We know the last four months have been a challenge for you and your families. We want you to know that the health and safety of all students, faculty, and staff remain our highest priority at John Carroll. In the spirit of cura personalis, our campus leaders have been working diligently to ensure campus operations and academic instruction meet standards and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the State of Ohio, Cuyahoga County, and all of John Carroll’s accrediting bodies. Our focus remains on delivering the high-quality and deeply engaged education experience for which John Carroll is known.
The COVID-19 environment presents challenges and some uncertainties related to academic and co-curricular planning for the fall semester. As we approach the fall semester and your arrival on campus, our ability to offer classes in person, and provide on-campus activities, housing, and food service will require your full participation in the measures we are putting in place to protect your health and that of the entire JCU community.
The following updates will explain our approach to welcoming students and our community back to campus, including the health and safety measures we are employing, our approach to teaching and learning in the HyFlex model, a change to our Fall 2020 academic calendar, and other topics on all of our minds as the pandemic continues to evolve. The most up-to-date information will always be available at jcu.edu/fall-plan-2020.
Returning to Campus
All students will be expected to begin monitoring for COVID-19-related symptoms for 14 days prior to arrival on campus. You will receive information about a mobile app called #CampusClear that you will need to download onto your phone or other electronic device. It will allow you to do a required daily COVID-19 symptom assessment. If symptoms of COVID-19 are identified, you will be directed via the app to seek appropriate medical consultation regarding next steps, which may include testing and results management. The JCU Student Health and Wellness Center staff are available to provide additional information and consultation as needed. Students with symptoms should notify the Student Health Center by phone (216-397-4349) and delay arrival on campus until you are given written permission to do so.
Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, students coming to campus from outside the country are required to self-quarantine for 14 days before engaging in classes or other student activities on campus.
Health and Safety Measures Once You Are Back on Campus
Once you are back on campus, all students (as well as faculty and staff) must conduct the required daily symptom assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 using the same mobile app. If you experience any symptoms of COVID-19, or are diagnosed with or test positive for COVID-19, you should not come on campus, or if you are on campus at the time, you must immediately contact the Student Health Center by phone for information and consultation as needed. In addition, if you do not feel well for any reason, we ask that you refrain from coming to campus if you live off campus or isolate yourself in your dorm room if you are on campus.
While on campus, you must maintain physical distancing protocols at all times and wear a face covering whenever you are inside a building and also when you are outside and cannot maintain appropriate physical distancing.
Students will be asked to sign a commitment that they agree to follow the health and safety protocols established by the University.
At this time, JCU does not plan to test all students for the COVID-19 virus prior to or upon their arrival on campus. The Ohio Athletic Conference has developed a phased plan for the return of student athletes to campus for practices and competitions that will include daily monitoring of systems and may include testing as recommended by the conference, team physicians, and trainers.
Should any student become symptomatic, the Student Health Center will promptly arrange for testing for the symptomatic student. An Interim Student COVID-19 Response Policy and Procedures Plan is under development. It will provide health care and testing responses and recommendations for students exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
Teaching and Learning
As you come to John Carroll in the fall to begin or return to your education, many of you will be present with us in person. Others of you will participate remotely, for a great variety of reasons. In addition, for the protection of the JCU community we are requesting that every student, faculty, or staff member refrain from coming to campus on days that you do not feel well, for any reason. Given these realities, we are committed to the dual-delivery of our courses wherever possible.
As we have previously communicated, we will be offering our classes under the HyFlex or hybrid model which allows us to offer the majority of our classes in a synchronous format, with accompanying asynchronous (online) elements. (For more details, see the FAQ on the Fall Plan website). The majority of our classes will have frequent in-person classroom experiences while others will offer the synchronous learning experience remotely, via Zoom. We will be sending out a student survey in the coming weeks to assess the number of students who desire or require all of their classes to be remote, only. All classes will be available through the remote learning format to accommodate students who cannot attend the in-person class. The Office of the Registrar is in the process of updating Fall 2020 listings to indicate which courses will be in-person, fully remote, or a combination of in-person and remote.
