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University of Kansas backs away from in-person requirement

University of Kansas Campus
University of Kansas Campus(WIBW)
Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 6:33 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas is providing faculty more flexibility if they don’t feel comfortable teaching in-person classes in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara Bichelmeyer said Monday that decisions on courses, how they would be taught and teaching assignments “should be the purview of the department or program,” KCUR reports.

The move came after faculty had pushed back last week after they were told to return to campus beginning Aug. 24, unless they could invoke an exemption under the Americans with Disabilities Act. More than 50 department leaders signed a letter to Bichelmeyer raising concerns.

Instead of filing for an accommodation under the ADA, instructors will simply be asked to indicate their teaching preferences and to note the safety level they require in order to teach in person.

Bichelmeyer said that the teachers’ concerns were legitimate and understandable, “and this was just a case where trying to solve a problem with a precedent using the ADA doesn’t work in an unprecedented situation.”

In a letter to faculty and staff Tuesday, Bichelmeyer said that it remained the university’s goal to have as many in-person and hybrid classes as possible in the fall.

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