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June 11, 2020

Fall 2020 Course Instruction: Update From Jennifer Lancaster, ph.d.

Earlier this week, President Miguel Martinez-Saenz shared information about the planning process underway for fall 2020. The St. Francis College Committee for Reopening is working on the details of the health and safety protocols that will affect all aspects of campus life in the fall.

Course instruction is part of that planning, and I'd like to share where things stand today. SFC fall 2020 classes will start on September 9th under a flexible hybrid model.

While we intend that some fall 2020 courses will be taught in an online-only format, we are planning to allow some students to be able to attend in-person classes and labs at least one day each week on campus. Others will be able to attend for other face-to-face educational opportunities.

The health and well-being of our community continues to be the foundation of our decision-making as we look to the fall semester. Details of the College's reopening plan – which will take into account guidance from local, state and federal government, health authorities and other sources – are forthcoming.

Our primary goal is to minimize the risk of transmission of the COVID virus while ensuring an outstanding Franciscan educational experience dedicated to student success and achievement.

We will modify our in-person classes to comply with social distancing and reduced density requirements per New York State guidelines. Under our current plan, students who are unable to attend in-person lectures, labs, office hours or other meetings with faculty will have the opportunity to complete their coursework remotely.

This model provides maximum flexibility to students and delivers unique benefits that ensure all students receive the quality, personal education they expect.

Here are key details:

  • Freshmen will be part of a Terrier Community – a cohort of up to about 20 students sharing an intended major – that will attend at least two classes together in person, on campus on a designated day each week. Members of each Terrier Community are welcome on campus on their assigned day only. Any student unwilling or unable to come to campus can take part in an online version of his or her day's classes.
  • The online part of courses may be a mix of live instruction – a real-time lecture or discussion, for example – and assignments students complete on their own time.
  • Students can come to campus – as safety requirements allow and under a 'maximum capacity rule' – to access computer labs to complete course work, meet with advisors and hold some meetings for Student Government Association and other student groups.

Our plans currently prioritize nursing classes and science labs when it comes to face-to-face instruction, so students in those disciplines can expect to have on-campus instruction available to them at this time.

We're excited about this unique hybrid instruction model. We think it best accommodates the circumstances of the current situation, our students' lives and the well-being of the entire community. It also emphasizes live, face-to-face interaction between students and faculty, a cornerstone to SFC's commitment to a personal classroom experience.

Academic advisors will individually guide all returning and incoming students and answer all questions. Students can expect to hear more in the coming weeks.

We will continue to develop our plans and update you accordingly. More information will be available on, and you'll hear from me again soon.

Be safe and well. We all miss you here at SFC!

Jennifer Lancaster, Ph.D.
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean

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