Dear Members of the Campus Community,
Consistent with the transitional step announced by the University of Pittsburgh regarding the start of the Fall Term, we are offering flexibility to both students and instructors by allowing remote access to our courses during the first two weeks of the term. The transitional period beginning at the start of classes on August 27, 2021 will end on Monday, September 13, 2021, after which all classes will be in-person.
During the transitional two-week period, “instructors and students will have the flexibility to choose between being in the classroom or using Zoom for synchronous course delivery. This means that:
· Instructors may deliver classes from a location of their choice, including the assigned classroom.
· Students may choose to attend class and learn from a location of their choice, including the assigned classroom.
· Campus study and experiential spaces—including all classrooms and libraries—will be open and available to all members of the University community to use during this time.
· All field placements, practicum experiences, lab classes, and research labs will continue activities as planned.”
As stated in the University’s announcement, the option for remote instruction during this transition will end on Monday, September 13. As a small campus that emphasizes and treasures the quality of the student experience in an up-close-and-personal learning environment for students, we maintain that the teaching and advising is best accomplished through in-person interactions with students. This premium on in-person instruction, engagement and collaboration that is based on our educational mission and goals, is intrinsic to the culture and ethos of Pitt-Johnstown. Therefore, we look forward to our normal practice of providing in-person instruction, advising and services.
Reaching this decision was not easy and required weighing a mix of key factors including our educational mission and goals, student expectations and aspirations for learning on our campus as well faculty views on the issue. Despite the challenges that some have expressed about in-person classes, the majority of our faculty have indicated that they prefer in-person classes and are looking forward to returning to the classroom.
To be sure, resuming in-person teaching and learning will be a challenge for certain members of our community with specific health needs and concerns. As per University policy, should you have concerns about in-person classes due your own health condition or disability, please contact Disability Resources and Services (DRS) directly to discuss reasonable accommodations. Work adjustments for student workers should be discussed directly with supervisors.
Wishing you the very best for a healthy, safe, and successful Academic Year.
President Jem Spectar