While some other SUNY schools are informing their students of possible changes to the fall semester, Binghamton University has not yet released a plan or updated students about what options administrators are considering for fall 2020.
According to an article published on the BU website on April 17, President Harvey Stenger and Donald Nieman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, have established a Public Health Advisory Group that will be creating plans for a return to normal.
Ryan Yarosh, senior director of media and public relations, wrote in an email that the group is currently working on finding options for the fall semester. He wrote there have been no decisions or plans made yet, noting that there is no SUNY-wide plan that each university must follow.
“There is not a standard SUNY position on this,” Yarosh wrote. “Once we have finalized our plans we will inform the campus community.”
Last week, Purchase College students received an email detailing three options for how the college is considering conducting classes in the fall semester. According to the email, the options are being considered by all SUNY campuses.
The first option that Purchase College is considering is holding the entire semester online, with campus remaining closed for the entirety of the fall 2020 semester. The second option is a “split semester” in which the college would begin all classes online and eventually move them on campus. The final option is to start the fall semester late, in either October or November, and have it end in February with the spring semester immediately following and ending normally in May.
Similar options are echoed on the official pages of both SUNY Plattsburgh and University at Albany.
The first option detailed in the plans set forth by both universities calls for a return to normalcy. This would mean reopening campus starting in August or September and continuing the semester as usual, with all classes moving back on campus and all residence halls being reopened as normal. Another option is similar to the one shared by Purchase College, which is for all classes to be held online. The final option detailed by the schools is a “hybrid model,” which includes scenarios based on a split between online instruction and traditional, in-person classes. It is the only scenario in which the schools are releasing varying information, calling for different schedules and splits.
According to the SUNY Plattsburgh website, decisions on whether classes will be in-person or online depend on the specific class, and the hybrid model would result in the partial reopening of campus residence halls.
“[Another possible scenario is the] use of a hybrid instructional delivery model for fall 2020 with restrictions on gathering sizes to ensure social distancing,” the SUNY Plattsburgh website reads. “Residence halls open for partial occupancy. Some classes/programs remain in distance education mode; other classes/programs resume face-to-face.”
According to a campus update written by University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez, University at Albany has a similar plan. However, University at Albany’s announcement does not explicitly mention the reopening of residence halls on campus for the fall 2020 semester.
“Based on continuing physical distancing parameters, we [will] develop a hybrid model where some academic programs and University services will be in person while others will be offered remotely,” Rodríguez wrote.
Hiroki Sayama, one of the members of BU’s Public Health Advisory Group and a professor of systems science and industrial engineering, wrote in an email that a SUNY-wide plan would not work for every school, and that the group, alongside Stenger, is still working on creating a plan for the fall semester.
“I personally don’t think a single SUNY-wide policy would apply to all SUNY schools uniformly, because each campus is situated in its unique environment and situation,” Sayama wrote. “Our [BU] campus is also working hard in this planning stage, and in fact, President Stenger is now actively seeking ideas from the whole campus community.”
Editor’s note: BU administrators released a B-Line addition on Monday, May 4 with updates on the University’s plans for the fall semester, following the publication of this article. The addition can be viewed here.