Fairleigh Dickinson University continues to take measures to reduce the risks concerning COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. We are planning in line with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of State and the State of New Jersey Department of Health, as well as Canadian federal and British Columbia health authorities for our Vancouver Campus, and the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom for Wroxton College.
The University’s notifications regarding the coronavirus will be posted here in reverse chronological order so that all messages are available and the most recent appear first. Related information for reference is also provided as links shown on this page. Members of the University community who are feeling ill or who are aware of someone who is feeling ill should review the Student, Faculty and Staff Health sections of Coronavirus Information from HR.
May 29, 2020
President’s Update – The Fall 2020 Semester
Dear University Community,
I hope all of you were able to watch our virtual conferral of degrees broadcast on May 18 and enjoyed the heartwarming greetings of many graduates who, like all our students this semester, triumphed over adversity and overcame unprecedented challenges. Conferring degrees typically marks the end of the academic year, and this year has been like no other.
Like our students, our faculty and staff were equally amazing in dealing with very difficult circumstances this past semester. Not once did they let any obstacles deter them from serving our students. I applaud the entire University community for their commitment and dedication to our students and to one another. Thank you, everyone, for your patience, perseverance, and for staying the course during an incredibly difficult period.
And now it is time to look forward to new beginnings with hope and determination, knowing that many of the challenges we have been facing will likely continue. Our experiences to date, however, have shown that there are no challenges we can’t overcome when we work together.
As I wrote recently, FDU is preparing carefully for the Fall 2020 semester. We are developing multiple plans that will enable us to open our campuses safely while operating consistently with public health and governmental guidelines. In fact, several key task forces within the University have been formed to focus on different aspects of operating our campuses in the fall, and I want to thank the faculty and staff who are participating and helping us navigate the challenges and critical tasks that lie ahead.
After reviewing the recommendations of our task force on academics, which included input from students, we have made several decisions concerning the Fall 2020 semester. First and foremost, please understand that while it is our intent to open our campuses as soon as possible, we will do so only when we believe it is safe for our students, faculty, and staff. Therefore, our return to campus will depend on the guidance provided by public health and government officials, and our readiness to operate our campuses safely.
Schedule Changes for Fall 2020
At both New Jersey campuses, the Fall 2020 semester will start on Monday, August 17, a week earlier than originally planned, and end on Tuesday, November 24, before the Thanksgiving holiday. We will eliminate the October break and one of the two reading days to condense the semester into this new schedule. This will help community members avoid the need to travel back and forth for breaks and will reduce the time that community members need to be on campus during the colder months that may bring a potential risk of resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
The first three weeks of the semester will be taught online, with face-to-face instruction beginning no earlier than September 8, the day after Labor Day. This gradual and blended approach of returning to face-to-face instruction and incorporating online instruction can be easily modified should situations arise for an extended period of remote learning at any point.
Moreover, in finishing the fall semester by Thanksgiving, our new academic calendar also enables us to offer a more robust set of online winter courses during December and January that will benefit students and help them complete their degree requirements sooner, as well as participate in longer and more meaningful internship experiences if so desired.
Returning to Campus
We are hopeful that students who intend to live on campus will be allowed to start returning to campus beginning August 17 if they wish, but only if permitted by local, state and federal guidelines at that time. We will be updating our plans as these guidelines are issued. Nevertheless, regardless of when students are able to be on campus again, campus operations will be aligned with recommendations provided by public health and governmental authorities. And, we certainly expect that there will need to be adjustments to certain aspects of campus life, as well as protocols and routines established to help ensure the ongoing safety and well-being of our entire University community. A second task force is working on developing such protocols and routines, which will be critical to the operation of our campuses.
Enhanced Online Instruction
Our faculty did an outstanding job this past semester transitioning to online instruction. Moreover, most of our full-time faculty will spend significant time this summer preparing courses with online dimensions for the fall, with the goal of making the virtual learning experience even better for our students.
Safety and Health
I would like to emphasize again that as the fall approaches and throughout our planning, we will continue to be guided by one overwhelming priority—the health and safety of our community members. This is a collaborative challenge for many sectors of our society, and we are closely cooperating with others so that our community has the resources we need.
We will have protocols in place for testing, contact tracing, and isolation if necessary. Residence life and campus activities will be guided by public health requirements, such as physical distancing and reduced density if warranted. We will modify campus environments like dining halls as needed. While it is too early to know the particular details for many of these operations, we will update everyone as we learn more information and tailor our programs and environments to these requirements accordingly.
I know there are many questions remaining but, with still months to go before the semester begins, we cannot predict yet the complete landscape for our campuses in the fall. We are operating in uncharted waters and so we will have to be prepared to adjust as time goes on. Again, though, we will be ready to adjust, and we will do whatever is possible to provide our students not just a transformative education but a transformative experience that will prepare them well for careers and lifetimes of success.
Please stay safe and well, and stay tuned for more updates as the fall semester takes shape.
I look forward to seeing everyone on campus again soon.
Christopher A. Capuano, Ph.D.
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Links to Updates
May 29: President’s Update – The Fall 2020 Semester.
May 8: President’s Update – Planning for the Fall 2020 Semester.
April 20: President’s Update – Important Cost-Saving Measures.
April 9: President’s Update – A Note of Appreciation.
April 9: Deadline Extension for Student Withdrawal from Classes.
April 7: All Summer Sessions for 2020.
April 3: Update on Pass/Fail Option for Spring Semester 2020.
April 2: Graduate Summer Sessions 2020.
March 30: Undergraduate Summer Sessions 2020.
March 25: President’s Update – Commencement.
March 25: Pass/Fail Option for Undergraduate Students for Spring Semester 2020.
March 20: President’s Update – Remote Learning Extended for Remainder of Spring Semester.
March 20: Pass/Fail Option for Undergraduate Students for Spring Semester 2020.
March 15: President’s Update – Latest Actions Related to COVID-19 Pandemic.
March 13: Wroxton College Students to Return Home.
March 10: President’s Update on Moving to Remote Learning.
March 9: Working together as a community and an update on potential self-isolation.
March 6: Update on travel restrictions and recommendations, and a travel registry for faculty and staff.
March 2: Update on University-sponsored international trips as well as more travel-related news.
February 28: Update on international travel, study abroad, our international campuses and necessary precautions.