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Return to Campus: Morris

As UMN Morris welcomes students, faculty, and staff back to our campus, safety is our top priority. University of Minnesota leaders have developed a flexible framework to resume in-person instruction – with options for robust remote learning – and re-open residence halls, dining facilities, and other campus services, in a manner consistent with public health guidelines. 

  • The Fall 2020 semester includes adjusted capacities and multi-modal instruction in which courses can be delivered in-person, remotely or through other alternative formats.
  • The academic calendar has been adjusted to conclude all in-person instruction by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Fall term starts August 19 at UMN Morris.
  • The Stop the Spread of COVID-19 initiative is our shared commitment to protect one another with daily individual health monitoring, proper handwashing, physical distancing, and wearing masks.
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing practices throughout all University facilities will be implemented.
  • The University will be ready to pivot to alternative learning formats if the pandemic and state or local public health guidelines require it.

Questions about the Academic Calendar

When will the fall 2020 semester take place?

UMN Morris classes will begin a week earlier than originally planned.

Fall Semester 2020 (70 class days)

  • August 15-18 Sat.-Tues. New Student Orientation
  • August 17 Monday Faculty return
  • August 19 Wednesday Classes begin
  • September 7 Monday Labor Day holiday
  • October 6 Tuesday First half semester Classes end
  • October 7 Wednesday Second half semester Classes begin
  • November 25 Wednesday Last day of instruction / Students depart for remote finals and break
  • November 26-27 Thurs.-Fri. Thanksgiving Holiday and floating holiday
  • November 28-30 Sat.-Mon. Study days
  • December 1-4 Tue.-Fri. Final examinations (online or remote)

Are there any other changes to the academic calendar?

UMN Morris will not have a fall break this year. Campus community members preferred a condensed schedule rather than the option of more night and Saturday classes. 

Spring semester remains for now as scheduled with classes beginning on January 19, 2021.

Questions about Fall 2020 Courses

Will classes be in person or remote learning?

We anticipate that fall semester 2020 will include a combination of in-person, online, remote (synchronous online), and hybrid classes to be determined by safety recommendations, overall classroom capacity, institutional needs, pedagogical requirements, and faculty preferences. 

In-person instruction will conform with physical distancing based on recommendations from public health guidance. Classes may also be offered as online or hybrid allowing students to fill out their schedules with in-person or distanced instruction, or a combination.

Students will have choices as they review course offerings. Some students may choose courses which are all offered in person on campus. Others may choose courses which are offered fully through on-line/remote modalities. And some may choose a combination of courses and hybrid options. The University of Minnesota Morris is committed to helping students to advance in their degree programs, and we will provide a clear process for helping you take the courses you need.

How will I know how a specific class will be taught?

The class schedule will reflect the mode of instruction, whether fully online (without scheduled meeting days and times), remote-instruction (online but with regularly scheduled class meetings), hybrid (a mixture of online, remote, and/or in-person), or in person on campus. The University Registrar will be implementing as soon as possible a system (searchable by delivery mode, we hope) that will allow students to see their options. We will notify students before the start of the fall semester with enough time to allow them to adjust their schedules if needed.

Will my class schedule for Fall 2020 be changed?

As we learn more about classroom capacity with physical distancing, course meeting times may be changed and the delivery method may change. We will notify students before the start of the fall semester with enough time to allow them to adjust their schedules if needed.

What will happen to the UMN Morris Summer Sessions?

Summer Session is not affected by these changes.

If classes are held via remote instruction again, will they be Pass/NoPass?

When students register, they will see, as usual, if the course is offered A-F, S-N, or with the student option to choose between those two grading systems. In accordance with University policy, we do not anticipate changes to the grading system that would take place after registration.

What if I can’t attend UMN Morris in person this fall? Can I still take all of my classes?

The University of Minnesota Morris is committed to helping students advance in their degree programs, and we will provide a clear process for helping you take the courses you need. 

What about registration for Fall 2020?

Once the updated modes of course delivery are determined for fall, students will be notified and will have the opportunity to adjust their schedules, if needed. Incoming students will continue to participate in the registration process as planned.

Questions for New Students

When will orientation take place for new students?

New Student Orientation will begin on Saturday, August 15, and continue through Tuesday, August 18.

Orientation components will be offered through in person, online, and hybrid options to meet students' varied needs and reflect current public health guidance

How will these changes affect new first-year students and transfer students?

Student move-in to campus residence halls will be extended to provide for physical distancing. Orientation programs will be offered in varied formats to meet student needs.

Questions Concerning Health & Safety

How will physical distancing in classes be managed?

