Dear CSCU Community:
Like all other institutions of higher education across the country, we are navigating uncertain times and preparing for an upcoming academic year like no other. Over the past several weeks, campus teams and CSCU steering committees have done great work together to identify opportunities and challenges, and provide recommendations for academic affairs, enrollment management, student life, student support services, logistics, technology, operations, and facilities. We still have a lot of planning to do and more questions need to be addressed in the coming weeks and months.
That said, I am excited to announce that we are planning to return to our campuses in fall 2020 with significant measures in place to make our institutions as safe as possible.
Based on significant guidance from public health experts and in accordance with Governor Lamont’s ReOpen CT Advisory Committee plan, we have determined that the CSCU colleges and universities will reopen their physical campuses to residential and commuter students for fall 2020 with the following protocols in place:
The four universities can start bringing residential and commuter students to their campuses on Monday, August 24. Classes will follow the common calendar through Thanksgiving, with the balance of the semester and exams online. Arrangements for residential students to move in are still to be determined.
The 12 community colleges are permitted to offer on ground courses beginning June 1 for those spring semester students who need to complete programs and for new students to enroll in workforce development programs. This summer reopening is allowed under phase 1b of ReOpen CT for Higher Education. Like the universities, community colleges may bring students back for the fall semester on August 24 and courses will follow the common calendar.
Charter Oak State College will continue to offer its catalog of online classes through summer and fall.
Plans for the reopening of the campuses for faculty and staff will be developed this summer. Plans for reopening the CSCU system office and Charter Oak State College are being established as well.
Classes at the colleges and universities will be delivered in a variety of on ground, online, remote, hybrid and flexible course design models.
The community colleges and universities will be prepared to pivot to offer fully remote courses and services if public health conditions warrant.
Before our physical campuses are opened for the next academic year, each campus must write a plan that meets all standards outlined in the ReOpen CT Higher Education phase three framework as well as incorporating recommendations from the CSCU Steering Committees. The ReOpen framework provides guidance on the planning of repopulating campuses with the re-entry of students; monitoring the health of students, faculty and staff; containment of the virus should an outbreak occur; and preparing to shut down physical campuses and transition as seamlessly as possible back to a remote-only model if it becomes necessary.
As I said at the outset, we have many questions to answer and arrangements to make before we reopen. We will share additional details in the coming weeks as we prepare for the fall. These plans will be communicated to the campus communities and I encourage you to monitor your email over the summer. Updates will also be posted soon on the www.ct.edu website along with other ReOpen CT and CSCU planning documents for your information.
Our priority has been and will continue to be the safety of our students, faculty and staff. That will not change as we move forward in our thoughtful and deliberative planning process to welcome students back to our campuses in August.
Mark E. Ojakian