The University is committed to providing an excellent education for every student in an environment that maintains the health, safety and well-being of our campus community.
We will work with the Capital Region Control Room to develop a process for assessing and determining whether we can safety continue with in-person classes throughout the semester.
Vigilance in tracking key metrics – on campus and in our surrounding communities – will help inform our plans and response in the event of a resurgence of COVID-19.
We will send frequent updates to students, faculty and staff on the implementation of this plan and any changes that will affect the campus community.
Note: Individuals who are not students, staff or faculty members at UAlbany cannot audit courses during the Fall 2020 semester.
We plan to invite students back to campus for the scheduled semester start, with classes in session on Labor Day, eliminate fall break and complete on-campus instruction before Thanksgiving. Check this site frequently for updates to this plan based on evolving conditions and guidance. Final exams will be held remotely for all students after Thanksgiving break.
All courses, including those already scheduled for being online, will conform to the new academic calendar.
August 24: First day of classes
September 7: Classes will be held on Labor Day
October 12 and 13: Classes will be held during fall break
November 24: Last day of on-campus instruction
November 25: Students leave campus for the semester
November 30 through December 7: Final exams will be held remotely for all students
Canceling fall break and ending on-campus instruction before Thanksgiving will minimize the possibility of students and employees becoming infected while traveling and then spreading the virus to the campus community upon their return.
Holding class during fall break and on Labor Day will also allow us to meet the necessary instructional contact hours and activities.
While we would all like to be back on campus in the fall, gathering all students for in-person classes is not possible due to physical distancing guidelines that limit classroom capacity.
For safety and flexibility, the University will deliver courses in three broad categories: in-person (all students participate face-to-face), hybrid (a combination of face-to-face and online) and fully online.
Priority for in-person classes — in which all students meet in the classroom with the instructor for all class meetings — has been given to courses with academic outcomes that faculty have identified as more difficult to measure or achieve virtually. These include:
Graduate and undergraduate research courses
First year student courses (First Year Experience (FYE), Living Learning Community and Writing & Critical Inquiry): These courses provide critical learning experiences for first year students and establish important connections to the University. These are small courses best taught in person to facilitate cohort building.
Science teaching labs: Laboratory courses offer hands-on learning that is essential to all science majors providing exposure to equipment and techniques that most students do not have an opportunity to experience elsewhere.
Studio, seminar and performance courses: Many art, music and theater courses fall in this group, as well as honors and capstone seminars, graduate seminars and EOP seminars.
The university has established four hybrid learning options that combine in-person and online learning. Faculty teaching in a hybrid modality will utilize one of the following instructional options:
Synchronous Simulcast: This low-density, in-person class has one or more remote students. Some students meet with the instructor in the classroom at every class meeting, which all other students in the class interact with the instructor and their peers through Zoom in a synchronous manner.
Blended/Reduced Classroom Meetings: These classes meet in-person less frequently and online course activity replaces a portion of face-to-face meetings. The instructor and most students meet in-person for a limited number of classes during the semester. Any remaining class interaction happens using Blackboard or Zoom in a synchronous or asynchronous manner. (Asynchronous is more common for this format.)
Alternating Attendance: Students in the class are divided into two or more groups and lectures are presented online asynchronously to the entire class. Then, each group of students meets with the instructor face-to-face in the classroom on an alternating schedule for interactive and/or applied learning activities, such as computer-based activities or statistical analyses.
Alternating Lab Sessions: Lab sections are divided into two or more groups of students. The groups participate face-to-face in the lab on an alternating schedule. Students who are not in the lab participate in online learning, which might be synchronous or asynchronous.
Note: Synchronous teaching and learning happen at the same time (e.g., students meet with the instructor in-person or online at specified times). Asynchronous teaching and learning do not happen in the same place or at same time.
Fully online (or remote) courses will have no in-person meetings, with all class activities conducted online in one of two ways:
Synchronous courses: Students and the instructor interact during scheduled meeting times using Blackboard or Zoom.
Asynchronous courses: Students and the instructor interact using Blackboard or Zoom without real-time interaction.
Mixed (asynchronous and synchronous) courses: Students and the instructor interact asynchronously using Blackboard, with some scheduled synchronous sessions via Zoom.
Greatly reduced numbers in classrooms and public spaces will help naturally manage pedestrian traffic. In select locations, stairwells will be made one-way. These actions, combined with personal responsibility and public awareness messaging, will help reduce densities and improve traffic flow.
Accessing the New Class Schedule
The University is moving quickly to update the Fall 2020 schedule of classes to reflect the new delivery modes.
Once that process is completed in early August, students and faculty will be able to access the revised schedule of classes in the same format and on the same platforms as they have in the past.
In-person courses: Days, times and room assignments
Hybrid courses: Room assignments, and whether the course will be asynchronous or synchronous
Online courses: Whether the course will be asynchronous or synchronous
Students who are unable to come to campus will have a large array of online courses to choose from. If you wish to make changes to your schedule after your courses have been updated, you can do so through your MyUAlbany account.
Please contact your academic advisor with any questions or concerns about your course schedule. Not all courses can be offered remotely, so students may need to register for alternative courses.
Students with disabilities can request academic accommodations if they register with the Disability Resource Center (DRC). Staff members are here to ensure you have an accessible education.
We strongly encourage students with disabilities to register, even if they’re unsure whether they’ll ever need accommodations. It will help any future requests go faster and more smoothly.
Academic accommodations are determined by an interactive conversation between the student and the DRC. Staff then creates a letter listing reasonable accommodations, which the student can send to professors.
The DRC can also help students access other supports or assistance. Email DRC@albany.edu to schedule an appointment.