Interim President Dr. David Evans Announces Policies for Fall 2020
We are publishing a message on behalf of Interim President Dr. David Evans, which outlines the temporary policies that AUBG has implemented to ensure the health and safety of its community in the Fall 2020 semester.
Dear AUBG Community Members,
With spring semesters at AUBG traditionally bustling with events and celebrating academic success at the much-anticipated Commencement ceremony, spring 2020 was an unusual time for us all. But thanks to the whole community’s tremendous dedication and quick work, and the flexibility and motivation of our students, the AUBG spirit stands as strong as ever. We are now preparing for the fall 2020 semester, and remain committed to ensuring our community’s health and safety in an environment of academic excellence, respect and care for each other.
Providing a smooth educational process on a safe campus is our top priority
Throughout the spring and summer months, our staff and faculty members have worked hard to prepare for the start of the new academic year, evaluating a number of possible scenarios to support our outstanding students in the best possible way.
We are implementing the following policies to minimize the risk of COVID-19. These policies apply for fall 2020. The AUBG President can extend them to spring 2021, if needed.
Online, on-ground and hybrid courses
In fall 2020, AUBG will offer on-ground, hybrid, and online courses.
- On-ground course. A course in which most students physically attend classes in the MB, BAC, or ABF classrooms.
- Hybrid course. A course in which students alternate between on-ground and online classes.
- Online course. A course that meets only online.
We will introduce hybrid and online classes to enable social distancing in the classroom and to help students who cannot join our community on time for health or border issues benefit from a real-class environment virtually. It will also provide for a smoother switch to online education if we need to move the academic program online.
MINIMIZING THE RISK OF COVID-19
- All courses with 11 or more students will be either hybrid or online.
- All classrooms will be set up to provide social distancing of two meters between all participants.
- Disinfectants will be placed at the entrances of the classroom buildings to use before entering a class.
- AUBG has adopted a new course schedule for fall 2020. This schedule extends the time between classes so that the cleaning staff can sanitize the classrooms.
- Students and instructors are required to check their temperature when they enter the MB and BAC.
- Students and instructors, when in classrooms, must have access to a face mask, face shield, and scarf to cover their nose and mouth if needed.
- Students and instructors are required to wear a face mask, face shield, or scarf in the public areas of the MB, BAC, ABF, and the residence halls.
- Some classes may be entirely online because the faculty member is at elevated risk from COVID-19 or cannot return to Bulgaria because of border restrictions.
- We have had to lower the caps on some courses to ensure social distancing in the classroom. Students can still enroll in these courses over the cap but must attend the classes online.
- If AUBG identifies a case of COVID-19 on campus, those students who had close contact with the infected person are required to take all classes online for the next 14 days and to stay under self-isolation in their rooms/apartments.
- All university committee meetings with 11 or more attendees must take place online.
- All student meetings of 11 or more attendees must take place online, including meetings of Student Government and student clubs.
- Extracurricular gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 attendees except where the AUBG President grants special permission for larger gatherings.
- Payment of tuition and fees should be made via wire transfers or credit/debit cards. In cases when this is not possible, students should agree in advance with the Business Office (via email) the date and the time of their in-person visit.
We have updated the course registration site to reflect these changes. The course registration site will be available off-campus until the end of August so that you can find out what changes have been made to your courses. Further changes may be made between now and the start of the semester. So, you should check the registration site regularly.
Be prepared that the situation may change
We understand the importance of the vibrant campus life and the community spirit at AUBG and would all prefer to be together on campus. However, we cannot predict how the circumstances will unfold and if reasonable safety requires it, we are prepared to move all courses online again.
I am beyond grateful for the way AUBG has responded to this crisis. Your thoughtfulness, leadership and kindness has been crucial to handling this difficult situation and I am certain that we will continue to keep AUBG the exceptional institution that it is.
David R. Evans, PhD
American University in Bulgaria