Fall 2020: FAQs

Jul 06 2020
Source Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

Princeton University is implementing a series of policies as it prepares to resume campus activities this fall. Most answers to your questions can be found on Princeton’s fall 2020 website; please use that website as your official source of information. Other websites, media outlets, and social media pages may not have the most accurate or up-to-date information from the University.

Read President Christopher L. Eisgruber's July 6 letter to campus.

Information for:


Use of Face Coverings


Students will be expected to wear face coverings at all times, except when they are alone in their room, or while eating in the dining hall. Walking on campus, outdoors, will be possible without face coverings as long as students are able to maintain social distancing (six feet/two meters). For additional information, consult the University Face Coverings Policy.

Graduate Students


Q. Who is permitted to return to campus? Do I have to return to campus this semester?

All graduate students are invited, but not required, to return to campus. Graduate students who cannot be present in person should work with SPIA regarding accommodations related to coursework, research obligations, and remote teaching assignments.

Q. When can I move back to campus, and where can I find information about move-in?

An online orientation for SPIA graduate students will be held Aug. 29. 

Visit the Graduate School’s new website, which provides more detailed FAQs regarding academic affairs, housing, dining, funding, health and wellness, events, and travel guidance. The site will be updated as more information becomes available. It contains individual contact information for Graduate School staff members as well as links to University resources.

Q. How will fall 2020 courses be set up (online, in-person, or a hybrid)? Is there any information about spring 2021 instruction?

All core curriculum courses will be online only in fall 2020 at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. Elective course instruction during fall 2020 will be at the discretion of the faculty. 

Across Princeton, there will be variability in educational format based on discipline and associated curricular and research requirements, as well as students’ year of study. Such changes may be based on public health guidance or governmental regulation. 

There is no information about spring 2021 just yet. 

Q. Have the course names changed at all?

In line with the School's name change, all course listings for the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs have been changed from WWS to SPI. Visit the Office of the Registrar's website for more information.

Q. How will these plans impact the academic calendar, including breaks and exams?

To reduce travel that increases both the risk of infection and the need to quarantine, Princeton is planning to alter Princeton’s academic calendar for the 2020-21 academic year. The University expects to begin the fall semester two days earlier than previously announced, on August 31; the University will convert the fall break to a long weekend and will ask all students to leave campus before Thanksgiving. The fall reading period and examinations will be fully remote. Spring break will be abbreviated, making it a long weekend to reduce travel during the second semester. 

Q. Can I take a remote course in Robertson Hall? Will access to the building be limited?

All classrooms will be locked unless a class is in session.

The University and SPIA are still working on which services and physical spaces will be open and staffed for those students invited back to campus.

Q. Will I be able to use the student lounge or computer clusters in Robertson Hall?

The Robertson Hall graduate student lounge will remain closed until further notice. With the exception of the Robertson Hall computer cluster in room 046, computer clusters are also closed. Room 046 is accessible for printing purposes only with Princeton University ID from 7 a.m. to midnight.

Q. Will students have access to any SPIA staff on-site?

In order to limit the spread of and/or exposure to COVID-19, faculty and staff who have been deemed able to work remotely are doing so until further notice. Some staff (from facilities and operations) may be on campus at certain times, but meeting appointments will be required. 

Q. Will students continue to have access to the Princeton University Library or the SPIA Stokes Library?

A phased resumption of services is underway; find details on the Princeton University Library website. SPIA students can access many collections virtually and receive support from Stokes Library staff (Elana Broch at ebroch@princeton.edu).

Q. When I return to campus, will l still have access to dining services?

Dining halls and retail locations will continue to serve the campus community according to a revised schedule. Check the Dining Services website for up-to-date information.

Q. What changes will there be to TigerTransit?

The latest information can be found on the Princeton Transportation and Parking Services website.

Q. Where can I find the latest information from the Graduate School?

Visit the Graduate School’s new website, which provides more detailed FAQs.

