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Academics Updates and Frequently Asked Questions

As our understanding of COVID-19 evolves, Seton Hall works to update our plans and policies appropriately. The following frequently asked questions will be updated as new information becomes available.

Updates and Messages


 

Instruction


When New Jersey successfully enters Stage 3 and modified in-person instruction can resume, Seton Hall will implement the Hybrid-Flexible (HyFlex) model of instruction. In HyFlex classes, students will be able to choose their mode of instruction, online or in-person, as both synchronous online and fully classroom-based instruction are provided. Large format courses may be offered completely online.21 The HyFlex model will enable maximum flexibility for faculty and students, will facilitate social distancing, and can accommodate necessary adjustments for either faculty or students as health conditions emerge. In the case of a resurgence of COVID-19, the HyFlex model can be transitioned to a fully remote model for a period of time or for the remainder of the semester. Each school and college at the University will adopt the HyFlex model. However, local adaptations will be necessary based on the pedagogical needs of each program. Appendix A details how schools and colleges will align with the University guidelines.

  • To comply with CDC and state considerations, recommendations and guidelines, instructional activities will be limited to reduced capacity classes and activities. This will be accommodated by the HyFlex teaching modality, incorporating student choice of remote versus in-person instruction, rotating in-person instruction schedules and hybrid approaches, thereby supporting CDC and state recommendations and guidelines for capacity.
  • Students will be split into groups that will alternate online and in-class participation based on the last digit of the student ID.22 The registrar will create a sample website that will explain ID-based attendance flow clustering that will be available to all students and instructors.
  • Faculty will engage actively and equitably with both the students online and those in the classroom, building opportunities for communication and collaboration among all learners.
  • All course materials, assignments, and assessments will be housed in Blackboard. The live synchronous sessions will be facilitated using an online videoconferencing platform, such as Microsoft Teams or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.23
  • The University will implement a modified fall 2020 calendar. The University will open the fall semester on August 24, 2020, earlier than usual, and end in-class instruction at Thanksgiving to mitigate the increased risk of an outbreak of COVID-19 that might occur when students return to campus after the Thanksgiving holidays. Instruction, exams, and assessment will be completed remotely according to the calendar schedule available at https://www.shu.edu/academics/academic-calendar.cfm
  • Student accommodations will be managed locally at the classroom level, as long as the maximum classroom capacity is not exceeded. In the HyFlex model, students will be able to elect in-person or fully remote learning at the start of the semester and will have the option to switch between the two should the need arise.
  • Faculty accommodations due to unexpected unavailability during the semester will be managed at the department, dean, and academic affairs level with preparation of back up options, adjunct and teaching assistant support, and a pool of faculty/adjuncts who can support emergencies and changes.
  • Faculty and students who are immunocompromised or at high-risk for COVID-19 according to guidelines from the CDC will have the option to provide or receive instruction remotely.
  • All instructional spaces have been vetted and, when necessary, modified to determine maximum capacity in alignment with state guidelines. Seton Hall facilities teams have developed layouts for each space to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements where applicable and practicable.
  • Signage in all classrooms will indicate maximum occupancy and required layout for each space.
  • Students will be required to wear masks in all shared indoor spaces in compliance with state requirements. Masks will not be required in a student's own residential room.
  • Disinfecting supplies will be maintained in the classrooms to manage sanitizing between classes. Faculty and students will be asked to wipe down their own surfaces and any other high touch surfaces at the start of each class.
  • Instructor podia will be protected via plexiglass.
  • Office hours and advising will be offered online. When in-person advising is necessary, such as for example group advising for special programs and/or academically at-risk students, it will be done in a location that allows compliance with social distancing regulations.
  • Seton Hall has installed additional sanitation stations in highly trafficked buildings.

Research


The University plans to re-open research labs following standard operating procedures in accordance with state guidelines. Faculty will be informed by the respective deans and chairs about the re-opening procedures and laboratory supervisors will also post the communications in each lab. Across departments, research that can continue to be conducted remotely will be required to do so.

Standard Operating Procedures:

  • Each research laboratory will develop a weekly working schedule listing the laboratory members who will be working, along with alternative schedules to limit the number of people present in a laboratory at the same time in accordance with state guidelines.
    • Whenever possible, only one researcher will be in a laboratory room at a time.
    • In shared laboratories that accommodate multiple groups, an alternating schedule will be adopted to maintain laboratory personnel below critical capacity and in accordance with state occupancy restrictions.
    • Faculty, staff, and students will clean and disinfect shared laboratory equipment before and after utilization.
  • Additional laboratory safety training procedures related to health and safety precautions will be enacted in addition to the existing laboratory safety training procedures that are conducted by the environmental health and safety administrator on the South Orange campus.
  • Research-related meetings will be held remotely whenever possible.
  • All laboratory personnel must stay home if they are sick. All personnel must also self-administer the University's COVID-19 checklist on a daily basis. If any laboratory personnel answer positively to these questions, or have been in contact with someone diagnosed or suspected of having COVID-19, or were advised to quarantine by a medical provider or public health official, they are prohibited from entering the lab. Furthermore, those individuals will be advised to reach out to Health Services or their own physician to determine next steps and inform the primary investigator. If an individual tests positive for COVID-19 and is known to have entered the laboratory, notify Health Services and the primary investigator as soon as possible.

