College 2020 Fall Semester Re-Opening Guidelines

The University of Kentucky is committed to reinvented operations on the first day of classes for Fall semester including residential living on campus. In response to the challenges presented by COVID-19, the College of Fine Arts administration, faculty and staff are actively working to modify and revise programs to support that goal. The following guidelines, policy changes, and mandates are offered to assist in reducing some level of uncertainty and to aid in planning. These decisions have been made by the leadership team of the College, in consultation with faculty, university resources, and external organization guidelines. Central is the goal of providing the safest teaching and learning environment for all involved.

Whenever possible, a conservative approach that maintains the potential to be relaxed as new information becomes available has been taken, and the bedrock principle of supporting the declared student learning outcomes within our curricula has been primary. Mitigation practices: wearing masks, teaching with face shield use, cleaning and sanitization protocols, maintaining social distancing, reducing density, limiting external contacts, and supporting the potential need for contact tracing have been considered as fundamental to our planned operation in the Fall.

In addition, every conversation about our response has examined the disconnect between "what we have always done" and "what we need to do" for this Fall. Those conversations consistently conclude that what we have always done is NOT possible, what we need to do requires many CHANGES, and that the only way in which we will be successful is if we all work together to ADAPT our teaching, learning, performance, and exhibition practices. The necessary changes and adaptations will also mean making choices that value safety over historic pedagogical practices. In short, we will not be able to do what we have always done in the past, but we will be able to provide a quality educational experience to all of our students this Fall. We also strive to maintain both consistency and equity throughout the College. As planning continues, all must keep these challenges in mind.

Background

A new COVID 19 health safety resource developed in collaboration with Environmental Health and Safety, UK HealthCare Infection Control and HR Training and Development is now available and is required for all faculty and staff to complete prior to returning to campus. This web-based training, COVID19 Hygiene Best Practices, is available to all in myUK Learning and provides basic, universal education on appropriate hygiene related to COVID. (The training takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.)

Responsibility

While the university is taking a variety of steps to address the current health crisis, all of us share both a personal and corporate responsibility in responding to the challenges that we face. All faculty, staff and students must do a daily self-assessment of possible COVID symptoms. Anyone with one or more symptoms is instructed not to enter any campus building and should contact a health care provider for instructions on testing, appropriate self-isolation and care as well as notify their supervisor.

Although there will be many modifications to the standard cleaning and sanitation protocols across campus, all individuals will be called upon to assist in these endeavors. Hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies will be available in most spaces. The University and the College are both committed to providing adequate supplies to support this demand. Faculty are encouraged to build time into each class to enable hand sanitization and surface cleaning at both the beginning and ending of a session.

The Basics

Masks
Entrance into any College of Fine Arts Building will require the wearing of a mask. Mask use campus wide is mandatory and is expected. Within classrooms and studios, each faculty member shall require the wearing of a mask, unless the specific curricular demand requires otherwise. The default in all circumstances should be mask use. Standard signage and syllabus language will soon be provided to articulate this requirement. Enforcement is predicated on universal use and peer pressure. Each of us needs to hold the other accountable for mask use. Faculty will not be obligated to teach a class session in which a student is not wearing a mask.

Each faculty and staff member will be provided with at least two cloth masks by the college to supplement their own personal mask resources. Disposable masks will be initially available in a variety of locations throughout CFA buildings to support those who may lose or forget their own. Students will each receive a START kit with appropriate information, instructions and personal protective equipment (PPE). In addition, face shields are being acquired for faculty use while delivering proximity instruction.

Cleaning
PPD cleaning staff will focus on “high touch/high traffic areas” including twice a day cleaning of restrooms. As a result of this increased attention on public spaces, office personnel will be responsible for cleaning their own spaces. Cleaning supplies will be provided at designated locations throughout the College as well as distributed to specific faculty and staff. Specialized cleaning products will be provided by the College in media labs for use on electronic equipment such as keyboards, mice, touch screens, and tablets. In specific studios as well as spaces where large groups/ensembles will be gathering, additional cleaning protocol using local staff are also being planned.

Social Distancing
All campus spaces are being assigned revised occupancy numbers as determined by social distancing requirements. As a result, every historic classroom experience in the CFA has been affected. Work is presently being done to reassign all classes to spaces with mandated social distancing. Particularly challenging has been the relocation of ensemble and movement-oriented coursework. Fortunately, we believe that we may be able to address most of the CFA needs for this type of engagement with modified use of the Singletary Center venue and some internal course adjustments. This is a work in progress, but our goal is to have all revised space assignments completed no later than July 31, 2020. As soon as space assignments are confirmed, that information will be distributed.

