Chapman President Daniele C. Struppa shared the following message with the campus community on Tuesday, May 12.

Last week, I announced the “CU Safely Back” initiative that will define our return to campus. The coming weeks will be heavy with planning as the fourteen task forces are hard at work already. Through the planning stages, it will get complicated as you will likely be involved in brainstorming, asked for feedback, or begin hearing what feels like definitive plans.

I want to keep anxiety to a minimum as we go through this incredibly complex planning process. Therefore, I will continue this email—increasing frequency if needed—for all major announcements relating to our return to campus. Until further guidance is given, this message will be the definitive source for all accurate and up-to-date decisions as they become available. We are actively working toward the scenario that we will be on campus at the start of the Fall 2020 academic year; however, that will be guided by state and local health authorities. As of right now, there are no final decisions regarding our return as the task forces will be working through recommendations over the coming weeks and months.

Tuesday Updates, May 12, 2020

  • With the announcement of the California State System to be primarily online in the fall, there is likely to be questions about our ability to open for in-person instruction. Again, we will adhere to the guidance of state and local health agencies in our decision to open, but we are in a very different position than the large CSU campuses. We have the advantage of small class sizes and a significantly smaller enrollment. While the planning has just begun, we will have the ability to manage our classroom scheduling in a way that can maximize social distancing.

  • Returning to in-person instruction in the fall is, on its own, a very complicated challenge based on the extensive variety of disciplines across Chapman. There will be a great deal of flexibility in how schools and colleges are able to manage the classroom experience. The task force devoted to this area of focus will work in consultation with the academic deans to provide guidance and options for the faculty as we plan for a safe return to in-person instruction.

  • If state and local guidance allows for it, our plan is to return to in-person instruction for the start of both the semester and trimester academic calendar beginning August 31. Please note the Fowler School of Law begins their fall schedule on August 17, and is also planning to begin as scheduled.

  • There has been some confusion around the upcoming Athletic season. Consistent with the overall institutional planning, there are no decisions made regarding fall sports. Chapman is part of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) so decisions will be made in consultation with the other members of SCIAC. As of today, all SCIAC member schools have agreed we do not have enough information to make a decision.

  • We do not yet have an established date for staff and administration’s return to campus. Several of the task forces will be working through recommendations to ensure we can return safely, taking into account the defined mitigation strategies of: physical distancing, symptom monitoring and surveillance, public health interventions, face coverings, and sanitation protocol.

Beyond this regular email, the CU Safely Back Communication Task Force will be developing a more comprehensive communication plan to ensure you are getting the most accurate information as quickly as it becomes available. I know this is a confusing time and we are all in need of information and details. The leadership team will do its best to keep you involved and informed as our planning progresses. In the meantime, if you hear about decisions that you have not read in our formal communication, I encourage you to ask your supervisor, department chair, dean or vice president to verify its accuracy before acting on it.