SAIC Communications on COVID-19

November 18, 2020
Updated Guidance from State Health Department

Dear SAIC Community,

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise across the country, yesterday Governor Pritzker announced further actions to curtail the spread in Illinois. Effective at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, November 20, Illinois will move into Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigations, which lowers capacity limits and increases restrictions on restaurants, retail, health centers, hotels, and other settings so that they can remain open (see graphic below). It is important to note that with these new mitigations, Illinois will remain in phase four of the Restore Illinois plan, which allows institutions of higher education to remain open.

Because of the School’s existing health and safety protocols, which include de-densification, enhanced cleaning, and changes to our physical spaces, and the commitment you’ve shown to upholding our shared responsibilities, there are no additional changes to our campus operations at this time. We anticipate completing the semester as planned, ensuring faculty and students can complete their on-campus teaching and learning, and we will move to fully online learning after Thanksgiving Break (November 25–29). We will continue to monitor the situation and reach out if we anticipate any changes to the remaining weeks of the fall semester.

All School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) departments and offices will assess their own on-campus staffing levels to ensure there is no interruption to student support. Faculty seeking to make adjustments to their modified in-person classes should contact Interim Dean of Faculty Shawn Michelle Smith at ssmith8@saic.edu. Vice presidents are evaluating the possibility of further staff de-densification, and supervisors will contact affected staff if work adjustments are needed.

SAIC Galleries will closely follow the reduced capacity requirements and remain open by appointment only until Tuesday, November 24, as planned. The new Illinois mitigation measures will require museums, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, to close temporarily, so please note that students, faculty, and staff no longer have access. We do not yet know when the museum will reopen.

As a reminder, on Wednesday, November 25, all buildings, except residence halls, will close at 7:00 p.m. for Thanksgiving Break and will reopen at 7:00 a.m on Friday, November 27. All in-person instruction will conclude by the Thanksgiving holiday and will resume online for the remainder of the semester. If you are traveling outside of Chicago for Thanksgiving Break, we discourage you from returning to campus.

Beginning Monday, November 30, and continuing to the end of the fall term on Monday, December 21, academic buildings will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week. Overnight access will be available to students between 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Please review this message from October 6 regarding limited access to facilities after Thanksgiving Break.

We know that the level of spread throughout the US is concerning, and we are grateful for all that you’ve done to take care of one another and reduce the risk to our campus. No matter how you’re spending your Thanksgiving Break, please continue to be diligent in your health practices to keep yourself safe and promote the safety of those around you. 

Sincerely,

Shawn Michelle Smith
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Tom Buechele
Vice President, Campus Operations

Source: Restore Illinois, Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigations

Source: Restore Illinois, Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigations

November 12, 2020 
Updated Guidance from State and City Health Departments

Dear SAIC Community,

Recently, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued new state recommendations and Protect Chicago measures to ensure businesses and schools can remain open while reducing the COVID-19 positivity rate. We reviewed these recommendations and consulted with public health expert Dr. Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, FAPIC. Given the health and safety measures the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has already implemented, including campus de-densification and making sure those who are on campus are adhering to our shared responsibilities, our Make Ready protocols already meet the new city and state recommendations, and there will be no additional changes to operations at this time.

During this critical moment for our city and state, please keep practicing our shared responsibilities and continue to be vigilant. Earlier this week, we shared guidance with our community on how to mitigate risk during Thanksgiving Break. If you haven’t already, please review this message and take the necessary steps to ensure you’re celebrating the holiday safely.

We will continue to monitor the situation and reach out if we anticipate any changes to the remaining weeks of the fall semester. If you have additional questions, staff are encouraged to contact their supervisors, and community members should send questions to saicinfo@saic.edu.

Thank you for everything you are doing to take care of one another during these challenging times.

Sincerely,

Tom Buechele
Vice President, Campus Operations 

 

NOVEMBER 10, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,

With just over two weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to share guidance we received from the American College Health Association to help you celebrate the break safely. This guidance has been reviewed and endorsed by public health expert Dr. Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, FAPIC.

Students who are traveling outside of Chicago for break are discouraged from returning to campus for the remaining three weeks of the semester.

If you are traveling outside of Chicago, please note that Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order was recently updated. Under the new system, states are placed in three categories—red, orange, and yellow—based on the status of their outbreak. Those traveling to red states will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Chicago, and those traveling to orange states will be required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago or quarantine for a 14-day period. This list changes frequently, so you are encouraged to check it often. If your travel destination is made red or orange while you are traveling, you will need to follow the necessary requirements. 

Below please find strategies to minimize the risk of infection.

Sincerely,

Tom Buechele
Vice President, Campus Operations 
 
At Least Two Weeks Before Departure

  • Get a flu vaccination.
    • Students: You can obtain a flu shot at no cost through the Wellness Center. For those off campus, flu shots are covered for students with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)-sponsored health insurance plan at all in-network pharmacies, including Walgreens, Osco, Walmart, and Meijer. Read more for details.
    • Faculty and staff: All employees who have insurance through SAIC’s provider Blue Cross Blue Shield are able to get their flu shot fully covered. Non-benefits-eligible employees may receive a voucher for a free flu shot at Walgreens. Read more for details.
  • Review the regulations governing travel to your destination. Some states require the completion of a traveler's form prior to arrival, along with specific restrictions and testing requirements after arrival. Understand requirements under Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order for when you return, and as mentioned above, if your travel destination is made red or orange while you are traveling, you will need to follow the necessary instructions. 
  • Minimize risk of exposure and infection during the weeks leading to departure from campus. Any exposure could disrupt plans to go home. If you become infected, or if you are exposed to a person who is confirmed to be infected, you will need to isolate or quarantine before traveling. Travelers who are ill, infected, or have recently been exposed to the virus will not be allowed to board airplanes and trains.
  • Reduce the number of people with whom you have close contact prior to the trip. Any close interaction with persons outside your immediate household or residence hall room will present an opportunity for infection.

