Provost: limited ‘live with remote option’ classes for Spring 2022

Letter from provost highlights instructional plans for spring semester; no longer continuing ‘live with remote option.’


Photo by Alex Liscio.

Justine Kantor, Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: This story was updated on 1/5 to reflect the current guidance from administration regarding COVID-19 protocols.

A Nov. 23 email from Provost Bret Danilowicz claims that starting next spring, most courses will no longer offer a remote option, known as “HyFlex,” in an attempt to encourage more in-person attendance.

“We are not continuing the optional In-Person with Live Remove Option used in Fall 2021,” the email reads.

The university launched HyFlex in Fall 2020 in response to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. 

25% of classes switched to this modality at that time, rising to 80% in Spring 2021. 

Only specific courses will continue with the HyFlex option, although it is unclear what those courses are. 

The reason for the change is to boost attendance in classes, the statement said.

In Spring 2021, 59% of undergraduate students took their classes online, compared to the previous year. Only 27% of undergraduate students were fully utilizing the remote learning option. 

“This will encourage students to attend in-person on our campuses, and further encourage the co-curricular activities and engagement that is critical to the success of our students,” Danilowicz’s email reads.

Students admitted to utilizing the online modality for reasons other than concerns over COVID-19.

I feel that I was utilizing the remote option to stay safe from COVID-19 and because it was more convenient,” said Economics major Farrah Smith.

Art and Sociology major Zoey Mazur also found taking classes online helpful.

“Offering hybrid model classes affords flexibility. It’s not a catastrophe if I miss class and have to catch up on two hours of class time before my test next week. I can just attend online or watch the recording.“

Criminal justice major Amanda Berger is concerned about attending in-person courses. 

“I think that knowing how fast COVID spreads and still not having control over the virus, in-person should without a doubt not be mandatory in any way,” she said.

There are also students’ concerns for the new “Omicron”variant of COVID-19. The World Health Organization declared it a “Variable of Concern” on Nov. 26.

“I thought maybe we would be closer to getting out of this thing after [the delta variant] died down a little, but now we have to worry about a whole new strain?” said Health Science major Hannah Birge.

Public health officials detected the Florida case of the Omicron variant in Tampa on Dec. 7.

As of Dec. 10, there were 9 confirmed active cases of COVID-19 across all FAU campuses. In Palm Beach County, there were 495 cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data tracker, nearly 72% of Florida’s population have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

While positive cases of the virus have significantly decreased in the area, there is a possibility of a future spike in cases caused by the Omicron variant.

Representatives from the university’s Department of Emergency Management would be in charge of making any changes to instructional plans in the weeks and months to come.

“They continue to monitor and evaluate the situation and will make adjustments if needed,” Joshua Glanzer, associate vice president of media relations, wrote in an email about hypothetical changes if the Omicron variant becomes more prominent.

The provost’s statement also had detailed updated mask guidance that was intended to go into effect in the spring semester.
“Due to the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in our service areas, wearing a mask indoors is currently a personal preference but please be thoughtful of the concerns of those around you,” the guidance originally stated.
However, due to the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, affecting Palm Beach County, the guidance that “masks are expected,” will remain in effect going into the new semester.
In a FAU announcement sent out to students, faculty, and staff via email on Jan 3, the mask policy will not be changed as planned.
“The rapid spread of the Omicron variant during the past few weeks is a reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over and all members of the university community have a shared responsibility to Protect Your Owl Family.” the announcement stated. “All students, faculty and staff, regardless of vaccination status, are expected to wear face coverings while indoors in any FAU facilities, including classrooms and laboratories.”

Justine Kantor is a Staff Writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email justine.kantor1@gmail, or message her on twitter @KantorJustine