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  • Home / News / Fall Plan: A Look at Academics | Ursuline - Liberal Arts College in OH

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    Fall Plan: A Look at Academics

    August 5, 2020

    Dear Ursuline Students:

    Welcome to the third edition of Forward Focused. This week we focus on changes you’ll see in academics.

    Please note, this message reflects our best thinking – and the advice of the Cleveland Clinic and guidelines of the State of Ohio and the CDC – as of August 5, 2020. Coronavirus circumstances continue to evolve, however. Please stay on top of developments by reading your Ursuline emails consistently, especially in the coming weeks.

    In all scenarios on campus, expect social distancing to be maintained, masks to be worn (or alternative if a student has an accommodation), and surfaces to be disinfected regularly.


    Right now, our classrooms are being equipped so that we can provide a flexible, blended learning model that we described two weeks ago. For most courses, we’ll be combining face-to-face instruction with virtual learning. Most classes (except for clinicals, Nursing exams, and several other exceptions) will be all-virtual for the last two weeks of the semester, after Thanksgiving. Your instructor will inform you on the first day of the semester if your class has any face-to-face requirements after Thanksgiving.

    The following will be prioritized for face-to-face instruction as much as possible:

    • undergraduate courses, especially for first- and second-year students
    • science labs
    • studio courses
    • clinicals, fieldwork and internships

    In-person sessions

    All in-person course meetings will follow strict guidelines for facial coverings, social distancing, hygiene/cleaning, and other protocols to maintain health and safety. Students and faculty will adopt a new routine of wiping down desktops, keyboards and other surfaces they touch when they arrive in a classroom and again before they leave, just as you may have done in the past when using equipment in the fitness center. Supplies of disinfecting wipes and/or spray cleaners are being placed in each instructional space. No eating will be permitted in instructional spaces, although beverages will be allowed, as long as a face covering is worn at all times except when taking a sip.

    Each class will be held in the largest space available to enable social distancing. Everyone (including the instructor) is mandated to wear a face mask or alternative. If a student has an ADA accommodation not to wear a mask, they will need to wear a face shield or other approved alternative to remain in the classroom. Please email Morgan Weber-Holeski, Disability Specialist, or call her at 440-449-2046 for questions about ADA accommodations.

    Online sessions

    To maximize the amount of interpersonal interaction (student-to-student and student-to-faculty), faculty are expected to use synchronous instruction for the sessions they do teach online. In other words, a Zoom-based session would occur during the assigned class meeting time. This way, all participating students experience the class together.

    The balance of face-to-face and virtual instruction may change (up or down) depending on risk levels in Cuyahoga County or the State of Ohio as well as on our own campus.

    Computer access

    All instructional spaces on campus (classrooms and computer labs) are being equipped with microphones, monitors, and cameras so that students can join a class via Zoom, taking advantage of the equipment and WiFi on campus.

    What if I want to attend my classes virtually?

    Students who would like to request an ADA accommodation to attend classes virtually should email Morgan Weber-Holeski, Disability Specialist, or call her at 440-449-2046. She will guide students through the documentation and accommodation request process.

    Students who would like this option outside the ADA processes should contact their dean directly. Nursing, Counseling and Art Therapy, and Social Work students should email Dean Patricia Sharpnack or call her at 440.684.6032. All other students should contact Dean Elizabeth Kavran or call her at 440-449-2015. UCAP students should email Brooke Scharlott or call her at 440.684.6129. Please be aware, though, that traditional undergraduate programs are primarily face-to-face and a number of classes require in-person instruction, so you will need to have a discussion with your dean to see whether arrangements can be made.

    If you intend to speak to the dean about the format of your classes, please be in touch with the dean by Friday, August 14, 2020.

    What if things change?

    Our goal for the fall 2020 semester is to maintain on-campus presence that enables us to offer valuable faculty-student interactions, while we simultaneously protect the health and safety of the Ursuline College community. Coronavirus circumstances continue to evolve, however. For this reason, the Ursuline College administration pledges to continue to monitor guidelines from the State of Ohio, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, and the CDC. Students, faculty and staff are urged to stay on top of campus developments by reading Ursuline emails regularly.

    Stay tuned and stay safe!

    Deanne W. Hurley
    Vice President for Student Affairs
    Civil Rights Investigator

    Kathryn M. LaFontana, Ph.D.
    Vice President for Academic Affairs