Hannah Rosenberg / Assistant Photography Editor

The reality of this fall's pre-enroll has shifted, as students have to pick between in-person and online classes, and will be sampling courses through Zoom.

September 1, 2020

Fall 2020 Sees Updated Back-to-School Procedures

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This time around, preparing for new classes means charging laptops, buying noise-canceling headphones and finding assigned seats.

To ring in the new semester, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Lisa Nishii wrote to the campus community detailing more of this year’s changes, including to course registration and study spaces.

In the past, some students used the add period to “shop” for classes, sitting in on classes they were considering taking to work out their perfect schedules. This year, some course instructors will allow students to sample  class sessions by Zoom. This will allow students to attend a class while waiting for a spot off the waitlist or to choose between classes during the add period.

In Nishii’s email, she wrote that these links will be available “this week,” but as of Tuesday evening, they hadn’t yet been published, even though classes start Wednesday.

Nishii wrote that, in general, the registration process went “reasonably well” despite some hiccups related to Freshman Writing Seminars and instruction modes. She thanked students for patience and understanding through the two-tiered process that took place over four days.

Nishii explained that some students had registered in classes with modes unavailable to them — for example, students not located in Ithaca registering for in-person classes — but assured that college registrars will correct these issues with the individual students.

For those who can attend classes in person, they should expect predetermined seat assignments in classrooms. In-person classes will occur in larger classrooms to ensure social distancing, and the assigned seats will aid contact tracing down the line.

Nishii also recommended that students planning to be on campus for extended periods of time should invest in a power bank due to limited power outlets and look into buying noise-canceling headphones. Currently some headphones are 25 percent off at the Cornell Store, and the Office of Financial Aid can assist with purchasing laptops, if need be.

The last change Nishii announced was the introduction of the app Cornell Chatter, which will now allow students to reserve specific rooms to study or use for Zoom. Each space will have a cleaning station, and the University expects the number of available spaces to grow throughout the beginning of the semester.