Q. I have a question about my University health insurance. What do I do?

Contact the Student Health Plan Office at 609-258-3138 or shpo@princeton.edu.

Q. I am experiencing anxiety and stress; where can I find support?

Graduate students who are facing stress as a result of the situation should reach out to the student life team at the Graduate School. Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), which offers telehealth videoconferencing and guidelines for taking care of your mental health, can be reached at 609-258-3141. Students also are encouraged to reach out to campus life centers and to the Office of Religious Life.

Undergraduate Students


Q. Who is permitted to return to campus? Do I have to return to campus this semester?

Princeton will employ a model that invites to campus roughly half of Princeton’s undergraduates in each semester, and that offers every undergraduate who is able to return to campus the opportunity to be here for at least one semester. The University welcomes the incoming Class of 2024, as well as rising juniors, back to campus in August. In the spring term, the University will welcome back our sophomores and our seniors in the graduating Class of 2021. Though we plan to invite every undergraduate student to spend a semester on campus, all undergraduates will have the option to complete the entire year remotely.

The University will also seek to accommodate a very limited number of other students whose special circumstances require them to be on campus in specific semesters. In the fall term, this will include a small number of seniors, designated by their departments, whose thesis research must be done on campus, meets all COVID-related safety requirements, and has been approved by the relevant principal investigator and the Dean for Research. The University will also accommodate students who face housing insecurity, new transfer students, and ROTC students on campus in the fall.

Students do not have to return to campus if they are concerned about health risks or unable to travel to campus. Some courses may not be available to students who are not in residence, but the University will work with students to plan a course of study that assists them in their progress toward their degree. If students have any questions about whether the courses they need for their concentration or general education requirements are available, they should reach out to their residential college or faculty adviser.

Q. When can I move back to campus, and where can I find information about move-in?

First-year students can arrive for move-in at a pre-selected time on August 27, 28, or 29; invited returning students can arrive for move in at a pre-selected time on August 27, 28, 29, or 30. More information about how move-in windows will be assigned will be posted on the Undergraduate Housing website as it becomes available.

Each student will be allowed only one additional person to assist them as they move into their room on campus.

Q. How will fall courses be set up? Is there any information about spring 2021 instruction?

Some courses may be offered in person for those students in residence each semester, but we will not know which fall courses will be available residentially until mid- to late-August at the earliest. Courses held in person will require social distancing, face coverings, and special care in entering and exiting buildings and classrooms. Plans regarding spring 2021 have not yet been made. 

Q. Have the course names changed at all?

In line with the School's name change, all course listings for the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs have been changed from WWS to SPI. Visit the Office of the Registrar's website for more information.

Q. How will these plans impact the academic calendar, including breaks and exams?

To reduce travel that increases both the risk of infection and the need to quarantine, Princeton is planning to alter Princeton’s academic calendar for the 2020-21 academic year. The University expects to begin the fall semester two days earlier than previously announced, on August 31; the University will convert the fall break to a long weekend and will ask all students to leave campus before Thanksgiving. The fall reading period and examinations will be fully remote. Spring break will be abbreviated, making it a long weekend to reduce travel during the second semester. 

Q. Can I take a remote course in Robertson Hall? Will access to the building be limited?

The University and SPIA are still working on which services and physical spaces will be open and staffed for those students invited back to campus.

Q. Will students continue to have access to the Princeton University Library or the SPIA Stokes Library?

A phased resumption of services is underway; find details on the Princeton University Library website. SPIA students can access many collections virtually and receive support from Stokes Library staff (Elana Broch at ebroch@princeton.edu). 

Q. Will students have access to any SPIA staff on-site? 

In order to limit the spread of and/or exposure to COVID-19, faculty and staff who have been deemed able to work remotely are doing so until further notice. Some staff (from facilities and operations) may be on campus at certain times, but meeting appointments will be required. 

Q. When I return to campus, will l still have access to dining services?

Dining halls and retail locations will continue to serve the campus community according to a revised schedule. Check the Dining Services website for up-to-date information.

