There are two factors that will significantly affect the instructional model for the fall. The first is the need to provide safe, physical distancing protocols in the classroom, and the second is the reality that some of our students and faculty are unable to be physically present in the classroom due to age or other risk factors that make them more vulnerable to health complications connected to COVID-19. Given these factors, McDaniel will offer three types of classes:
- Traditional in-person classes: As many of these classes will be offered as possible, but one of McDaniel’s significant benefits under normal circumstances—small classrooms that only have a capacity for around 20 students—becomes a constraint in this environment where physical distancing is required, which requires reducing the capacity of those classrooms to about 50%. Space limitations due to physical distancing requirements mean the number of traditional in-person classes will be limited.
- Hybrid classes: These classes are held partially in person and partially online. This enables professors to safely meet at least once a week with smaller groups of students from the same class in traditional sized classrooms. Most 1000-level classes will be held in this format. Our Information Technology Department is upgrading a number of our classrooms to support video conferencing to facilitate a high-quality hybrid learning experience.
- Online classes: These classes are primarily online, but faculty may still hold optional in-person activities with students throughout the session to deepen and enrich the educational experience. The majority of classes at the 2000 level and above will be in this format.
All faculty who have not already been trained in online pedagogy are working hard this summer to redesign their classes to be highly engaging regardless of the modality.
We recognize that the modality in which your classes are offered may impact your decision to live on campus for the fall semester, and you will be notified of the modality on your revised schedule when it becomes available. We are committed to working with you on a decision that best meets your needs. Our hope is to return to our traditional mode of in-person instruction for the spring term, but, of course, we must adhere to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Carroll County Health Department as well as the Governor's orders for the state of Maryland. Those guidelines largely dictate what we are able to do in this regard.