June 27, 2020

Professors Will Individually Choose Whether to Hold In-Person Classes Fall Quarter

Levi Hall

Levi Hall

Courtesy of University of Chicago

Instructors will not be required to teach in person during autumn quarter and will have the option to hold their classes remotely, according to an email on Friday by Provost Ka Yee Lee and Vice Provost Jason Merchant to faculty, graduate students, and other university researchers and staff.

“While we anticipate that a significant amount of instruction will continue to occur remotely, we believe strongly that in-person interactions between students and instructors in a safe setting profoundly enrich learning,” they wrote. “At the same time, we understand that every instructor’s situation is different. Due to these extraordinary circumstances, the University is temporarily suspending the normal requirement that teaching be done in person.

“The University will not require any instructor to teach in person in the Autumn Quarter. This holds for all instructors—faculty, emeriti, other academic appointees, and graduate student lecturers—as well as for graduate students in other teaching roles, such as Teaching Assistant or Writing Intern. We ask that you continue to work with your departments, programs, or supervisors as appropriate to plan for next year’s course offerings, and to inform them if you would like to teach only remotely during this phase.”

The email said that the University would share further details about instruction, research, and N-12 education next week.

The University already revealed some plans for the fall quarter at a webinar earlier this month. Further details have been promised by the end of June, including that some courses will likely be held entirely remotely.

Merchant said at the webinar that classrooms will be “de-densified.” Lee and Merchant wrote in the email on Friday that “[c]lassrooms will be reconfigured to meet physical distancing requirements. Ventilation specifications and cleaning protocols will be compliant with guidance from the University’s epidemiology team and relevant government agencies."


A UChicago-produced flyer on the door of the Social Science Research Building says that those entering are affirming they have no COVID-19 symptoms.

Caroline Kubzansky / The Chicago Maroon

The email did not contain details about housing or dining, which were discussed at the webinar.

“We would like to offer as many students as we can the opportunity for such in-person experiences, and the unique ways in which they foster community,” Lee and Merchant wrote. “It is in our classrooms and laboratories that students learn the habits of mind, methods of inquiry, and practices of intellectual exchange that define a UChicago education."


A University-produced flyer on the door of the Social Science Research Building shares “COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines,” including social distancing.

Caroline Kubzansky / The Chicago Maroon

Lee and Merchant also wrote that the University will establish a “contact tracing team” in coordination with the University of Chicago Medical Center “to help ensure timely notification, isolation, and treatment of any cases [of COVID-19] on campus.”

The University has also created a page on their website that includes policies that “pertain to the early stages of returning to on-campus work,” according to the site. These policies include “universal face coverings” and responses to COVID-19 exposure.

“Individuals who are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19 should not come to campus for at least 10 days since the symptoms first appeared AND 72 hours have passed since recovery,” the website said.

AutumnQ_UOC by Chicago Maroon on Scribd


University of Chicago Announces Transition to Remote Learning for Entire Spring Quarter

By Maroon Staff

The Laboratory Schools will also go remote. Specific plans for the transition are forthcoming, the announcement said.


March 12, 2020