Update: June 8, 2020: 4:20 p.m.
Late last week, Buffalo State College submitted an overview to SUNY System Administration regarding possible options to restart on-campus operations and activities this fall. Within the submission, we outlined the detailed work of the Fall 2020 Scenario Planning Team and presented three scenarios that remain under consideration. While a final decision about academic operations for the fall semester will be determined in consultation with SUNY, Governor Cuomo, and the Western New York regional reopening team, I did want to share a brief overview of the scenarios that were advanced for review.
Under all three scenarios, the planning team provided thoughtful considerations for health and safety, campus operations, academic continuity, student relations continuity, business continuity, economic impact, and community impact. All scenarios also assume the need for all members of the campus community to wear face coverings or masks when adequate physical distancing is not feasible.
Scenario 1: Robust In-Person Instruction and Operations with Social Distancing
Under this scenario, in-person instruction would be offered to the fullest extent possible while maintaining social distancing in the classrooms. Although some class schedules would have to be adjusted to limit the use of small classroom spaces where physical distancing will be difficult, this scenario would offer students an overall campus experience closer to “normal.” Access to in-person campus services and student supports would be available under this scenario with precautions taken to protect students and staff. Accommodations and adjustments would also be made for food service and residence hall operations to ensure safety, but offerings in these areas would be broad and provide a more signature campus experience.
Scenario 2: Hybrid Instruction/Targeted Curriculum
This scenario would prioritize on-campus instruction for courses, labs, studios, and practicums where in-person interactions and hands-on experience are critical to student learning. Core and signature experience courses could also be targeted and prioritized for in-person instruction, while other classes may be offered in a true hybrid format, with lectures offered online and supplemental instruction in person in smaller groups. And classes that can effectively be delivered 100 percent online would remain remote to help reduce density on campus. In this scenario, other density-reduction efforts would be implemented, but core operations and support programs would be available to students—albeit in a mix of virtual and in-person formats with social distancing. Residence halls would also operate in this scenario, but occupancy would likely be limited to some degree to support density reduction.
Scenario 3: Remote Instruction
Although this scenario is not preferred, fully remote and online instruction is something the campus must be prepared to offer this fall. If remote instruction is again our reality, the fall would look very similar to what we experienced in the second half of the spring semester. Nearly all support services would be virtual, residence hall occupancy would be limited to only those students with extenuating circumstances, and a limited number of courses would be offered in person to preserve necessary student learning outcomes. This option also serves as a contingency for scenarios 1 and 2 in the event the pandemic surges during the semester, and a return to full remote instruction is deemed necessary.
Once the campus receives feedback on its submission to SUNY System Administration, I intend to provide the campus community with an update on our preparations for the fall semester as we continue to prioritize keeping all members of our campus community healthy and safe. Thank you for your continued and tireless efforts to support Buffalo State and our students. Be well.
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