Reduced Density & Limited External Contact
Artistic or scholarly visitors will be permitted in CFA facilities only through the use of Zoom or other appropriate electronic platforms. Capacity limits will be placed on the UK Art Museum and gallery engagement will typically follow a proscribed, clearly marked path. [SAVS Bolivar Gallery will be utilized this fall as classroom space.] Few if any truly public events should be planned other than the UK Art Museum being open. Most events which have historically attracted public audiences will eliminate that expectation through program or delivery modification. Requests for public attendance for any CFA event will be considered on a case-by-case basis in context of the entire University and College operations and can proceed only with the Dean’s written approval. Should an audience be permitted, it will most likely be limited to a fixed number of known individuals. No ticket sales are anticipated for the semester however, ticket distribution may be necessary for some events to assist with crowd control. Niles Gallery concert series will be conducted through remote, electronic delivery.

Social gathering spaces such as couches and lounging furniture will either be removed or marked off limits. Coffee service and water coolers will no longer be supported. Shared microwaves and refrigerators will remain, with all users expected to wipe down handles and controls after each use. Shared printers will remain, but all users will be asked to wipe down contacted surfaces before and after use. Restrooms will be marked for reduced occupancy and all will need to be conscious of the number of users at any given time.

Many CFA staff will continue to work remotely. A published schedule of who will be on campus working in their assigned offices and when, will be available. Adjustments to this schedule will be made over the course of the semester as the reinvented workflow is discovered.

Faculty also may remain off campus, working remotely with approval of their Unit Head. Office hours should occur on a regular and published schedule using Zoom. Faculty must work with their home unit administrators to determine the educational modality for their assigned courses which will result in a combination of traditional, hybrid, and remote delivery course offerings across the College. In all delivery circumstances, intentional engagement with students is mandated with particular emphasis on providing meaningful contacts with First year students and Seniors. Faculty must work with their Unit Head to confirm their teaching plans. Faculty who are authorized to offer online coursework may be required to come to campus to use the internet connectivity provided by the University. Demand for quality education will not tolerate internet service provider challenges from off-campus locations.

One-on-one instruction will need to adopt adapted scheduling that alternates contacts by weeks, take advantage of alternative and varied space assignments, and leverage available resources (both physical and human) for the maximum good of the University in the context of serving the students. All faculty will be bound to adhere to schedules determined in advance and aligned with global needs.

Support for Contact Tracing
Studios, practice rooms, labs, and rehearsal spaces will be formally assigned to cohorts of students to enable an effective starting point should contact tracing prove necessary. Faculty who utilize group work are asked to make group assignments that remain constant throughout the semester. Assigned seating should be used for the length of the semester in all classes. All lockers, studio storage, and other commonly shared features shall be clearly labeled with the assigned user’s name. For group projects and smaller ensembles, “finding a space” without prior scheduling will not be permitted. Procedures will be established for reserving alternative spaces to continue to support academic needs, however, here too, historic practices will need to be modified or even curtailed given the requirement to know who is using what space and when. Further guidance regarding campus practices for contact tracing is anticipated to be forthcoming.

Other Factors for Guidance

  • No rental activity in the Singletary by non-university groups will be permitted for Fall. University group use will be handled on a case-by-case basis, authorized by the Interim Director. CFA curricular demands will be paramount in determining daily space allocation.
  • Teaching spaces will be provided with instructions for course capture options to enable remote learning as a contingency. An inventory of currently available technology is being conducted and additional investment is being made in support of teaching/learning facilities. Some spaces will need to rely on lower technology than desired, but every effort will be made to align the available technology with the curricular demands.
  • Faculty and staff travel are discouraged, consistent with the University ban on international travel and limited support of domestic excursions. Travel authorization will require unit Chair/Director pre-approval. Group travel of students is prohibited.
  • For those involved in the performing arts, a revised performance calendar will be released by August 17 aligned with the University’s revised Fall schedule and agreed upon programmatic limitations. Selected performances will be captured and/or live streamed for public distribution with support of College staff as articulated on the agreed upon schedule.
  • School, Department, Committee, and other Group meetings shall be conducted using an electronic platform.
  • Teaching spaces that have been historically provided within the Little Fine Arts Library will continue to be available with reduced capacity. Overall library access policies are a work in progress, but plans include maintaining access throughout the semester at a reduced capacity. Faculty who include library-based assignments within their coursework should be mindful of the planned access modifications and where possible substitute electronically accessible resources or offer extended timelines to support effective student engagement.

Disclaimer: The College is actively supporting, and monitoring research being conducted about the teaching, learning, and performance of our art forms during this pandemic. In addition, the University continues to refine overall guidance as the scientific understanding of COVID-19, its spread, and medical impact continues to grow. While this document represents the best available guidance at this point in time, further changes that either increase or decrease restrictions are entirely possible. The administration is committed to keeping all faculty and staff informed as new information and guidance becomes available. Both the patience and persistence of all is very much appreciated.

Download a PDF of the Re-Opening Guidelines