In a letter sent out to the University of Delaware (UD) community, President Dennis Assanis shared an update on
the institution’s planning efforts through their Campus Reopening and Fall Planning Task Force. The University plans to reactivate the UD campus and open classrooms and residence halls to students for the fall 2020 semester with the first day of classes being September 1st in a blended format, a mix of face-to-face and online instruction. “
This goal does not come lightly, as UD leadership continues to work through multiple measures and initiatives in order to enable successful resumption of our campus experience at all locations in Delaware,” said Assanis “In all cases, we will continue to adapt the UD campus, operations and curriculum to safeguard the health and well-being of our community.”
As of now, there are no changes to the dates indicated in the formal academic calendar for fall 2020, except that the start date of the Thanksgiving break will be changed. There are changes to the course delivery mode after the Thanksgiving break, and the University is
poised to convert to fully online learning at any time if COVID-19 circumstances dictate. For students whose health conditions prevent them from attending class in person and/or international students who are unable to be on campus due to travel restrictions
or other circumstances, UD will provide access to a high-quality online course delivery.
On-campus housing for students will follow a revised schedule and safety protocol. UD students living in on-campus housing will be moving in over an extended period of time ranging from mid- to late August. Move-in for first-year and transfer students will be followed up with UD’s on-campus orientation program, 1743 Welcome Days. All students will be assigned a designated move-in date and time. The Division of Student Life will provide additional information about the move-in process soon to all students who have reserved an on-campus living assignment.
UD Athletics will continue to monitor the public health situation with plans to compete. Student-athletes have begun to return to campus in a phased manner in anticipation of an active fall season of sporting events; these student-athletes are currently being tested in
accordance with approved health protocols.
“We will be making final decisions on athletics in coordination with the CAA Conference, as well as NCAA and CDC guidelines. Of course, all planning for a successful season will rely on regular monitoring and necessary flexibility and compliance with safety measures pertaining to the public health situation,” said Assanis. “We have not yet made final decisions about Blue Hen fan attendance, but we will be sure to communicate plans to our ticket holders and supporters as those decisions are made.”
“I know this has not been easy on any of you; yet, you rose to the challenge with resolve, innovation and resilience. Over the past few months, we have been working non-stop to transform that resilience into a continuum of energy that will propel the University of Delaware forward,” said Assanis.
“As I have shared with you in my letters on June 4th and June 18th, we all need to work together to extinguish social injustices and inequalities and strive to redefine a society that is accountable, equitable and inclusive. The University of Delaware condemns racism and acts of violence,” said Assanis. “Our connected identity as a community can play an important part in creating positive change to strengthen the values, openness and experience of the UD culture and its impact. This is yet another reason why I want us to all be back together on the campus as soon as possible.”
In an effort to support our students “academically, financially and emotionally” the University will freeze tuition for the upcoming year. In addition, all members of the University senior leadership team and I have voluntarily taken salary cuts of 5-10%. The salary base for all UD staff for Fiscal Year 2021 has also been frozen, with no annual merit increases.
“I am grateful for our community’s demonstration of sacrifice and commitment to the University during this trying time,” said Assanis.
With recognition of increased health factors to take into account during this time, the Student Wellbeing Fee will increase by $250 to meet increased demand of various health services, supporting such areas as expanded telehealth services, cultivating mental health counseling, increasing number of clinicians on the ground and new programming at Warner Hall, which is currently being renovated. The comprehensive fee for students will increase by $120 in order for the University to be able to partially defray increased operating costs, including enhanced student services, notably advising, and contractual and debt service obligations. The housing and dining fees will increase by $264 to partially offset increased operating and custodial costs, as well as dining hall renovations.
In the letter, President Assanis also addressed specific campus guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. “In particular, we are taking a close look at our facilities’ requirements, as well as campus-wide adherence to the UD COVID-19 Return to Campus Guidelines. In its most simple form, the “new normal” of our daily behavior will revolve around responsible attention to (1) daily health screenings, (2) physical distancing, (3) hand hygiene and (4) wearing cloth face coverings,” he said.
University of Delaware officials stated that more detailed information will come in the following weeks.