Stony Brook University revealed its initial decisions for the Fall 2020 semester in a campus-wide email on June 4, including changes to the fall calendar and requirements for on-campus interaction.
In the email, President-Elect Maurie McInnis said the university is continuing to work with New York State, State University of New York (SUNY) and health experts on reopening campus. She revealed that although the campus will be open, some courses will remain online or become a hybrid mix of online and in-person.
In-person classes will only be taught in rooms large enough for students to social distance and large classes will be held online, although McInnis encouraged professors to hold recitations in person.
While the campus will maintain a traditional schedule, transition times between classes will increase — meaning that more classes will be held between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. — and certain classes will be scheduled for weekends to reduce density.
There will be no October recess; instead all in-person instruction, except for allied health experiential learning and clinical placements, will end on Nov. 21. The last week of classes and final exams will be held online. The university plans to contract with a proctor company to monitor remote testing security for final exams.
On-campus housing, in an effort to reduce density for the semester, will only offer single or double rooms — no triples. Some rooms will be held for individuals who need to be quarantined or isolated.
The email also gave an update on the university’s budget. McInnis stressed that the university is expecting cuts, although it’s not clear how extensive they will be. The budget challenges faced by New York state are expected to affect SUNY funding, and because of travel restrictions, it’s unclear how many international and out-of-state students will get to campus in the fall.
Because of the fiscal uncertainty, university leadership plans to develop a more “strategic budget process.” The cost of tuition and fees for the fall semester have yet to be determined.
Overall, however, enrollment for the fall is high, according to McInnis, although there are fewer out-of-state and international students. Summer enrollment is also 15% higher than usual.
The campus community will be required to wear face coverings, which the university plans to supply.
There are multiple committees and task forces assigned to developing the facets to reopening the campus. These include cleaning protocols, reevaluating aspects of campus dining, on-campus contact tracing and analyzing students’ responses to the changes.
The university is working with the Long Island Control Board to determine when research and laboratory work can resume. Laboratories will be required to adhere to updated safety protocols.