A detailed list of how Pittsburgh colleges plan to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic | Coronavirus | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

A detailed list of how Pittsburgh colleges plan to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic

click to enlarge University of Pittsburgh campus - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP photo: Jared Wickerham
University of Pittsburgh campus
Universities across the Pittsburgh region are beginning to publicly formulate plans for the Fall 2020 semester, considering the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Colleges and universities in the region ended in-person classes at the start of the pandemic and transitioned to virtual learning. And now, all Pittsburgh universities are clear on one thing: This fall semester will not look like any semester before it. But each school varies somewhat in its approach and individual rules and plans. This article will be updated as schools release further information.

University of Pittsburgh
Classes will be held both in-person and online in the fall through the Flex@Pitt system, described by Chancellor Patrick Gallagher in a letter as “a dynamic, hybrid approach to teaching and learning.” Students will still be able to live on campus and can attend in-person or online classes. The academic calendar will be compressed— the fall term will begin on August 19, with students moving in August 13-18, and on-campus classes will end at Thanksgiving break on November 20. Classes will continue remotely after break and end for the semester on December 5. The final exam period may possibly be held on the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving to accommodate in-person finals. The university plans to implement social distancing and "de-densifying" measures in dorms and classrooms, as well as testing, temperature check-ins, and quarantine or isolation to keep the virus in check.

According to the official teaching website for Pitt, Flex@Pitt classes will require faculty and students to be able to move between in-person and online modes. Classes will happen both “synchronously” and “asynchronously,” meaning some activities will be able to be done outside of normal class time to accommodate students living away from campus in different time zones. All synchronous classes will be available on video conference, and recordings of the classes will be available after the fact. Professors will use online learning tools like Blackboard and Canvas as well as videoconferencing platforms like Zoom and Panopto.


Pitt announced Wednesday that its students with housing guarantees who requested residence for the upcoming term will receive it—and to help reduce density in residence halls, some students, mostly freshmen, will be living in “Pitt Experience” partnered hotel rooms within 15 minutes of campus. These hotels will operate in the same way as campus housing, with 24-hour security as well as resident assistants (RAs) and resident directors. University shuttle routes will also be updated to provide service to these locations.

Carnegie Mellon University
As of June 13, Carnegie Mellon University plans to return to campus on August 31. First-year Undergraduate Orientation will take place in person during the week of August 23-30. After Thanksgiving, all classes will be taught as remote-only courses, but residence halls will remain open.

In a letter to students, Provost Jim Garrett states that in as many cases as possible, courses that are offered with in-person instruction will also be offered remotely, and that the feasibility of in-person events and activities will be “based on safety protocols, guidance from department heads, classroom space and the number of enrolled students.”

Duquesne University
So far, Duquesne University is planning to bring students back to campus in the fall, with classes “beginning as scheduled” on August 24, 2020. On May 13, Duquesne President Ken Gormley laid out three potential “movable” plans for the fall which the university may choose from depending on the public health situation and state, county, and city regulations:


Scenario No. 1: "In-person safety modified model. On-campus classes and housing are permitted, so long as modified to protect the health and safety of students and employees, as guided by CDC directives, governmental protocols, etc. (For students who have underlying health issues or otherwise have concerns about on-campus activities, online instruction options will always be available under any scenario)."

Scenario No. 2: "Blended model. Blended in-person and online classes, and scaled-back on-campus housing, are recommended, in order to de-densify for health and safety purposes, at least for a period of time in the academic year."

Scenario No. 3: "Online model. Fully online instruction is required for a period of the academic year, if the virus recurs and the government orders another period of shut-downs. Under this scenario, which we hope is less likely, we would construct the ability to move quickly and seamlessly back to campus as soon as health concerns abate."

Carlow University
Carlow University has not released its official plan yet but intends to disseminate a comprehensive, phased reentry plan before the end of June, according to a letter from Dean of Students Timothy Phillips posted on May 29. For now, he says that the plan may involve “a mix of on-campus, off-campus, online,
and hybrid modalities” that include “restricted entry and exits with screening measures; physical distancing and masking protocols; guidelines relating to interaction within University common areas and workspaces; cleaning and sanitation protocols; and the review of employee policies pertaining to sick leave and remote and flexible work.”

Point Park University
In-person classes will begin August 31 and end at Thanksgiving break, continuing online through December 14, according to an update posted June 18. Final exams will be given remotely. Dorms will be open and University students will be allowed to stay on campus during and after Thanksgiving break while attending remote classes, and students who leave housing after Thanksgiving will be eligible for a refund. Athletics and some Playhouse events will continue, pending guidance from local and state authorities. Point Park will publish a larger guide to On-Campus Learning and Operations during the week of July 6, accompanied by a video presentation from President Paul Hennigan to answer students’ questions.


Chatham University
According to the university’s planning website, Chatham plans to bring students back between August 19 and August 22, with classes beginning on August 24. On-campus classes will end on November 21, around Thanksgiving, and will continue online until December 11. All students and staff will be required to participate in temperature checks and answer a health questionnaire each day before participating in on-campus activities or entering campus buildings. Masks will be required in all campus buildings and physical distancing will be encouraged.

For classes, some courses will be held asynchronously through recorded lectures with smaller discussion sessions held in-person. Classwork and assessments “will be completed electronically when at all possible.” All study abroad programs have been canceled for the fall. The residency requirement for students will be lifted as rooms will be de-densified — doubles without semi-private restrooms will become singles and triples/quads without restrooms will be converted to doubles. Community areas in dorms will be mostly closed and no guests will be allowed in dorms. On-campus events with public attendance, meaning people from outside of Chatham, will not be allowed from June 2020 through March 2021, and spectators at all sports games will be limited to 50 people.

Community College of Allegheny County
In-person summer classes will be reinstating June 29 and will continue to have in-person options in the fall. According to a letter posted by President Quintin Bullock on June 22, a number of safety protocols have already been put in place, including the requiring of masks in campus buildings and physical distancing. The lounge and common areas will be closed. On-site student services, such as registration and counseling, will require appointments. Classrooms, work areas, libraries, and other school buildings will be reconfigured to accommodate physical distancing. Food service will be to-go only.

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