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Questions and Answers with Students: June 3, 2020

Jun 3, 2020

Interim President Maria Pallavicini, along with President Designate Chris Callahan and Interim Provost Michael Hunter Schwartz, held a Zoom meeting with students on June 3, 2020.

What housing on campus will be open and which ones will be closed if you've come to a conclusion on that?
Christopher Callahan: Let me answer. Everything will be open. All the residence halls will be open. The multi-student rooms... Again 95% of the way there, in all likelihood will also be single rooms, private rooms.

Maria Pallavicini: So these are the rooms in the residence halls, the kind of dorm-like housing, because the rooms in the apartment type, living arrangements are already single rooms.

Christopher Callahan: And the one addition from last year, as I understand it, is Grace Covell was undergoing renovations which are completed. So that will be also reopened for housing.

Maria Pallavicini: And for dining, there'll be a number of places around the campus for dining, so that we can ensure that we have appropriate social distancing for students.

Because of the social distancing in the next semester, would it be difficult to enroll in the classes with limited seating or any such thing?
Michael Hunter Schwartz: I'm really glad you asked that question because I think I could have said it more clearly and that I would have regretted it that no one asked me. So thank you. So we are moving by... We will be moving a significant number of our classes into larger spaces than they are normally housed. And so that will allow us to maintain the number of seats in all the classes. And so there should be absolutely no difference in terms of your ability to get into the classes that you want to take. Thank you for asking that question.

I'd like to know what plans are there currently for the science and engineering labs.
Michael Hunter Schwartz: Thank you for the question. So, as you probably know, the science and engineering labs, those classes can't be moved to different spaces, because those are specific technology spaces and those labs have to occur in those spaces. And so for those classes, if we end up with more students who want to attend in person than can safely be in there at any one given time, the professor will establish a rotation.

So these two-thirds of students are there on day one, a different two-thirds on day two and a different two-thirds on day three. And it keeps rolling over and over. And so that will maximize each student's and equalize each student's ability to be in person for those experiences. It's just that those labs you can't move them by and large into larger spaces because all the technology is soldered into those classroom spaces.

Is there going to be a limitation on popular on-campus locations like the DeRosa Center or the bookstore and so on, the library?
Christopher Callahan:  They'll be open, but we will be adhering to our social distancing policies, in addition to the facial covering. So you'll have access to those. But again the seating arrangements will be different. So we can do our social distancing and the facial covers.

I'll be taking remote classes in the fall. I only need to cancel housing for the fall right now. However, housing requires a decision on canceling for both semesters by June 8 or else we are charged. If I'm required to be on campus for the spring, will I be able to get into the Chan Family Hall, which is my priority after canceling my housing for a whole year? Or can I hold off on canceling my housing for the whole year without a charge? Can I cancel housing for fall only without a charge?
Maria Pallavicini: We want to be as flexible as possible to meet all of our student needs. And so I think the June 8 deadline is primarily for those as I understand it, who'd signed up for housing but then decided that they didn't want to live in the housing. So, I would say just hold on to it for now or talk to Student Life and get a little bit more clarity on the rest of your question.

But our goal is to be as accommodating as we can for everybody's needs. Maybe not the answer exactly what you would like but that is our principle. I would suggest that you talk to someone in Student Life, one of the housing directors.

If I opt for online classes courses, will they be recorded so I can refer to them at any time or will I have to watch it live?
Michael Hunter Schwartz: Part of the reason for the model that we're choosing is that we wanted to as much as possible replicate the Pacific experience. And so with that, there may be instances where a student is remote and cannot attend because they have... They're in a time zone half the world away, we'll have to work on that. But by and large, we are expecting you to attend in person as much as possible, of course, subject to things that come up, so that you can actually participate in the class discussions and offer your insights and ask questions in real-time so that we sort of maximize and as closely approximate the normal Pacific experience. But yes, (classes will) be recorded.

Christopher Callahan: We still want you to be participating live, but if you can't, you can go back and watch the video.

This is a question for the Sacramento campus, I guess specifically. Will the optional in-person approach apply to all courses or is this approach sort of applied on a professor/subject basis? And then additionally, do the measures apply to the law school as they are going to be applying to the Stockton Campus?
Michael Hunter Schwartz: Yeah. So let me try to answer that one. So the first part of it was the degree to which this will apply to sort of all courses and that is the plan. That any class that we offer in-person that we want to allow our students to also attend virtually, that's the first part.

The second part is that there will be some differences in professional programs. For example, the plan in our dental school is to have their didactic classes be online. So, they have more space for their skills-based courses. I know the law school is close to really focusing on the bar tested in first-year courses and skills courses being in person, the things that really have to be in person at the highest priority.

