To the Temple community:
As I said in my last letter, we believe that it’s important to keep you up-to-date as we make progress through the summer and look ahead to the fall semester.
First, thank you for your invaluable suggestions, questions and comments. They are being discussed by our return teams, who continue to prepare us for this next step in Temple history. We have many areas still under review. For example, we are working on instructional delivery options, including which classes can be taught in person and how many will be offered online, as well as what the hybrid course experience will be. We also want to make as many options as possible available. As we continue to build out our plans and have additional details, we look forward to sharing them with you next month. Students will also hear directly from their schools and colleges with additional details on their course structure for the fall.
You can find the latest updates at our Planning a Safe Return website. Since my last letter, we have added new details about our phased plan and our calendar changes to the FAQs.
Also at the site is a new video that describes our planning process. The video is hosted by Sarah Powell, Temple’s director of Emergency Management, and Mark Denys, senior director for Student and Employee Health Services at the university. Sarah and Mark are members of our Return Team’s Steering Committee. I’m sure you’ll find the video informative.
Summer II session
We have recently received additional guidance from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and we want to thank the Secretary of Education and Gov. Wolf for their leadership in this area. We have carefully reviewed the guidance put forward by the state and have integrated it into our plans.
Next week will begin the Summer II session. The vast majority of our courses will be taught online. However, more than 200 students will be on campus for classwork that cannot be done remotely. They will be the first to experience the changes that we’ve made to Main Campus. I want to thank our students and faculty for their confidence in our work to ensure their safety while continuing their academic experience. The feedback from students and faculty during this time will be invaluable as we chart our course for the fall.
De-densifying our housing
Those of you familiar with our Main Campus know that we have a wide range of options for student living, from the apartment-style suites in Morgan Hall to the more traditional two-person rooms with communal bathrooms in Johnson and Hardwick Residence Halls. While most of our housing inventory allows for acceptable circulation and physical distancing, we are making changes to decrease the number of students living in Johnson and Hardwick Residence Halls. Johnson and Hardwick students will be given an option to stay in those buildings as singles, or to shift to other housing options on and around campus. This will reduce the total number of students in these two halls by roughly half.
We will be in direct contact with the students whose room assignments will need to be changed. If you don’t hear from the University Housing and Residential Life office, there is no change to your assignment. To allay any concerns, this shift will take place at no additional cost to the students.
We know this is a big change for the impacted students, and want to thank them for their understanding. Please know that we would not make this type of decision unless we were convinced it was essential for student safety and the safety of everyone involved.
All of our university residence halls and dining facilities plan to open for the fall semester with operational modifications to promote health and safety measures, and will be able to remain open by having all members of our community comply with our public health pillars: use of face masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing and personal health monitoring.
Finally, I want you to know that we will be reducing the fall housing fees in all Temple owned and operated facilities by 15 percent, in recognition of our decision to end in-person classes on Friday, Nov. 20. The remaining week of classes after Thanksgiving, study period and finals will be conducted remotely.
As always, thank you for all that you do for Temple University and for this special community. I look forward to reporting on our progress in the weeks and months ahead.
Richard M. Englert