Mitigation:

  • Laboratory occupants will maintain a minimum 6-foot distance between each other during work hours in accordance with state guidelines.
  • In work or study areas that are less than 6 feet apart, plexiglass panels and/or shields will be installed as separational and safety barriers. In situations where plexiglass cannot be used, lab personnel will take extra precautions to reduce/minimize exposure, including further reductions in density and enhanced screening.
  • To appropriately manage both traffic and density in higher occupancy teaching labs:
    • Protocols for entering and exiting the teaching laboratories, in particular, have been established as a means of managing traffic and density while ensuring the maintenance of social distancing requirements.
    • Where necessary, an alternating schedule of in-person and virtual labs that is in accordance with the University's HyFlex model of course delivery will be implemented to ensure that all students are accommodated while also maintaining appropriate social distancing.
  • Daily decontamination procedures will be adopted in accordance with CDC guidelines. These procedures will be applied to all laboratory surfaces, including floors, capital and smaller equipment, reagents, solvents and waste containers, gas cylinders and any other surface (organic or inorganic) that may allow COVID-19 to spread.
  • All lab doors and fume hoods (at their restriction level) will remain closed to allow proper air ventilation within the labs during and after operations hours.
  • The enhanced cleaning protocols that are applied across the University will also be applied in the laboratories.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

  • Standard PPE (i.e. gloves, eye protection, mask/face covering) must be worn at all times by all laboratory occupants.

Frequently Asked Questions



Why are we starting classes on August 24 instead of August 26 if there will be no fall break?

We are starting the fall calendar on August 24 and ending our classes on Tuesday, November 24. This type of schedule, which also eliminates the fall break for students, has been adopted by many other institutions including the University of Notre Dame, University of South Carolina and the University of Virginia. Such a schedule will allow students to return home for the holidays and avoid unnecessary travel. Eliminating the need to leave campus and return to complete classes should help students avoid bringing the virus back to campus. Review for online exams will begin the week of November 30 and continue for two weeks. The start of the Spring semester has yet to be finalized and may depend on the possible resurgence of COVID-19.


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Will there still be a Summer Session III if fall classes will now begin August 24?

Yes, we will still have Summer Intersession III. The dates are now August 7 - 22. The website and PirateNet are in the process of being updated.


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Do students have to choose between either online or in person classes, or can the student choose to have a mixture of both online and in person classes? For example, biology in person and calculus online?

Instruction will take place remotely until New Jersey enters Stage 3. In-person courses will be limited to curricula that require labs, clinical rotations, and technical and hands-on instruction, as permitted by the state. More specifically, New Jersey will allow the College of Nursing, School of Health and Medical Sciences, and quite possibly our seminaries to resume in-person instruction. 

After New Jersey enters Stage 3, every course already in the fall schedule will be run in a bimodal fashion. Half the class will come to class on campus while the other half participates remotely. The next day that the class meets, the students participate in the alternative way. If students prefer not to come to campus, they can continue to participate in their classes remotely.


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Will students need to re-register for their classes? How will students make known that they will be attending in person or online?

The changes to the schedule were made to minimize disruptions to the existing one. We do not anticipate that students will need to re-register for the fall.


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For students who would like to continue remote learning, what steps are you taking to ensure more remote classes are being offered? The classes that my granddaughter needs are not being offered remotely.

Instruction will take place remotely until New Jersey enters Stage 3. In-person courses will be limited to curricula that require labs, clinical rotations, and technical and hands-on instruction, as permitted by the state. More specifically, New Jersey will allow the College of Nursing, School of Health and Medical Sciences, and quite possibly our seminaries to resume in-person instruction. 

After New Jersey enters Stage 3, if classes are full, your granddaughter should continue to monitor the sections to see if other students drop the course. She should put her name on a waiting list if one is available. It is always a good idea to speak with an adviser to see if there are other options for her.


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If courses will be taught remotely, will my son still have the ability to meet with is professors in person during office hours?

Since faculty offices are small, it is likely that office hours and advising session will be held online.


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I am a newly admitted grad student for the Fall 2020 semester. I just received word that due to budgetary constraints, the university will not be allowing new assistantships for the 2020-2021 academic year. When will the University further elaborate on this announcement?

As a result of the ongoing financial impact of the COVID-19 virus on the University, Seton Hall has scaled back considerably the number of new graduate assistantships for the upcoming academic year. Nonetheless, a select number of new assistantships, where the primary responsibility for the position is related to teaching or otherwise directly related to student instruction, is expected to be available. Those who are interested in pursuing such opportunities are encouraged to visit the University’s online employment website, or to contact the College or academic department in which their program of study resides.


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Will classes resume in person for law students in the fall?

