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Rutgers—New Brunswick to continue remote instruction with limited in-person classes next semester

Rutgers—New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy said most classes, aside from clinical studies, labs or studio courses, will be online in the Spring 2021 semester.  – Photo by Rutgers University / Facebook

Rutgers—New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy sent a University-wide email on Friday announcing the University’s plans for the Spring 2021 semester. 

“In consultation with the faculty and my academic leadership team, I have made the decision that all New Brunswick schools will offer limited in-person instruction for spring 2021 — primarily courses that require physical presence such as lab research, studio courses and clinical instruction,” he said, according to the email. 

Molloy said the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is constantly changing, meaning the University must be prepared to switch to fully-remote classes if needed. 

“I did not arrive at this decision easily, as a Rutgers alum, I understand and appreciate the unique experience of in-person learning on the Banks,” he said, according to the email. “(But), as your Chancellor, I’m confident that this approach enables us to be most responsive to the health and safety of our community.”

Students will receive information from their deans regarding specific semester plans, he said. The schedule of classes will be available Nov. 9 and registration will begin Nov. 30. 

The Daily Targum previously reported Mason Gross School of the Arts will offer select in-person courses for all departments except the Department of Art and Design. Additionally, the School of Communication and Information announced all courses would be fully remote. 

School of Arts and Sciences Executive Dean Peter March also sent an email on Friday regarding Molloy’s announcement. March said the few in-person undergraduate classes within the school will be for advanced lab courses. Graduate students will also be working mostly remotely except for the few working in labs.

March said the School of Arts and Sciences will offer both synchronous and asynchronous virtual classes to make scheduling more flexible for students. 

“There are a variety of reasons why some students need asynchronous courses, including issues related to internet connectivity, bandwidth and shared technology, conflicting responsibilities resulting from the present economic upheaval and living at home with younger siblings and other relatives affected by modified K-12 schedules, incompatible time zones and Zoom-fatigue,” he said, according to the email. 

The school is also keeping track of which technical skills students are not able to learn when taking lab courses at home in order to ensure all students are able to learn these physical skills when campus is reopened, March said.

“All of us in the School of Arts and Sciences had very much hoped that the pandemic would be controlled enough to offer spring 2021 courses in-person,” March said, according to the email. “We share your disappointment with this news, (but), our foremost commitment is always to the health and safety of our students, staff and faculty.”

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