And then the only other thing where there could be a thing where a class might not in person is if we have a faculty member who himself or herself is unable to be on campus but can teach online. So that's the other possibility where that class would be online?

Maria Pallavicini: The only other thing I would add to that is that we pay very careful attention to all the accreditation requirements and accreditation standards for our different programs. So we're working closely with the accrediting bodies on that.

Will there be any restrictions on which classes or how many we can opt to take online versus in person?
Maria Pallavicini: I'll take that question. Thanks for the question on that. The policies that we have for taking courses or enrolling courses will be the same next fall as it has been in previous semesters. So certainly, for the undergrads, there's a certain number of units one can take for the tuition price above that when pays for additional units.

So, pretty much the same sorts of policies and practices we have, this coming fall will be the ones that we've had before. Restrictions to which classes you can opt to take online, I don't see that there are going to be any restrictions as long as there are not accreditation or other types of issues where it must be in person.

Michael Hunter Schwartz: That would be one where I would talk to your advisor and make sure that on the science side, if you have an aspiration to a professional science program, like a health degree, that you are safe to do it entirely online. That's the big thing you'll want to talk about.

Are we still going to have shared dorms for the fall semester? Pretty hard to social distance with a roommate.
Christopher Callahan: I was mentioning earlier and again we won't finalize this decision until next week. But we are 99% sure that we will have the entire housing, all the residence halls in private rooms. In other words, splitting up the doubles where everybody will have their own room.

Again, that’s not 100% there, but that's what we've been working toward. All indications are we can actually do that. So that is the plan. You will hear the definitive word on that next week, but that is the plan. And again, we'll have this locked down by next week, but if I were a betting person I would say you should expect all single modality across the residences.

How will office hours work with professors? Normally we would be doing in-person office hours, but I'm assuming something will change.
Michael Hunter Schwartz: So, you keep asking ones on the academic side and that's actually the stuff I've been working on. There’re two possibilities. One is that you will do some appointments by Zoom and the other is that and I think it will be relatively easy as you sort of imagine what I said before about us having to move classes into larger spaces that actually frees up from smaller spaces, where you could socially distance with your professor and still meet in person.

And so as much as possible, your faculty are going to want to meet with you in person. Everything I'm hearing, they miss the heck out of you. And so, I'm imagining as much as possible they're going to try to meet with you in person.

Christopher Callahan: I would add a third option to that, and that is walking, advising meetings. Walking through campus, which I actually do a lot of my meetings walking around our beautiful campus. So the third option.

Do you guys know what the policy will be with the Baun Fitness Center or any of the recreational facilities such as that or do you not have that completely figured out yet?
Christopher Callahan: I think it's fair to say the latter. Dr. Pallavicini.

Maria Pallavicini: Yes, we will definitely be social distancing. And all of these things, we are following CDC guidelines. We will be following guidelines from the county. I think we all know right now that gyms are still closed in the phase of where California is right now, but I think we're all anticipating they'll be open soon and we will follow the normal protocols for that. But I think you can be assured that we will be doing social distancing in the gyms.

Will awards for the COVID-19 Relief Scholarship affect students who are not returning to campus?
Maria Pallavicini: I'll take that. So, the COVID-19 relief grants, we call them scholarships, are for students who return to campus. And it doesn't have to be return to campus. It means returning to be a Pacific student. So, if one has graduated, one is not eligible for those. But if you're returning to the university in fall, but as an undergrad, you are eligible for that.

When can we expect the course catalog for the next academic school year to be released in particular for McGeorge and will we see a reduction in the number of electives available since of course, we need to focus on the courses that are required by certain accreditations in particular on the McGeorge campus?
Michael Hunter Schwartz: Thank you for asking that question. And it's just great to see the names of McGeorge students since I'll be back in the role of dean of McGeorge in less than a month. And I just was talking about this with Associate Dean Mary-Beth Moylan of the law school. And she anticipates getting out the schedule in about a week or two. She is not anticipating cutting any courses out of the schedule at all.

What may happen is with some courses they may be online. When I was saying that the bar tested and skills courses and first-year courses would be in person, all that just meant is that the other courses may be online…But there's no plan whatsoever and we still believe we can get just about all the courses in person. Just there may be some we put online or they're online because the faculty member needs to be teaching in a distance modality because they fall within a health category. But otherwise, you'll be able to get the classes that you wanted, not just need, but want.

