Autumn 2020 Frequently Asked Questions – Physical Sciences Division
This information will be updated if new or additional policies and/or guidance is released.
What is the academic calendar for Autumn 2020?
Classes will begin remotely on September 29, with in-person instruction ending before the Thanksgiving holiday. Although many courses will be offered remotely throughout the quarter, any courses with in-person components will begin hosting in-person sessions during the second week of the quarter, starting October 5.
Classes with in-person components will continue to offer in-person sessions through November 20. All in-person instruction will end on November 20 to help reduce the risk of disease transmission related to Thanksgiving travel. The remainder of the quarter, including courses after Thanksgiving Break as well as final exams, will be conducted entirely remotely.
Please note that this information is subject to change as the public health situation develops.
When will I know whether the classes I want to take are being offered in-person or remotely?
We expect information about class modalities to be available at the time of registration (September 21, 2020 at 8:30 AM CDT). We encourage you to be in contact with your department or program if you have questions about Autumn Quarter course plans.
Will I be able to begin coursework if I am not physically able to come to campus for Autumn Quarter?
Please note that the Division is in the process of developing a contingency plan to matriculate students in Autumn quarter regardless of their physical location. If you have concerns about travel or obtaining a visa in time for the start of Autumn quarter, this means that you will be able to begin your studies in Autumn regardless of where you are physically located.
We expect that a limited number of Autumn Quarter classes across the University will be held in person, and the Division will provide a range of remote course options for those who are not able to arrive on campus in the upcoming quarter.
Do I have to come to campus to teach if I am a Teaching Assistant?
The University is temporarily suspending the normal requirement that teaching be done in person. The University will not require any instructor to teach in person in the Autumn Quarter.
This holds for all instructors—faculty, emeriti, other academic appointees, and graduate student lecturers—as well as for graduate students in other teaching roles, such as Teaching Assistant or Writing Intern.
We ask that you continue to work with your departments, programs, or supervisors as appropriate to plan for next year’s course oﬀerings, and to inform them if you would like to teach only remotely during this phase.
What if I need to stop coming to campus part way through the quarter?
Instructors will be given resources for dual modality teaching (in-person and remote). If you are registered for a class or have teaching responsibilities in a class that has an in-person component and need to suspend in-person teaching during the quarter for any reason, please be in touch with your department for resources.
Are there resources for training for online teaching?
Yes. Visit the Training page on the Teaching Remotely website for a complete list of workshops, detailed workshop descriptions, recommended paths for instructors new to remote and hybrid teaching, and for those who taught in the Spring Quarter. Be sure to check back regularly for more dates and new workshops added.
We strongly encourage you to be in touch with your department about expectations, best practices, and pedagogical considerations as well.
Are there resources for learning remotely?
Yes. You can find out more about best practices on the Remote Learning website.
Will I be able to access digital resources on campus if I am not physically present on campus?
Yes, your CNET ID will allow you to access University servers and any resources that require a University ID and password regardless of physical location. Please make sure you have claimed your CNET ID and have access to your University email account.
Incoming students who have a start date of Autumn Quarter 2020 will be able to access digital resources (e.g. resources through the University Library system) when classes begin on September 29, 2020.
Is COVID-19 testing available for students and other members of the campus community (e.g. faculty, staff)?
If you would like to be tested for COVID-19, you should reach out to UChicago Medicine’s screening hotline or complete a MyChart screening questionnaire (only available for current patients). UChicago Medicine will follow up with you about next steps.
Screening hotline for students: 773-834-9355
Screening hotline for general public and current patients: 773-702-2800
COVID-19 Testing Information at UChicago
What is the University doing in terms of safety?
A key objective is to protect the health of students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the University. We will rely extensively on guidance from the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM), which has some of the world’s leading experts in infectious disease and maintaining public health.
Anyone who is physically coming to campus must complete the COVID-19 training and attestation prior to arrival. A student version of the attestation form is scheduled to be made available and widely shared prior to Autumn Quarter. You should also be in close contact with your department or program about your plans.
The most comprehensive website for the University’s resumption of operations on campus can be found at https://goforward.uchicago.edu/. The “Recent Updates” section on the page also contains copies of messages sent to the University community about resumption progress.
We also encourage you to review the following:
If I received a tuition scholarship in my offer of admission but cannot be physically present on campus in Autumn 2020, will I still receive my scholarship?
Yes. Your tuition scholarship will be applied regardless of your physical location.
If I am not on campus during Autumn Quarter, do I have to pay the Student Services Fee?
The Student Services Fee is waived for students who live and study more than 50 miles from campus. For more information, please visit the Bursar’s website.
If I am not on campus during Autumn Quarter, do I need to enroll in insurance?
All students in insurance-eligible programs, regardless of their place of residence this year, must take action before the deadline October 16th at twelve noon (CST). This is an annual requirement. To enroll in or waive U-SHIP click here.
If you do not enroll or waive U-SHIP by the October 16th deadline, you will be enrolled in and charged for the insurance premiums.
