Towson University shares plans for in-person and remote instruction for fall term

By Towson University on May 29, 2020

Following guidance from University System of Maryland, state and local leaders, TU has built a framework for a return to campus

Return to TU framework

Towson University is preparing for a return to in-person classes for fall 2020 one week early, on Aug. 24.  

On Friday, President Kim Schatzel shared the initial framework for a return in conjunction with an announcement from the University System of Maryland (USM).

"Times are uncertain, but one thing never changes—the value of a college degree. Now more than ever, we need innovation, research and critical thinking to help provide solutions to the unprecedented challenges our world is facing,” President Schatzel says.

The Return to TU framework calls for a phased reopening of campus, combining on-campus, in-person instruction with remote learning. Guided by the Return to TU Task Force—appointed by President Schatzel in April—the framework outlines five guiding principles for all decision-making: a commitment to health and safety, a commitment to excellence and shared governance, a commitment to student success, a commitment to inclusion and equity and a commitment to fiscal responsibility. 

The framework announced Friday outlines that classes will start a week early this fall and in-person instruction will end in conjunction with Thanksgiving break. Classes and exams after Thanksgiving will continue in a distance format until the term ends. 

“It is imperative that we do our best to adapt as there is no end in sight for this virus,” says Melanie Perreault, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs and co-chair of the task force. “Our brilliant faculty stands ready to prepare our students for the next steps of their careers, regardless of whether that education transpires in person or through remote learning.”

The work of the Return to TU Task Force will now unfold through nearly a dozen implementation teams, each of which has a primary responsibility for identifying strategies and steps for supporting the return of low-density activities on campus. All of this remains contingent upon the guidance of health experts and is subject to changing conditions around the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the implementation teams take action, more detailed information regarding the reopening and return will be shared with individual groups and the greater TU community. 

Over the next two weeks, each USM institution will announce an overview of its initial planning for the fall 2020 term. Each campus plan will follow general guidelines and critical factors determined by the Return to Campus Advisory Group appointed by USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman in April—including federal, state and local public health guidance. TU Provost Perreault served as the system-wide representative for academic affairs on the advisory group.

“I’ve said many times that USM institutions are incredibly diverse. Having university-based leaders in this group who understand that diversity—who can drill into the implications of what each return-to-campus decision means for each university—is essential to good planning. The group’s insights have been critical as we approach the fall 2020 semester in the safest and most practical way possible,” USM Chancellor Perman says. 

More information, including the framework developed by the Return to TU Task Force, can be found on the Return to TU microsite.

Any questions not answered on the Return to TU site may be directed to AskTU@Towson.edu.