Our learning environment will be different from prior semesters, and we are committed to making the emerging learning experience a strong one, consistent with our John Carroll commitment to excellence in teaching. Our faculty have devoted themselves throughout the summer to continued development in using new technologies to accommodate the necessity of remote learning. In addition, we have equipped our classrooms with appropriate technology to support a strong learning experience. You will find that our faculty have developed exciting and innovative approaches to your educational experience.
As part of CDC and State health guidelines, we have set capacity limits on all instructional spaces and have removed furniture to ensure physically distant seating. In cases where the entire class may not fit into the classroom space, the course instructor will communicate with you in advance via the Canvas course page how the course attendance rotation will be conducted. We are doing our best to coordinate appropriately sized spaces with course sizes but that will not be possible in all cases. Masks will be required to be worn by all individuals while in class. In some cases, we may have plexiglass barriers in place where feasible. We have upgraded the HVAC equipment to meet national standards for refreshing the air in indoor spaces. It will certainly make for an interesting and challenging semester, but these and other measures will be in place for the safety of all.
Should circumstances change during the semester that would affect our ability to continue in-person instruction, the University will be ready to adjust to such circumstances under the Hyflex model. This instructional model permits the University to deliver the same high-quality academics to students in such a circumstance that would require remote learning.
New Fall Academic Calendar & Post-Thanksgiving Remote Learning
To accommodate the new realities of learning during a time of COVID-19 that will likely be compounded by the usual re-emergence of influenza during the late fall/early winter, we will be best served by remaining together once we are together. We will minimize risks to the entire community by limiting the number of opportunities for our members to travel far outside our community and then return. Thus we will be modifying our fall schedule in the following way.
We will start instruction at the currently scheduled date (Monday, August 31), but we will forego our two scheduled holidays - Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 7) and our Fall Break (Friday, Oct.16). Instead, we will expand our Thanksgiving break to include the entire week of Thanksgiving. No classes will be held from November 23-27 and students will be required to return to their permanent residence at the start of the Thanksgiving break. When classes resume on Monday, November 30, the last two weeks of instruction and the following exam week will be delivered entirely remotely.
Residence Halls will close at Noon on Saturday, November 21 and remain closed until the beginning of spring semester. Students who need to remain on campus over the break or who have reasons to return will be asked to fill out a request for exception. Residential students will receive more information next week regarding an addendum to their housing agreements that outlines these changes to their room and board arrangement.
Tuition Insurance Information
We are committed to helping our students overcome unexpected financial losses related to tuition and room and board charges that may be incurred as the result of a student’s need to end a semester early due to medical or other extenuating circumstances. Therefore, the University is providing each student with the opportunity to purchase the GradGuard™ Tuition Protection Plan from Allianz Global Assistance to help insure against such unexpected losses. Information about cost and coverage will be provided in your billing statement.
Answering the "What If?" Questions
The recent surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the U.S. -- especially in Ohio and Cuyahoga County -- has spurred questions from students, parents, faculty, staff, and various campus stakeholders about how John Carroll would address an outbreak on campus and other scenarios. Given the speed of recent developments, it is difficult to answer all these questions at this time. However, we can say with certainty that John Carroll will fully comply with all national, state, county, and local guidelines and requirements.
John Carroll will continue to rely on guidance from public health officials to determine what is best for the health and safety of our students and campus community. As circumstances evolve and definitive answers are available, we will communicate updates and developments as quickly as possible. As a reminder, the most up-to-date information will always be available at jcu.edu/fall-plan-2020.
We look forward to seeing you in a few short weeks. This semester will definitely look and feel different. However, our Jesuit tradition provides us with the Ignatian charisms of reflection, discernment, and detachment, which lead us to the firm conviction that different is not worse, but an invitation to challenge and growth. As members of the Blue Streak family, we will continue to overcome these challenges together.
Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.
Steven T. Herbert, Ph.D.
Provost and Academic Vice President