Town halls coming on fall semester plans; first is for faculty on July 23

Three separate town halls for faculty, staff and students are scheduled in the coming weeks to answer questions and share the latest news about Pitt’s Resilience Framework planning for the fall. Registration details and panelist information will be provided soon. For those who are unable to attend, recordings will be made available following the events.

Faculty town hall: 4-5 p.m. July 23. Panelists include Provost Ann Cudd; Cynthia Golden, executive director of the University Center for Teaching and Learning; Mark Henderson, chief information officer; Geovette Washington, chief legal officer and executive sponsor of the Resilience Steering Committee; and John Williams, director of the COVID-19 Medical Response Office. Chris Bonneau, professor of political science and president of the University Senate, will moderate. Register here.

Student town hall: 3-4 p.m. July 28. More details coming soon.

Staff town hall: 9:30-10:30 a.m. Aug. 5. Panelists include Scott Bernotas, associate vice chancellor for Facilities Management; Pete Chambers, director of shared research support services in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences; David DeJong, vice chancellor for Human Resources and acting senior vice chancellor for Business and Operations; Geovette Washington, chief legal officer and executive sponsor of the Resilience Steering Committee; and John Williams, director of the COVID-19 Medical Response Office. Andy Stephany, president of Staff Council, will moderate. Registration is not required; join via Microsoft Teams at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 5.

There are bound to be plenty of questions after Chancellor Patrick Gallagher’s email on July 17 to the Pitt community that reiterated that every planning option is on the table. 

“In this pandemic, the path forward requires an active and ongoing dialogue — not a ‘set it and forget it’ approach,” Gallagher said in the email. “We are used to predictable routines and schedules in a university. This year won’t work that way!”

As he has said before, all decisions will be guided by the latest and best medical and health information and advice. 

For the fall term, Gallagher said, several key details are still subject to change, including:    

  • The arrival date of students on campus.

  • The start of any in-person instruction, which adjusts the academic calendar.

  • Available dining options. 

  • Housing and room arrangements.

In a July 2 memo, Provost Ann Cudd said that at the Elevated Risk level that the Oakland and Greensburg campuses are now in, gatherings are capped at 25, so most classes would take place fully online.

“It would be possible for some small sections to take place in person, but it would only be permissible to do so if it were a small lab section or clinical experience that really can’t be sacrificed or replaced by an online environment, and permission would be required from the dean,” Cudd’s memo said.

At the Guarded Risk level, gatherings of 250 are permitted, so most classes could take place in-person. This level still would require rigorous planning to find rooms where students could socially distance. A remote option still would have to be made available for faculty and students.

— Susan Jones


Have a story idea or news to share? Share it with the University Times.

Follow the University Times on Twitter and Facebook.