Day of Travel Advice

  • Reduce the number of stops on the trip. Take a direct flight if possible, and if driving, pack food/snacks for the car trip home.
  • Delay travel if sick or exposed. Anyone feeling ill, recently diagnosed with COVID-19 (within 10 days), or exposed to someone with COVID-19 (within 14 days) should self-isolate and delay travel.
  • Take safety precautions during travel, especially if using public transportation. Wear a face covering at all times and consider also wearing a face shield. Stay at least six feet away from other people; if that’s not possible on public transportation, sit as far away from other passengers as possible. Carry and use hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol) frequently.
  • Use a disinfecting/sanitizing wipe to clean any touchable surfaces in the vehicle in which you are traveling. This includes planes, trains, and other forms of transportation.
  • Re-check for any requirements or restrictions at your travel destination.
  • The least risky option is private transportation by yourself or with your family members. If you’re in a car with others outside of the household, wear a mask and sit in the back seat if someone else is driving. If weather conditions permit, open the windows.

Arrival Advice

  • The most cautious approach upon arrival to your destination is to quarantine for the first 14 days. This is especially important if you are staying with vulnerable, higher risk individuals and/or there is high prevalence in the local community surrounding the campus.
    • Quarantining includes eating meals in a private space or outdoors with others at least six feet apart.
    • Use separate serving ware, utensils, glasses, and plates.
    • Use a separate bathroom from others. If that’s not possible, disinfect the bathroom after each use.
    • Avoid physical contact including hugging, kissing, and shaking hands.
    • Wear a mask and maintain a distance of at least six feet when in the presence of others.
    • Restrict movement within and outside the place you are staying.
  • If quarantine is not possible, stay physically distant from others, wear a face covering, and avoid close contact, including hugging and shaking hands, for the first 14 days.
  • Consider placing HEPA filter units in the place you are staying and opening windows to increase air circulation.

Health Resources

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever (temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. If you show signs or symptoms or are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19:
    • Students: Contact your primary care provider or SAIC’s Health Services at healthservices@saic.edu or 312.499.4288, and you will be directed to the nearest clinic for additional instructions.
    • Faculty and staff: Notify Human Resources at saic.covid.report@saic.edu and your primary care provider.
  • If you are a non-benefits-eligible employee, you may be able to receive a reimbursement for COVID-19 services, including tests, and telehealth support. Read more for details.

 

NOVEMBER 9, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As we head into the final weeks of in-person teaching and learning this fall, I want to recognize your outstanding work in ensuring our safe return to on-campus operations. Your commitment to our shared responsibilities made in-person instruction possible, and I want to thank you for your efforts.

I also want to share with you an update on Spring Break, an important change to Study Abroad, and a reminder about Thanksgiving Break. Earlier today, we shared this message with students containing key dates for the remainder of the fall semester and updates to our spring semester. There are three important points I want to draw to your attention:

An Update to Spring Break
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago's (SAIC) Spring Break typically takes place over a Thursday through Sunday in March. Because our spring calendar has shifted slightly from previous years, and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 due to possible travel during this time, we will not take a break in March, and the staff holiday that coincides with our typical Spring Break will now take place on Monday, January 4, extending your winter break.

Additionally, the semester will end a few days early: the last day of classes for spring 2021 will be Wednesday, May 12.

Study Abroad Suspended for the Time Being
After careful consideration this summer of the dangers posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the health and wellness of our students and faculty, SAIC made the difficult decision to suspend all Study Abroad exchange programs and study trips until further notice. At that time, we communicated with affected faculty and students about the summer and fall semesters.

This suspension of Study Abroad now includes programs for the winter, spring, and summer 2021 terms. Given that this decision may impact some students’ plans for completing their degrees, we are working with the Dean’s Office and Academic Advising to address the concerns of individual students. We share in the disappointment of our students and faculty and are committed to working with students as we look for ways to safely resume our programs. At this point SAIC does not expect to resume Study Abroad before 2022.

A Reminder about Thanksgiving Break
As we’ve previously shared, all in-person instruction will conclude by November 24 and move online for the remainder of the semester.

As stated in our October 6 message, if you are traveling outside of Chicago for Thanksgiving Break, please note that Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order requires individuals coming from 32 states and territories experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Chicago. This list changes frequently, so you are encouraged to check it often. If your travel destination is added to the required quarantine list while you are traveling, you will need to quarantine for 14 days upon your return. In the coming days, we’ll be sharing more information with you on mitigating the risk over Thanksgiving Break, particularly if you plan to travel.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs 

Dear Students,

I commend you on your collective efforts to engage safely on campus while adhering to our shared responsibilities both on and off campus. We are in the final weeks of in-person teaching and learning, with our shift to remote instruction taking place after Thanksgiving Break. With that in mind, I want to remind you of key dates for the fall semester and share an update on the spring semester.

