This message was sent to all students, faculty and staff
We are reaching out to update you on the university’s fall reintegration plans. Members of the Reintegration Committee have been working diligently to determine how we safely return to campus for face-to-face instruction and the other events that we look forward to each fall. Because this is a very dynamic situation, these plans are based on the most up-to-date information we have at this time and may change depending on many factors that are largely out of our control.
Below is a summary of the university’s fall plans. More specific information will be shared as it becomes available.
The university will offer a blend of face-to-face, remote and hybrid educational experiences designed to keep students safe, on track and meaningfully engaged. We genuinely look forward to bringing our community back together. Barring any federal, state or local regulatory or public health prohibitions, the university intends to return, in part, to face-to-face, campus-based instruction this fall. In order to achieve appropriate physical distancing, small classes will be moved to larger classrooms, and large classes will either be reduced in size or relocated to large rooms in the Student Union Building (SUB) or other campus facilities. Because the university does not have the capacity to reduce the size or relocate all face-to-face classes, some classes will be delivered remotely and some will be a hybrid model, which combines the two. It is our hope that offering a range of course delivery options will give students maximum flexibility to choose the course delivery method(s) that best meets their needs.
By July 15, the university’s registration system will be updated to include modes of instruction, which will designate course sections as face-to-face, online, or hybrid. We are designing courses to ensure that students continue to progress in their educational goals and are meaningfully engaged with each other and their faculty — with a special emphasis on the experience of first-year students, general education at all levels, labs, studio-based courses, and capstone and seminar courses.
Investments to enhance remote teaching and learning
This summer the university is investing significant time and resources into enhancing remote and flexible instruction. Even before last spring’s disruption, Boise State delivered approximately 25 percent of course credits entirely online, and far more through hybrid delivery. This spring’s worldwide move to remote instruction was unanticipated and presented hurdles for faculty who quickly had to adapt classes designed for traditional delivery. This summer we are investing in remote learning infrastructure and faculty development for hundreds of professors across campus. Through this process, we will develop additional, high-quality courses specifically designed to be flexibly delivered by faculty with expertise in remote instruction.
Additionally, while we will take significant precautions to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infections, all faculty will be prepared to pivot in the event that remote instruction is required by public health or government officials.
On-Time Start, Planned Shift to Remote Delivery after Thanksgiving
The university will still begin fall semester on August 24, 2020, but faculty will transition most classes to remote delivery for the final three weeks after Thanksgiving break. Ending face-to-face instruction at Thanksgiving break allows students to complete the last three weeks of their semester remotely to avoid a potential spike in infection rates after students, faculty and staff return from the travel often associated with school breaks.
Return to Residential Housing
The university will welcome residential students back to campus this fall, reserving adequate space to self-quarantine or isolate exposed or infected residential students. In order to keep our campus safe and open for instruction, campus residents may be asked to undergo COVID-19 testing immediately prior to leaving home, or upon arrival in Boise. Based on guidance from the university’s medical staff and public health professionals, additional periodic COVID-19 testing may be required over the course of the semester. The university is still exploring campus-based testing options and will provide additional information as it becomes available.
We remain committed to community building within a safe and vibrant living and learning environment, though in an effort to keep our community healthy, we will not create the large, densely crowded gatherings of previous years. Although gatherings in common areas and living spaces likely will be limited to support physical distancing, campus residents will continue to make connections with peers and staff. Students should expect to wear facial coverings on campus (except in their rooms), and will be encouraged to wear facial coverings and follow state and local public health guidance when off campus.
The fall semester move-in process may be spaced out over a series of days to accommodate physical distancing. Housing and Residence Life will provide additional information about the move-in process once decisions are made.
The university will open dining facilities shortly before fall semester begins. In order to protect students, it is likely that most food service will be to-go only through most or all of the fall semester. Indoor and outdoor seating areas will be reduced to accommodate appropriate physical distancing.
Athletic Practices and Competitions
The university will resume athletic practices and competitions when it is safe to do so. Our Broncos are eager to practice and compete. In order to keep our students healthy, student athletes will not be able to practice until they have a negative COVID-19 test result, and will undergo testing at regular intervals thereafter. Athletics’ staff will ensure that equipment, training tables and other high-touch surfaces are disinfected regularly. Contact-practice will occur under strict supervision with facial coverings (where appropriate), regular symptom checks and testing, and enhanced safety and hygiene measures.
Although the NCAA and the Mountain West Conference (MWC) have not issued final guidance, we are aware that games or competitions may be reduced, delayed by weeks or even months, may occur without spectators, or may be canceled entirely. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.
