Academics and Classrooms

Our faculty are working hard to ensure the classroom experience, whether hybrid or remote, is rewarding and fulfilling for every student. They will continue to hold themselves and their students to the high standards we’re known for while we all follow careful guidance to keep our community healthy and safe.

Wells College is allowing students to apply for a COVID-19 accommodation based on documentation of a medical condition listed on the website of the Centers for Disease Control for groups of people who are at high risk.

All courses are being designed to accommodate faculty and students who may not be able to attend class due to quarantine, illness, vulnerable status, or other concerns for health and safety. Attendance and class participation policies will clearly be stated in syllabi and be non-punitive. Hybrid/blended course design will be used to maximize the flexibility that is needed.

The Buildings and Grounds department will clean and disinfect classrooms on a daily basis. The College will provide cleaning supplies in all classrooms for faculty and student use.

Courses that will be taught remotely from the start will primarily be asynchronous in nature and will include some interactive exercises for students to engage with their peers and/or instructor. Faculty will provide students with explicit expectations regarding course engagement and course etiquette from the start.

2020-21 Academic Calendar & Break Information

Classes are scheduled to begin on Monday, Aug. 31, please note that students who are in quarantine or isolation will not be permitted to attend in-person classes until their period of quarantine ends. Once students depart campus for Thanksgiving, they will complete the rest of their work and final exams remotely. 

Here is a summary of the fall academic calendar:

  • Aug. 17–30: return to campus 
  • Aug. 31: classes begin
  • Nov. 21–29: Thanksgiving break
  • Nov. 30: classes resume
  • Dec. 11: last day of classes
  • Dec. 14–18: final exams

The full calendar for fall 2020 is now available at our website. The calendar for the spring 2021 semester will be announced later this fall.

FAQs: Academics & Classrooms

What does the fall 2020 academic calendar look like?
There have been some significant changes to the fall 2020 schedule. There will not be a fall break this year, and once students leave for Thanksgiving break, they will remain off campus and finish their course work remotely. Follow this link to see an up-to-date academic calendar.

If a student wishes to request special accommodation to complete their studies remotely, rather than on campus, how do they make that request?
Wells College is allowing students to apply for a COVID-19 accommodation based on documentation of a medical condition listed on the website of the Centers for Disease Control for groups of people who are at high risk. Students who wish to remain at home and take courses remotely must apply for this accommodation and provide medical documentation to support their request. The Office of Student Success oversees the verification of eligibility, determines appropriate accommodations and monitors students to address any concerns that may arise during the academic year. Please note that students requesting an accommodation may be eligible for a partial or full refund of room & board charges, but please be aware that tuition costs will not be reduced for students who are approved to take courses remotely. Please contact Emily Mattison, the assistant director of student success, at emattison@wells.edu or 315.364.3432 with accommodation requests.

What is the classroom experience going to be like?
All courses are being designed to accommodate faculty and students who may not be able to attend class due to quarantine, illness, vulnerable status, or other concerns for health and safety. Attendance and class participation policies will clearly be stated in syllabi and be non-punitive. Hybrid/blended course design will be used to maximize the flexibility that is needed. This means inclusion of both face-to-face instruction and remote instruction allowing distance learning. Faculty will meet with the coordinator of educational technology in order to determine what digital learning tools are available and appropriate. All instructors are expected to make use of the College’s learning management system Moodle; Google Suite is the preferred set of digital applications.

Will students and faculty be required to wear masks for classes?
Yes. All individuals within a classroom should wear a face mask at all times, even if they are more than six feet apart.

Who is responsible for cleaning and sanitizing tables, chairs and other objects in classrooms?
The Buildings and Grounds department will clean and disinfect classrooms on a daily basis. The College will provide cleaning supplies in all classrooms. Students are responsible for cleaning their own chairs and desks. Faculty are responsible for cleaning the instructor’s area, including the computer keyboard. As cleaning is expected to be done with wipes, trash cans will be made available. Hand sanitizer will be available in the hallways of classroom buildings.

For classes being taught remotely, how will that work?
Courses that will be taught remotely from the start will primarily be asynchronous in nature and will include some interactive exercises for students to engage with their peers and/or instructor. Faculty will provide students with explicit expectations regarding course engagement and course etiquette from the start. Additionally, faculty will work with our Information Technology team to ensure that faculty have the necessary technology at home to be able to deliver content and work with students from their home location. Students taking courses remotely are required to confirm with IT that they have the necessary technology and connectivity to actively engage in the course.

What computer and software do I need to be able to access classes and other programs?
Most students can get by with generic hardware that can run Office/Google Docs. Built-in Webcams should be a critical feature. Nearly all software will be provided (Office 365 licenses, Google Accounts, and a service will be available for students to remote in and use lab software for class) unless specifically listed in the syllabus for their classes as needing to be purchased (Physical Sciences sometimes supplement their coursework with online assignments that are individually licensed).

Will faculty still be able to hold office hours?
If a faculty member’s office allows for proper social distancing, office hours can be permitted in the office. However, as social distancing cannot be maintained in most faculty offices, office hours will be relocated to a space that allows social distancing or moved online. The provost’s office will provide faculty a list of available spaces in advance of the beginning of the semester. Syllabi will clearly indicate office hours’ time and location. No faculty members will be sharing offices in order to comply with guidance about reducing shared spaces. The provost’s office will reassign faculty as necessary.

Can students and others still visit Long Library in person?
The generous amount of space in Long Library will easily allow social distancing. Signage in the Hagedorn Learning Commons will instruct students to comply. Cleaning supplies will be provided so that students can wipe down tables and chairs and shared equipment such as printers. The circulation desk will be modified with appropriate barriers to protect staff working. The library staff will move reserves to a fully electronic format that will be available to students via Moodle. Additionally, the staff will implement best-practice protocol for circulation of materials.

What about labs, studios, and other “hands-on” types of spaces?
Faculty will limit the sharing of objects, as well as the touching of shared surfaces, and institute hand hygiene practices before and after contact of shared objects and surfaces. For these experiences, students will have the appropriate PPE – masks and gloves – in order to share equipment in labs, the scene shop, and studio equipment. Faculty will have students work alone when possible and consider staggering students in the space if possible. Should students need to work together, faculty will keep track of work groups for tracing purposes should that information be needed.


This page was last updated Aug. 6, 2020.

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