Below you’ll find details on Thanksgiving Break and our shift to remote instruction, information on winter and spring registration and Critique Week, and key dates for the spring semester.

Sincerely,

Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs
 
Thanksgiving Break and Shift to Remote Instruction

As we’ve previously communicated, all in-person instruction for fall will conclude by November 24 and move online for the remainder of the semester.

As stated in our October 6 message, if you are traveling outside of Chicago for Thanksgiving Break, you are discouraged from returning to campus for the remaining three weeks of the semester. If you do choose to travel, please note that Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order requires individuals coming from 32 states and territories experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Chicago. This list changes frequently, so you are encouraged to check it often. If your travel destination is added to the required quarantine list while you are traveling, you will need to quarantine for 14 days upon your return.

Winter and Spring 2021 Registration Begins November 16
Registration for winter and spring 2021 opens on Monday, November 16. Undergraduate students who need assistance preparing to register should connect with an academic advisor by scheduling an appointment via the Navigate student app or saic.eab.navigate.com. Graduate students may reach out to their graduate coordinator, program director, or administrative director. Please note that while we’ve officially changed some of our campus building names, such as the 280 Building, these changes are not yet reflected in the registration system. Our colleagues in the Computer Resources and Information Technologies department (CRIT) require additional time to make these complex technical updates. Fall 2021 registration should reflect our building name changes. Here you’ll find more information about registration.

Fall Critique Week Takes Place December 15–21
Critique Week is an important week during which most classes are suspended and panels of three to six faculty members will meet remotely with graduate students for a critique of student work. Click here for information for graduate students and here for faculty guidance.

Winter 2021 Session Begins January 4, 2021; Courses Online
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) will offer a wide variety of studio and academic courses over the winter interim. All winter courses will be delivered via fully online instruction, and the courses on the schedule have been specifically selected for compatibility with online teaching and learning.

Spring Semester Begins January 28, 2021
The first day of classes for the spring semester is Thursday, January 28, and the last day of classes is Wednesday, May 12. As with the fall semester, SAIC courses will be delivered either as modified in-person or all-online instruction, depending on which delivery method best suits a course’s curriculum.

Study Abroad Suspended for the Time Being 
After careful consideration this summer of the dangers posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the health and wellness of our students and faculty, SAIC made the difficult decision to suspend all Study Abroad exchange programs and study trips until further notice. At that time, we communicated with affected faculty and students about the summer and fall semesters.

This suspension of Study Abroad now includes programs for the winter, spring, and summer 2021 terms. Given that this decision may impact some students’ plans for completing their degrees, we are working with the Dean’s Office and Academic Advising to address the concerns of individual students. We share in your disappointment and are committed to working with you as we look for ways to safely resume our programs. At this point SAIC does not expect to resume Study Abroad before 2022.

Spring Break Update
SAIC’s Spring Break typically takes place over a Thursday through Sunday in March. Because our spring calendar has shifted slightly from previous years, and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 due to possible travel during this time, we will not take a break in March, and will instead end our semester a few days early. The last day of classes for spring 2021 will be Wednesday, May 12.

 

OCTOBER 30, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,

This summer, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) hired public health expert Dr. Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, FAPIC to help guide the School’s plans to resume in-person teaching, learning, and residential life this fall. Dr. Rebmann has continued to advise faculty and staff on contact tracing, testing, reporting protocols for positive cases, and more, and is assisting the School in following best practices that meet or exceed guidance from the Chicago Department of Public Health and other local and national health authorities.

The world's understanding of COVID-19 is constantly evolving, and Dr. Rebmann has recorded a new webinar to review what we know now and how it affects our daily routines. 

 

 

 

 

We will continue to update you as we learn more. Thank you for all that you do to keep our campus community safe.

Best,

Thomas Buechele
Vice President for Campus Operations

 

OCTOBER 8, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,

Now that we're over a month into the fall term, we are getting a better understanding of the traffic patterns in our on-campus cafés and our campus need for dining services. With this knowledge, we will be adjusting the hours of operation for all three cafés effective Monday, October 12, and want to share the following updates.

MacLean Café (2nd Floor)
Due to very low utilization, MacLean Café will close for the remainder of the semester. The SAIC Ballroom will remain open for community members to use for eating, working, and studying. We encourage you to use mobile ordering (see below) to purchase items in the Neiman Center and use the SAIC Ballroom to enjoy your meal.

Neiman Center Café and Café 280
Both of these cafés will continue to offer in-person ordering as well as mobile ordering. Cash will not be accepted as a form of payment in either café. Both cafés are open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Neiman Center Café is open on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Mobile Ordering
Mobile ordering has been a huge success, and we encourage all community members to place your order ahead of time and pick it up at a location outside of the café service and payment lines. In order to do this, download the Transact Mobile Ordering app from Google Play or the App Store. Once you download the app, select "SAIC Mobile Ordering" and sign in with your SAIC email address. The app takes both ARTICard payment (e.g., your meal plan) and credit cards. We encourage everyone to use the mobile ordering option whenever possible. Food for Thought has also added barista ordering to mobile ordering in the Neiman Center Café.

New Features to On-Campus Dining 

  • One-Stop Shop: One-Stop Shop offers grocery store items that can be purchased with your meal plan/ARTICard. Items include milk, bread, fruit, soup, etc.
  • Dinner to Go: Prepared dinners with reheating instructions will be available starting October 12 in the Grab and Go Stations at both cafés. Enjoy a fresh, prepared dinner at home!
  • Vegan and Gluten-Free Options: Most items can be made vegan and gluten free. Once you pick an item on Transact Mobile Order click the "customize" link to see your options. If you are purchasing items in the café, talk with a Food for Thought team member to discuss your options.