Physical spaces will be adjusted to meet distancing recommendations, including by having furniture reconfigured as necessary or spacing marked.

What if the pandemic dissipates over the summer only to return in the fall?

We will adjust as necessary and in keeping with University, Minnesota Department of Health, and CDC guidance.

Questions about Residential Life & Housing

Are residence halls open for fall 2020?

Yes, with reduced capacity to meet Minnesota Department of Health recommendations. Single and double occupancy residence hall rooms will be available. No triple rooms will be available. Housing is guaranteed to incoming first year students.

What happens to my housing contract if I can’t move into campus housing?

Housing contracts will be cancelled without penalty for students who are unable to move into campus housing due to COVID-19 related concerns.

What is being done to prepare on-campus housing for fall semester residents?

The Office of Residential Life and Facilities Management have been working to thoroughly clean all housing over the summer and will be implementing safety measures for the arrival of students following guidelines from public health officials.

Questions about Studying Abroad

What is the status of planned study abroad programming?

Individual study abroad and exchanges for fall and spring are a case-by-case basis and dependent on the partner or host institution. We are working closely with students who wish to participate in these programs to make sure that they have the most accurate information.

When will I be able to register for future study abroad?

Faculty-led study abroad for the spring and summer of 2021 are currently going forward as planned. Registration for these programs will open during the fall semester based on guidance from the GPS Alliance office. 

Questions about Wearing a Face Covering

General Questions about Wearing a Face Covering

What is the University’s stance on face coverings?

Scientific understanding of the transmission of COVID-19 has evolved, and we now know that wearing a simple face covering provides valuable, albeit imperfect, protection against the spread of COVID-19. As a result, face coverings are now required in most situations indoors.

How are face coverings part of a larger effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

At the University, we are a community. We are all part of the solution and can help keep each other safe. Face coverings are just one part of a Community Promise to protect yourself, your fellow students, staff, faculty, and our community.

Why are you mandating face coverings when scientists and experts disagree on their effectiveness in many settings?

As scientists continue to learn about COVID-19, their research evolves. We now know that wearing a simple face covering provides valuable, albeit imperfect, protection against the spread of COVID-19, and it is a visual reminder that we must all take precautions to protect our own health and the health of those around us. The CDC has more information available regarding the research.

To whom does the face covering protocol apply?

All University of Minnesota faculty, staff, students, and visitors, including contractors, service providers, vendors, and suppliers. This protocol does not apply to children under the age of 2 years, anyone unable to remove a face covering without assistance, and anyone who cannot wear a face covering because of health or disability reasons. Individuals who cannot wear face coverings because of health or disability reasons should register with the Disability Resource Center to explore alternative accommodations.

What type of face covering is acceptable?

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommended face coverings can include simple cloth coverings, scarves or bandanas. Disposable paper masks are also acceptable. All face coverings must extend from the bridge of the nose to below the chin. N95 or surgical masks are not required nor should they be bought or worn by people outside of health care or other specialized settings, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The CDC recommends face coverings that:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face,
  • Are secured with ties or ear loops,
  • That include multiple layers of fabric,
  • That allow for breathing without restriction, and
  • That can be laundered and machine-dried without damaging them or changing their shape.

Is a face shield an appropriate alternative to a cloth face covering or mask?

Yes. In some cases face shields may be an appropriate alternative, as advised by the Minnesota Department of Health. If you have a disability or medical condition, please contact the Disability Resource Center or Human Resources.

Will the University be supplying face coverings to students, faculty, and staff?

Yes. Faculty, staff, and students will be provided masks. Mask distribution details are being developed and will be shared when more is known.

Do I have to wear a University-provided mask to comply with this requirement?

No, you may also wear a cloth covering, such as a scarf or bandana, or a face shield (if needed as an accommodation) that covers your nose and mouth.

What recommendations do you have for properly utilizing face coverings?

Does wearing a mask reduce the need for physical distancing?

No. Physical distancing guidelines, as provided in the Sunrise Plan, are to be used in tandem with face coverings and other COVID-19 prevention practices. Guidelines include maintaining six feet of distance between you and others, avoiding group gatherings and confined areas, and avoiding use of other people’s equipment and workstations.

Questions about Wearing Face Coverings Indoors: Requirements specific to indoor spaces

Are there exceptions when face coverings would not be required indoors?

Face coverings are not required under the following circumstances:

  1. A room when only one individual is present.
  2. Indoor spaces where a posted and official University notice indicates masks are not needed.
  3. When eating or drinking; however, physical distancing must be observed.
  4. In your own on-campus residence hall or apartment room. Please note: face coverings are still required in common spaces (such as hallways, bathrooms, or dining facilities).
  5. When unable to wear a face covering while exercising at the Cougar Sports Center or Regional Fitness Center, as long as all other facility policies, rules and guidelines are followed.
  6. When alone in a motor vehicle.

