Fall course schedule updates

To our students:

As we approach the start of the fall semester, we want to share some important updates with you about how courses will be delivered in order to protect everyone’s health and safety. 

We understand that this has been an unprecedented and uncertain time, and we hear and appreciate your concerns about what the fall semester will look like. Please know that while the COVID-19 situation is highly fluid and we are prepared to make changes should circumstances require, we have been working diligently to plan the fall course schedule in a way that strives to provide the best possible academic experience while also ensuring that safe physical distancing can be maintained. Physical distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have significantly reduced our classroom capacity, decreasing the number of seats available in traditional classrooms from more than 15,600 to roughly 3,300. In order to offer as many in-person classes as possible while still keeping everyone at a safe distance, we are establishing new classroom spaces in buildings that were not typically used for teaching, including Charles Library, Mitten Hall and the Paley Building. Nevertheless, the instructional format of many classes has changed to hybrid or online-only to reduce the number of people on campus and in classrooms at any given time. 

Adjusting your schedule and understanding course formats
Over the past several weeks, you likely saw changes to your roster appear as course schedules were adjusted to adapt to the unique challenges this time presents. You should review your courses and consider schedule adjustments through the drop/add period, as you would in any other semester. 

The course formats being offered for the fall semester are as follows.

  • In-person courses are traditional in-class instruction courses, with classroom spaces adapted to follow proper physical distancing guidelines. You’ll find that seating is spaced at least six feet apart in these classrooms to ensure that everyone maintains a safe distance while learning.
  • Hybrid courses, with a mix of in-person and online learning, may entail online lectures with in-person recitations or the class being broken into groups that alternate between meeting online and in person, in order to keep the number of students in the classroom at one time at a safe level.
  • Online courses will be conducted fully online, in either an asynchronous (no set meeting time) or synchronous (scheduled online meeting times) format. 

Many courses will be offered in more than one format, so if you are assigned to an online section but prefer a hybrid or in-person mode, for example, you will be able to search for a section in that format and adjust your schedule accordingly. While not every course will be offered in multiple formats, we are working hard to provide you with as many options as possible. A video has been developed to provide more information on course formats and instructions on how to read and adjust your schedule. You can watch this video by clicking on this link. If you still have questions, feel free to reach out to your advisor or program coordinator in your school or college.

While this is not the fall semester any of us hoped for, the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are of the utmost importance. We must make these changes to course delivery to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while still keeping students on track academically. 

We must also acknowledge that the situation around COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, so we will be prepared to make changes—including moving all classes online as we did last spring—should the circumstances require us to do so to protect the health of our community. 

University housing
We understand that many of you will need to make important decisions about on-campus housing based on your fall course schedule. For those who have made deposits for on-campus housing, the deadline to withdraw from housing and have your deposit refunded will be extended to July 31 to give you an opportunity to review and finalize your course schedule prior to making a final decision about housing. 

Students who have made deposits for on-campus housing will continue to receive updates from University Housing and Residential Life. 

Looking ahead
We recognize that this has been an incredibly difficult and uncertain time. While we are committed to protecting the health and safety of everyone in the Temple community, we also recognize that the college years are an important time of growth for our students outside of the classroom. We want you to know that we are dedicated to preserving as much of your college experience as possible, while still maintaining the appropriate health and safety guidelines and upholding our four public health pillars of face coverings, hand hygiene, physical distancing and personal health monitoring for everyone on campus. To ensure that everyone’s return to campus is a safe and healthy one, we are taking many special measures, including making changes to physical spaces and opening a dedicated coronavirus testing center. Learn more and stay up-to-date on our return planning efforts

We appreciate your understanding during these uncertain times, and we will continue to work through these challenges to make sure that your experience is the best one possible given the current public health crisis. As always, we are consistently impressed by the strength and perseverance of our students and their families, and our faculty and staff. We look forward to welcoming you back for a healthy and safe fall semester—both virtually and on campus.

Remember, we’re in this together, so we can be together


Richard M. Englert

JoAnne A. Epps
Executive Vice President and Provost