Face Coverings
As a reminder, please wear your face covering at all times when you are not eating. We know you'll need to take off your face covering while eating, so please try to limit eating to 15 minutes or less. While the weather is nice, we strongly encourage you to go to the park or other outside areas to eat. If you live on campus, consider taking your food back to your room. The MacLean Ballroom is available to take your food to eat and study, as is the Neiman Center Café. Community members should refrain from eating in their classroom. It is also important to handle your face covering appropriately before and after eating.

Thank you for doing your part to help us have a productive remainder of the semester.

Sincerely,

Debbie Martin
Dean of Student Life

 

OCTOBER 6, 2020

Dear Students,

Below please find updates regarding building and facilities access. As always, please email your questions to saicinfo@saic.edu.

Best,

Tom Buechele
Vice President for Campus Operations

Lakeview Building Access
Beginning Monday, October 12, SAIC will close the Michigan Avenue entrance to the Lakeview Building, 116 South Michigan Avenue, for the remainder of the calendar year. Due to underutilization, the Lakeview security desk will not be staffed and all users will be required to enter through the MacLean Building.

Building Hours for the Thanksgiving Holiday and Beyond
On Wednesday, November 25, all buildings, except residence halls, will close at 7:00 p.m. for Thanksgiving Break and will reopen at 7:00 a.m on Friday, November 27.

Beginning Monday, November 30, and continuing to the end of the fall term on Monday, December 21, academic buildings will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week. Overnight access will be available to students between 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.

All in-person instruction will conclude by the Thanksgiving holiday (November 25–29) and will resume online for the remainder of the semester. If you are traveling outside of Chicago for Thanksgiving Break, we discourage you from returning to campus. Current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Chicago Department of Public Health requires individuals coming from abroad or from states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Chicago.

Adjusted Hours for Shops, Media Centers, and Libraries
Effective Monday, November 30, all shops, media centers, and libraries will be open from 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m on weekdays.

 

SEPTEMBER 18, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,

Whether you’re teaching, learning, or working remotely or on campus, we hope you’re settling into the new semester. As we shared previously, we’re continuing to follow recommendations from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and other local and national health agencies, and we promised to share updates as we receive new information.

Under new guidance from CDPH, and at the recommendation of public health expert Dr. Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, FAPIC, we’ll use a new COVID-19 Dashboard to communicate positive cases among those teaching, working, and learning on campus. The new dashboard gives our community more data and, ultimately, a clearer picture of the cases on campus. It will be updated more frequently and features metrics for new and total positive cases, as well as the total number of students in quarantine and isolation. The dashboard will be updated every Tuesday and Thursday by 6:00 p.m. CT, and it can be found linked on the Make Ready landing page. All positive cases among community members who are teaching, working, learning, or living on campus will be updated on the dashboard, so please check the dashboard frequently for the latest updates.

While we will not distribute campus-wide email notifications each time a community member tests positive, our contact tracing efforts are not impacted by this change, and close contacts (as defined by CDPH) will continue to be notified by SAIC’s Case Management team.

Additionally, to help reduce density on campus and mitigate the spread of the virus, we’ve updated the School’s visitor policy for the fall semester, and the following approved visitors must adhere to SAIC’s shared responsibilities when on campus: prospective students and their families/guests, approved guest artists, approved contractors, and guests assisting with residence hall move-in. More details are available here.
 
From now through October 31, SAIC alums who graduated in the spring of 2020 are able to be on campus only if they are using campus resources and facilities, such as the Advanced Output Center, instructional fabrication facilities and shops, John M. Flaxman Library and Special Collections, Material Source, Media Centers, or the Service Bureau. Again, approved visitors, including 2020 graduates, must adhere to SAIC’s shared responsibilities.

Thank you for your continued partnership in promoting the health and well-being of our community. We will continue to inform you of new updates and protocols, and the latest information will be available on saic.edu/makeready.

Best,

Tom Buechele
Vice President for Campus Operations

 

SEPTEMBER 14, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,
 
We are writing to inform you of a positive case of COVID-19 among our community. The student was last on campus in the Sullivan Center on Tuesday, September 8. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Case Management Team has conducted contact tracing to establish the individual’s close contacts (defined below), and we've contacted all close contacts. If you have not received a call from SAIC’s Case Management Team, you were not identified as a close contact, and you are not considered to have been exposed.

A close contact is defined by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) as someone who was within six feet of the infected person for 15 minutes or more cumulatively in a single day starting from two days before the person began feeling sick or tested positive until the time they were isolated. Examples of close contacts may include:

  • Someone who was within six feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more cumulatively in a single day
  • Someone who provided care at home to an infected person
  • Someone who had direct physical contact with the infected person (hugged or kissed them)
  • Someone who shared eating or drinking utensils
  • Someone who has been sneezed on, coughed on, or somehow got respiratory droplets on them from an infected person
  • A roommate or significant other of an infected person

So, who is not close contact? Anyone who has had incidental contact to a positive case is generally low risk and not deemed a close contact. Examples of scenarios that would likely not lead to being a close contact include:

  • Passing a positive case in the hallway
  • Working in the same building as a positive case
  • Riding in the same elevator as a positive case
  • Being in a classroom with a positive case, as long as that classroom is applying good physical distancing practices and everyone is wearing face coverings

SAIC’s Case Management Team treats information sensitively and consistent with applicable Illinois State, HIPAA, and FERPA laws. Due to the privacy of our community members, we are unable to share further details about the individual affected. 

