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Billy Keeney

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Vaidya announced NKU fall 2020 plans: hybrid classes, social distancing

Classes in the fall can be in-person, fully online, hybrid or a mix of online and scheduled meeting times

June 15, 2020

NKU will resume some in-person class meetings in fall 2020, President Ashish Vaidya announced in a campus-wide email Monday afternoon.

The fall semester will start on August 17, 2020, as scheduled. Fall convocations and new student convocation will be held virtually with dates to be announced. In-person and hybrid classes will move to fully online/remote delivery after Thanksgiving, including the final exam week.

Vaidya said there will be a combination of offerings that include both face-to-face and online/remote elements. Small classes will be moved to larger classrooms, and large classes will either be reduced in size or relocated to large rooms in the Student Union or other campus facilities to ensure social distancing is still being upheld.

Some in-person classes will be simultaneously delivered face-to-face and online/remotely while others will be designed to have for a combination of the two.

Locations on campus like Steely Library will be made available to accommodate students enrolled both online and in-person. IT is currently working on an app for students to reserve study rooms across campus.

On July 1, students will need to review their schedules to see any updates on their courses as there will be four new categories for classes:

  • “in-person (delivered face-to-face via regular meetings at a specific site and time)
  • online (delivered fully online, with no scheduled class meetings)
  • hybrid (delivered both online and in-person, with scheduled in-person meetings at a specific site and time)
  • online synchronous (delivered fully online, but with scheduled virtual online class meetings)”

Students will need to review their fall class schedules on July 1. As always, students can make changes within myNKU and should consult their advisors for assistance in ensuring that their schedule meets their needs.

Undergraduate tuition for the 2020-21 academic year will not change. Due to course structure changing, students will not be charged the usual online fee for the fall semester.

“Course offerings are being designed to ensure that students continue to progress in reaching their educational goals and are meaningfully engaged with each other and their faculty,” Vaidya said. “Courses with in-person elements will include those for first-year students, labs, studio-based courses, and capstone/seminar courses.”

In regards to the second half of the fall semester, Vaidya said there will be no in-person instruction after Thanksgiving break, although buildings and offices will remain open.

Students will complete the last week of the semester and final exam week online/remotely.

“This precaution is being taken to avoid a potential spike in COVID-19 infection rates after students, faculty, and staff return from the travel often associated with school breaks,” Vaidya said. “Fall Break will take place in October as planned. Information about fall commencement will be forthcoming. The timeline with the phases of reopening and the Fall 2020 academic calendar provide summaries of all these important dates.”

Healthy @ NKU will help manage and prevent the spread of COVID-19, “[the University] must be committed to self and community well-being as a priority,” Vaidya said. The administration has put together the Norse Nine checklist to ensure an individual is making sure the campus is remaining healthy. Here’s some of the highlihgts of the Norse Nine according to Vaidya:

  • “NKU students, faculty, staff, and visitors are required to wear facial coverings and observe social distancing criteria on campus for as long as CDC and Kentucky health guidelines advise. For additional information, including qualifications for limited accommodations, please see NKU’s facial coverings FAQ webpage.
  • On the days that students, faculty, and staff plan on being on-campus, they will need to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms using the Healthy@NKU app. This app is available through myNKU for both standard platforms and mobile devices. Students living in on-campus housing will self-screen every day. St. Elizabeth Healthcare will provide testing for individuals with symptoms at their new location on Nunn Drive, and Northern Kentucky Health Department will provide contact-tracing for those who test positive.
  • The furniture in campus spaces is being rearranged to maintain adequate social distancing. Enhanced cleaning protocols are being used in all spaces, and NKU will provide approved disinfectants for individual use in offices and classrooms.
  • A brief Healthy@NKU training video will be available for students, faculty, and staff to view before returning to campus. All of these actions promote a healthier environment and will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 at NKU.
  • NKU Health, Counseling, and Student Wellness (HCSW) will be open for in-person and virtual visits. For in-person visits to Health Services, appointments will be required so that they can be staggered to allow for physical distancing in the waiting room. Counseling Services will be available to all students. Sessions will continue to be offered via telehealth (phone/video), as well as in-person sessions as appropriate. In the event of a crisis/urgent matter, a clinician will be available both during regular business hours, as well as after hours. Additional online resources for health and mental health concerns can be found on the HCSW website.”

