Residential classes this fall will not tie grades to in-person attendance, Jenna Rickus, associate vice provost for teaching and learning, said Wednesday during a Purdue Student Government town hall.
She said classroom syllabuses call for reasonable attendance from instructors and students, and “the only reasonable point of action during a pandemic is grades not be tied to physical attendance.”
Classes will likely have other digital attendance requirements, Rickus said, but mandating in-person attendance could incentivize symptomatic students to come to classes.
For this same reason, she said, most exams and assessments for the fall will be conducted online as well. This will make it easier to accommodate the sometimes hundreds of students all taking the same exam, she said, as no classroom is permitted exceed 150 people per the Protect Purdue plan.
The town hall, aimed at answering students' questions about the fall, also addressed changes to residence halls, dining and pre-arrival requirements.
“The only guests allowed in residence wings are students,” said Barbara Frazee, assistant vice provost for student life. She said students are allowed to host only one guest at a time in their dorm rooms, “so there will only be up to four people in a room.”
Frazee also elaborated on changes coming to Purdue Dining, such as allergen-free stations at each dining court and the addition of a Jersey Mike’s, Chick-fil-A, Qdoba and Panera Bread on campus, all with meal swipe options for students.
Additionally, Frazee said Purdue Dining will implement sustainable containers for its takeout meals on Aug. 7.
She said the University worked with students and members of sustainability groups on campus when choosing these, “so they had a voice in the type of containers we were purchasing.”
Regarding the move-in process for students, Frazee cited the University’s “touchless process,” with three remote locations for students to retrieve room keys and move-in information.
One check-in spot will be located near Ross-Ade Stadium, with another in the Discovery Lot. The third location will be in a lot on the south side of campus, Frazee said.
Returning students and those not participating in Boiler Gold Rush will also be able to sign up for timeslots to move in over a 10-day process to reduce crowds.
Students will also be required to complete a COVID-19 training module, said Heather Servaty-Seib, interim vice provost for teaching and learning. This will be sent in an email to all students on Aug. 3, she said.
If students do not complete the training by Aug. 10, they will receive another email and have limited access to myPurdue until it is completed, she said. Holds will be placed on academic accounts, limiting a student's scheduling ability, until Purdue receives a response.
“Students will have to update their telephone number and address (as part of the training) so contract tracing can go as smoothly as possible,” she said.
Eric Barker, dean of the College of Pharmacy, elaborated on Purdue’s contact-tracing process, which was discussed in a provost conversation earlier in the day. He said at-risk contacts are identified as “someone you spent more than 15 minutes with, unmasked, within 6 feet.”
Barker was also asked how many cases it would take for campus to shut down again as it did in the spring.
There's not yet an answer to that question, he said.
“The reality is,” he said, “it's complicated and there isn’t going to be a single number to dictate those decisions.”
Barker said the University will rely more on the number of students living in quarantine at one time or the overall rate of positive cases on campus for that type of decision.