Team 2020 offers five proposals for fall semester

Administrators consider “socially-distanced education on campus”

Team 2020, a group of administrators and faculty tasked with planning the return to normal campus operations, has offered five proposals for Fall 2020 classes. 

The proposals are listed in an email forwarded to The Tech from the Interfraternity Council. 

  1. The fall semester will be conducted remotely, and students will return to campus in the spring. 

  2. The fall semester will be split into two sessions. Each student will attend one session on campus and the other session virtually. Of the 4,530 undergraduates enrolled at MIT, about 2,200 will be on campus at one time.

  3. The school year will be split into three academic semesters. Each student will attend two semesters on campus and one virtually. About 3,100 undergraduates will be on campus at one time.

  4. The fall semester will be held on campus for students who are able to return. Some large classes will be held virtually. Students who cannot safely return to campus, including many international students, can continue to attend classes remotely.

  5. The fall semester will be held on campus, but the start date will be delayed about six weeks.

MIT administrators are currently collecting student and faculty feedback about the proposals.

Cathy Modica, physics academic administrator, wrote in an email to physics students April 28 that “departments will all be asked to respond to each of the five scenarios.” 

The Team 2020 presentation slides attached to Modica’s email also propose “socially-distanced education on campus.” Examples of socially-distanced education include enacting limits on classroom and lab capacity or holding only lab, project, or performance classes in person.

The slides write that Krystyn Van Vliet PhD ’02, associate provost, and Joe Higgins, vice president for campus services and stewardship, are leading a “more in-depth analysis of social distancing in teaching spaces” for various classrooms and labs on campus.

The slides also mention the possibility of creating a 12-unit virtual class on COVID-19 in which faculty across MIT teach “breakout room classes on different topics/approaches, but maybe one common lecture per week on broad topics.” The class might be used toward majors, minors, or General Institute Requirements.

The slides ask faculty to consider the fraction of departmental learning objectives that “cannot be achieved remotely,” as well as “opportunities to reduce the number of subjects taught without disrupting student fulfillment of requirements.”

The Undergraduate Association (UA) is organizing a focus group of 15 undergraduate and graduate students to work with MIT’s COVID-19 Academic Policies and Regulations Team on issues such as “spring term subject evaluations, summer term grading policies, summer term pre-registration schedule, fall term class schedule possibilities, and fall term grading policies,” UA President Mahi Elango ’20 wrote in an email to undergraduates April 27. Students interested in the focus group can fill out an online form.