Below you’ll find more information on public health guidance and SAIC’s response. As a reminder, please visit saic.edu/makeready for the latest updates.

Thank you,

SAIC’s Case Management Team
 
Public Health Guidance
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever (temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. If you show signs or symptoms or are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19:

  • Students: Contact SAIC’s Health Services at healthservices@saic.edu or 312.499.4288, and you will be directed to the nearest clinic for additional instructions.
  • Faculty and staff: Notify Human Resources at saic.covid.report@saic.edu and your primary care provider.

SAIC’s Response to Positive Cases
All of us should operate under the assumption that there are positive cases in Chicago and on campus; therefore, it is critical that members of our community who test positive or may have been exposed notify SAIC immediately so we can identify others who may have been exposed.

Upon notification of a positive case, we will:

  • Conduct contact tracing immediately to identify close contacts (defined by the CDPH as someone who was within six feet of the positive case for 15 or more minutes cumulatively starting from two days before the person began feeling sick or tested positive until the time they were isolated).
  • Inform students, faculty, and staff via email of a positive case on campus. We will send an email notification to our community for infected individuals who have been on our campus in the last 14 days. For instance, if a community member is teaching, learning, or working remotely and has not been on campus in the last 14 days, we will not send a notification because there is no risk of transmission by that person to other community members.
  • Update the COVID-19 Case Tracker. The tracker will be updated every Wednesday by 6:00 p.m. CT with confirmed cases among the community.

More details can be found here.

 

SEPTEMBER 10, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,
 
We recently announced that personal safety kits for students, faculty, and staff members were available for pickup at various locations through September 9. Beginning today, September 10, kit distribution locations and times have been adjusted.

You may pick up your wellness kit on weekdays at one of the following School locations:

  • 280 building: the Digital Fabrication Studio (room 126) from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • MacLean Center: the MacLean Media Center (room 801) from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Sharp Building: Sharp Tool Checkout (room 316) from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Thank you,

Tom Buechele
Vice President for Campus Operations

 

SEPTEMBER 9, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,
 
We are writing to inform you of a positive case of COVID-19 among our community. The contract employee was last on campus in the Sharp Building and MacLean Center on Friday, September 4. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Case Management Team has conducted contact tracing to establish the individual’s close contacts (defined below), and we've contacted all close contacts. If you have not received a call from SAIC’s Case Management Team, you were not identified as a close contact, and you are not considered to have been exposed.

A close contact is defined by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) as someone who was within six feet of the infected person for 15 minutes or more cumulatively in a single day starting from two days before the person began feeling sick or tested positive until the time they were isolated. Examples of close contacts may include:

  • Someone who was within six feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more cumulatively in a single day
  • Someone who provided care at home to an infected person
  • Someone who had direct physical contact with the infected person (hugged or kissed them)
  • Someone who shared eating or drinking utensils
  • Someone who has been sneezed on, coughed on, or somehow got respiratory droplets on them from an infected person
  • A roommate or significant other of an infected person

So, who is not close contact? Anyone who has had incidental contact to a positive case is generally low risk and not deemed a close contact. Examples of scenarios that would likely not lead to being a close contact include:

  • Passing a positive case in the hallway
  • Working in the same building as a positive case
  • Riding in the same elevator as a positive case
  • Being in a classroom with a positive case, as long as that classroom is applying good physical distancing practices and everyone is wearing face coverings

SAIC’s Case Management Team treats information sensitively and consistent with applicable Illinois State, HIPAA, and FERPA laws. Due to the privacy of our community members, we are unable to share further details about the individual affected. 

Below you’ll find more information on public health guidance and SAIC’s response. As a reminder, please visit saic.edu/makeready for the latest updates.

Thank you,

SAIC’s Case Management Team
 
Public Health Guidance
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever (temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. If you show signs or symptoms or are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19:

  • Students: Contact SAIC’s Health Services at healthservices@saic.edu or 312.499.4288, and you will be directed to the nearest clinic for additional instructions.
  • Faculty and staff: Notify Human Resources at saic.covid.report@saic.edu and your primary care provider.

SAIC’s Response to Positive Cases
All of us should operate under the assumption that there are positive cases in Chicago and on campus; therefore, it is critical that members of our community who test positive or may have been exposed notify SAIC immediately so we can identify others who may have been exposed.

Upon notification of a positive case, we will:

  • Conduct contact tracing immediately to identify close contacts (defined by the CDPH as someone who was within six feet of the positive case for 15 or more minutes cumulatively starting from two days before the person began feeling sick or tested positive until the time they were isolated).
  • Inform students, faculty, and staff via email of a positive case on campus. We will send an email notification to our community for infected individuals who have been on our campus in the last 14 days. For instance, if a community member is teaching, learning, or working remotely and has not been on campus in the last 14 days, we will not send a notification because there is no risk of transmission by that person to other community members.
  • Update the COVID-19 Case Tracker. The tracker will be updated every Wednesday by 6:00 p.m. CT with confirmed cases among the community.

More details can be found here.