Campus Recreation

Campus Recreation will open services on August 3, 2020.

Kentucky’s Healthy at Work standards and national collegiate campus recreational facility guidelines will be followed.

Campus recreation is currently developing a robust operational plan that will highlight hours of operations, equipment sanitization strategies, and general information regarding socially distant fitness activities, online services, and intramural programs.

University Housing

University Housing will be offered with a limited residency model based on CDC recommendations and national University Housing and Residence Life guidelines.

All areas of housing will be reduced and prioritizing room assignments for nonlocal students with extenuating life circumstances and first-year students required to live on campus as outlined in the First Year Student Residency Requirement. The proposed limited residency model that will house just over 1,000 students.

Students will be notified as soon as possible of any changes in housing assignments, and University Housing will strive to accommodate student housing needs and assist in finding alternative housing arrangements in the local area if needed.

The fall semester move-in process will take place over a series of days to accommodate physical distancing. More information will be provided on the University Housing website as it becomes available.

On-Campus Dining/Food Service

Residential dining services will begin on First Year Student Move In Day (Thursday, August 13, 2020). In order to be able to implement practices that minimize the risk of infection and promote social distancing, the Student Union Food Court and other a la carte dining locations will offer a reduced number of options with limited hours beginning Monday, August 17, 2020

Intercollegiate Athletics

NKU will resume athletic practices and intercollegiate competitions when it is safe to do so. All Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 athletic competition is subject to decisions pending by the NCAA and the Horizon League.

“Other NCAA-approved activities (men’s and women’s basketball) could begin July 6, 2020. It is possible that athletic events may be reduced in number, delayed by weeks or even months, conducted without spectators, or canceled entirely.”

Meeting, Events, and Activities

Academic and administrative units and faculty, staff, and student organizations should conduct meetings, events, and activities (including those involving external participants such as community members) online/remotely until further notice.

Vaidya said, with approval, in-person meetings—particularly those for first-year students—events, or activities with limited numbers of attendees may become possible as CDC and Kentucky health guidelines and space availability permit. More information will come as the semester progresses.


University-sponsored travel will remain suspended at least through the end of the fall semester. Recognizing that some travel is essential, exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must be approved through the regular approval process. Depending on their destination, travelers may be expected to meet certain requirements before returning to campus, such as a 14-day self-quarantine or COVID-19 testing. More specific guidelines will be announced as they become available.

Faculty and Staff Return to Campus

NKU will take a hybrid, phased approach to opening the campus with restrictions. This approach will be flexible and adjustable to meet the needs of those we serve and based on constant monitoring of the local, regional, national, and international COVID-19 situation.

Prior to July 6, 2020: Faculty and staff will continue to work remotely unless an exception has been approved. Only those needed to maintain current campus operations and to prepare for an increase in operations will be working on campus.

Beginning July 6, 2020: NKU will have a gradual return to on-campus operations. To prepare the campus for the Fall 2020 semester, approved departments will begin to return to campus with a gradual increase in staffing. During this time, most faculty and staff will continue to work remotely.

Beginning August 3, 2020: NKU’s campus will open with a blended, flexible environment that includes some in-person interaction with modifications that minimize risk for all NKU constituents and follows the guidelines available on the CDC and Commonwealth of Kentucky’s COVID-19 websites. Departments will maintain minimum staffing levels necessary to have their on-campus locations open to serve faculty, staff, and students on campus. Some offices will need to have extended hours to serve post-traditional students. Those not needed for on-campus coverage will continue to work remotely.

Faculty and staff with health conditions that may impact their ability to return to campus-based work should contact Human Resources ( to determine if accommodations are appropriate. As always, individuals’ health information will be protected as required by law. For more information about returning to work, view the Employee Information and Resources or visit the Human Resources COVID-19 page.

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