Together Safely: Academics

Last updated: Monday, August 24, 2020

On June 12, 2020, President Johnson announced that Albion College would move forward with its plans for face-to-face instruction for fall 2020.

The academic calendar has been modified to prioritize the health and wellness of students and faculty, and limit the number of regular contacts within the campus community, while still maintaining regular, face-to-face teaching and learning.

Over the coming weeks, we will be updating this page regularly as more information about our academics for fall 2020 and spring 2021 becomes available.

Adjusted Academic Calendar

What will the fall schedule be?

The fall semester will begin on Monday, August 24, 2020, and will operate as two seven-week modules: Module A and Module B. Students will take two classes per module, totaling four classes for the fall semester. All on-campus instruction will end prior to the November 26 Thanksgiving holiday, and classes will resume for the spring semester on Monday, January 25, 2021.

What will the spring schedule be?

As with the fall semester, the spring semester will operate as two seven-week modules. Students will take two classes per module, totaling four classes for the spring semester. The Spring 2021 semester will begin on Monday, January 25, 2021. The last day of classes in the spring will be Friday, April 30, 2021, and final exams will be held from May 3-5, 2021.

How will classes be conducted with safety as a priority?

All teaching spaces are currently being reorganized to adhere to social distancing recommendations. Seating for students will be at least six feet apart, and faculty members will be spaced at least six feet from students. Some classrooms may have transparent safety barriers between the lecturer and the students. Faculty members and students will be expected to wear masks in all indoor spaces, and wherever there is less than six feet between people, even outdoors.

Most classes being offered in the fall will be taught in person, although many will have both in-person and online elements. A few will be offered only online. We are offering courses in these various formats to ensure that classes can be offered safely for both students and faculty members, and specifically that students can be spaced six feet apart in all classrooms.

Additional safety precautions will be in place including readily accessible hand sanitizer stations, sanitization kits, educational signage and reminders, push-button door operators, foot door openers, designated foot traffic routes and paper towel dispensers in all restrooms. The College has increased staffing for custodial services, which will allow classrooms to be cleaned frequently, based on recommended best practices. There will be posted reminders throughout campus that highlight cleaning and safety protocols. The exterior doors of most academic buildings will be replaced with automatic entrances.

The classroom schedule has been arranged so that there are no back to back classes, except learning communities where the students do not change classes. Further, the classroom buildings have been designated by class blocks to maximize the number of times they can be cleaned in between classes and the cleaning can be done on a regular basis.

How will flexible classes work?

In flexible classes, only half of the students can attend in person each session. Faculty teaching flexible classes will be in contact with students participating in these classes prior to the start of the semester to provide instructions about attendance on the first day of classes. In flexible classes, students will alternate between participating in person and participating by teleconference. Please pay careful attention to your schedule in these classes, as physical distancing will not allow the entire class to be present in person at the same time.

What if students planned to study abroad in fall 2020?

As you may already know, Albion College study abroad activities for fall 2020 have been canceled. Students who wish to defer their fall 2020 Albion approval to study abroad to spring or fall 2021 may do so without submitting a new Albion application. Contact for assistance.

When will academic advising begin for fall 2020?

Academic re-advising is happening right now! A team of team faculty and staff is waiting to help you get ready for the fall. Don't understand what a module is? Contact . Don't understand if a course is in person or online? Contact . A team of faculty and staff is waiting to help you get ready for the fall.

Can students remain off-campus and take classes exclusively online?

Students who wish to remain off-campus for fall 2020 and take classes exclusively online are required to meet one of the following conditions:

  • They have a documented medical disability that puts them at higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19 or a documented condition carrying higher risk of serious psychiatric or emotional disability caused by living on campus during the pandemic, and they receive an online-only residency exemption as an accommodation. Students petitioning for a disability exemption must provide documentation of their medical condition from a licensed health provider.
  • They were granted a Residency Exemption Petition or Non-College Owned Housing Petition for fall 2020. 
  • They are an international student unable to return to the United States due to travel restrictions

Can students participate in off-campus experiences during the academic year 2020-21?

This academic year, many off-campus environments will not be conducive to our public health approach for ensuring the health and safety of our community. For this reason, it is inconsistent with our 2020-21 safety plan for students to be housed on campus or to participate in on-campus activities if they are engaged in student teaching, internships, practicums, or other off-campus programs with a few rare exceptions. We have asked academic and non-academic program directors to refrain from placing students in off-campus experiences near Albion in 2020-21 unless they are necessary for the completion of the student’s degree or are a requirement for graduate or professional school admissions and cannot be postponed until next year.

For students who must participate in off-campus experiences in the U.S. in order to complete degree requirements this year, the following will be true:

  • We will waive a student’s residency requirement.
  • These students must live off campus and are encouraged to live close to their workplace.
  • These students will be responsible for securing their own housing.
  • These students will not be permitted to participate in in-person, on-campus activities because they will not be residing on campus. Students will have access to virtual on-campus activities should they choose to participate.

Can dual-enrolled students take in-person courses?

Unless a dual-enrolled student's non-Albion College classes are taught completely online, dual-enrolled students will be interacting with another school population outside of our testing regime. Like student teachers, therefore, they should not take in-person courses. They may enroll for online classes this year.

Will music lessons take place this fall?

Music lessons will be taking place this fall. For this year, the policy will be that lessons can take place in person only if both teacher and student can wear masks indoors. All other lessons must be online/remote. If an acceptable outdoor location can be agreed upon with appropriate social distancing, in-person lessons may take place.