Well first thank you for having this meeting with all of us. I know that you mentioned already that nothing was finalized yet in regards to athletics. Are you able to explain potential protocols for the plan to bring athletes back safely and able to compete in the fall? So just return dates during the summer, shared facilities and traveling, and would there be a specific date we will know by?
Maria Pallavicini: I could take a little bit of that and President Callahan can maybe give a little bit more. Right now, we are constrained as a higher ed. institution on opening by the state, by where we are in the state's phase recovery plan. So we won't be able to open for students until we have the go-ahead there. I mean, of course, we have our county guidelines and our CDC guidelines. I know that there's a lot of discussions around with the WCC and the NCAA about just these issues. And President Callahan, would you like to provide more information on that because I know you've been engaged in those discussions.

Christopher Callahan: Yeah. Thank you. I wish we had more definitive answers but again, I just came out of this WCC meeting with the presidents and the athletic directors. I know our Athletic Director Janet Lucas and her team have devised a whole series of contingencies depending on what is going on. Once we get the green light, we hope that it will be sooner rather than later, but I can tell you that none of the California schools have even started having athletes come back, at least at our conference.

So, I still think we're at least a couple of weeks away from having a game plan for that. And I know that's frustrating. But I can tell you when conditions permit we will have that and it won't look like a typical year, certainly. You won't get an email saying, oh, on this day all of our athletes are back and practices are as usual. Certainly, it won't be that. It'll be staggered and gradual and with all of the social distancing and sanitizing protocols that will keep our student athletes safe.

Maria Pallavicini: Yeah. But know that we all really want our student athletes back. We want to have them practicing, we want to be at the games. So we're all looking forward to being able to do that. We just don't know yet.

If you choose to go to class in person or do it over Zoom or online, do you have to commit to one or the other entirely or can you choose a hybrid option and take classes certain days, but if you were feeling sick do it online?
Michael Hunter Schwartz: My goodness, we would not be Pacific if we said you're feeling sick, but you got to come to class and it wouldn't be safe for the other people in the class. So I really want to be clear about that. What I think the question also gets to a little bit, is do we want students to be floating back and forth. They sleep in, that's going to happen once awhile. So, they do the class online. But by and large, for the professor's planning, the extent that he or she is planning activities, where you're interacting with your peers and plans discussions, it's most helpful like you would in any kind of a professional setting you give the professor enough notice that he or she can adapt the plans in time to make sure the students online are having as good an experience as possible. And the students in person are having as good experiences as possible. So, I would say that level of thing is more at the professor level thing. And mostly a matter of frequent communication and your professor knows how to deliver the classes effectively as possible.

How will classes work if you can't wear a mask for that class, for example, if you're studying music performance and can't wear a mask to play your instrument?
Michael Hunter Schwartz: I've been talking to your dean about that one and part of what's really going to have to happen is, it's sort of it's going to be a specific case by case, but sometimes we're going to have to put up plastic dividers between you and the professor.

In some instances, we'll have to have you be in a much larger space than normal so that you can practice your instrument. …It'll be more challenging for the entire ensemble for our very largest orchestral and band and choir groups to be all in the same room at the same time. And except for the three, we can put them in really, really large spaces and separate them from each other in a way which then makes it harder for everyone to sort of listen and collaborate with each other is neither, I'm not talking music. I know no more about that than I do about science. So that's very much something that I've seen a lot of traffic from your dean and his colleagues about the exact way that'll be operationalized. And so please stay tuned on that, but I've given you sort of the broad strokes of where I think we're headed.

When will the library open because the bar exam is coming and we would like to use the resource materials in the library?
Maria Pallavicini: The libraries will open when we are allowed to come back to campus for students, for teaching and learning. As I mentioned, higher ed. institutions are not on the go-ahead yet. I think they will be on the go-ahead soon. But we have to await what the governor has indicated on that. So as soon as we can, we will get them open and we will set them up for social distancing with plexiglasses needed. So, as soon as we can.

For computer science and engineering courses, will they have both in-person and virtual class options?
Michael Hunter Schwartz: Yes. So that'll be that same model, that high flex model where it's happening simultaneously, where the students are both online and in-person at the same time.

For students who are not returning in fall, can they return in spring if they choose to?
Maria Pallavicini: Yes. We want you back. If you can't come in the fall, please come in spring. We definitely want you back at the university.

For the restrictions to which classes and how many you can take online versus in person, is it in regards to law? She was thinking about GLS 2 and trial advocacy.
Michael Hunter Schwartz: I really approve press by the law of participation in this. It seems disproportionate to the total population of the university so far. But our plan still is that for trial advocacy and GLS 2, that those also are going to be taught in the high flex model.

