Fall Semester Update from the Provost

Dear Returning RIT Students,

I hope all of you and your families are safe and well. RIT is working hard to ensure your return to campus this fall is safe and productive. In this letter, I want to share with you more detail about what you can expect from your classes this fall.

Semester Calendar: We have adjusted the fall academic calendar in light of the health and safety priorities related to COVID-19. Classes will begin a few days early, on Wednesday, August 19, and will end a week sooner on Tuesday, November 24. Final exams will be held remotely, following Thanksgiving, after which you will enjoy an extended winter break. We will have updates about the spring calendar later this year. The proposed schedule is dependent upon the latest guidance and direction of local and state health officials, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We will be submitting our full plan to the state for review later.

Learning Spaces: We are currently preparing to have all RIT laboratories, studios, computer facilities, machine shops, and other student-learning spaces open and available to you. Social distancing measures will be in place, and this means we will have to lower the maximum capacity of all areas where classes meet. For laboratory, studio, and capstone courses, we are adding additional sections and/or working on specialized scheduling solutions so students can take these classes in person and access facilities needed to fulfill their course learning outcomes. Many lecture-based classes will also meet in person while some will move to a blended format where students will meet weekly in small in-person groups and complete some course material online. In some cases, where appropriate and where course materials lend themselves to the format, we will move selected courses fully online. Our goal is to ensure you have a robust experience on the RIT campus. One in which you will be able to meet with your professors, teaching assistants, and classmates and where you will have access to the facilities and services that make RIT such a special university and environment for learning and growing. 

Course Schedule: Creating this environment is requiring some changes to the fall schedule. Because of the impact of social distancing requirements, many class meeting times will shift, which means that your individual course schedule may change. Over the next six weeks, we will be posting modifications to course schedules. We will also be adding information to SIS so that you will be able to tell if any of your classes will take place using an alternative modality, such as a blended format. In rare cases, we may need to cancel a class. Should this occur, the department or college offering the class will reach out to you. Please monitor your email for additional information and check your class schedule regularly. Please contact your advisor if you have any questions. We plan to complete schedule changes by July 15. Please know that we will work with you to ensure you have a complete schedule that allows you to make progress toward your degree. 

We have all missed your presence on campus, and I know I speak for all RIT faculty and staff when I tell you how much we are looking forward to welcoming you back. Putting safety first means campus life will look a little different, but we are working hard to ensure we retain RIT’s unique culture and environment—all the things we all love most about RIT. Additional details will be available soon. In the meantime, please continue to check RIT’s coronavirus website —  www.rit.edu/coronavirus — for updates on fall planning.   


Ellen Granberg, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

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