Additional guidance on in-person learning for Autumn Quarter

September 24, 2021

To: All Students
From: Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost, and Jason Merchant, Vice Provost
Subject: Additional guidance on in-person learning for Autumn Quarter
Date: September 24, 2021

As we approach the start of the Autumn Quarter and a return to the in-person interactions that help foster the University of Chicago’s unique intellectual environment, we write to share further information on in-person instruction.

As a reminder, the University has taken a number of steps to promote the health and safety of the campus community in preparation for its return to campus, including vaccination requirements for all University students and employees and masking requirements for all indoor campus activities. All members of the campus community are required to complete the new COVID-19 health requirements attestation. The University will also continue its COVID-19 testing programs. For the latest information on the University’s COVID-19 polices and safety measures, please visit the UChicago Forward website.

We have also developed the following instruction-specific policies and resources for the Autumn Quarter.

Masking during class

In keeping with the University’s indoor masking requirements, students and instructors must wear masks in classrooms. A fully vaccinated instructor or presenter (including students) may choose to lower their mask temporarily while actively speaking if they must do so to be heard or understood. When masks are temporarily lowered, the instructor or presenter should maintain at least six feet of distance from others. Masks should be worn as much as possible, and should always be worn when an individual is not actively speaking, with only one mask off in the classroom at a given time if there are multiple presenters. Unvaccinated instructors or presenters may not remove their masks.

Conditions for teaching remotely

The University is returning to in-person instruction. If it is not possible for an instructor to teach in person (due to a COVID-related quarantine or isolation period, other illness or symptoms, or short-term caregiving duties), short-term remote teaching is allowed.

When students are required to miss class

Instructors are encouraged to be flexible, within pedagogical and practical limits, with students who are required to miss class because they are in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms prior to obtaining a COVID-19 test, or are quarantining. If a student cannot attend class for these reasons, they should contact their instructors directly to make alternative arrangements to attend the class remotely, request a recording of the class, or make up the work later.

A student who is unable to attend class for more than two weeks will need to use their Dean of Students’ regular process to make arrangements.

Holding office hours or other meetings with students

Instructors may decide to hold regular office hours either in person or remotely. If instructors choose to meet with students in person and indoors, both students and instructors should always wear masks. Instructors are free to encourage unvaccinated students in particular to sign up for remote office hours, but if in-person appointments are offered, they must be available to all students regardless of vaccination status.

Classroom use

All classrooms assigned by the Registrar have been cleared for use at their normal capacities. Social distancing is no longer required. Classrooms that did not meet the health and safety standards have not been assigned for instruction.

Additional questions are addressed in an FAQ on resumption of in-person instruction. We encourage you to review and bookmark the UChicago Forward Education page, as the University will continue updating it as additional questions arise throughout the quarter.

We are excited to welcome our vibrant academic community back to campus. Thank you for taking the necessary precautions to protect our University and South Side communities. We are looking forward to seeing you all in person this fall.