 

SEPTEMBER 4, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,
 
We recently announced that personal safety kits for students, faculty, and staff members were available for pickup through September 4 in the 280 building, Sharp Building, and the MacLean Center. If you were unable to pick up a safety kit this week, you can still obtain one this weekend or next week.

If you would like to pick up your safety kit this weekend, they will be available at the following locations and times:

  • Saturday, September 5—Sharp Building from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 6—Sharp Building and MacLean Center from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, September 8, and Wednesday, September 9, kits will be available in the 280 building, Sharp Building, and MacLean Center. We will share further details next week about kit distribution locations after September 9.

Tom Buechele
Vice President for Campus Operations

Dear SAIC Community,
 
Next Thursday, September 10, from 12:00 p.m. CT to 1:00 p.m. CT, we're hosting a new Make Ready forum on wellness, community building, and support. Given the importance of taking care of ourselves and one another as we transition into the fall term, we want to host a special space for students, faculty, and staff.
When it's time to attend the meeting:
 
Please Click Here to Participate
Password: SAIC910

You can also call in if you are unable to join by video:
Dial 312.626.6799 or 646.876.9923. Webinar ID: 936 3585 8505
International numbers are available here

We recommend joining the meeting five minutes prior to the start to ensure you are connecting properly. Having trouble connecting? Please try following these preparatory tips:
The Chrome browser works well with Zoom. You can download the latest version here.

Make sure you have the latest version of Zoom. If you're on a computer, check the updates for macOS and Windows. If you're on your phone, check the updates for iOS and Android. For tech questions, click here.
The interface will allow you to pose questions in writing during the meeting.
Thank you,

Make Ready Advisory Group

 

SEPTEMBER 2, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,
 
As we return to teaching and learning today, I want to share an update on shared spaces and reserving rooms on campus.

Shared Spaces and Reserving Rooms
All School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) lounge spaces and dining facilities have social distancing measures in place and are open to all students, faculty, and staff. The SAIC Ballroom has been temporarily converted to a dining space, and room 120 of the 280 South Columbus Drive building has been temporarily converted to a lounge space.

There are also a number of spaces available across campus that students and/or faculty can reserve when they are in need of a quiet place to study, work, or engage in an online class. These spaces must be requested via the EMS Space Reservation System (SRS). A comprehensive list of these spaces can be found here. Please note, there are separate tabs on the document for student, faculty, and staff spaces. For help navigating the SRS, please see the user guide. SAIC conference rooms located in the Sharp Building, Sullivan Center, MacLean Building, and Lakeview Building can be reserved via Google Calendar.

As a reminder, in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, all student group/organization events and meetings must occur virtually.

As always, for the latest updates, please review saic.edu/makeready, and if you have questions, please email saicinfo@saic.edu.

Sending all best wishes for a good semester,

Shawn Michelle Smith
Interim Dean of Faculty

 

SEPTEMBER 1, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,
 
We are writing to inform you of a positive case of COVID-19 among our community. A parent who tested positive was on campus in Jones Hall on Saturday, August 29. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Case Management Team has conducted contact tracing to establish the individual’s close contacts (defined below), and we've contacted all close contacts. If you have not received a call from SAIC’s Case Management Team, you were not identified as a close contact, and you are not considered to have been exposed.

A close contact is defined by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) as someone who was within six feet of the infected person for 15 minutes or more cumulatively in a single day starting from two days before the person began feeling sick or tested positive until the time they were isolated. Examples of close contacts may include:

  • Someone who was within six feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more cumulatively in a single day
  • Someone who provided care at home to an infected person
  • Someone who had direct physical contact with the infected person (hugged or kissed them)
  • Someone who shared eating or drinking utensils
  • Someone who has been sneezed on, coughed on, or somehow got respiratory droplets on them from an infected person
  • A roommate of an infected person

So, who is not a close contact? Anyone who has had incidental contact to a positive case is generally low risk and not deemed a close contact. Examples of scenarios that would likely not lead to being a close contact include:

  • Passing a positive case in the hallway
  • Working in the same building as a positive case
  • Riding in the same elevator as a positive case
  • Being in a classroom with a positive case, as long as that classroom is applying good physical distancing practices and everyone is wearing face coverings

SAIC’s Case Management Team treats information sensitively and consistent with applicable Illinois State, HIPAA, and FERPA laws. Due to the privacy of our community members, we are unable to share further details about the individual affected. 

Below you’ll find more information on public health guidance and SAIC’s response. As a reminder, please visit saic.edu/makeready for the latest updates.

Thank you,

SAIC’s Case Management Team
 
Public Health Guidance
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever (temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. If you show signs or symptoms or are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19:

  • Students: Contact SAIC’s Health Services at healthservices@saic.edu or 312.499.4288, and you will be directed to the nearest clinic for additional instructions.
  • Faculty and staff: Notify Human Resources at saic.covid.report@saic.edu and your primary care provider.

SAIC’s Response to Positive Cases
All of us should operate under the assumption that there are positive cases in Chicago and on campus; therefore, it is critical that members of our community who test positive or may have been exposed notify SAIC immediately so we can identify others who may have been exposed.

Upon notification of a positive case, we will:

  • Conduct contact tracing to identify close contacts (defined by the CDPH as someone who was within six feet of the positive case for 15 or more minutes cumulatively starting from two days before the person began feeling sick or tested positive until the time they were isolated).
  • Inform students, faculty, and staff via email of a positive case on campus. We will send an email notification to our community for infected individuals who have been on our campus in the last 14 days. For instance, if a community member is teaching, learning, or working remotely and has not been on campus in the last 14 days, we will not send a notification because there is no risk of transmission by that person to other community members. 
  • Provide deep cleaning to affected spaces before anyone is allowed to return to the space.
  • Update the COVID-19 Case Tracker. The tracker will be updated every Wednesday by 6:00 p.m. CT with confirmed cases among the community.

