes.
  • Building access has been arranged for all TAs previously identified by Departments as expected to be present in the classroom. If you have additional TAs that require building access, please send the Course Information, TA name and the TA’s student ID number to Mary Stofcik (mtstofcik@uchicago.edu).  Please remember that listed course enrollments do not include TAs.
  • If your ID card does not function as expected, contact registrar@uchicago.edu.
Classroom Layouts
  • Classroom seating layouts have been adjusted to meet governmental guidelines for physical distance and seating capacity.
  • Each classroom will have a sign that shows the furniture layout for the room. To ensure compliance with physical distancing guidelines, classroom furniture should not be rearranged.
  • Classrooms or auditoriums with fixed seating will have seats or rows taped off to indicate where people may and may not sit.
  • In most classrooms with movable furniture, seats beyond the room’s capacity have been removed. In others, seats will be marked either as being available or not available for use.
  • Stickers will be placed on or under seating that is appropriately distanced, and tape or signage will note which areas should not be used.
  • Questions related to classroom seating layouts or signage may be sent to spaceplanning@uchicago.edu.
Classroom Capacity
  • The classroom capacity is the maximum number of all people (including instructors, students, and teaching assistants) who can be in each classroom according to public-health guidance.
  • The classroom capacities for each classroom are listed here and on a sign in the classroom.
  • Before you admit any non-registered students (including TAs) to your classroom, please check to ensure that the classroom capacity will not be exceeded as a result.
Classroom Cleaning and Ventilation
  • Ventilation specifications in all classrooms have been set according to guidance from the UChicago Medicine’s epidemiology team, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, and relevant government agencies.
  • The University has implemented enhanced cleaning protocols. Cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces is completed in compliance with CDC and State guidance using a hospital-grade disinfectant. Classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected each evening to prepare them for classes the following day.
  • Each classroom contains CDC-approved disinfecting supplies, together with posted instructions for use. Students and instructors should use these supplies to wipe down commonly contacted surfaces they will or have used, such as desk/tabletops and seats, before and after use.
  • Service requests related to janitorial services may be submitted here or by calling (773)834-1414

 

Classroom Safety
  • The UChicago Health Pact requires all members of the campus community to wear face coverings while in University buildings and classrooms.
  • Instructors may move around the classroom while teaching as long as doing so is consistent with keeping the requisite distance of at least 6 feet from other individuals. Students should stay in their seats unless directed otherwise by an instructor.
  • Eating and drinking are not allowed in the classrooms; this is noted on signage in the classroom.
  • While we expect students will follow the rules, it is possible a situation may arise where an instructor may need to address behavior that violates Health Pact guidance. This behavior may include failure to wear a face covering or wearing a face covering incorrectly; disobeying physical distancing guidance; not using seating properly; failure to comply with other COVID-19 classroom or lab protocols. For guidance on how to address and de-escalate disruptions, please review the Promoting Safe Classroom Behavior During COVID-19 section of the Instructor Guide for Remote and Hybrid Instruction available on the Teaching Remotely
  • To report Health Pact violations or safety concerns, please file a report through the UCAIR.
Shared Materials
  • Materials such as chalk, dry erase markers, erasers, etc. may be shared so long as individuals are practicing good hygiene by thoroughly washing their hands after use. These materials may be wiped down if desired. As always, instructors may bring their own chalk, dry erase markers, and erasers to any classroom.
  • While it is recommended that instructors make their course materials accessible online for students, instructors may distribute handouts during the class period. Each student should have their own individual handout or packet. Students should be reminded not to leave handouts or other materials in the classroom and to thoroughly wash their hands. 
Common Areas
  • People should not congregate in lobbies, hallways, or other common areas of buildings, but rather should move with purpose to and from classrooms and leave the building promptly after class has concluded.
  • Social areas and informal seating in classroom buildings will generally not be available and should not be used, unless specifically marked otherwise.
Audiovisual Technology
  • Academic Technology Solutions has video tutorials for new A/V classroom kits. Each classroom will have written instructions for the video conferencing kit, along with standard A/V rack instructions.
  • A list of the A/V equipment that will be present in each classroom is available here.
  • For immediate A/V assistance in your classroom, contact Audio-Visual Services at 773-834-4499. They are available Monday – Thursday, 8am-7pm and 8am-6pm Fridays during academic quarters. For equipment reservations or non-urgent requests, please email avs@uchicago.edu.
  • If you require additional technical support, please contact your school or divisional IT services. Please see the list of contacts for local IT support. If you typically contact central IT Services for support, you may continue to do so.
Concerns?
  • For any issues regarding Health Pact violations or safety concerns, please file a report through the UCAIR
  • To report an emergency, dial (773) 702-8181 (or 123 on campus phones).

