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Academic Instruction

For in-person courses, Rowan will comply with the social distancing and other general safeguarding measures for classrooms.

General Safeguarding
All requirements regarding social distancing set forth by the University and the CDC will be followed. Social distancing (6 feet or more) must be maintained at all times.

Additionally:

  • Occupancy of classrooms will be restricted according to social distancing standards. In consultation with the academic deans, the Division of Facilities & Operations has updated the database of classrooms to indicate room capacities adjusted to reflect reduced density.
  • Employees and students should remain at least 6 feet apart to the fullest extent possible.
  • Signs will be posted reminding employees and students of social distancing requirements.
  • Floor markings will be used to identify 6-foot parameters in high-traffic where waiting lines for services form.
  • Handshakes and physical contact will be prohibited.
  • Guidelines for common areas will follow social distancing protocols. Common areas may be restricted or reconfigured to ensure distancing depending on student use of such spaces.
  • One-way directional traffic flow will be considered, where possible.
  • Sharing of phones, headsets, desks, etc. will be prohibited. Adaptations and cleaning protocols will be implemented as necessary if sharing is required.
  • If weather permits, activities should be held outside to further support safe distancing as appropriate to the class.

Delivery of Instruction
Rowan University’s restart strategy for delivery of instruction is based on programmatic need, defined as the set of priorities that best support student learning and success in accordance with our institutional mission. These priorities are not new, but they are more complex and dynamic under the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic: 

  • Provide opportunities for students to interact with instructors and peers in the classroom and to benefit from being in our on-campus learning spaces.
  • Ensure compliance with government directives, public health guidance, and higher education best practices.
  • Offer flexible options to meet the needs of all students.

For Fall 2020, Rowan will resume instruction in compliance with the applicable restrictions and modifications corresponding to the State-defined stage that is in effect. Hybrid-Flexible (HyFlex) will be the format for most Fall 2020 courses that are normally described as “traditional.” The University will begin in Stage 2 and is fully prepared to transition between stages in response to government directives and public health conditions. While the semester will begin in Stage 2, which will allow for in-person instruction for certain classes, Rowan will maintain readiness for expanded in-person instruction the event that Stage 3 is authorized during the fall term. Per the General Safeguarding standards, remote instruction will continue in all stages for faculty and/or students who are unable to participate in in-person instruction.

The framework for the overall instructional strategy is outlined below.

All Fall 2020 courses have been categorized per OSHE Restart Standards. To facilitate alignment to programmatic need, the category definitions were further elaborated as follows:

Category 1: Curricula that require labs, technical, clinical rotations, and hands-on instruction. Achievement of student learning outcomes involves use of equipment, conduct of procedures, or other physical operations or interactions requiring touch and/or direct non-simulated observation. Experience or competence must be demonstrated for purposes of professional practice, certification, licensure, or accreditation. Physical presence is mandatory.

Category 2: Classes that involve activities in which students are more active than sedentary and may therefore be emitting more aerosols or droplets than normal talking (such as theater, music, or dance). Achievement of learning outcomes involves motion or physical expression, performance, and/or non-simulated actions. Experience or competence must be demonstrated for purposes of professional practice, certification, licensure, or accreditation. Physical presence is necessary.

Category 3: All other classes (including lectures, seminars, and those that can otherwise be conducted through remote instruction). Achievement of learning outcomes involves social interaction, interpersonal rapport and sensitivity, frequent and recursive assessment, or other spontaneous or relational feedback. Physical presence is beneficial.

As noted above, HyFlex will be the format for most Fall 2020 courses that are normally described as “traditional.” The typical mode of delivery for traditional courses is instructional time scheduled in a physical classroom with faculty and students present in the same place at the same time. HyFlex allows students the option to be virtually present from a remote location for some or all of scheduled instructional time, which may be live or asynchronous. To ensure safe options for all and to make the best possible use of instructional time, Rowan has invested in significant classroom technology enhancements and professional development for faculty and is strategically scheduling classes across multiple modes of delivery. The HyFlex mode of delivery permits us to shift as needed between in-person and remote instruction in response to changing public health conditions or individual needs.

Online asynchronous delivery will also support the instructional strategy. Rowan offers online extension programs through its Division of Global Learning & Partnerships. A significant number of traditional courses have also been developed through Rowan Online for fully asynchronous online delivery and are offered to students in any program of study. The online portfolio of traditional courses has been strategically expanded since the onset of the pandemic to make this option more widely available. 

Under this plan, Category 1 courses will resume in-person instruction and all Category 2 and Category 3 courses will comply with applicable restrictions during Stage 2. When authorized to do so under Stage 3, Category 2 and Category 3 HyFlex classes designated as physical presence optional will resume in-person instruction with reduced density. Select HyFlex classes will remain fully remote as planned per the academic department’s classroom utilization and faculty accommodation strategy. Physical presence will be subject to adjusted classroom capacity limits and health and safety protocols and may be scheduled on a rotating or intermittent basis. Remote options for students would continue. Category 1 and some Category 2 courses will generally require physical presence with accommodations to be considered on an individual basis.

Planning efforts have involved intensive focus on Category 2 courses, which must employ additional safeguards owing to greater risk associated with those types of learning activities. These additional safeguards have been developed for Stage 3 and Rowan is also prepared to be in compliance with the directive that Category 2 courses should be offered remotely during Stage 2.