The beginning of the Fall, 2020, semester and a new academic year are just a month away, and it will be exciting and gratifying to have students, faculty and staff back together for in-person classes and activities.
There have been extensive and innovative efforts in recent weeks to adapt our campuses, instructional sites and online learning resources to the new realities of higher education during this global crisis.
Foremost among those modifications are practices and protocols to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students, personnel and the community.
Differences in the daily operations of the university will be conspicuous in classrooms, residential and dining facilities, offices, labs and every other space and venue on our campuses.
Facial coverings and social distancing will be standard practice, facilities will be frequently deep cleaned and disinfected, hand sanitizers and hand washing stations will be available, new traffic flow patterns in buildings will curtail contact and spread of infection, elevators and other small spaces will have limited access, and there will be plexiglass safety shields in classrooms and offices.
Our students will have access as always to quality living and dining facilities, the substantial services and resources of the library, excellent computer labs, academic success and testing centers, counseling and health services and outstanding recreational programs.
They will continue to participate in fraternities, sororities, athletic programs, student government activities and other organizations.
The new reality will require a different approach to many of those experiences, because the university will follow state and national health guidelines to promote a safe environment for those who study, teach, work and live on our campuses.
Through a university-wide commitment to these new behaviors and expectations, we will establish an environment of unprecedented collaboration and engagement and embrace a shared responsibility for the collective wellbeing and success of everyone at Northwestern.
As plans have progressed for our return to campus, emphasis on the university’s core goals and mission of providing exceptional academic opportunities for our students has been expanded.
Technology in classrooms is being updated and enhanced, and training opportunities for faculty have been expanded to assure both increased quality in course delivery and maximum flexibility in teaching and scholarship.
Plans for Fall, 2020, are to maintain the current calendar. Classes will be offered in person, online and in hybrid combinations of face-to-face and virtual studies. The flexibility in course delivery that allowed us to pivot quickly to primarily online classes in the spring has been expanded to provide increased adaptability if necessary in the future.
For more details on the return to campus for Fall, 2020, frequently asked questions, health and safety guidance and other information, please visit the Return to Campus Plan on our website. There are separate links for students and faculty and staff.
The page will be frequently updated, and we will continue to maintain open, accurate and regular communications with the Northwestern community.
Thanks for your continued support and understanding in these difficult times, and let me know if I may assist you in any way.
Dr. Chris Maggio, President