UCR Announces Fall Quarter Instruction Plans

June 17, 2020
Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox and Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Thomas M. Smith
June 17, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

Over the last two months, our Instructional Continuity Working Group has evaluated options for providing a healthy and effective teaching and learning environment for the 2020-21 academic year. The Committee includes faculty, staff, and student members, and its work was informed by consultation with the Academic Senate, department chairs, deans, vice chancellors, the Registrar, Facilities Services, other UC campuses, and other UCR faculty and staff. 

The working group considered a wide range of factors in developing its recommendations, including the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of our collective community, and the individual needs of our students, faculty, and staff, many of whom are vulnerable to both the health and financial impacts of COVID-19.

The group’s proposed Instructional Continuity Plan was reviewed by our campus Public Health Working Group and approved by campus leadership. You can find the 6-page plan here. Please take time to review the plan. As with our campus Planning Framework, our Instructional Continuity Plan has four phases with phase 1 being the most restrictive and phase 4 being the least restrictive. Phases 1-3 correspond to modified campus operations with COVID-19 precautions, and phase 4 denotes normal campus operations. 

Guiding Principles 
Early in their discussions, the working group established three guiding principles broadly consistent with UCR’s mission and values and with approaches by other groups developing plans to ramp-up various aspects of campus operations: 

1.    Prioritize the safety of all members of our campus community
2.    Extend access to education to the greatest extent possible
3.    Create flexibility at both the individual and institutional levels

Application of these principles led to these important features of our instructional plan: 

1.    No instructor will be required to teach in-person and no student will be required to participate in-person until the campus returns to normal operations.
2.    Any class for which exceptional approval has been granted for in-person delivery during modified operations must include a remote option to accommodate students who cannot attend face-to-face meetings.

Fall Quarter Instruction
For summer sessions, we are in phase 2. For fall quarter, we are planning to be in phase 3. Both of these phases reflect modified operations.

This means all classes will continue to be available in remote formats at least through fall quarter, and any class that is approved to be offered in-person will accommodate students who cannot attend on-campus with a remote option. We will announce the instructional phases for winter and spring quarters approximately three months prior to the start of each term. 

Proposals for In-Person Instruction
Instructors who may be interested in proposing a fall quarter in-person course should consult with their department chair and refer to the plan for more information about the course proposal process (section IV) and instructor responsibilities for in-person instruction (section III). Because classroom space will be very limited, it is possible that not all requests can physically be accommodated. We expect to prioritize graduate courses and undergraduate laboratory and studio courses, as these tend to be smaller and/or particularly difficult to deliver effectively in remote formats.

Information about fall quarter classes that are approved for in-person instruction will be posted in Banner this summer, and also will be communicated through instructors. We expect this will be a relatively small number of classes.

Return to Normal Campus Operations
For students who are considering their living arrangements for the 2020-21 academic year, we unfortunately cannot predict exactly when we can return to normal campus operations. UCR must comply with state and county guidelines, and the public health situation could remain uncertain for several months. 

We expect that some students will choose to live in our local community, especially those participating in research, so we will make on-campus services available to those students to the extent possible. We also expect many students will choose to live elsewhere for a variety of reasons, so we will extend services remotely through sites such as Keep Learning.  

Student Affairs will remain open to provide services – such as Student Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, and The Well – both on-campus and online. Please visit the Student Affairs website for hours of operation and guidelines around on-campus safety measures. 

We will have on campus housing available, but the density will be lower than normal and is still being determined. Housing Services will be in communication with students who have expressed interest in on-campus housing and will provide additional details. For additional information visit the Housing Services website

Next Steps
While this announcement will answer some questions about fall quarter, we recognize this is just another in a series of decisions about the upcoming academic year. We are evaluating other aspects of campus operations – including campus housing, student services, and COVID-19 testing – and will provide updates as they become available.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to work through plans that prioritize the health of our UC Riverside community.