Return to Learn

Like every other R1 university, we are grappling with challenges of advancing our mission in these extraordinary times. UNT is developing an academic plan to reopen the campus for fall 2020 starting with the question of “How Can We.” How can we operate to maximally advance the intellectual development of our students and support their success? How can we operate in ways that support our goal of advancing as a research university? How can we continue to demonstrate that we are a creative and caring community?

After consulting with our academic leaders, faculty senate leaders and restart advisory groups, I am outlining several stages of increased on-campus academic operations to create a healthy and safe learning environment that supports our academic mission.  This is a living plan that will be continually adjusted with the changing public health concerns and needs of our community. Implementing this plan will require everyone to contribute and work together for the success of our students and university.

Continuity Stages

We are carefully monitoring public health conditions, including infection rates in our region and state and seeking guidance from county and state health officials. Beginning May 4th, we have been phasing in academic activities in preparation to resume in-person instructional delivery and student support services. The following offers further detail on key aspects of each stage of the plan.

March 22 – May 3

  • UNT campus closed, except for essential personnel
  • All classes moved to online or remote delivery
  • Willis Library open for academic and technical support
  • Residence halls closed, with limited exceptions

May 4 – July 5

  • Faculty/staff may have limited access to offices
  • Telecommuting primary mode of work
  • All 5W1 summer classes online or remote
  • Limited student access to experiential learning spaces (after June 1)
  • Willis Library remains open
  • Restart advisory committees develop plans to reopen campus

July 6 – August 9

  • Majority of 5W2 courses are online and remote
  • Limited in-person instruction for select experiential learning courses
  • Units reopening plans developed consistent with COVID Response Guidelines
  • Student support services open in-person services
  • Academic offices open 5-10 hours/week with all offices open Thursdays
  • Select Clinics resume in-person services
  • Select athletic teams resume voluntary practice
  • Limited dining operations
  • Willis Library open

August 10

  • Resume in-person instructional delivery and student support services
  • Classes will be hybrid, remote, and online delivery
  • All classes and academic services will follow social distancing and safety guidelines
  • Academic support services and offices open regular business hours with limited staffing
  • Student affairs and housing open
  • Virtual academic and student services will continue
  • Fall semester will be remote after the Thanksgiving break

Prepare to Return to Learn

The following information is provided to help prepare for the fall semester. All information is updated regularly as decisions are made in response to health conditions and state and local orders.

  • Academic Calendar: Fall 2020

    The class schedule for the Fall semester will be modified beginning at Thanksgiving.  

    • Classes will start on Monday, August 24th (no change)
    • The last day of in-person classes will be November 25th
    • In-person classes will move to remote delivery the week of November 28th
    • Final exams will occur remotely 

    Class days/times have been extended until 10 pm on weekdays and from 8 am to 6 pm on Saturdays. No classes or exams will take place on Sundays.  

  • Academic Calendar: Spring 2021

    Currently, the spring academic calendar is scheduled as planned.  Any changes to the Spring Academic Calendar will be determined at a future date.  

  • Classrooms

    To safely accommodate classes, UNT will be engaging in social distancing, which will limit the number of students in each classroom space. We are converting additional campus facilities for use as classroom space allowing us to teach more in-person classes than otherwise would be possible. We also will extend our academic week to evenings and some Saturdays to accommodate the ability to teach more students in person.

    General Purpose (110) Classrooms will be arranged to have six feet between students to allow for appropriate social distancing.  These classrooms will also have equipment to stream the instruction to students who cannot attend class in-person.

    All Specialized classrooms such as labs, studios, seminar rooms, performance spaces, etc. have unique circumstances and may request an exception of less than 6 feet, but at least three feet supplemented by additional protective measures. Exception requests will be documented in the college restart plans and reviewed by the Academic Affairs Restart committee.  

    Additional spaces on campus have been approved as classrooms for fall semester, including rooms in the Union, Gateway, Crumbly, and Environmental Sciences. 

    Facilities is preparing classrooms for the revised seating arrangements for fall semester. For classrooms with fixed seating, signage will indicate seats as usable/unusable. Facilities will work with departments to minimize moving furniture out of classrooms.

  • Clinical Operations

    Clinical operations serving adults that can occur with social distancing may resume operations as early as August 3 with an approved social distancing and hygiene plan.

    Clinics unable to provide social distancing should provide a plan which will include details for addressing PPE requirements to support safe operations, training for all staff members and students. The plan should also address proper waste disposal as outlined by UNT Risk Management Services.

    Clinics that serve minors and cannot engage in social distancing, must implement the requirements above AND complete a risk assessment review conducted by Youth Protection.

  • COVID-19 Hotline 844-366-5892

    A COVID hotline has been established to help UNT community members report and understand COVID-19 symptoms, testing information and/or results; receive guidance on actions they may need to take following potential exposure; and with questions related to COVID-19’s impact on our university operations. The hotline number is 844-366-5892 and email address is COVID@unt.edu.

  • Exams: In-person

    Faculty teaching partially remote classes may offer in-person exams during fall semester.  To limit schedule conflicts, please follow these on-site exam guidelines:

    • Guidance on scheduling exams for partially remote courses that have no on-site meetings except for exams will be forthcoming later in the summer
    • A robust make-up exam policy should be developed to protect students whose evening or weekend exams cause schedule conflicts, including conflicts with their other courses.
    • Fully online or fully remote courses may not have exams which are scheduled on-site.
    • Instructors in fully online or fully remote courses who wish to schedule on-site exams should change the classification of the course to partially online or partially remote. This designation permits exams to be held on-site but does not require lectures or any other meetings to be held on-site.
    • All final exams will be remote and offered during the established final exam schedule.
  • Faculty Development Leave

    Given travel uncertainties, for those who are planning Faculty Development Leave for the 20-21 academic year, you can request a deferral of the FDL by one year.

