06/17/2020 12:33 pm
The faculty and staff at Rockford University are excited to welcome students back in the fall, and today we are sharing our plans to offer our exceptional educational experience assuming Illinois Phase 4 guidelines (https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/restore-illinois-phase-4) will be in place. To protect the health and safety of the RU family while following recommended guidelines, we will be offering a blended curriculum that enables in-person, on-campus learning while adhering to social distancing guidelines and providing a safe and clean environment for our community.
All classes will be designed with a hybrid approach using virtual and in-person instruction. This will allow a variety of classes to meet face-to-face while simultaneously employing current technologies, fully utilizing classroom space, and accommodating those students, faculty, and staff who find themselves in a vulnerable class in regards to Covid-19. Moreover, such preparation, in the unlikely event, we find ourselves back in Illinois Phase 3, will leave all classes well prepared to respond with fully online programs. Indeed, our faculty and staff have been planning to ensure your experience is positive and personal – no matter the learning environment.
There also will be changes to the academic calendar to better accommodate a safe environment for our students. We will begin the semester as planned on August 19th, but we will not have the traditional 3-day fall break. The final day of the regular semester will be November 24th, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Final exams will occur online the week after Thanksgiving. This schedule change allows you to return home before Thanksgiving and complete final exams online, so you do not need to return to campus; however, it is important to note that residence halls will be available for students who wish or need to return to campus. In addition, further communication regarding residential and student life will be coming out next week.
Regardless if you find yourself in the traditional undergraduate program, if you are living on campus or commuting, if you are enrolled in the adult degree completion program, or one of our graduate programs, please know that these guidelines and safety measures apply to all of our students. We are aware that the demands, needs, and schedules of these various programs differ, and the policies and procedures we develop in the coming months will make sure to not only take those issues into account, but we will also make sure the appropriate communication reaches each of our students.
We are still actively planning and working through many details and possibilities. With so many uncertainties, we recognize you may have questions as the fall semester approaches. Over the next two months, faculty and staff will be working out details regarding our fall curriculum insofar as various modes of delivery, location of classes, and concrete safety protocols. Moreover, we are actively monitoring recommendations and guidelines from local, state, and national officials, and designing responses with our students, faculty, staff, and partners in higher education.
Our top priority is to deliver the Rockford University experience to our students with all precautions and measures to keep our campus community safe and healthy. We understand and anticipate that some of these plans may need to evolve based on changing circumstances. If and when they do, we’re prepared to respond and keep you informed.
Michael Perry, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Associate Professor of English
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