If an individual has a disability or medical condition that makes wearing a face covering difficult or impossible. Please contact the Disability Resource Center or Human Resources for assistance with identifying alternative accommodations.

If I’m expecting a visitor or family member to my work space or campus residence (dorms, apartments), what is the requirement for them?

All visitors to the campus are required to wear a face covering when indoors.

Questions about Wearing Face Coverings Outdoors: Requirements specific to outdoor spaces

Are face coverings required outdoors?

It depends. Face coverings are required in outdoor settings on campus if safe physical distancing and limits on the size of gatherings are not being observed. Where safe physical distancing and small groups are in place, face coverings are strongly encouraged but not required.

Are there any outdoor settings where face coverings will be required?

In situations where effective physical distancing cannot be achieved, and large groups of individuals will be gathering for extended periods, face coverings are required.

Questions about Wearing Face Coverings in Campus Housing/Dining Facilities

Am I required to wear a face covering in my on-campus apartment or residence hall room?

No, if you are alone or with your roommates in your on-campus apartment or residence hall. However, a face covering is required in common areas such as hallways, study spaces, lobbies, bathrooms, or dining facilities.

How about in my off-campus residence?

Face coverings are strongly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in any indoor space but the University cannot require face coverings in spaces off campus that it does not own.

Do I need to wear a face covering outdoors or walking to/from class or other on-campus locations?

It depends. Face coverings are required in outdoor settings on campus, if safe physical distancing and limited gathering requirements are not being observed. Where safe physical distancing and gathering practices are being observed, face coverings are strongly encouraged but not required.

If my roommates or neighbors refuse to wear a face covering and/or follow other public health recommendations, what should I do?

The first step is to talk to them about wearing a face covering in a caring, respectful manner. For example, you could say something like, “I know you aren’t wearing a mask, and I’m feeling stress related to this. Would you be willing to wear a mask so that we can all be safe together?”

  1. If the person refuses to comply after you have asked them to wear a face covering, please seek out a community adviser or other University staff member to assist you with next steps.
  2. Please remember that some individuals may be unable to wear a face covering because of health or disability reasons.

What is required in dining facilities? Will exceptions be made while eating/drinking?

Face coverings are required when you are in dining facilities, except while eating and drinking. Regardless, physical distancing must be observed.

Questions about Wearing Face Coverings for Faculty: Information specific to teaching and conducting research at the University

Should my syllabus state that face coverings are required?

Now that face coverings are required indoors, you do not need to explicitly state in your syllabus that they are required for in-person classes. However, you may want to reiterate that you expect students to comply with all University public health policies, including the wearing of face coverings.

A student in my class is not wearing a face covering OR A student in my class is not wearing a sufficient face covering. What should I do?

  1. Talk with the student privately to see if they have a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering. 
  2. If the student refuses, the professor may ask the student to leave for the class session. 
  3. Following the class session, the instructor should follow up with an email to the student reiterating expectations (including a reminder of the University face covering expectations, the Teaching and Learning: Student Responsibilities, and the Student Conduct Code). The instructor should reiterate that participating in the class will require use of a face covering unless they have worked with the Disability Resource Center on accommodations. The instructor will also let the student know that if this happens again, the student will be asked to leave class and the instructor will submit a report to the Office of Student Affairs. 
  4. If a second offense occurs*, the instructor will ask the student to leave class and the instructor will submit a report to the Office of Student Affairs.. The student will be sent a non-disciplinary warning letter for the second offense stating that if the student does not comply with the directive to wear a face covering, they will be charged with a violation of the Student Conduct Code. Students are allowed back to class after this warning letter is sent, provided they comply with the directive to wear a face covering.
    • *There may be instances in which a student forgets to wear their face covering more than one time. The instructor may use discretion to determine if the student is unwilling to comply or simply forgot and needs a subsequent reminder. At any point, the instructor is encouraged to have an educational conversation if the student repeatedly forgets but willfully complies when reminded.
  5. If subsequent offenses occur, the student will be asked to leave the class and charged with subdivisions 2 and/or 4 of the Student Conduct Code: 
    • Subd. 2. Disruption of Academic Environment. Disruption of the academic environment means engaging in behavior that substantially or repeatedly interrupts either the instructor’s ability to teach and/or a student’s ability to learn.
    • Subd. 4. Refusal to Identify and Comply. Refusal to identify and comply means willfully refusing to or falsely identifying one’s self or willfully failing to comply with a proper order or summons when requested by law enforcement personnel, by emergency medical staff responding to an emergency, or by a University employee acting within the purview of their job responsibilities.
  6. Students would need to attend a meeting with a Student Affairs or Student Behavior Committee designee before returning to class after a subsequent incident. Disciplinary sanctions could be utilized.