Law School full-time students will be provided the opportunity to elect whether they wish to attend class in-person, remotely, or on the weekend (part time). Students who indicate remote or weekend will be invited to an advising session to confirm that the selection comports with their goals. Whether classes will ensue in a hybrid fashion (in-person for multiple days, and then a rotation to remote for multiple days) will depend upon the number of students who elect remote, and the ability to social distance the students who elect in-person. Students who are ill or otherwise in quarantine will be required to attend classes remotely for the period of their illness in order for their attendance to count under the attendance policy. Students whose illness precludes class attendance will be counted as absent. Upper class students enrolled in bar courses will be given the HyFlex election of in-person or remote. We do not believe that in-person classes will require any rotation to achieve social distancing. A few upper division courses will be converted to online or remote; students who prefer in-person classes will be assisted in changing their schedules. The academic calendar for full-time students has been revised to conclude before Thanksgiving; exams will occur thereafter remotely. The weekend schedule will remain unchanged. Policies for skills classes are not yet determined. The Law School is returning to letter grades starting with the summer session.


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My daughter is scheduled to student teach in the fall semester. Assuming that the elementary school opens for in-person learning, how will this schedule impact her ability to complete her student teaching requirements?

All student teachers in Spring 2020 completed student teaching either virtually (co-teaching with their cooperating teacher) or with alternative arrangements approved by the NJDOE. Currently, no school (public or private) has informed us of their plans for the fall. Ninety percent of our student teachers are placed for 2020-2021, and we anticipate that they will complete this requirement. As school districts announce their plans for reopening, we will make adjustments as necessary. The NJDOE has been extremely flexible and cooperative in ensuring that students have flexibility in meeting requirements.


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Will the nursing program have the same schedule? Will there be any clinicals for nursing students in the fall?

Students in the College of Nursing typically follow the South Orange campus schedule. We are currently anticipating that students will be returning in the fall. Some hospitals already asked for students to return this summer. We will keep everyone abreast of what will be required for screening when agencies give us that information.


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Will the Seton Hall Physician Assistant program operate under this same plan for the Fall 2020 semester?

The School of Health and Medical Sciences (SHMS) has traditionally started its semester for some of its programs in July. This pertains specifically to the Athletic Training and Physical Therapy programs, which begin in mid-July with virtually-presented School and program orientation sessions held the week of July 6. All other SHMS programs begin at the start of the fall semester according to the University calendar, with virtually-scheduled SHMS and individual program orientation sessions held the week of August 17. With respect to the Fall 2020 semester end dates for SHMS courses, certain courses which require off-campus clinical practica may have to be adjusted in order to meet clinical education requirements and availability of clinical sites given COVID. There may be a need to extend the end dates accordingly. Please feel free to reach out to your department chair/program director for program-specific information.


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I am a second-year physician assistant student at SHMS, and I am curious how the new policy in the email will affect us. A lot of the skills we will need to practice in person will be during the fall semester and if this is affected, is there going to be a change in the tuition and/or fees considering the semester is shortened as well?

We are currently anticipating that clinical sites will begin to reopen in the fall. Some sites have already reached out. All SHMS Directors of Clinical Education have been monitoring and will continue to monitor this matter throughout the summer. All SHMS courses (i.e., didactic and clinical) use a variety of teaching methodologies to ensure that any and all learning objectives are being met regardless of how the course content is taught during the timeframe that courses are offered. Every effort will be made for students to return to their clinical sites in a timely manner. However, this will be dependent upon University guidelines as well as state and local directives.


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Will there be any consideration/flexibility/alternatives for students with regard to time zone differences during finals? If my student has an 8 a.m. scheduled final in New Jersey, that is 5 a.m. in California.

The problem you describe is one that we had to face when we moved to remote learning in the spring. Some classes will be asynchronous, meaning that the student will be required to submit certain assignments by particular dates and times, but there is no scheduled class meeting. They may view prepared lectures at convenient times during the day. Other classes will meet synchronously, meaning that students in remote mode must join a meeting at their class time. Students should reach out to the instructor in advance to discuss access to class recordings and participation if they have a time zone issue.


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After winter break, when will the Spring 2021 semester commence?

Spring 2021 dates have not yet been finalized.


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Why are classes beginning remotely?   

As we have mentioned in prior communications, under current regulations, New Jersey must be in Stage 3 of its reopening plan for the state’s colleges and universities to offer a majority of in-person instruction. Because the semester will likely start before the state enters Stage 3, Seton Hall must begin the academic year with limited in-person instruction. 

In-person courses will be allowed for curricula that require labs, clinical rotations, and technical and hands-on instruction, as permitted by the state. These criteria apply to courses in several of the University’s schools and colleges; we are working to determine exactly which classes are eligible for in-person instruction and will let you know as soon as that list is posted on the Seton Hall website. Afterward, if you have further questions regarding your course of study, please contact your dean's office


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Will student support services be open?  

Students should continue to utilize our Student Services departments, including the Academic Resource Center, Health Services, and Counseling and Psychological Services. To limit in-person interactions, Student Services will primarily use our virtual appointment systems to help reduce density. Digital tools like Microsoft Teams and email will help you stay connected with virtual meetings and information sharing. 


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Questions and Feedback


Seton Hall University continues to closely monitor and respond to the impact COVID-19. The health and safety of our students, faculty, employees and their families is of paramount importance in our planning to safely restart classes across our three campuses. If you have any questions, please submit them here:
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