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Penn State: ‘About Half’ Of Fall Semester Courses Will Have In-Person Components

Penn State expects half of its courses will feature an in-person component this fall, the university announced late Wednesday night.

Currently, the university estimates about 19% of courses across the Commonwealth will be delivered entirely in-person, while an additional 28% of courses will have an in-person component coupled with remote instruction.

“We greatly appreciate the efforts being made by our faculty as they adjust their delivery modality and as we continue to make changes to adjust to our new environment,” Penn State President Eric Barron said. “We are doing everything we can to bring our students, faculty and staff back to campus in a safe way. This may mean that some students will want to work with their advisers to alter their course schedules to meet their individual needs and the requirement of their programs, and we are here to support our students do so.”

While retooling course deliveries, administrators considered factors such as lecture hall capacity, social distancing capabilities, and enrollment numbers. For example, some smaller courses will move to larger lecture halls this fall to accommodate social distancing guidelines.

Although many students have likely seen changes to their fall semester schedule in LionPATH, faculty will continue modifying plans and update course deliveries as the summer continues. Students are encouraged to reach out to their advisers to make adjustments to their schedules if needed.

Penn State’s courses will be delivered in four different ways this fall, ranging from in-person teaching to full-blown online classes. “COVID-mixed” courses will combine these aspects in several ways, potentially including rotating lecture attendance or remote lectures coupled with small group attendance.

“Many of our faculty members want to teach in-person and we have added space that is not typically used for instruction in order to increase our capacity as much as possible and maximize in-person instruction,” Yvonne Gaudelius, associate vice president and senior associate dean for Undergraduate Education, said. “We are continuing to look at options that will open additional classroom space and more information will be forthcoming within the next few days.”

Previously, Penn State communicated courses with enrollments of more than 250 students will be delivered remotely this fall. At Commonwealth Campuses, courses with more than 100 students will move online.

Courses taught in-person this fall will require students to follow strict mask-wearing and social distancing procedures. Individuals who fail to comply may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and potentially subsequently punished.

Additionally, the university will offer remote learning options for students who can’t return to campus this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic. Students are also able to cancel their housing contracts should they choose not to return to campus this fall or spring.

Although Penn State currently remains committed to returning to campus in August, it reiterated it’s prepared to move online should the coronavirus pandemic continue to worsen. Several notable universities, including Rutgers, Harvard, and USC, have already opted to revert to remote learning this semester.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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