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Fall 2020 Academic Information

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Fall Information for Students

As we welcome students to the Hill for the 2020-2021 Academic year, every department on our campus is working diligently to make your ETBU campus experience as safe as possible. Each new and returning member of the campus community plays an important role in making our campus physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually healthy for everyone. Given the unique challenges of this year, please note the following academic plans, policies, and practices for the Fall 2020 Semester.  

Face Masks  Students, staff, faculty, and guests will be required to wear masks covering their nose and mouth in buildings. We will have a limited supply of ETBU branded fabric masks and one-time-use protective masks available for purchase in Jarrett Library and the Business Office. Students should come to campus with their own supply of masks for their personal use. ETBU's mask ministry will provide each campus community member one complimentary cloth washable mask for protection. 

Physical/Social Distancing  Campus community members should plan to incorporate the habit of physical distancing into their daily lives. Within buildings for an air-borne virus, space becomes a preventative barrier to infection.

Hand Sanitizer  ETBU family members should maintain a personal supply of hand sanitizer.

Course Instruction  Classrooms will be limited to 50% of the seating capacity and/or square footage for at least the beginning of the semester. In classrooms where enrollment is below 50% of the capacity, then students will attend as usual each day. Every other seat in the classrooms will be marked for non-use to encourage physical distancing. 

Alternating 50% In-class Instruction for Classes over 50% Capacity  The good news is that only half of ETBU classes this fall will have to use this strategy.

  • Students will attend class in-person 50% of the time and attend virtually on Zoom 50% of the time
  • Faculty will teach from the classroom as scheduled (MWF, TR, etc.)
  • Students will be designated to come to class on “A” or “B” days (a calendar will be provided for inclusion with syllabi)
  • Faculty will start a Zoom session as class begins so that the students assigned for virtual participation will join the class in real time
  • Attendance will be taken for all students at all class meetings regardless of whether they are assigned to participate in the classroom or virtually
  • Students must demonstrate appropriate participation through Zoom by attending class on time, selecting a location that is as free of distraction as possible (eating lunch, riding in a car, or sitting in the Dining Hall are not considered appropriate virtual classroom locations), dressing appropriately, answering faculty questions, engaging in discussion, and doing group work as assigned.  
  • Since only half of our classes will be using the 50% in-class strategy, it is not feasible to allow students to virtually attend class for the entire semester. Short-term exceptions may be made for students, who are on physician-directed or University-directed quarantine.
  • Students will need to make sure their computers are equipped with cameras. Cameras must be used with audio muted. Attendance without camera will not be counted. 

Mini-Terms  The current plan is to have August, December, and January mini-terms. Our goal will be to place these classes in rooms where the occupancy will be less than 50%, so that the alternating 50% in-class instruction will not be necessary.

Zoom Accounts – Zoom will be a critical part of our strategy for classes over 50% of the occupancy, so students should sign up for a free account and become familiar with the application before the first day of classes.

Fall 2020 Semester Schedule and Final Examinations

We will begin the August 2020 Mini-terms on Monday, August 3. Tiger Camp for new students will begin on Thursday, August 13.  Fall 2020 classes begin on Monday, August 17. We will end the semester early, by canceling Fall Break in October and beginning final examinations on Saturday, November 21. We will conclude the semester on Wednesday, November 25, before Thanksgiving.  Fall Commencement 2020 will remain as scheduled on Saturday, December 5.

Protective Face Coverings
  • The use of face coverings helps minimize risks to the wearer and to those around them. Face coverings are required to help protect our community, our families and the general public but are not a substitute for social distancing.
  • Everyone (students, faculty, staff and guests) must wear a face covering on the ETBU Campus. Face coverings are not required to be worn in the following situations:
    • Outdoors, if social distancing can be maintained.
    • Alone or with a roommate in your own residence hall room.
    • Alone in your workplace space, which may include private offices or cubicles with tall walls or with appropriate Plexiglass partitions.
    • Student-athletes and Stone Recreation Center patrons should read the appropriate section of this site for specific face covering requirements in those areas. 
    • Employees performing manual labor who are able to maintain social distance. 
  • Face coverings must cover your nose and mouth.
  • Students or employees who cannot wear a face covering due to medical or other reasons should contact Disability Support Services or Human Resources to begin the process of requesting accommodations. 
Social Distancing
  • Practice social distancing by putting at least six feet of space between yourself and others.
  • Inside facilities, keep right in stairwells and hallways and make every effort to maintain social distancing. Do not gather in groups or entrances to buildings. Stay out of crowded places and avoid large gatherings.
  • Signage with social distancing guidelines has been installed in classrooms and dining areas.
Healthy Habits
  • Regularly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, and clean and then disinfect frequently used surfaces. Avoid touching your face and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or face covering.
  • Be particularly careful during the two weeks prior to coming to East Texas Baptist, and take great care when traveling to campus.