For 2020-21, we are adjusting the comparable coverage requirements to accommodate students who are studying remotely and would like to waive U-SHIP. Students must have alternate comparable coverage for the area in which they are residing. Students studying outside of the U.S. must be enrolled in a plan that covers them in their country of residence; this may include a plan provided by the government of that country. Please click here for a list of comparable coverage requirements for 2020-21.
I am a PhD student who is supposed to receive funding via a stipend, teaching assistantship, or research assistantship. Do I have to be on campus to receive my funding?
Students have the option to receive stipends via direct deposit, mailed paper check, or, if the student is outside the US, a wire transfer. Direct deposit is the most efficient method to receive a payment.
If you do not set up direct deposit and you have a United States address in the relevant payment system, your payment will be mailed to your address on file. We encourage all students to maintain accurate address information in both your my.uchicago.edu portal and Workday.
If you will not have a US bank account or US address to receive payments, you will have the opportunity to receive your payment via international wire transfer through Flywire. Please look for sign-up instructions after September 15, 2020.
I am an international student and I’m not able to get a visa in time to start Autumn Quarter. What should I do?
The Division is in the process of developing a contingency plan to matriculate students in Autumn quarter regardless of their physical location. If you have concerns about travel or obtaining a visa in time for the start of Autumn quarter, this means that you will be able to begin your studies in Autumn regardless of where you are physically located.
We recognize that travel restrictions, particularly for our international students, and health risks mean a portion of our community may not be able to return to campus this fall. We are planning carefully for how these members of our campus community will be connected and supported. The Division will provide a range of remote course options for students who are not able to return to campus in the upcoming quarter.
Do I need to quarantine before I come to campus?
For students arriving in Chicago from within the United States (domestic travelers):
The Chicago Department of Public Health recently issued an Order requiring all individuals from certain states must quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Chicago. The list of states is expected to change frequently as the city receives additional data about cases.
On Monday, July 6, a Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) emergency order went into effect that directs travelers arriving in Chicago from states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases to quarantine for 14 days. According to the CDPH, travelers who have spent longer than 24 hours in a designated state and arrive in Chicago on or after July 6 must quarantine for 14 days from the time of last contact within the designated state.
For a list of designated states, criteria for states to be designated under the Order, and more information on the Order, please visit CDPH’s website. All faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, staff, and students who have traveled to the identified states and return to Chicago on or after July 6 must quarantine for 14 days and not come to campus before the quarantine period is completed.
CDPH defines quarantine as “staying at a single designated home or dwelling for 14 days before doing any activities outside of the home or dwelling. People in quarantine should separate themselves from others as much as possible and check themselves for symptoms.”
For students arriving on campus from outside the United States (international travelers):
Consistent with guidance from the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, staff, and students who have traveled from outside the United States must quarantine for 14 days and not come to campus before the quarantine period is completed.
I currently live in Chicago but plan to travel to another state. Do I need to quarantine before I come to campus?
You must quarantine if you travel to a state that is included in the identified states list on CDPH's website. This order applies to individuals entering or returning to Chicago and applies to both Chicago residents returning from travel to a designated state, and travelers arriving in Chicago from a designated state.
Given the dynamic situation with infection rates, we strongly encourage students traveling within the US to check CDPH's website to determine whether they need to quarantine upon arrival/return to Chicago.
What is the impact of ICE’s recent SEVP guidance concerning F-1 visa holders?
As of July 14, 2020 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has rescinded its July 6 directive, which jeopardized the ability of international students on F-1 visas to remain in the United States while taking classes remotely. This means that international students will be able to take classes remotely in the U.S. or abroad while maintaining their visa status, as was the case in Spring 2020 quarter.
University of Chicago students who currently hold an F-1 visa do not need to obtain an updated I-20 from the Office of International Affairs (unless an updated I-20 is needed for reasons other than ICE’s rescinded directive).
Are travel restrictions still in place?
Since January, President Trump issued five COVID-19-related proclamations limiting travel to the U.S. These orders remain in effect since their implementation and to the best of our knowledge have not been revisited (please see additional information about the European Schengen Area below). All five proclamations suspend entry into the U.S. of a nonimmigrant (student visa holder) physically present in any of the below listed countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the U.S.
The proclamations are:
- China Proclamation – issued January 31, 2020
- Iran Proclamation – issued February 29, 2020
- European Schengen Area Proclamation – issued March 11, 2020 (Schengen area includes: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland).
- Ireland and United Kingdom Proclamation – issued March 14, 2020
- Brazil Proclamation – issued May 24, 2020
Note on the Schengen Area Proclamation
OIA has learned that the U.S. Department of State may be issuing "national interest exemptions" to the Schengen area proclamation. In connection with the July 13 announcement on the phasing in of routine visa services, the U.S. embassy websites in Luxembourg and Bratislava both reference a July 10 announcement from Washington permitting certain travelers from Schengen countries to resume travel to the United States beginning July 15 after receiving an exemption.
As indicated, all individuals are reminded that their admission remains subject to a determination by Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry and that they may be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. DHS requires travelers using a NIE waiver to fly into one of 15 specifically designated airports found here.