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Faculty may host in-person classes, office hours outdoors

<h5>Students working in Blair Courtyard on a sunny afternoon.</h5>
<h6>Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Students working in Blair Courtyard on a sunny afternoon.
Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian

Classes and office hours may now be held in-person and outdoors for the remainder of the semester, according to an email sent to all faculty on April 20 obtained by The Daily Princetonian.

The memo, sent by Deputy Dean of the College Elizabeth Colagiuri, indicated that any such meetings will not require additional approval so long as they follow specific social distancing guidelines.

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The blanket approval will allow faculty to take advantage of the sunny weather expected for the last week of classes.

In the memo, Colagiuri noted that faculty “have increasingly reached out” to the Office of the Dean of the College (ODOC) with a desire to host in-person meetings, and hoped that these events could ease the feelings of isolation and anxiety experienced by many students this semester.

The memo lays out several specific safety policies. Meetings must be held on campus with no more than 20 participants, each of whom must be wearing a mask at all times. Social distancing of six feet between participants is required and attendance records must be kept for contact tracing purposes.

Any activities requiring someone to take off their mask are discouraged. Faculty were asked to “take it outside organically” — they should not request setups from building services or move furniture outside. If the space they were planning to utilize is already occupied, faculty hosts should relocate their event.

Importantly, the memo notes that students should not be penalized for not attending an in-person event if they are uncomfortable with the situation.

The memo does not offer any advice for keeping off-campus students involved during in-person gatherings. Nearly 50 percent of students fall into this category this semester.

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Colagiuri closed the brief memo with a note of thanks to the faculty, writing on behalf of ODOC “we support and appreciate your efforts to connect with your students beyond the Zoom room.”

The Office of Communications deferred comment to a later date.

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