More details can be found here.

Dear SAIC Faculty,

As we prepare to resume teaching and learning tomorrow, I want to share updated information and several resources to assist you this semester. Below, you’ll find information on the following:

  • Mandatory Attendance Compliance Reporting
  • Online Faculty Resources
  • Canvas
  • Zoom
  • Contact Information
  • Guidelines for COVID-19

As always, you can find the latest updates, including Make Ready announcementsrecordings of webinars and forums, and  FAQs on saic.edu/makeready.

Thanks,

Shawn Michelle Smith
Interim Dean of Faculty  
 
Mandatory Attendance Compliance Reporting
In addition to regular attendance taking, faculty also need to verify attendance in order for SAIC to disburse Federal Aid to student accounts. In order for SAIC to comply, faculty must confirm that each student has attended their course at least once. Faculty will receive email instructions from the Registrar on how to complete this in Faculty Self-Service. Federal Aid attendance verification is due immediately following add/drop, which ends on September 15, 2020.  
 
Online Faculty Resources

 
Canvas
Faculty need to use Canvas this semester for multiple reasons. An online tool, Canvas can be used to organize course content in modules, upload and record video using Panopto, make PDFs more accessible using Ally, create graded discussions for students to share images and presentations, and schedule student appointments.

During the semester, CRIT staff are providing Canvas workshops every weekday from 2:00–3:00 p.m. CT. In the first 30 minutes, they will cover topics that have been frequently requested. The rest of the time will be guided by the needs and questions from participants. Click here for the Zoom link. Email canvas-help@saic.edu to reach CRIT support for help with Canvas

  • Please publish your courses, upload your syllabus, and add any other materials that can help students understand your course(s). This week, the Dean’s Office began outreach to faculty teaching all-online courses who have not published their courses to Canvas to see if any assistance is needed.
  • Students will need to use Canvas for all of their courses and be encouraged and required to participate via Canvas.

 
Zoom
All faculty teaching in fall 2020 will receive a licensed SAIC Zoom account. You can find more information in the Canvas Faculty Portal, including a guide for enabling the Zoom integration in your Canvas courses.
 
Additional Resources and Contact Information 

Dean’s Office
Contact information for all SAIC administrative staff can be found in the Faculty Information Guide here.
 
Shawn Michelle Smith
Interim Dean of Faculty
ssmith8@saic.edu

Delinda Collier
Interim Dean of Graduate Studies
dcollier@saic.edu

Dwayne Moser
Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
dmoser@saic.edu

Dawn Gavin
Dean of Undergraduate Studies
dgavin@saic.edu

Paul Jackson
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
pjacks2@saic.edu

Chair of Faculty
jonCates
jcates@saic.edu

Faculty Liaison
Raja El Halwani
rhalwa@saic.edu

Title IX
 
Stop Sexual Violence
Sexual Misconduct Under Title IX Policy
 
Lumturije “Luma” Akiti
Title IX Coordinator
lakiti@saic.edu

Darryl Lockett
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
dlocke@saic.edu

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
 
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
saicdiversity@saic.edu
 
Jefferson Pinder
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Academic Affairs
jpinder@saic.edu

Dio Aldridge
Special Assistant to the Dean and Provost on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
daldridge@saic.edu

Katrina Valera
Director of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion
kvaler@artic.edu

Office of Student Affairs
 
Debbie Martin
Dean of Student Life
dmartin@saic.edu

Dean on Call
doncall@saic.edu (Email for unresponsive student concerns only)
Available by phone 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, for consultation and assistance on urgent matters.
312.768.8485 (For staff and faculty use)

Additional Contacts
 
Academic Advising (for students)
studenthelp@saic.edu
 
Rebekah Champ
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs for Academic Advising
rchamp@saic.edu

Counseling Services (for students)
counselingservices@saic.edu
312.499.4271

For employees: The Art Institute of Chicago (both the School and museum) has an excellent resource in ComPsych, part of our Employee Assistance Program(EAP). Counselors are available 24/7 to confidentially address concerns you and/or members of your family may have. For additional information about the EAP or any other benefits, please reach out to the HR Benefits Team at 312.629.3382 .

Disability and Learning Resource Center (DLRC)
For handling student accommodations requests
dlrc@saic.edu
 
Valerie St. Germain
Director
vstgermain@saic.edu

I strongly recommend cc’ing the DLRC on email exchanges with students regarding requests for accommodations in your courses.

The Writing Center
wcenter@saic.edu
 
Leila Wilson
Writing Center Coordinator
lwilson@saic.edu

John M. Flaxman Library
flaxman@saic.edu
 
Mackenzie Salisbury
Reference and Instruction Librarian
ssalis1@saic.edu

Instructional Resources and Facilities Management (IRFM)
irfm@saic.edu
 
Craig Downs
Executive Director of Media and Instructional Resources
cdowns@saic.edu

Sarah Hicks
Executive Director of Facilities Services
shicks@saic.edu

Brad Johns
Executive Director of Fabrication and Instructional Resources
bjohns12@saic.edu

Material Source
Material Source Operations for Fall 2020
You can pre-order materials you need through our Order Form.
Contact us at saicmaterials@saic.edu.