Q. What changes will there be to TigerTransit?

The latest information can be found on the Princeton Transportation and Parking Services website.

Q. I am experiencing anxiety and stress; where can I find support?

Graduate students who are facing stress as a result of the situation should reach out to the student life team at the Graduate School. Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), which offers telehealth videoconferencing and guidelines for taking care of your mental health, can be reached at 609-258-3141. Students also are encouraged to reach out to campus life centers and to the Office of Religious Life.

Faculty and Classes


Q. How can I access my office?

If you would like access to your office, please make an appointment with Todd Bristol, associate dean for administration, finance, and planning (tbristol@princeton.edu). 

Q. How can I conduct my fall courses online?

The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning has built new course design templates, with best practices for online teaching and learning.These include guidance on organizing your instructional time, building classroom community, and choosing digital tools. Consider their list of summer workshops on digital pedagogy. You’ll find their information (and their redesigned site on teaching online) very helpful as you plan to teach remotely.

Q. Can I conduct my fall courses in person?

To teach in person, the course must be expressly for either first-year students, juniors, or both, but cannot include sophomores and seniors, who will not be on campus in the fall. In-person teaching must follow all state public health guidelines and University policies. Under current state guidance, a 15-student seminar must be taught in a 45-person classroom to provide enough room for appropriate social distancing. Students and faculty must wear masks at all times and movement around the classroom is discouraged to preserve necessary distance. Entering and exiting the classroom and the building will take extra time. Should you want to explore in-person teaching, be in touch with your department chair or program director and then with Jill Dolan's office.

Q. If I opt to teach remotely, can I still see my students in person?

If you prefer to teach remotely but you know that some of your students are on campus, electing to see them outside of the official teaching period might be equally helpful. Staging office hours in a way that’s safe but in person; inviting them to in-person discussions; encouraging them to work in small groups if they can do so safely in person are all strategies you might employ even if your teaching remains remote. 

Q. Have the course names changed at all?

In line with the School's name change, all course listings for the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs have been changed from WWS to SPI. Visit the Office of the Registrar's website for more information. Be sure to update your current syllabi and other materials accordingly. 

Q. Will faculty be provided guidance on how to handle timing of classes for different time zones?

Each instructor will decide the best format for their course. Instructors have been reminded that they may be teaching to students in different time zones. Faculty are aware that recorded rather than live options may be necessary for some students for a variety of reasons, including unexpected childcare obligations and time zone differences.

Q. Will there be additional trainings to use Zoom and Blackboard?

For support related to Zoom or Blackboard, visit the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning website.

Staff


Q. Are staff required to return to campus?

Based on operational needs, several departments already have staff working on campus, and these staff members should continue to do so as directed by their managers with approval from their cabinet officer or academic chair or director. Individuals who are now working remotely should continue to do so unless otherwise directed.

Q. If I'm a staff member returning to campus, what should I know?

All staff approved to work on campus regularly, occasionally, or intermittently must complete mandatory online COVID-19 General Awareness training to work on campus.

Anyone whose job requires a physical presence on campus, either on a regular, occasional, or intermittent basis, must comply with all related policies and procedures that the University has issued or will issue. Staff who work on campus must be fully familiar with the most up-to-date policies and procedures and must consistently act on directives that include, but are not limited to, practicing social distancing of at least six feet, wearing face coverings indoors and when congregating outdoors, and frequent handwashing.

Events and Meetings


Q. Will leadership guests still visit campus? Will public events be hosted by SPIA and its centers and programs?

Some public talks will be online and hosted by the Office of Public Affairs and Communications as well as our centers and programs. Check the SPIA calendar for information.

Q. Should I continue to conduct meetings with students, faculty, and staff?

In-person meetings are strongly, strongly discouraged. Meeting organizers should use remote technology whenever possible, including substituting conference calls, video-conferencing, and phone conversations for in-person meetings. Meetings that must take place should adhere to social distancing best practices.