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May 7 Covid-19 Community Update

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Good afternoon,

D’Youville is deeply committed to the personalized, student-centered nature of on campus instruction. However, as we continue preparing to gradually reopen our campus, much thought and consideration will be needed to safely resume on campus instruction.

The COVID-19 Working Group, which is composed of Faculty Senate and AAUP representation, has recommended that D’Youville utilize a mixture of fully online and on campus instruction, including the rotational synchronous learning model in order to comply with social distancing requirements for on campus instruction.

The rotational synchronous learning model is a very simple, structured way to reduce classroom density by rotating students’ participation between face-to-face and remote digital learning (see Attachment A). There will be mandatory training that helps describe this instructional model, and provides a comprehensive set of behavior change practices that are necessary to safely manage the spread of COVID-19. For class size and room combinations that do not violate the classroom density guidelines below, no changes to instructional delivery will be necessary.

The implementation of social distancing strategies will require deans, chairs and faculty to re-evaluate their scheduling methods and pre-assign student groups to their individual on campus courses based upon a variety of possible campus density scenarios (e.g., 25%, 33%, 50%). A description of these student groups for any course teaching on-campus should be documented in alignment to the attached template (see Attachment B) and incorporated in course syllabi so that we can provide this documentation to the governor’s office, as required.

D’Youville’s administration will provide and periodically modify social distancing requirements that guide instructional operations in response to external regulations and the overall status of infection in our region. The faculty will be responsible for organizing the changes that support our ability to comply with regulations and gradually re-occupy campus in a safe way that accounts for the nuances of instructional demands. D’Youville’s initial social distancing requirements for the Fall 2020 semester are as follows:

  1. Classroom Density: In addition to wearing masks at all times, classroom density cannot exceed 60 square feet per person. A list of all classroom square footage is provided in Attachment C.
  2. Zone Density: 50% of classrooms in adjoining hallway zones should be utilized on campus. This will promote student-centered learning while also reducing the hallway/bathroom/stairwell congestion during class transitions.
  3. Movability: Stairwells will be designated as being used for either upward or downward movement. This will reduce congestion and allow individuals to manage their social distancing appropriately, similar to vehicle distancing on highway transit. Elevators should be reserved exclusively for only those who need to use them.
  4. On-Campus Instructional Priority: Given that it is easier to work remotely with people that you already know, face-to-face on-campus instruction should prioritize courses with new students so that we can provide the strongest welcome possible to individuals newly joining our D’Youville campus community. Priority should also be given to labs that require hands-on learning activities and subject matters which are more difficult to transfer instruction online.
  5. Off-campus Instructional Priority: Off-campus instruction should equitably consider students and instructors’ health and relation to any qualifying conditions in their home environments, as well as technological skills and preferences for receiving/delivering instruction. Instructors should also make accommodations to the best of their ability to equitably consider any at-home environmental challenges inhibiting certain individuals’ success in remote digital learning.

These social distancing requirements provide initial clarity regarding how D’Youville will approach the process of gradually re-opening the on-campus operations of our educational institution. Please understand that we will be continuously monitoring the situation, making periodic adjustments to campus density as necessary and in coordination with government regulations. Furthermore, please understand that any pedagogical methodology that can be supported by existing campus resources and is selected for use in Fall 2020 by faculty and their chairpersons can be used if it complies with the social distancing guidelines above.

Call to Action:
Due to the complexities and many levels of planning required for our re-opening, it will be necessary for faculty to dedicate time between May 18th and May 29th for planning revisions to the anticipated fall 2020 course schedule. All chairs will be required to work with their faculty to revise and submit a description of which courses will be taught via each instructional modality by May 29th. These submissions must also provide evidence that the proposed schedule is compliant with the new social distancing protocols outlined above. These timelines are critical to ensure course scheduling changes necessitated by government regulations can be effectively communicated to students and their parents as they make their final decisions regarding fall enrollment.

In alignment to the newly introduced rotational synchronous learning model, as well as the continued use of online instruction, two weeks of professional development time will be available to the faculty between May 18th and May 29th. Additional information pertaining to these opportunities will be forthcoming from the Online Learning Team.

We anticipate that questions will arise during the planning process, and we will be managing the decision-making for those issues on a case-by-case basis.

Warm wishes,

Attachment A

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Learning Model Illustration

How does it work?

In a 33% density reduction scenario, an instructor splits a course that meets 3 times per week into 3 groups which all come to participate on campus for 1 instructional session per week. Students would attend synchronous instruction digitally over Zoom for the other 2 instructional sessions per week.

In a 50% density reduction scenario, an instructor splits a course into 2 groups and the groups take turns rotating between face-to-face and online participation every other session.


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Template for varying student density

Representative examples of several density scenarios.



Dimensions of D'Youville classrooms and areas

Classroom Square Footage Guide

If: (# of students x 60 sq.ft.) / sq.ft. of space > 1

     Then: Course needs rotational synchronous teaching for on-campus delivery

 If: (# of students x 60 sq.ft.) / sq.ft. of space < 1

     Then: Course does NOT need rotational synchronous teaching for on-campus delivery

Rotational synchronous teaching is not required for courses taught entirely online regardless of student enrollment.