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Fall 2021 Academic Information for Students

TO: All Students

FROM: Dr. Susan Gaulden, Interim Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Students,

I am sure you are eager to hear our plans for the Fall 2021 semester. I am writing to provide an outline of what you can expect as a follow-up to President Mercer’s March 1st message. The College leadership is looking forward to increased levels of on-campus activity in the fall. Our planning reflects this optimism, as well as our continued vigilance and agility to address shifting conditions.

External Conditions and Considerations

It is extremely important you keep in mind this plan is subject to change in response to pandemic conditions. In fact, the College leadership team is preparing our preliminary Fall 2021 operations plan mindful that adjustments will likely be necessary due to State mandates, as well as guidance and directives from our partners in the State of New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (NJ OSHE), the N.W. Bergen Regional Health Commission, the NCAA and the New Jersey Athletics Conference, and the CDC. You are encouraged to regularly check the College’s website and be sure to read all update messages sent to your Ramapo email addresses.

NJ OSHE’s Restart Standards require all NJ colleges and universities to provide various “instructional options, including remote instruction…(and) to accommodate faculty and students who are unable to participate in in-person instruction.” Furthermore, Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 155 requires all NJ colleges and universities to provide “continued remote instruction for faculty and/or students who are unable to participate in in-person instruction.” Ramapo College faculty and students may have medical conditions that, according to CDC guidelines, indicate these individuals are at higher risk for contracting the virus. Other individuals are included in Tier 1-C or 2 of the State’s vaccination plan and, therefore, are not eligible to receive the vaccine yet. We are hopeful that, as more people are vaccinated and as herd immunity is approached (or, ideally, reached), remote instruction requirements and demand for remote learning will decrease and, to my earlier sentiment, we will progressively increase levels of on-campus activity.

 

Fall 2021 Course Schedule

In the meantime and in order to comply with current mandates, the preliminary Fall 2021 course schedule, which will be viewable to students in Web Self-Service on March 15, indicates at least 50% of our fall courses are planning to hold some face-to-face class meetings on campus (i.e., are in-person, hybrid in-person-virtual-synchronous, or hybrid in-person-asynchronous courses). Ramapo plans to offer six different instructional delivery modes in Fall 2021, which are described below, in order to address the preferences and needs of students who are eager to return to campus and those who are not.

  1. In-Person Courses – All class meetings are held face-to-face on campus, but students may need to alternate in-person attendance per an instructor-established schedule to accommodate limited classroom occupancies established in order to comply with social distancing mandates.
  2. Hybrid In-Person-Virtual-Synchronous Courses – Some of the scheduled class meetings are held face-to-face on campus, and all other class meetings are held virtually (e.g., via WebEx) during the time slot indicated in the course schedule. Students may need to alternate in-person attendance of the face-to-face class meetings per an instructor-established schedule to accommodate limited classroom occupancies established in order to comply with social distancing mandates.
  3. Hybrid In-Person-Asynchronous Courses – Some of the course content is delivered via class sessions held face-to-face on campus, and the rest of the course content is delivered via instructor-created asynchronous learning experiences (e.g., videos, readings, projects, assigned group work). The asynchronous learning may be completed by students on their time but must be done by instructor-established deadlines. Students may need to alternate in-person attendance of the face-to-face class meetings per an instructor-established schedule to accommodate limited classroom occupancies established in order to comply with social distancing mandates.
  4. Virtual-Fully-Synchronous Courses – All class meetings are held virtually (e.g., via WebEx) during the time slot indicated in the course schedule.
  5. Virtual-Synchronous-Asynchronous Courses – Some of the course content is delivered via class sessions held virtually (e.g., via WebEx) during the time slot indicated in the course schedule, and the rest of the course content is delivered via instructor-created asynchronous learning experiences (e.g., videos, readings, projects, assigned group work). The asynchronous learning may be completed by students on their time but must be done by instructor-established deadlines.
  6. Online Courses – All course content is delivered via instructor-created asynchronous learning experiences (e.g., videos, readings, projects, assigned group work). The asynchronous learning may be completed by students on their time but must be done by instructor-established deadlines.

 

Fall 2021 Advisement and Registration

It is strongly advised that you discuss the Fall 2021 course schedule with your advisor during Advisement Weeks (i.e., from March 15th to April 12th) so that you are well prepared to register for fall semester courses when registration opens on April 12th. (Important Notes: If you are not sure who your assigned advisor is, please log in to Connect. The Office of the Registrar’s website will soon post updated instructions on how to read the course entries in Web Self-Service to provide additional support. Please take action now to resolve any existing holds on your account that will otherwise interfere with your ability to take advantage of priority registration.)

It is important to select the course delivery mode(s) that best aligns with your individual learning style(s) and your level of access to technology, as well as your level of interest in being on campus in the fall. Please note that courses with multiple sections will offer a range of delivery modes in order to accommodate varying student preferences, whenever possible. To have the best chance of selecting course modes that will work best for you, please be sure to register when your window opens and to:

  • select in-person or hybrid courses (modes 1, 2, and 3 above) whenever possible if you prefer to attend all or some face-to-face class meetings; or
  • select virtual or online courses (modes 4, 5, and 6 above) whenever possible if you prefer to remain off-campus and engage in remote learning.

We expect the mandates and directives that Ramapo must follow will ease if the virus prevalence continues to lessen in our region. If and when this happens, we plan to progressively and proportionally respond by offering more courses that will hold face-to-face class meetings on campus, whenever possible, as long as there is a demand for such.

We all look forward to the moment when we realize COVID-19 has become part of our history. Until that time, we must continue to tap into our personal grit and perseverance to succeed in the here and now.

In closing, I want you to know I am sincerely impressed with how well you have adjusted to the significant changes that have occurred over the past year. You definitely have it in you to achieve great things this semester and beyond. Please accept my best wishes and good luck on your midterm exams and other upcoming assessments, and I hope you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy.

 

Additional Resources
If you are struggling, please reach out to Ramapo’s Counseling Services.

Ramapo’s COVID-19 Information & Updates

Ramapo’s Return to Campus & Spring 2021 Operations Plan

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