University of Memphis will start fall semester virtually

University of Memphis will start fall semester virtually

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The University of Memphis announced its fall semester will begin remotely.

According to a letter from President Dr. M. David Rudd posted on the university’s website Thursday, for the first month of the fall semester, curriculum delivery will be virtual/remote.

Rudd said they will reassess in early September.

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Dear Campus Community:

As shared in communications since the onset of COVID-19, our decision-making has been driven by empirical evidence, timely data, our identified institutional values and the health and safety of those on our campus at the forefront. The latest available data indicates unacceptable risk in Shelby County and Memphis for an immediate transition to a dense campus environment. Our ability to manage and effectively respond to COVID-19 risks are complicated by the current lack of widely available and reliable access to tests and timely test results. We have also carefully considered the feedback and concerns we have received from faculty, staff, parents and students. Consistent with our recent decision for Campus School and University Middle, we will be implementing a phased return to our campus, with the first phase being predominantly virtual/remote.

The vast majority of schedule offerings are currently listed as hybrid courses. For the first month of the fall semester, curriculum delivery will be virtual/remote. We will reassess in early September and evaluate the possibility for some regular on-ground and hybrid courses to voluntarily return to campus if health data allows for a safe transition. As was the case in the spring semester, and has been the case throughout these summer months, some face-to-face instruction will continue on campus that is simply not possible to conduct virtually. This includes some laboratories, clinical training, arts/music and engineering courses. All face-to-face instruction will be conducted in small numbers and follow our carefully developed guidelines and protocols outlined in our return to campus plan available on our Coronavirus Updates page. We will also allow students to return to campus housing and reopen various dining options, with significant restrictions in place. Many of our students need to be housed in campus facilities in order to have full access to the essential infrastructure necessary for their education, even in virtual/remote context. We have successfully managed those facilities for four months now and are confident we have the necessary measures in place for students in need to voluntary return to campus housing.

Please remember, our campus has remained open throughout this crisis. We are operating well and safely with a density of approximately 35-40%, including students in our housing facilities, with access to limited dining venues. We will work to stagger and rotate staffing to manage overall campus density within this range during the first phase. We anticipated this as a possible scenario, and we are well prepared.

It is simple, people are what make the University of Memphis great. The current local environment simply does not allow for a safe return in significantly greater density on our campus at this time. You will receive additional details in the next several weeks about this first phase of our return to campus. This is a moment in our history that will be defined by our patience, flexibility and caring for one another. I continue to be impressed by the compassion, kindness and caring of our community. We will emerge from this challenge stronger as a campus, a community and a city.

-Dr. M. David Rudd, President, University of Memphis

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