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Fall 2020 Classrooms

Physical distancing at UMD

Physical distancing is an essential component of UMD’s plan to reopen campus safely for fall semester. The following details are intended to inform students, staff, and faculty of what to expect in instructional spaces called general-purpose classrooms (GPCs) with physical distancing in place. Departments and colleges may also use the information to prepare their own instructional spaces for fall semester classes.

For Students

  • Look for the “sit here” Champ decals that show you where you can sit.
  • In large rooms, decals are placed on the fronts and backs of seats so students can identify where to sit when entering the room and when in the rows.
  • Please do not move furniture around in classroom spaces.
    The location of each movable table and tablet-arm chair is designated with a maroon dot on the furniture that aligns with a maroon dot on the floor. 
  • Any extra seats and tables remaining in classrooms are labeled “do not use.”
  • Please wipe down the area surfaces you will use with the sanitizing wipes provided in each classroom. 
  • Hand-sanitizer stations will be available throughout buildings where classrooms are located.
  • On a daily basis, Facilities Management will clean and sanitize the most frequently touched surfaces in accordance with their fall plan. 

For Faculty

  • Each GPC has a designated teaching/presentation area that includes the podium with a Zoom-enabled microphone. 
  • Adjusted classroom capacities represent the number of seats in the room. If faculty have a Zoom helper who is not a member of their class, then one of the seats should be reserved for the helper.
  • The location of each movable table and tablet-arm chair is designated with a maroon dot on the furniture that aligns with a maroon dot on the floor. 
  • Any extra seats and tables remaining in classrooms are labeled “do not use.”
  • Every GPC will include a layout of its seating arrangement at 6-feet physical distancing in order to ensure proper furniture placement for every class. Please help to keep tables and seats in the predetermined layouts and with their decals or labels. Please contact Facilities Management at 8262 if you notice any decals or dots may be missing.
  • All instructional spaces will feature a poster campaign encouraging physical distancing, maintaining preset room layouts, and wearing face coverings. 
  • On a daily basis, Facilities Management will clean and sanitize the most frequently touched surfaces in accordance with their fall plan. 
  • All GPCs will be supplied with sanitizing wipes so that users can wipe down their surfaces prior to use. 
  • Hand-sanitizer stations will be available throughout buildings where GPCs are located.
  • Academic Affairs distributed decals to departments for use in their designated classrooms and some labs. Departments may purchase additional decals from the UMD Print Shop for their other areas such as conference/meeting rooms. 

photo showing proper alignment of furniture      photo showing full classroom with labeled furniture

 Adjusted classroom capacities

Based on Minnesota Department of Health guidelines for higher education, a 6-feet center-to-center approach was used to determine physical distancing while maximizing capacity of seats in each classroom. Additionally, instructors have space to teach in each GPC while maintaining a 6-feet distance from students. UMD also evaluated classrooms for ventilation and lowered capacity if necessary to meet requirements.

UMD is preparing 84 GPCs for fall. Adjusted capacities range from an average of 19% of normal capacity in our 10 large lecture halls to 37% of normal capacity in our other 74 GPCs. Differences in the percentages for each room are due to their layouts and furniture. As the table below shows, most GPCs have capacities of 10 to 22 seats. Only 2 rooms in our inventory have a capacity of more than 50 seats.

Data shown here exclude instructional spaces designated as department classrooms and labs, which were also measured to maximize capacity with 6-feet physical distancing and evaluated to meet ventilation requirements.


Impacts on course scheduling

Once new room capacities were determined, faculty adjusted their fall class delivery modes and/or class meeting locations because most students were already registered. In a few instances, faculty requested a change to course times to use a larger room so that as many students as possible can meet in the same space at the same times. Course delivery modes and any other scheduling changes are reflected in the schedule of classes.

For more information about course delivery mode, please visit the Return to Campus FAQ webpage.