Will music ensembles continue to rehearse this fall?

Music ensembles will continue to rehearse this fall with adjustments to ensure proper social distancing.

(MUS 121) Marching Band - For this year, Marching Band will only rehearse outdoors. The only exceptions would be drumline and color guard, both of whom must wear masks if indoors. The plan at present is to perform for home football games in the stands with color guard performing routines on the track. Outdoor and indoor locations TBD. Rehearsal schedule is modified. See schedule of classes for new days/times.

(MUS 124) Jazz Ensemble - For this year, the Jazz Ensemble will only rehearse outdoors. The only exception would be the rhythm section, all of whom must wear masks if indoors. Outdoor and indoor locations TBD. Rehearsal schedule is modified. See schedule of classes for new days/times.

(MUS 125) Symphony Orchestra - For this year, Symphony Orchestra (MUS125) will be strings only. All string players will be expected to wear a mask while indoors. Location will be the Goodrich Chapel stage. Rehearsal schedule will remain the same. See schedule of classes for day/time.

(MUS 131) Concert Choir & (MUS 132) Briton Singers - For this year, both choirs can rehearse outdoors without masks if proper social distancing is followed. Both choirs MUST wear masks when indoors. Rehearsal schedule is modified. See schedule of classes for new days/times.

*Chamber ensembles such as Percussion Ensemble, Piano Chamber Ensemble, etc. if enrolled, will be arranged by the instructor and always with masks when indoors.

What will happen in the event of a surge of COVID-19 cases?

While fall classes are scheduled to be taught in-person, the College recognizes that a new COVID-19 outbreak could force a return to online instruction at any time. Albion's plan accounts for that contingency.

Class Registration

Beginning the week of July 13, 2020, all returning students will register for fall 2020 classes in the new module system. Below are the answers to common questions and important information you will need to register for your courses. For up-to-date course schedules, visit the Registrar's Office page. After reading this material, if you have any questions or need help with scheduling or registration please email .

How many courses should students register for?

Students will register for four one-unit courses as you do every semester. The difference here is that you will register for two one-unit courses in both Module A and Module B.

Can students take three one-unit courses in a module?

No. Students may only take two one-unit courses in a module.

What about .25 and .5 units courses? Can I register for them?

Yes. There are a number of .25 and .5 unit courses being offered in the fall semester. You may take up to 4.5 units total for the fall semester or 2.5 units total in any one module.

Do students need to register for labs separately?

In the module system, students don't have to register for labs separately in most cases. However, there still are some courses that require students to register for a separate lab section.

Are there classes that span both modules?

Yes, but very few and they are all .25 or .5 unit courses. There aren’t any one-unit courses that span both modules.

How can students tell which module a course is in?

Every course has a module notation in the section number. For example, the section number might read A1, which would be Module A. Or it might say B2M, which would be Module B. Courses without an A or B span both modules.

How can students tell if there have been changes to the class schedule?

The class schedule is posted on the Registrar's Office website. All changes to the schedule are in red on the schedule posted there.

What will the registration process be like?

There will be a new registration process to accommodate our shift to the module system. This system is still seniority-based, but students will register for classes on an incremental basis. The Registrar’s Office and the Academic Departments will work with students to make sure they are able to graduate on time. The changes we are making will not keep any student from graduating.

Registration will take place in four rounds. Students will register for one course at a time each day/round of registration with a pause of one day in between each registration day. We strongly suggest that students enter their registration time knowing what class they want in advance. Seniority is still in effect as Seniors will go first each round, followed by Juniors, and then Sophomores. Your assigned registration time will be the same for each round of the registration process.

Registration will start on Monday, July 13. Students will register for a single one-unit class starting that day.

The second round of registration will be Wednesday, July 15. Students will register for their second 1 unit class starting that day. Students may also make changes to their schedule but cannot exceed two 1 unit courses at that time.

The third round of registration will be Friday, July 17. Students will register for their third 1 unit class starting that day. Students may also make changes to their schedule but cannot exceed three 1 unit courses at that time.

The final round of registration will be Monday, July 20. Students will register for their fourth 1 unit class and any .25 or .5 unit courses starting that day. Students may also make changes to their schedule but cannot exceed 4.5 units total for the semester.

How should students prepare to register?

We suggest you use the following system to build your new schedule:

First, examine the new schedule and find the four classes you previously registered for.

Make a note of whether this class remains offered and available to you (many classes have had day or time changes, some had to be canceled due to the new schedule format, and some new sections have been added).

For each class from your originally planned schedule, make a note of whether this is a Module A or Module B class. If you have more than two classes in a module, start by ranking your top two choices per module.

Compare the block assignment for those classes to be sure they don’t overlap. If they do, you’ll need to make a preference and replace the other class.

Then, examine the choices offered for the other module where you lack two classes and select one or two courses to fill out your schedule.

Rank your full semester choices from 1-4, with one being your most desired class and 4 being the least desired class. Again, double check you have only two per module! We suggest prioritizing major requirements first, core graduation requirements second and elective desires third.

How will students know when their registration time is?

You will be sent an email from the Registrar’s Office this week letting you know your registration time. You may also look for it on ACIS in the Registration section. Your registration time will be the same for each round/day of registration.

Will students get all of the classes they want?

It is likely that students will get the classes you want. This new system actually helps all students get their top choices of classes because students prioritizing the classes they most want to take.

Do students have to register for Module A classes before Module B courses?

No. Students should register for the class you want or need most on the first day, regardless of which module it is in. Students just have to have two one-unit courses in both Module A and Module B by the end of registration.