Employee Return to Campus
Approved units will begin a scaled return to campus-based work the week of July 7, 2020. Keeping our staff and faculty safe is a high priority. Departments that provide student or employee facing-services may plan for staff to begin returning — in reduced numbers to accommodate physical distancing — after July 7.
On or before June 5, the Reintegration Committee will distribute reintegration guidelines and a planning template for departments to complete and submit for review prior to reintegration. When possible, these reintegration plans should continue to prioritize providing services remotely through the fall semester. Public-serving units (for example, ticket sales, conference services, etc.) should align their employees’ return to campus-based work with the resumption of services they support.
Based on guidance from university medical staff and public health professionals, employees may be required to do one or more of the following: re-entry and/or periodic COVID-19 testing; pre-shift temperature checks; complete COVID-19 screening questionnaires, or other infection mitigation efforts. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
Employees with health conditions that may impact their ability to return to campus-based work should contact Human Resources as soon as possible to determine if accommodations are appropriate.
As always, employee health information will be protected as required by law.
The university will resume lab- and field-based research in a staged approach. Research is an important part of our mission. We want to ensure everyone’s safety as we resume our research activity. The Reintegration Committee is working with university research administrators, deans, principal investigators, and support staff to draft research restart plans, which include enhanced safety protocols, and ensure ongoing access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) before research activity resumes. Specific guidance will be provided no later than May 27.
Meetings, Conferences and Events
Departments and student organizations should leverage remote technology to reimagine traditional face-to-face meetings, conferences and events as virtual experiences through the fall semester. We know people are eager to connect with their teams and peers, but our aim is to keep everyone on campus, and every step we take to mitigate risk helps us do so. This fall, meeting and event space will be prioritized for academic course delivery, and thereafter to meet the essential service and business needs of the university.
Additional updates regarding on-campus events will be shared as decisions are made.
University-sponsored travel will be suspended through the end of the calendar year. We recognize that some travel is vital. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but those who travel may be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return or until they complete COVID-19 testing and are cleared to return to campus in accordance with university-based standards.
Public Health Strategies
Students, faculty and staff will be required to wear facial coverings and observe physical distancing and other public health practices on campus for as long as university medical staff and public health professionals advise us to do so. These actions create a healthier environment and will help campus remain open. In addition, the university will employ enhanced cleaning protocols in all spaces, and classroom and common areas will be cleaned with greater frequency with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended disinfectants. The university may remove some interior doors to allow for touchless entry and exit, and will likely establish one-way pedestrian traffic patterns in campus buildings and on crowded pedestrian paths. The university will develop a brief safety and hygiene training video for faculty, staff and students to view before returning to campus.
Based on the success of similar programs around the globe, the university hopes to develop its own contact tracing program, so that if a member of the campus community tests positive for COVID-19, a university public health officer would be alerted. The public health officer would then work with the individual to notify and, where appropriate, quarantine individuals who were exposed and deemed to be at risk. It is possible that students and employees may be able to use an app to assist with this process. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
The university is committed to providing regular updates as new information becomes available. These updates may be all-campus updates, like this letter, or updates specific to certain groups (for example, campus residents, student athletes or researchers). In the interim, if you have questions, please visit Boise State’s COVID-19 page or email email@example.com.
As we return to campus, we will rely on members of the campus community to responsibly adhere to health and safety protocols. Ultimately it is up to each of us to be personally accountable and to hold our colleagues, friends and peers to the same standards. If we follow these protocols, we will reduce the risk of infections, and when they occur, will contain them to avoid transmission to members of the university and local community. These efforts will allow us to bring our community back together and to keep our students on campus — the experience all of us want.
Thank you all for your commitment to maintaining the health and safety of our community. We look forward to welcoming you back to campus this fall.
Boise State Reintegration Committee
Alicia Estey, VP for Compliance, Legal and Audit
Leslie Webb, VP for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
Tony Roark, Interim Provost and VP for Academic Affairs
Harold Blackman, Interim VP for Research and Economic Development
Randi McDermott, VP for Campus Operations
Jim Munger, Special Assistant to the Provost
Roger Brown, Director of Government and Community Relations
Greg Hahn, AVP for Marketing and Communications
Kathy Hughes, Medical Consultant for Boise State Reintegration Committee
Elise Alford, Reintegration Project Manager
Boise State Employee and Student Reintegration Subcommittee
David Wilkins, Chair, Faculty Senate
Jacy Nary, Secretary, Professional Staff Association
Martha Plascencia, Interim President, Association of Classified Employees
Justin Doi, Incoming President, Association of Classified Employees
McNay Miller, Student Advisor