Update on Return to Campus

Tuesday, August 26, 2020

Autumn Quarter Announcement

In anticipation of the upcoming academic year, we have important updates for returning and incoming students regarding our remote format and academic approach for the Autumn Quarter.

Ivy-covered building on the University of Chicago campus

Throughout July, we have sent several communications with updates for the upcoming autumn term. We understand that there have been many questions during this time, and we thank you for your patience as we have worked to consolidate answers.

We write to provide an update to many of the questions we have received from students this summer, specifically regarding our remote format and hybrid-flexible approach. We have consolidated these replies on our remote learning site in an FAQ section. Please review the information carefully as it outlines our remote format for Autumn Quarter, expectations for our hybrid-flexible approach, safety protocols, and visa requirements for international students.

Format and Rationale for Remote Learning

The MScA and MScBMI programs will follow a hybrid-flexible (hy-flex) model that will incorporate remote learning with select in-person components. The MScTRM program will be fully remote. New international students attending the program in Chicago will be required to attend some class sessions in-person to satisfy their visa requirements. Returning international students joining a program from their home country will have remote access to all courses and, once they have obtained their visa, may join the program in Chicago in the first available term.

Many factors have gone into this decision, including:

  • As a University, our goal is to prioritize the health of our students, faculty, lecturers, staff, and other members of our community while upholding our rigorous academic standard and approach to learning. By limiting the number of students learning in person, we can better manage social distancing and adhere to this guiding principle in public health standards.
  • Of the possible options, hy-flex learning provides flexibility and allows our students, staff, and instructors to make the best decision for their personal and familial health without sacrificing their educational and professional advancement.

Defining our Hybrid-Flexible Approach

As communicated in our July 1 message regarding our return to campus update, we will be pursuing a hybrid-flexible model for the upcoming academic year. In the hy-flex format, students will have opportunities to opt into in-person learning experiences where they go onsite to attend class with their instructor and other classmates.

In some learning activities, such as full-class discussions with the instructor, the in-person and remote students will participate in the same activity concurrently and work together. For other activities, the students in different modalities may work separately; remote students will collaborate with other remote students, while in-person students will work with one another. As we implement this hy-flex model, the guiding principles are:

  1. Students will, as safety guidance allows, be able to choose the learning experience that is best for them.
  2. Students who attend in-person classes and those who are remote will have equivalent experiences and access to their classmates and their instructors.

The primary means of connecting with your advisors and instructors will be via Zoom and email. There will also be opportunities to meet in person, but these will depend on the class, instructor, and safety guidelines as circumstances allow.

We share the desire for in-person learning to resume and are closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to our academic planning. As conditions improve, we are committed to exploring opportunities for in-person activities or classes. Not all classes will be offered in person; some will be held in a hy-flex mode and others will be fully remote.

Please be sure to review the FAQ section in full for questions related to your program, safety precautions, and visa requirements.

There are many unknowns as we prepare for the upcoming term, but we hope this message has given you a clear sense of what to expect going into this autumn. Regardless of modality, we remain committed to your academic and professional advancement at the University of Chicago and are excited to welcome you into our community next month.