University President Scott Gordon announced the current plans for the Fall 2020 semester. As of June 30, face-to-face classes will be offered, but students will also have the option for distance learning.

A new website, "Open SFA: Guide to Fall 2020,", outlines the plan for opening campus and includes information about classes, campus services like housing and dining, as well as general health and safety measures.

In an email with the announcement, Gordon said, “The information on the website will not be static; it will continue to develop as our planning continues to evolve.”

Currently, students have the option to attend classes in person, online or in a hybrid of both in-person and online. Students can check how their classes are offered under the registration tab of their MySFA or through the Concise Class Schedule.

According to the Open SFA website, in-person classes will be adjusted to meet CDC distancing guidelines, which means students will be instructed which days they can be in the classroom. Attendance rules will be set by the instructor and based on classroom capacity, the website states in an FAQ answer.

However, with the temporary lift of the 60-credit hour housing requirement, distance learning options are more available to students as well, raising questions of additional fees.

In an SFA Q&A on Twitter, the official University account said, “the cost for your classes will be the same no matter how you chose to take them. There will not be a distance-learning fee.”

Although the semester is maintaining its originally planned dates, another change being made to this semester is that “in almost all classes, instruction will be remote-only after the Thanksgiving break,” Gordon said in his email. On-campus housing, however, will remain open until Dec. 12.

In a second email sent out on June 30, the University announced it is implementing a face covering requirement, effective July 7. Masks should be worn in “indoor public areas on campus, except where marked otherwise, even if you are alone,” as well as, “outdoor spaces where 6 feet of physical distancing is difficult to maintain.”

The website also states that “exceptions/waivers for both areas and individuals will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.”

More information about the current procedure for the Fall 2020 semester or the face-covering requirement can be found on the Open SFA website.

Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Adam Peck said, “The COVID-19 crisis gives us yet another opportunity to do what we do best here at SFA: to come together as a community and show the kind of responsibility and respect that are expressed in The SFA Way.”

The Open SFA website provides access to common questions and currently planned procedures, but the University is also offering another way to answer questions as well.

“This new resource addresses so many questions I’ve been seeing on social media,” Peck said on Twitter. “But if you still have questions – Ask ‘em Jacks. We are taking calls in our call center.”

The call center, which can be reached at (936) 468-3401, will be open through July 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will re-open on July 7.

“I know it can be frustrating as plans constantly evolve,” Gordon wrote. “Know that our focus is on how to provide you with as much flexibility as possible, so you are able to have the fall semester that best meets your needs, either on campus, remotely or a combination of the two. I thank you for your patience and your understanding as we work to provide outstanding educational opportunities, while keeping our campus community as safe as possible.”

Meredith Janning has worked on The Pine Log since her second semester at Stephen F. Austin. During her time at The Pine Log, Meredith has held the positions of staff writer and news editor.

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