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Your options for a flexible fall

Monday, July 27, 2020

July 27, 2020

Dear Skyhawks: 

It’s hard to believe that we’re only four weeks from the first day of the fall semester! We are hard at work preparing campus for your arrival and can’t wait to see you again.  

However, we know that this fall is not going to be like other semesters. Due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, and the new changes that happen every week, we are constantly coming up with new solutions to new issues. And we’ll all have to be flexible this fall as our circumstances change beyond what we currently expect. The one constant? That we care about our fellow Skyhawks and will do everything we can to help you in your unique situation. 

These changes will make an impact on your social life, both on campus and off. You’ll need to make adjustments by keeping your social circle smaller, socially distancing, restricting unnecessary travel, and wearing your mask. We’re counting on you to make healthy decisions every day that will keep our campus community safe. By choosing to attend in-person this fall, we know that you’re making a commitment to the #FLCtogether community and will abide by our collective guidelines.  

CLASS OPTIONS 

So, let’s talk about your options for classes this fall. We are committed to offering an in-person educational experience, but that might not be the best fit for everyone. If you, or someone in your family, are considered “high risk,” you may prefer to not return to campus for the fall. 

We would love to offer every class in every format, but that’s not a reality for our small campus. You may end up taking a mix of in-person and online classes. You may need to take different classes than you were planning, or possibly fewer classes than you were planning. 

However, we will work with you to find the best matches between your needs and our available classes. Here are the different instructional options: 

  • In-Person classes, often with a Hybrid element. Our in-person classes will meet our new physical distancing requirements and use larger classrooms or outdoor spaces, such as tents. Faculty and students will wear masks at all times and classroom cleaning protocols will be followed. Some classes may use hybrid elements: they may meet in-person certain days of the week and virtually other days of the week, but there will be required in-person components.  
  • Completely Online classes. These classes will be taught 100% virtually, with lots of interactive components to keep you engaged. Most will not meet at specific times, so they will work around your schedule; those that will incorporate mandatory Zoom meetings will have a day and time listed in WebOpus. We are offering over 100 classes completely online, which is more than 12% of our course offerings. You can find a list of them here (www.fortlewis.edu/online-only) or search in WebOpus for online classes.  
  • Remote Access classes. These courses will be taught in-person, but will offer remote access for students who really need to take courses virtually. Students who sign up for a remote access seat will Zoom into the course meetings and use Canvas to access additional content. Based on professors’ teaching plans, there may be specialized content and assignments for students taking the courses remotely. These classes are not necessarily designed for online delivery, and students will need to be flexible as they learn how their remote access will be managed. These courses aren’t recommended for new students, but could be a solution for some. We will have a list of these courses available on August 3.
    • Note that a more specific version of remote access classes is our HyFlex Classes—and you might hear the term “hyflex” used to describe classes that allow remote learning. These courses have set meeting times and allow students to attend in person or through Zoom and/or Canvas. These courses are designed so students can move back and forth between in-person and online/remote. Classes using a hyflex format are noted in the Notes section of WebOpus. 

DELAYED OR PARTIAL SEMESTER 

If you have made the decision that you don’t want to return to campus, and the online and remote courses won’t fit your needs, you may wish to take a semester off college this fall. We will miss you terribly, but you need to make the decision that’s best for you and your circumstances.  

  • Deferred Admission: As a new student, you can defer your admission for up to three semesters, so you can easily switch your starting semester to Spring, Summer, or Fall 2021. 
  • Semester Off: As a continuing student, you can take a semester off as needed. You’ll want to work with Skyhawk Station to ensure that you’re properly dis-enrolled from housing and classes you may be registered for to make sure you don’t have any unexpected expenses. You’ll also want to verify that your financial aid works the way you expect, and while we can be flexible with scholarships that come from FLC, any private, external, or federal aid may work differently. But don’t worry, we’ll be here to help you navigate the process and figure out the best solution for you. 
  • Partial Semester: Maybe you’d just like to attend part-time this semester to take a few classes that fit your schedule – online or in-person – to continue to make progress towards your degree and stay connected to FLC. If you’re considering this option, please contact the Skyhawk Station so they can help you understand how this option may impact your financial aid, degree plan, etc.  

We really hope this helps you clarify your different options for the fall. Remember, keep checking your email and back to the Gear Up website for more information about Fall 2020 as we know more.

Please know that we are not requiring anyone, in any way, to do something that doesn’t feel safe to them. We are reducing risk the best that we can, while continuing to operate as an experiential and educational institution. We are committed to being flexible, adaptable, and positive as we make the best of a challenging situation. We are thinking about our entire Skyhawk community in every decision we make. 

Best, 

Tom 

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