And I want you to know we're teaching trial advocacy this summer entirely online and I'm in touch with the brilliant Professor Bricker, on a very frequent basis, mostly so I can continue to congratulate her on the accomplishments of her students that seem never-ending. And they are really satisfied with their progress in teaching trial advocacy online. So, that is still the plan, even for those courses. I think she would say she would miss seeing you in person because you know how she is but the plan is for her classes also to be in a high flex model.

Can I stay at home doing classes online only and never come to campus the entire semester? I have three lab classes, too. And how can I do the labs online only? Also, how do tests in exams work online? Usually has the advantage of being open book while exams and classes are closed which would be a disadvantage for the in-class students to tell you the truth. Learning online last semester was only 50% of physical classes and 50% of homework is much easier to take the same classes online. It would not be fair to some students in class and some students who are online.
Michael Hunter Schwartz: So the first question is if you're taking online, yes, you can. The biggest question for you is that lab classes, if you're taking lab classes that makes me think that you're in sciences and there's the issue about being able to get credit for labs for the professional degrees in pharmacy or medicine or dentistry or our PA program. And so, I really think that's the thing I really want you to make sure that you've cleared with your adviser about how that exactly will work or we may need to have you rejigger your schedule a bit.

Our plan right now for exams is that they're all going to be online and they're going to be closed book and we're going to use a professional proctoring service that we used to a lesser degree than we'll probably use this fall. But that's one to stay tuned because final exams are still as may drop from where we are today and so the further we get from today the less confidence I have in my assertions about what's going to happen in the future.

So, I think that'll address the disadvantage and advantage and I addressed the lab thing and it will be closed book and that the software we would be using for proctoring would be... Part of what it does is that it also makes sure that the student is not looking at a paper in their office while they're taking the exam. It's eye scanning artificial intelligence software that does that. And so that would be the model that we will be using if we end up having our exams online, as it currently looks we might be doing.

Maria Pallavicini: I would say that some faculty do have an open book final exam, so it's really going to depend on the faculty member and the course.

Michael Hunter Schwartz: Yeah. It won't be different for the in-person or online. That's what I guess I was trying to say, but I'm glad that I have a boss who could catch when I forget an incredibly important piece of what I should be saying.

How does graduation in 2021 look like, will we be doing social distancing then?
Maria Pallavicini: What a great question. We wish we knew what it would be looking like in graduation 2021. We know that we would like to have our traditional graduation commencement ceremonies. If we're allowed to do that we will certainly go down that route, but right now it's just way too early to say that. We can all hope and anticipate that there will be some return to normality.

Will it be mandatory to wear face mask only for class or all the time being on campus?
Maria Pallavicini: Good question. We're still working through all of that. But the face coverings that will be required will definitely be required in class, possibly required outside if you're closer than six feet apart. But all those details are really a TBD. We're going to need to be looking at CDC guidelines at the time that we are beginning class, but right now we're looking at face coverings through much of the time.

How we'll be able to opt for online and can we do in-person or online for each class or can we start online and then move into an in-person?
Christopher Callahan: I’m going to try to take a sort of a bigger picture approach on this. So for most of our classes, so if you can imagine that there'll be a group of students in the classroom, but at the same time another group of students is taking it remotely and then we will be rotating those students. So, it could be a typical class might have two-thirds of the students in the class, another third taking it remotely and you might be scheduled for being in class Monday and Wednesday, and Friday you're remote. So that's sort of the basic overview. Now, because the classes will also have this remote component. You can in most cases select if you wanted to go, for whatever reason if you wanted to just take the class remotely mostly, you can do that.

What you couldn't do is say, I want to be in class for every session, right. So that you won't be able to do because there are limitations on that. But if you want the other way, for the most part, you could if you wanted to. We're not necessarily recommending that, but for your life circumstances in most cases, you would have that option.

Does the decision to split up the residence halls apply to Chan and Monagan?
Maria Pallavicini: So, Chan and Monagan have a single bedroom apartment type of living. So the splitting up or single rooms apply to the residence halls because those are typically doubles or triples.

As we know there are travel visa restrictions and some students returned back to their hometown in the summer where the whole online course is available for those who can't return to San Francisco. How long will the online courses allow for this kind of student to join in?
Maria Pallavicini: We are very aware of the travel restrictions that some of our students are facing, particularly those international students who went back home. I know that we have worked very hard in spring to make sure that online courses or online learning occurred. And I think we would do exactly the same thing for fall, of course. If you're a student, we will do everything we can to make sure that you have access to your professors and access to the learning at Pacific. We don't know all the restrictions yet, but we will work very hard to make sure that and that will continue, learning will continue.

