For the latest updates on OCM's preparations for COVID-19, please see our 2020-21 explanations and guidelines.

2020-21 explanations and guidelines

Physical distancing at the U

Physical distancing is essential to the University of Minnesota’s plan for in-person teaching and learning. The following guidelines and explanations are intended to inform students, staff, and faculty of what they can expect upon returning to campus. We also hope that our plan will help departments and colleges prepare their own spaces for classes.

Event scheduling

Event capacity will continue to be limited per MDH guidelines. Buildings will remain locked and will be accessed by UCards. Since the buildings will remain locked, we will be unable to host external (non-University) events.

For detailed information, please review:

Class scheduling

There are four primary delivery formats available for class use. For details, please refer to the UMNTC 2021-2022 Class Setup Guide.

In-Person Class Students and instructors meet in person for class at regularly scheduled days and times. Room
Blended Class Students can expect a combination of delivery methods: in person, online or remote. Room and Zoom
Remote-Instruction Class Students and instructors must be online at the same time, at scheduled days and times. 100% of instruction is online with no in-person meetings. Exams are also all online. Zoom
Online Class Instructors provide materials and assignments that students access online at any time or within a given time frame (such as one week), rather than instructors and students meeting together as a class on a regular schedule. Exams are also all online. No synchronous or on-campus meetings.

Classroom capacities

We used a 6-foot center-to-center approach by placing 6-foot diameter circles over existing room layouts in order to find the room’s capacity with physical distancing in place. We also ensured that the instructors have adequate space to teach while maintaining a 6-foot distance from students.

For general purpose classrooms, we have found that the 6-foot physical distancing models on average reduce the capacity of general-purpose classrooms by about 78%. Auditoriums see a larger decrease in capacity (84%). This can be attributed to the tighter spacing of the fixed auditorium furniture. Computer Labs and Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs) see less of a reduction in capacity (58% and 68%). In Bruininks Hall, the tables are spaced in a way that allows 3 people to sit 6’ apart at the majority of ALC clusters.

To put all of this in context, with 6-foot physical distancing most of our classrooms have a capacity range of 5-20 people. Only 5 rooms in our inventory have a capacity of more than 50, and only 1 room has a capacity of more than 100 people, which is our Willey Hall 175 auditorium seating 105 people.

6 feet physical distancing models - number of rooms by capacity

Layouts by seating type

Examples of 6-foot physical distancing layouts for various room types can be found below. Visit OCM’s Room Search to see updated layouts of all general purpose classrooms.

What to expect in the classrooms 

  • In Tablet-arm chair rooms, the seats that are designated for students to use are identified with a floor decal. These floor decals can be purchased through the U of M sign shop.
  • All other seats in classrooms where students cannot sit are labeled, “Do not use.”
  • Updated room layouts are posted to highlight the correct seating arrangement for 6-foot physical distancing.
  • Learning spaces feature a poster campaign encouraging physical distancing, personal hygiene, symptom monitoring, and mask-wearing.
  • On a daily basis, Facilities Management (FM) cleans and sanitizes the most frequently touched surfaces in learning environments and public spaces. You can find their full COVID-19 plan here.
  • All OCM learning spaces are supplied with sanitizing wipes.
  • Room users are encouraged to wipe down individual work surfaces prior to use.
classroom with do-not-use labels