  • Human Resources Information Regarding COVID-19

    Information about employment, work schedules, personnel and other human resources questions related to COVID-19 can be found on the UNT System HR webpage.

  • Hours of Operation

    Academic Affairs summer hours of operation for July 6 through August 7th will be 5-15 hours/week with Thursday being a common day that academic offices and services are open.  Hours of operation will be adjusted based on demand and posted on the office door and the department website.

    Regular Academic Affairs fall hours of operation will be 8am-5pm Monday through Friday starting August 10th.  Units may limit in-office staffing to allow for social distancing while supplementing services with virtual options.  Units providing academic support services may open for additional evening hours to accommodate student schedules.  Hours of operation after Thanksgiving will be determined at a future date.  Offices will post hours of operation on the entrance doors and the department website.

  • Libraries

    Willis Library is open from 10-4 Monday - Friday and available to support the needs of our students, staff and faculty. The libraries have added inter library loan services and compiled resources from remote facilities to the Willis Library location.  

  • Reopening Plans

    All academic affairs units must complete a reopening plan and obtain approval prior to staff and faculty returning to work in the space. See the list of units approved to open.

  • Research

    The Division of Research and Innovation has a Research Re-Opening Plan. Plan details are outlined on the Research and Innovation website.

    Research that can be completed in a university research space, not involving in-person human subjects, with social distancing recommenced May 8. 

    Research that involves in-person human subjects or in-person clinical research may not occur until such time as guidance is provided otherwise. It is anticipated that these activities could recommence as early as July. 

    Invitations for visiting scholars will be permitted once the CDC travel advisory levels fall below 2. And for previously scheduled scholars they can come to UNT once their country of origin falls below level 2.

  • Safety Training (Required)

    COVID-19 safety training is being offered via UNT Bridge.  Employees will receive notification that they have been registered for this training and that they must complete it by July 31. Those who are working remotely must take the training prior to returning to campus. Faculty and staff who have remained on campus must take the training as soon as possible. There will be multiple training modules to help faculty and staff understand the safety guidelines and expectations for returning to campus. Topics covered include social distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements and other important guidelines to help keep UNT’s community safe. The course is on the My Learning page of UNT Bridge.

  • Schedule of Classes

    The fall schedule of classes is being redeveloped to allow for smaller, socially distanced in-person classes, remote classes, and online classes.  Academic Departments have submitted recommended changes to class delivery format and a revised schedule will be finalized by mid-July.

  • Study Abroad

    No UNT-sponsored study abroad programs will be planned for the fall semester or winter session. Students participating in a study abroad program planned through organizations outside of UNT may be considered for approval by submitting a restricted travel exception request form.

  • Teaching Resources

    CLEAR provides consultations and training to assist faculty as they design remote courses.  Resources can be found at online.unt.edu/teach online.unt.edu/teach. 

    Expanded professional development opportunities to support faculty teaching remotely and in-person are also available.  Upcoming courses will be centered around engaging in the socially distant classroom.

    Several Trainings are available asynchronously at clear.unt.edu/getting-started-online.

    • How to Organize Your Course – Creating Modules, Due Dates, a Using the Calendar to Stay Organized in Canvas
    • How to Work with Graded Assignments – Creating Assignment Items, Grading Assignments, and Using the Assignments Index in Canvas
    • How to Work with Quizzes & Exams – Creating Quizzes, Importing Questions, and Using Question Banks in Canvas
    • How to Implement Discussions – Creating Discussion Items, Graded vs. Ungraded Discussion, and Using Discussion Prompts in Canvas
    • How to Get the Most out of Zoom – Accessing Zoom, Scheduling a Session, and Using Zoom effectively during a Live Session
    • How to Keep it Legal - Copyright, and Trademark Compliance

    Coming Soon: Teaching with Tech in the Socially Distant Classroom and Academic Integrity

  • Travel Restrictions

    Domestic and international travel will be prohibited for non-essential business purposes until the CDC provides guidance that travel for non-essential business purposes is safe. People who have travelled internationally, or to domestic hotspots, for personal reasons should notify Risk Management and self-isolate for two weeks before coming to campus.

    For more information about travel, visit the UNT System’s travel guidelines. Exceptions are only for essential business purposes, such as traveling to support state or federal COVID-19 recovery efforts. To request an exception, please complete the request to travel to high-risk destinations form.

  • Travel: Vacation

    We want you to be safe this summer if you’re planning to take a vacation. To prepare for your vacation, review COVID information from the state or local health department in your location, along your travel route, and at your planned destination. Tips can also be found on the CDC’s travel webpage and on the Travel Texas website. Depending on the COVID activity in the areas where you travel, you may have to self-isolate off-campus for 14 days upon your return.

    Faculty and staff are strongly urged not to travel for the two weeks prior to the start of the Fall semester.

    External visitors to academic units will not be permitted through the remainder of the summer. Postpone issuing invitations to external visitors to academic units for the fall until such time as guidance is provided otherwise.

    Planning for university-sponsored travel for students should be postponed until such time as guidance is provided otherwise.