As Queens continues to prioritize the in-person classroom experience that Royals expect and treasure, we must make changes to our academic calendar and reduce density in classrooms to maintain the safety of our students, faculty, and staff.
In that spirit, the university considered many factors while developing the academic calendar and deciding how best to responsibly convene, including prioritizing the safety of our community members, the continuity of our educational mission and our part in mitigating this public health crisis. We are also actively monitoring the evolving Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College Health Association guidelines, in addition to federal, state, local regulations. With that in mind the following changes have been made:
- Spring semester will begin classes on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, for all undergraduate and sixteen-week graduate courses. Our fully online graduate programs will start their first eight-week session as scheduled on January 11.
- To prioritize health and safety and to limit travel away from campus there will be no spring break this year.
- Final exams will occur as scheduled from April 27 through May 4.
- Commencement remains scheduled for Saturday, May 8, 2021.In addition, we realize that some of our professors, students and staff are in high-risk groups and may not be able to return to campus at this time. Our faculty and academic leadership are diligently preparing ways to ensure that all courses with an on-ground component can be flexible and accessible in multiple ways, while maintaining Queens’ academic excellence.
In the Classroom
Classrooms at Queens will look different this semester as we implement safety procedures and protocols to protect our community from COVID-19. In-person classes are subject to physical distancing guidelines, and therefore, courses will be offered in a hybrid format. We have adjusted all on-campus classes and instructional spaces and designed plans for physical distancing. Signage with maximum occupancy will be clearly posted in instructional spaces throughout campus.
In addition to checking the modality of courses using the online course search tool, students can expect to receive further communication from their course instructors in early January.
In addition, we have developed the following protocols and recommendations for face-to-face instruction:
- Classrooms will be modified or marked to accommodate reduced density and physical distancing.
- Furniture in offices and common spaces may also be modified for physical distancing.
- Students and faculty will be required to wear face masks.
- Sanitizing resources will be placed in all classrooms for use by students and faculty to clean their areas before/after use.
- Technology enhancements have been installed to facilitate interaction between in-person and remote students. For example, we have up-fitted 55 of our classrooms with new technology to enhance hybrid learning so that students in-person and online can participate together in class discussions. These classrooms have OWL cameras that broadcast the entire classroom, allowing students online to see and hear the professor and students in the classroom.
- Directional flow patterns have been designated for all academic buildings to minimize interactions between class periods.