A student not wearing a face covering says that they have a disability or medical condition that precludes from wearing a face covering. What should I do to accommodate them?

Provide them the contact information for the Disability Resource Center, which will evaluate their condition and explore alternative accommodations.

Can I set the policy in my lab or research space for face coverings?

Yes, but it must be consistent with the protocol outlined here, i.e., indoor face covering usage is required unless the space is clearly occupied by only a single individual.

Are face coverings required when I’m working in my office/lab/workspace alone?

No, as long as you are confident that the space will not be occupied by others while you are there or very shortly after your departure.

Questions about Wearing Face Coverings in Workspaces: Information for those working at the University

Will faculty or staff be allowed to enter the workplace without a face covering?

No. All faculty and staff are expected to wear a face covering as directed when on campus whether working in a campus facility, or outside where physical distancing and gathering size limitations are not being observed.

Are face coverings required when I’m working in my office/lab/workspace alone?

No. Face coverings are not required when alone in a room or where permitted by an official University notice posted in the space. You should receive clear instruction from your supervisor if this may be allowed in your area before deciding to not wear a face covering.

A faculty or staff member that I supervise is not wearing a mask or other face covering. What should I do?

Meet with the individual one-on-one (by Zoom is okay) and have a private, respectful conversation in which you explain the face covering requirement. If the person has a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering or they otherwise wish to seek accommodations, they should consult with Human Resources to explore potential alternatives. If there is no medical condition or disability, request that they start to wear a face covering immediately. If the staff or faculty member has another reason such as religious objection, they should contact Human Resources, which will work with them to determine what accommodations may be possible.

My supervisor or colleague is not wearing a face covering. What should I do?

Politely ask that your coworker or supervisor wear a face covering. If they are not following the University’s direction, this can be immediately reported to your department manager, senior leader, or Human Resources.

What are the consequences of not wearing a face covering?

If a faculty or staff member refuses to wear a face covering, their supervisor should first support the individual’s ability to cooperate with face covering guidelines through education/coaching and problem solving, such as explaining the benefits of face coverings, and providing a mask to an employee who has forgotten a face covering or was unable to purchase one. If staff or faculty continue to refuse, supervisors must deal with this as a performance or misconduct issue.

Questions about Accommodations

Who can advise employees who need an accommodation or supervisors needing guidance about potential accommodations?

Employees or supervisors should contact Human Resources about seeking accommodations.

Who can help if I cannot wear a face covering due to a disability or medical condition?

Human Resources is available to help you explore alternative accommodations.

I have experienced discrimination based on my need for accommodations. What should I do?

We understand that a directive to wear a face covering may exacerbate implicit biases and existing stereotypes. All members of the University community should avoid stigmatizing others because they are wearing or not wearing face coverings. If you are experiencing such discrimination or criticism, please contact Human Resources or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.

Are there religious or other reasons that alternative accommodations may be needed?

Yes, it is possible. Please discuss the need for alternative accommodations with Human Resources.

Questions about Compliance with Wearing Face Coverings

What should I do if I observe others not complying with this requirement?

The University expects the community to behave responsibly with respect to the health and safety of others. We are a community. We can help keep each other safe and we all need to be part of the solution. Staff and students should not attempt to directly enforce this directive but instead should share any concerns of suspected violations with their immediate supervisor or appropriate university official.

Is it appropriate for me to remind someone in an indoor space with me of the face covering requirement? To politely ask them to put a face covering on?

In some instances, it may be appropriate to politely ask others to observe the face covering protocol. However, be careful to avoid stigmatizing other members of the community. Recognize that some members of our community may be exempt from the face coverings requirement or may be utilizing accommodations. Above all, be patient and kind with others as we work together to keep our campus community safe and healthy.

Where can I find the full face covering protocol?

It is posted on the Return to Campus website.

Will people be disciplined for not wearing a face covering?

Compliance with the face covering protocol is expected. Our first preference is to handle this with a conversation and a social enforcement approach, but University community members who repeatedly disregard this expectation will be referred to Human Resources or to offices that engage in student conduct for follow up. As with other University regulations, failure to comply may result in disciplinary action through the Office of Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean (faculty), Human Resources (staff), and Student Affairs / the Student Behavior Committee (students).

Questions regarding exceptions to the face covering directive may be directed to those offices, which will then consult with other appropriate University offices/officials as necessary when evaluating requests for an exemption.