COVID-19 Updates

Academic Update, Intent to Return and COVID-19 Policy Agreement

Publication Date

Dear Returning Union Students,

I am writing to provide you with information about the Fall 2020 academic program, designed to facilitate your decision about whether to return to campus or study away. Please read this message through to the end, carefully.

By next Friday, July 17, you will need to inform the College as to whether you plan to:

  1. Return to campus and take courses from the traditional fall curriculum (which will include in-person, hybrid, and online courses). Students who will live in college housing, students who are released to live in nearby private housing, and approved commuter students are eligible to choose this option. Students who choose this option may not enroll in the Minervas Online and Experiential Education courses.

  2. Live away from Union, and take all classes online. Students who choose this option may enroll in the new Minervas Online and Experiential Education courses, as well as any courses from the traditional fall curriculum that are delivered in hybrid or online modalities. For health and safety reasons, students who choose this option will not have access to campus facilities.

As a reminder, if you plan to return in person for the Fall 2020 term, please reference the email sent by Residential Life on Monday July 7th, 2020 titled "Important Housing Information for Returning Students." The housing deadline is July 17, 2020. There will be additional information sessions about housing selection processes that will be held on Monday, July 13 at 1 p.m. and Thursday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. (EST). If you have questions, please contact Residential Life at or (518) 388-6117.

To register your decision, you will need to read and complete the Union College Intent to Return & COVID-19 Policy Agreement. This agreement details specific expectations of Union College students during the COVID-19 pandemic, regulations pertaining to quarantine and self-isolation, as well as rules for social gatherings. It also describes potential outcomes for violations of these rules and regulations. This agreement will serve as a commitment that all students will abide by these expectations during the 2020-2021 academic year. Within this agreement, you will indicate whether you plan to return to campus this fall, or study away from campus (see options 1 and 2 above).

The remainder of this email message provides information designed to assist you in making your academic decision, and details next steps.

This Google sheet provides information regarding the planned mode of delivery for all courses in the traditional fall curriculum. There is a separate tab for each department or program. Each course is tagged with one of the following three classifications:

  1. In-Person: These courses are available only to students who return to campus. Some or all of the course sessions will take place in-person with the instructing faculty member. For many courses, all instruction will take place in-person. For some courses, certain class meetings will be in person, while other instruction will take place remotely (e.g., in order to facilitate small group work if/when such interactions cannot happen in the classroom while maintaining social distancing requirements).

  2. Hybrid: These courses are available both to students on campus and those who are studying away from campus. For students on campus, some or all class sessions will meet in person with the faculty. These courses will “feel” like in-person courses for students who return to campus. Hybrid classes will be offered in one of four modes:

    “A-Blended Instruction Two Ways” -- features asynchronous delivery of passive content (e.g., recorded lecture material), combined with active work during synchronous class meetings (in-person and online) with other students. Contact the faculty member for more details.

    “B-Lecture Capture Plus” -- lectures given to in-person students are recorded for remote students to view. Faculty hold dedicated sessions with remote students to review material, solve problems, answer questions, etc.

    “C-Hyflex”-- remote students will participate in classes simultaneously with their in-person peers.

    “D-Other” -- a format distinct from the above three models; contact the instructor for details.

  3. Online: These courses will be delivered fully online, and are available to students on campus and away. Course listings note whether the course is taught synchronously (during published meeting times) or delivered primarily asynchronously.

    For on-campus international students, we expect courses denoted “in-person” and “hybrid” to meet the requirements of SEVP regarding what constitutes an “in-person” course. Online courses will not.

Registrations for fall classes made last spring have been preserved. With very few exceptions, course meeting dates and times have not changed. For the few changes made, departments have avoided scheduling conflicts with their major courses. To reference course meeting times, visit Web Apps.

We are excited to present the two new curricular offerings available to students who choose to live away from campus and study exclusively online (courses are described in the links):

  1. The Minervas Online Courses

    Students opting to live away from campus and taking all of their classes online will be able to register for Minervas Online courses via WebAdvising during the summer add-drop period.

    Students opting to return to campus will not be permitted to register for Minervas Online courses.

  2. Experiential Education Opportunities

Students opting to live away from campus and taking all of their classes online will be able to register for the Experiential Education opportunities via WebAdvising during the summer add-drop period.

Students opting to return to campus will not be permitted to register for Experiential Education courses.

A summer Add-Drop session will take place starting Monday, July 20. Students who are choosing to live away from campus in the fall but are currently enrolled in one or more courses classified as “in-person” will need to drop those courses and replace them with online or hybrid courses. Students choosing to return to campus in the fall are not required to make any course adjustments, but may do so. Advising times will be assigned to each student as during standard pre-registration processes. Rising seniors will begin summer add-drop on Monday, July 20, rising juniors on Tuesday, July 21, and rising Sophomores on Wednesday, July 22. Note that if you wish to register for a course that is designated as a petition (“y”) course, you will need email permission from the faculty instructor.

We know that you will have additional questions. Please read this detailed academic FAQ page where we have provided answers to as many anticipated questions as possible. Also, as you think through your decision(s), we encourage you to reach out to your academic advisor and/or your Class Dean for guidance.

Yours sincerely,

Michele Angrist
Dean of Studies