 Frequently Asked Questions

What is the focus of the Education planning group?

The Education planning group is charged with exploring options to deliver the optimal academic experience that meets curricular and degree requirements under a variety of potential scenarios. This includes gathering input from faculty, other academic appointees, students, and staff to analyze in-person and remote learning options. Considerations are also to be given to adjusted classroom formats and alternative class schedules.

Who is in the Curricular subgroup?
Name Unit
Ashley Johnson Office of the Provost/Communications
Christopher J. Wild College/Humanities Division
Dana Levinson UChicago MedicalCenter
Daniel Abebe Office of the Provost
Elizabeth Shanin Office of Legal Counsel
Eric Slauter Humanities Division
J. Curtis McMillen School of Social Service Administration
James T. Sparrow College/Social Sciences Division
Jason Merchant (group chair) Office of the Provost
Jocelyn Malamy College/Biological Sciences Division
Kara Kuligowski Office of the Provost
Katie Hrinyak President's Office/Global
Kevin Boyd  IT Services
Lisa Messaglia Booth School of Business
Mark Philip Bradley Social Sciences Division
Melina Hale Office of the Provost
Michael D. Hopkins Office of the Provost
Michael Foote Physical Sciences Division
Paul Nealey Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering
Richard H. McAdams Law School
Ryan Coyne Divinity School
Ryan Kellogg Harris School of Public Policy
Stuart Kurtz College/Physical Sciences Division
Victoria E. Prince Biological Sciences Division
Waldo Johnson School of Social Service Administration
Zoe Eisenman Graham School

Note: Italics signify faculty members.

Who is in the Logistics subgroup?
Name Unit
Blair Archambeau Office of the Provost
Elise Covic College
Elizabeth Shanin Office of Legal Counsel
Jason Merchant (group chair) Office of the Provost
Jim McConnell Facilities Services
Katie Hrinyak President's Office/Global
Kevin Boyd  IT Services
Michael D. Hopkins (subgroup chair) Office of the Provost
Scott Campbell University Registrar

Note: Italics signify faculty members.

Who is in the Remote Learning subgroup?
Name Unit
Bill Rando (subgroup chair) Chicago Center for Teaching
Cheryl Richardson Chicago Center for Teaching
Jason Merchant (group chair) Office of the Provost
Joseph Lampert Chicago Center for Teaching

Note: Italics signify faculty members.

Who is in the Student Advisory Group?

The Student Advisory Group is composed of leadership from undergraduate and graduate student government. The collective perspectives of these elected representatives will inform institutional decision-making related to the impact of COVID-19 on various aspects of university operations.

2020-21 College Council
Name Position
Raven Rainey (email) President, 4th year
Myles Hudson (email) VP of Student Life, 4th year
Alex Levi (email) VP of Administration, 4th year
Itzel Velázquez (email) Undergraduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees, 4th year
2020-21 Graduate Council Co-Chairs
Name Position
Rohail Premjee (email) Co-President, MPP Harris & MBA Booth
Kim Liu (email) Co-President, PhD Math
Steven Wendeborn (email) Grad Liaison to the Board of Trustees, MBA Booth
What is the University doing to help new students better orient themselves with classmates and instructors?

To help new students acclimate to the University, priority for in-person classes will be given to courses that serve new students.

What efforts are underway to build engagement among students within this new campus environment?

We are identifying new and innovative ways to facilitate connections for all students, regardless of whether they are located on campus or elsewhere, as well as developing and sharing best practices for teaching remotely. 

How will students who are unable to return to campus continue their academic work?

The College and our schools and divisions will provide a range of remote course options for students who are not able to return to campus in the upcoming quarter.

We welcome suggestions and ideas about academic planning for the academic year 2020-21 at academicplanning2020@uchicago.edu.

If you have been exposed to or test positive for COVID-19, promptly report to C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu, even if you have not been on campus.