So, I had a question about the bar tested classes, so I understood that they will be taught in person in the fall, but will the bar tested classes have the flex attendance option? And I think the testing question was already answered previously.

Michael Hunter Schwartz: The answer to your question is yes. The bar tested classes will have that high flex model. We're planning on it for every class we have in person across the undergrad and law and pharm to have that high flex option. So, absolutely.

He is curious if we are going to have a fall 2020 block party?
Maria Pallavicini: Well that would that might be challenging given that it is such a big event, given that social distancing would be really hard to do at that fun party. So I could say we don't know and we don't. I could also say it's probably unlikely, which is probably closer to the truth, but in reality, we don't know, but unlikely I think.

Christopher Callahan: I would add to that while the Student Life events are going to look very different, there will still be a full slate of events. And in fact, we've been talking to our Vice President for Student Life Carrie Petr, who is actually taking this as a great challenge on how we continue to do all sorts of different extracurricular activities for our student body, but doing it safely. So, they won't look like some of the events in the past but there will be a full slate of a variety of Student Life activities.

Maria Pallavicini: And absolutely know that once everybody really understands what the guidelines are and what we need to do, I'm sure the students are going to be super creative on trying to figure out how we have those fun activities while living in an environment that's a little bit different right now. So I know that your suggestions and your thoughts will be very welcomed on how to do that.

Will registered student organizations be able to host events?
Maria Pallavicini: Within the guidelines that the university will have, yes.

For classes that require a substantial amount of group work and presentations, just due to the nature of the class, for instance, public policy courses, how would the high flex model support students that will be learning remotely? Will we have access to our Zoom account, previously, I mean I know it was kind of last minute, but we didn't have access to Zoom. So, a lot of times when we had group projects, we had to resort to other media that sometimes did not work out.
Michael Hunter Schwartz: Great question. I know that you're a law student. So during class time, one upside of the Zoom technology and working with students is those breakout rooms have that advantage that you don't actually have even in person. And what's the one thing I think is helpful when you do group work is normally you do small group work and you can hear all the other group sort of in the back of your mind, the breakout rooms in Zoom have that one nice advantage where it's just you and your team working together. But I would also say this would apply to all of our classes across all of our campuses, that there may be also ways for us, if we're smart about this and you raise the issue with your professor, to extend the duration of the Zoom thing so that students can stay after and do their group work right on the spot or to schedule something so that the professor can use his or her Zoom account to allow the students to meet. And the professor can just turn off her video and mute herself and do work while you all are meeting and working on your projects. I do think there's better workout around than saying find another technology and we'll keep working on that one. I appreciate the insight.

Interim provost, will you still be hosting brownies with the students on the law campus?
Michael Hunter Schwartz: Oh, so I've been thinking about this a lot, actually. So I appreciate you asking about how I got to deliver the brownies. I think they're going to have to be individually wrapped so that no one's touching everyone else's brownies. I've been working on sort of bigger scale protocols so far in planning for the fall. And so, I haven't yet mastered the Brownies with the Dean except for that would be in much larger spaces than we've done it in the past.

How will social distancing work in upper-division housing? Each unit has an individual room, but there is a common area and the shared bathrooms.
Maria Pallavicini: Yes, they're individual bedrooms and there are shared spaces. And so, paying attention to how one is dealing with that situation, frequent hand washing, sanitizing, wiping down surfaces, those will be some of the protocols and practices that we'll expect students to adhere to.

I think when you think about living in a shared space you have a rapport with those students, they are your family in a way. And so ensuring that all of you, each one of you is doing safe practices will be very important. But there will be shared bathrooms but we all know that cleanliness and sanitizing will be very, very important

Christopher Callahan: If I could just add to that Dr. Pallavicini. All the things we're working on now, the policies, the procedures, the protocols, we're actually very confident that we will have all those in place. What gives me the most pause honestly, is the things that we can't control and we could certainly set up the classrooms so they are safe and our events space so they're safe and the library and the student union and the residence halls, also. But at the end of the day, we're really going to be relying on our community, our students, to understand the importance of this. And you're going to be tired of hearing us talk about this, but it's just so important that our entire community is respectful of each other and adheres to these inconveniences and they are certainly inconveniences but they are to keep us safe and to keep the Pacific community and the Pacific education in place.

So, any ideas that our students have on how we can reinforce those messages, please let us know because we are all ears. I will tell you that's probably the area that keeps me up at night, how we can make sure that our entire community understands the importance of this.