Photo by Kira Johnson
In a Tuesday morning email, University of Massachusetts Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy announced a timeline for the decision-making process regarding the fall semester.
This marks the first time that school administrators have set specific dates to when they would inform the community of the plans for the fall semester of 2020.
In the email, Subbaswamy said that he had asked six groups of campus administrators to develop recommendations for him regarding areas of the school affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs John McCarthy would oversee the operation, the chancellor announced.
Those groups will report back to the chancellor by June 1 – less than two weeks from now. This will be followed by a “brief period” for comments and suggestions from the UMass community.
By June 30 – exactly six weeks from today – Subbaswamy will share the “Fall 2020 Plan of Operation.”
The first group will address teaching and learning and develop plans for delivering courses via multiple formats – online, in-person or some combination of both.
A “Research and Libraries” group will develop plans for reopening libraries, laboratories and other research spaces, both those on-campus and those owned by the University located elsewhere.
The third group listed will focus on “resolving the significant budgetary implications of the pandemic and its economic fallout,” the email said. The school lost a reported $40 million in revenue due to reimbursements to students this spring.
A “Student Engagement and Residential Life” group will work to “safely repopulate our residential halls,” Subbaswamy said, adding that this group will also focus on school athletics. He noted that the residential plan for campus “will be scaled depending on the level of re-population permitted in the fall.”
The fifth group, labeled “Healthy Fall 2020,” “is using the best science and public health information available to determine the optimal path to re-populating the campus,” the email said. It will examine an array of campus areas and “identify special preparations and changes” that may be necessary to create a safe campus environment.
The final group, focused on UMass employees, “is working to ensure that we have the staff resources to successfully meet learning, research and operational needs for fall 2020 while also addressing the fiscal constraints,” Subbaswamy said.
“The best medical and public health evidence tell us the novel coronavirus will remain active to some degree this fall, and the potential for COVID-19 community spread will persist until a vaccine is widely available,” Subbaswamy said.
Concluding the email, Subbaswamy offered his appreciation to the school community “for all that you are doing to advance our mission and for your ongoing commitment to the health and well-being of both our UMass community and the broader community.”
Will Katcher can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @will_katcher.