Fall and Summer Instructional Modality Guidance

To: Faculty and Staff

From: Edward Feser, Provost and Executive Vice President

May 27, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Thanks to each of you who have participated in our resumption planning town halls or provided feedback and suggestions through other means. A community-level effort is essential if we are to gradually increase our on-site research, teaching, and Extension and engagement activities safely and in full compliance with health authority guidance.

I am writing today to share details on the status of preparations for instructional delivery in late summer and fall. I apologize in advance for the length of this message, but the details are important for you to know. Read on for information on incorporating faculty and academic unit input into instructional modality planning, use of face coverings, and transition to all-remote instruction in Corvallis following Thanksgiving break.

In planning for late summer and fall, we began by establishing general principles and guidelines to inform our choices of delivery modes. The principles and guidelines – which are subject to future state Executive Orders and health authority guidance – are based on current public health advice, feedback from faculty and students, and the logistics of course scheduling. We now are asking faculty, departments, schools and colleges to refine the details of delivery options. This approach recognizes that our faculty and academic units know best how to achieve curricular and learning goals.

The following are the principles guiding our planned low density, mixed modality approach to instruction on our campuses throughout OSU for the later parts of summer term and for fall term:

  • We will prioritize the health of OSU students, faculty and staff, and the communities in which we operate.
  • We will respond with care and compassion to those members of our community who are at increased health risk and require accommodations.
  • We will maintain a substantially reduced density of people moving about our campuses and locations each day. As conditions allow, we will adjust our mix of course delivery modalities term-by-term with the intent of increasing density gradually over the course of the coming academic year.
  • We will use an appropriate mix of teaching and learning delivery modalities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels (face-to-face, synchronous remote, and asynchronous online/Ecampus). Regardless of modality, students will receive quality instruction that attains all learning outcomes.
  • Mindful of the importance of the first-year experience for student success, we will strive to provide all campus-based first-year and transfer students with opportunities to engage with faculty and their peers in some level of face-to-face learning and co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.
  • We will attend to the needs of students who are close to completing their degrees and require on-site, in-person learning and co-curricular activities, or need access to labs or other research facilities.
  • We will prepare all courses for the possibility of a public health need to return to fully remote instruction on short notice.

With these principles in mind, we have made the following decisions regarding late summer and the fall term. However, we know we must remain flexible going forward to adjust to changing health conditions. Please be aware that these decisions could change somewhat depending upon guidance from the Governor or state or local health authorities.


  • Courses in summer sessions 4 and 5 will use a remote modality for courses that colleges already have identified as capable of remote delivery.
  • Those courses that colleges have identified as necessary to offer in-person and on-site—partially or in full—may be held on campus (or on location), provided classroom or lab capacity restrictions and physical distancing requirements are observed.
  • We will provide detailed information regarding capacity restrictions and physical distancing requirements once we receive the necessary guidance from state health authorities.
  • Additionally, we will implement a face covering policy that guides students, faculty, staff, and guests on when and where face coverings are required for the late summer and fall terms. Detailed information will be shared in the coming weeks.


  • Our in-person class size maximum continues to be fluid based on still evolving health authority guidance. At this time, we expect class sections with enrollments over 50 people will be delivered using a remote modality. Exceptions are possible in some circumstances; college leadership will guide those conversations.
  • Using the general principles listed above, departments and schools should create plans for each course. We expect many class sections with enrollments 50 and below to be delivered in-person. However, at the discretion of the unit and the college, some sections with enrollments 50 and below may be delivered remotely. In general, we expect that colleges will offer approximately half of their sections using a remote course delivery modality.
  • Class sections delivered in-person should endeavor to accommodate learners who need a remote option; remote learning technology is being installed in all classrooms in Corvallis and Bend to accommodate this approach. This is critical for students who are unable to be present on campus, including many international students. We know this approach will require extra work, and we appreciate the dedication and effort of faculty to accommodate all students and their varying circumstances as much as possible.
  • In-person classes that typically end 50 minutes after the hour will end 45 minutes after the hour. This will allow for a slightly longer transition time between classes to facilitate lower density and avoid possible crowding.
  • On the Corvallis campus, fall term face-to-face teaching will end on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, and week 10 face-to-face classes and fall term final exams and activities will be delivered remotely. Thus, Corvallis students will not need to return to campus after the Thanksgiving break to complete the fall term. Although this requires additional flexibility and preparation by faculty, it will provide an additional important measure of public health protection for students, faculty, staff and the Corvallis community.
  • All on-site courses will be held in classrooms that satisfy physical distancing guidelines. We will implement comprehensive, enhanced sanitation and cleaning at least through fall term.
  • There are no changes planned in the delivery of Ecampus courses.

Next Steps

We are developing plans and policies regarding the management of class ingress/egress, use of face coverings, physical spacing, air filtration management, cleaning plans and other health measures. We will share additional information soon.

We now need our faculty, departments, schools and colleges to 1) review late summer and fall preliminary modality determinations by course section for their programs and course offerings, and 2) propose exceptions and modifications based on pedagogical goals and internal management considerations. We will provide additional guidance to college leadership on this exception process later this week. Our goal is to ensure students are able to see information about course modalities in the schedule of classes as soon as possible.

In closing, I want to reiterate how grateful I am for your response to the sudden shift to remote teaching this spring. What we achieved—with the help of our entire community of faculty, staff, and graduate assistants—was nothing short of extraordinary.

I thank you for your continued patience, hard work, feedback and advice as we adjust to this uncertain and unprecedented situation.


Edward Feser
Provost and Executive Vice President