American University turns fall break into career prep program

Reopening plan focuses closely on how staff will resume work during the fall semester

American Univesity, like many colleges, has canceled fall holidays, but administrators there plan to replace the time off with career readiness and skills development programs.

During what would have been fall break, Oct. 9-11, the university will host a series of symposiums, skill development workshops and community engagement activities for both on-campus and remote students.

“We will leverage our partnership with Washington, D.C. to bring the experience of the city to our community,” the plan says. “This will include community-based learning, with special topics such as the 2020 US elections and research in a time of COVID-19.”

Other adjustments the university is making include offering single rooms in residential halls, primarily to first-year students and some sophomores, while helping juniors and seniors locate housing off-campus.

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About 2,300 beds will be available after density is reduced in residence halls.

Classes will be delivered in a blend-learning format of face-to-face and online instruction, with all students returning home at Thanksgiving to take final exams remotely.

The university’s faculty and colleges will identify courses that require face-to-face instruction, but classes with 40-plus students will likely be held virtually with a potential for in-person labs or smaller group sessions.

Reopening revamps ‘how we work’

American University’s reopening plan also focuses closely on how staff will resume work safely during the fall semester.

Faculty and staff will be classified into three groups based on university needs and job functions: full presence on
campus with modified work schedule; partial presence on campus with telework; or full telework.

Many staffers will likely start the semester working remotely, but that could change depending on how widely coronavirus is spreading in fall 2020.

The university will likely adjust the schedules of on-campus faculty and staff to reduce the number of people interacting at one time. Some staff members may return as early as July to prepare for the fall opening.

All faculty and staff will receive health and safety training and be required to wear face coverings while on campus.
community safe and healthy.

Only one person will be allowed to work in a shared office at a time, while meetings and office hours—even those
involving people physically on campus—will be conducted by videoconference.

Read American University’s full reopening plan here

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Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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