The Instructional Planning Committee, led by Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Paul Alivisatos, developed a plan for conducting instruction and other academic activities in the fall. The plan required large courses of 25 students or more to be held remotely. In addition, the committee developed and implemented a review process that approved a number of in-person instructional activities for 25 students or less.

Unfortunately, given the trend lines regarding COVID-19 positive cases in Alameda County, the region and state this summer, campus officials made the difficult decision on July 21 to begin the fall semester with fully remote instruction. Instruction starts on August 26, and we intend to continue our preparations to implement hybrid and/or flexible modes of instruction as soon as public health conditions allow.

Learning to switch between remote and in-person

COVID-19 is showing us that we have to be not only agile, moving quickly between degrees of openness and sometimes pulling back, but also prepared to move forward as soon as conditions allow.

This means we will keep a fully remote option open for all students but also be prepared to implement our plans for select in-person instructional activities for those students who can take advantage of them, as conditions allow, even if it is part way through the fall semester.

We understand that this is more complex and difficult for students, staff, and instructors, and the campus is committed to providing guidance and support.

If conditions change later in the semester such that courses previously approved for in-person delivery can shift to an in-person format, please note that students enrolled in those courses will not be required to attend in person—they can continue to attend those classes remotely through the semester.

To the degree that operational logistics and public health conditions permit, the campus will prioritize offering in-person instructional activities for Tier 1 and some Tier 2 courses, depending on instructor, classroom, space, and facility availability. Tier 1 is defined as instructional activities that, by their pedagogical nature (e.g., labs, studios, fieldwork), are significantly preferable to offer in-person or partially in-person. Tier 2 is defined as instructional activities that, if offered in-person, would substantially contribute to cohort-building for entering students, to academic engagement for students who are underrepresented on campus, and/or part of a capstone experience (e.g., freshman/sophomore seminars, first-year cohort-building courses for graduate students, capstone courses for seniors, etc.).

The Office of the Registrar will continue to assign general assignment classrooms as needed for courses provisionally approved as Tier 1 and Tier 2 in the event that the campus can return to some hybrid or flexible instruction later in the semester. Currently, it seems unlikely that  Tier 3 in-person instructional activities can be offered—even later in the semester. (Tier 3 activities are those in which the instructor strongly prefers to offer instruction in person, but which do not qualify as Tier 1 or Tier 2.)  For this reason, room assignments are not currently being made for Tier 3 courses.

Current fall planning

For now, faculty should implement their contingency plans for fully-remote instruction. 

Whether or not public health conditions allow the campus to return to some in-person instruction as planned, the remote learning experience for students should be significantly improved this fall. Much progress in technology and support have been made since the spring. The Research, Teaching, and Learning (RTL) team has provided many resources to assist instructors with teaching remotely in the Keep Teaching website. Please also take a look at the following FAQs:

Looking forward

We acknowledge the challenging times for our community with regard to childcare, adult dependent care, personal health, and other responsibilities through the fall. The new “Caring for Families” website offers some supportive resources to help address these challenges, though there is no way to fully mitigate the impact of the pandemic on our students and employees.

Our instruction planning and operations recovery management teams are working to develop plans to support instructors, GSIs, and staff who require classrooms or office space to prepare for and/or deliver instruction. We will send more detailed information about these plans in the near future.

The campus will continue with plans to go fully remote after Thanksgiving, even if a  pivot to some in-person instruction during the semester is made.

As the public health situation continues to evolve, we will keep you updated as additional information regarding fall plans develop. We will provide regular updates leading up to and throughout the fall semester.

We are immensely grateful for your incredible dedication to our campus community in the face of this pandemic and for your continued flexibility to our ever-changing environment.

Instruction: Fully remote

Public health: Alameda County is currently on the state’s watch list. The county needs to be off the watch list for three consecutive days before local health authorities can consider allowing in-person instruction.