FHSU announces 2020-2021 academic and residence life reopening plans

FHSU Media Relations
Hays Daily News

Fort Hays State University announced 2020-2021 reopening plans for academic programs and residential living. The product of several months of work and with the input of dozens of university faculty and staff, and state and local public health and medical guidance, both plans incorporate a variety of measures that position the university to return to campus-based operations in the fall and successfully deliver on its core educational mission for students across the state and the globe. Both plans align with the university’s Phased Plan Toward FHSU Employee Return and University Reopening announced in May.

The FHSU reopening plan, including the academic affairs and residential life plans detailed in this release are distinctive in the extent to which university academic leaders have created course delivery and residential living options that maximize the on-campus student experience. The FHSU reopening plan embraces the reality of the lives of our students, who often need to work full or part-time jobs while they are in college. FHSU students also tend to maintain close connections to home and family during their college careers, and travel home frequently, not just for holidays and scheduled breaks.

Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university has focused its planning and responses on ensuring adherence to six core guiding principles. These include:

• Prioritizing the health and safety of faculty, staff, and students

• Protecting the mission of FHSU

• Maintaining critical operations and a sound fiscal footing

• Staying mindful of good governance principles

• Remaining nimble and true to FHSU’s innovative culture

• Complying with Kansas Board of Regents directives

Contingency Planning

This plan focuses on providing a positive on-campus experience while adhering to local, state, and federal health protocols. Contingency plans are in place in the event circumstances require the university to introduce additional health and safety measures. We will continue to monitor and respond to new guidelines and recommendations from appropriate authorities. Space will be reserved in our residence hall facilities to accommodate quarantine or isolation as necessary. Details and updates will continue to be provided directly to students throughout the summer via their FHSU email accounts.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a very complex, dangerous, and fluid global health crisis that continues to evolve in very rapid and unpredictable ways. All information on these pages is subject to change as deemed necessary by university leadership in accordance with guidance and recommendations issued by federal, state and local public health and government officials.

More information about the university’s COVID-19 response and planning efforts may be found on the university’s COVID-19 Response website.


The academic operations plan was reviewed and approved by the university’s Academic Council, the Critical Incident Policy Group (CIPG) and the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) with the general framework guiding principles in mind. “This plan strikes a solid balance between maintaining the health and safety of all students, faculty, staff and visitors, protecting the university’s mission, facilitating student success, maintaining operations and a sound fiscal footing, and adherence to the latest and best COVID-19 guidance available,” said Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Jill Arensdorf. “This has been a collaborative effort from the outset, and our plans reflect the innovation, persistence and caring culture that are the hallmarks of this great university.”

Course Scheduling

Courses will be offered three different ways in this academic year:

Total On-Campus Courses will include any course faculty and students must have campus access to complete all learning outcomes and/or cannot be delivered, even in part, via online media. These will be offered in a concentrated eight-week timeframe and must be completed by Friday, October 9th.

Hybrid Courses will include any course that will utilize faculty and student campus access and meeting time to complete or supplement some learning outcomes but uses online media to complete other learning outcomes. The on-campus element will remain an important delivery mode for Hybrid courses this academic year. Hybrid courses will remain scheduled as 16-week courses. Students taking Hybrid Courses will retain access to on-campus resources and services.

Total Online Courses will include any course that will be completed in an online environment. They will be delivered entirely online as 16-week courses (except for those previously scheduled for shorter periods). Students taking TOL courses will retain access to on-campus resources and services.

The Hybrid and TOL courses delivered by FHSU are not remote courses. The online learning elements in these courses offer heightened interactivity and learning technologies specifically designed to enhance the online learning experience. FHSU Online, working in conjunction with talented faculty and the university’s Teaching Innovation and Learning Technology (TILT) group delivers nationally ranked, high-quality and affordable online learning experiences. FHSU Online is one of only six higher education institutions in the world to earn the United States Distance Learning Association certification.

Over the next few weeks, on-campus courses will be notated appropriately (i.e. TOC, HC, and TOL). Communications to students from their departments and advisors will assist students in understanding the course delivery modes for their specific courses.

More details on the FHSU Academic plan for the 2020-2021 academic year are available on the university’s COVID-19 Response website.


Fort Hays State University will open the Residence Halls and affiliated dining options to welcome the Tiger nation back to campus for the 2020-2021 academic year. Updates reflected in this plan to housing and on-campus dining operations focus on enhancing student success and mitigating the potential spread of COVID-19, while still providing our students with an engaging on-campus living experience. “We strongly believe living on campus offers students multiple advantages ranging from academic benefits, social opportunities, and increased security,” said FHSU Vice President for Student Affairs, Joey Linn. “Students sharing experiences in the classroom and in their living community provides immediate opportunities for new friends and access to resources that promote academic success.” Trained student staff will be readily available to answer student questions and provide support. The University Police Department will also be on hand to ease the transition back to campus for Tigers and their families.

2020-2021 On-Campus Housing at a Glance:

· Students will still have the choice to live with their selected roommates/suitemates whenever possible.

· Residents will occupy Stadium Place and Wooster apartments as normal with minimal adjustments.

· Occupancy numbers in McMindes Hall will be reduced.

· Assignments may be adjusted to other floors or buildings to reduce the number of students using community restrooms.

· Furniture in double occupancy rooms will be arranged before move-in placing the beds approximately six feet apart.

· Move-in dates and processes will be modified to reduce the number of people gathered in our buildings at the same time.

Students who have submitted housing contracts will be housed under the new plan.

The Office of Residential Life will notify students with contracts later in June regarding assignment confirmations or potential changes to their housing assignments. Additionally, throughout the summer students will receive information about updated terms, policies, and behavior expectations related to COVID-19.

Dining at a Glance

Details regarding modifications to dining operations will be sent to students later this summer. Dining and seating options will be adjusted to allow for social distancing, including an additional outside dining option at the McMindes Café.

More information about the university’s COVID-19 response and planning efforts may be found on the university’s COVID-19 Response website.