The University of Connecticut plans to start classes for the fall term on Aug. 31 with a range of in-person and on-line course offerings.
In a message to the UConn community on Wednesday, President Thomas Katsouleas said the plan is contingent on meeting a series of “gating conditions” established by the state.
“I am optimistic that together we will be able to satisfy them in advance of the next semester,” Katsouleas said.
“Returning” he cautioned, does not mean “back to normal.”
The draft plan calls for a modified academic and campus experience shaped by responses to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Altogether, UConn has about 32,000 students spread across its campuses.
Like many other residential colleges in the state, students will not return following Thanksgiving break. The rest of the fall semester, including final exams, will be online.
On campus, classroom capacity will also be reduced to allow for six feet of separation between people.
Residence halls in both Storrs and Stamford will open with reduced density and a new housing assignment process. Dedicated space will be put aside should some students need to isolate during the semester because of illness.
Students who will be living on campus will have to return approximately two weeks before the start of classes to allow for testing and a period of quarantine.
Students who can’t return home at Thanksgiving will be allowed to stay but also can’t leave for Thanksgiving break and then come back.
Housing and dining fees will remain unchanged.
All dining halls will be open, however, services will be — at least to start — take-out only.
The library and campus bookstores will be open, but common spaces may be limited to promote physical distancing. Same goes for the Student Recreation Center.
Use of the Student Union is currently being evaluated.
Student activities and on-campus events are on, but officials admit they could look different depending on state guidelines regarding group gatherings.
Potential testing protocols for other student populations, as well as accommodations and capacity, are still being established.
Protocols for employee testing are also being developed.
In public, everyone will need to wear a mask, including in classrooms.
UConn has purchased enough masks to supply its entire community.
Health screening and monitoring will be continuous and anyone ill will have to stay home. The university also said it would institute preventative measures “through operational changes to our buildings, transportation systems, deliveries and visitation as well as interactions with campus visitors and guests to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus.”
Katsouleas called the guidelines a piece of the draft plan which continues to evolve.
“This is new for all of us,” he said.