Big Changes Ahead for 2020 – 2021 School Year

Sarah Erie, Co-Editor

Single-occupancy dorms. Zoom classrooms. No more self-service food. This is just a glimpse of what campus may look like when we return to Bloomsburg. The Fall semester will start August 17th and “will consist of two six-week sessions in combination with a 12-week term.”

One-third of all the classes will be offered within the three-week periods, with a winter break spanning from November till February. For example, a student who would normally take five courses, will take two or three courses within one of the three-week sessions. “We’re still going to run all of the fall scheduled classes, but because of the social distancing, we are going to divide them up into three chunks—this allows us to spread out how many classrooms we can use,” says Provost Diana Rodgers-Adkinson. Classes will be “zoom-enhanced,” where students will be able to attend a live class or view sessions remotely. For students enrolled in lab courses, only six students will be allowed in the classroom at once. Professors will divide up groups in class, allowing each group to attend their lab on different days. Students and professors will wear masks as well.

“We hear a lot of students just want everything to go back to normal, but we can’t do it normal,” said Rodgers-Adkinson. The three-week sessions allow students who originally might have wanted to take a gap year, to come back the second third of the semester, in October. Bloomsburg will still be offering an online winter term for six weeks.

Incoming freshman will also be living in single-only dorm rooms. There will not be additional charges for living in a single dorm. “Some of that we’re still working on, we’re still waiting to see how big our freshman class is going to be,” says Rodgers-Adkinson. Many students, especially freshman, rely on campus food services and meal plans, but these services will face new regulations as well. Students will not be able to serve themselves, and food may have to be taken to-go.

Seniors who plan on graduating in the fall or spring should still expect to graduate on time. Department chairs will continue balancing out senior classes and schedules. “Once we build the schedule, which should be done by early July, then the Registrar’s office will look for any students who have a conflict, so we can go in and fix those.”

In the future, some students may also be asked to commute to classes depending on how far they live from campus. “It’s still a little early to decide on that,” said Rodgers-Adkinson. Right now, Bloomsburg is expected to be a “full-service university” where “fees and tuition will be normal.”

Other services, such as the Student Recreation Center, will be streaming exercise classes, so students will be able to watch and participate in the comfort of their own home. “I think there are some good things that are going to be coming out of this.”

Credit: Jenny Green