Media Centers
What’s New for Fall 2020?
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
All equipment requests may be reserved in advance through Patron Portal.
You can arrange for a no- or low-contact pickup transaction.
Equipment certification and training workshops are available online instead of in person.

Instructional Fabrication Facilities and Shops
Instructional Fabrication facilities and shops, including the Columbus Metal Shop, Columbus Wood Shop, and the Columbus Digital Fabrication Studio, will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., beginning September 2. Departmental production facilities may have adjusted hours and modified service provisions. Virtual project consultations, shop time and equipment reservations, low-contact pickup options, and expanded online and digitized alternatives to in-person visits will be available. Click here for more information.
 
Guidelines for COVID-19

 

AUGUST 31, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,

As you know, we’ve been following recommendations from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and other local and national health agencies, and we promised to share updates as we receive new information. I want to make you aware of some updated guidance we received earlier today.

As we practice social distancing outlined in our shared responsibilities, whether we're on or off campus, please continue to maintain a physical distance of six feet between yourself and others whenever possible. CDPH has specified that if you need to be closer than six feet with anyone, your interactions should be limited to 15 minutes or less cumulatively per day with each individual or you will be considered a close contact if the individual tests positive for COVID-19. This clarification, which was reviewed by public health expert Dr. Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, FAPIC, will also be applied to our contact tracing efforts: you will be considered a close contact by CDPH if you’ve been within six feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes cumulatively over the course of a day. (Please note, social distancing among roommates may not be possible, therefore, roommates are always considered close contacts.) Our Instructional Resources and Facilities Management team will be available to meet with faculty on Monday and Tuesday to discuss any impact the new guidance may have on our teaching and learning spaces. If you’d like to meet, please reach out to irfm@saic.edu.

Additionally, I want to make sure you saw the recent update we shared regarding guidance on face coveringsBandanas and neck gaiters are less effective than other coverings and will be prohibited. Masks with a relief valve will continue to be prohibited.

As we look toward the first day of classes next week, I want to thank you for your continued partnership in promoting the health and well-being of our community. We will continue to inform you of new updates and protocols, and the latest information will be available on saic.edu/makeready.

Best,

Tom Buechele
Vice President for Campus Operations 

 

AUGUST 28, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,
 
Yesterday, we postponed our Make Ready Forum in light of the tragic news that a member of our community had passed. We know how important these forums have been in the lead up to our return to campus, so we rescheduled the forum to take place next week:
 
Final Make Ready Forum Before Our Return to Campus
Monday, August 31, 12:00 p.m. CT

If you're unable to attend, a recording will be shared on our site
When it's time to attend the meeting:
 
Please Click Here to Participate
Password: SAIC827

You can also call in if you are unable to join by video:
Dial 312.626.6799 or 646.876.9923. Webinar ID: 929 6944 3044
International numbers are available here

We recommend joining the meeting five minutes prior to the start to ensure you are connecting properly. Having trouble connecting? Please try following these preparatory tips:
The Chrome browser works well with Zoom. You can download the latest version here.

Make sure you have the latest version of Zoom. If you're on a computer, check the updates for macOS and Windows. If you're on your phone, check the updates for iOS and Android. For tech questions, click here.
The interface will allow you to pose questions in writing during the meeting.
Thank you,

Tom Buechele
Vice President
Campus Operations

Dear SAIC Community,

Below, please find updates on building and facilities access and resources and services available to students, faculty, and staff.

All rooms with electronic locks will remain locked 24/7, and auto-unlock schedules will be removed from all doors. The "double tap" functionality to place a door in an unlocked state will be removed. Faculty and students will have access to their specific classrooms via their ARTICard. For questions regarding door access, email articard@saic.edu.

Additionally, as you prepare to return to campus, we want to make you aware of an update to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) protocol around face coverings: washable cloth face coverings or disposable single-use masks continue to be recommended for our community. Bandanas and neck gaiters are less effective than other coverings and will be prohibited. Masks with a relief valve will continue to be prohibited. Please review information on face coverings here. As always, if you have any questions, please email saicinfo@saic.edu.

Building Hours and Access
Beginning Monday, August 31, at 7:00 a.m., SAIC's academic buildings will be open to current students, faculty, and staff.

  • On August 31 and September 1, buildings will close at 11:00 p.m. and overnight access will not be available.
  • Beginning September 2, building security desks will be staffed from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and building entrances will be locked from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.; however, overnight access is available, including to those who have a studio in 33 East Washington. Anyone wishing to use campus facilities after hours must obtain an overnight pass here.
  • The new SAIC Galleries, located at 33 East Washington, will open this fall for in-person and virtual exhibitions. More information about exhibitions and accessing the gallery will be shared soon.

You can reach campus security any time by calling 312.899.1230 or using the “Emergency” button on any campus telephone. During overnight hours, Campus Security will monitor all facilities from our on-campus command center using security cameras installed across campus. Security staff will patrol the academic buildings and respond to requests for service.

Academic Advising
Academic Advisors are available to meet with students remotely. You can schedule a phone or virtual appointment directly with an advisor online through the Navigate Student app. If you have questions, email studenthelp@saic.edu or call 312.629.6800.

Advanced Output Center
Beginning September 2, staff will be available for online consultations via Zoom. Beginning September 17, laser cutting and other services will be available Monday through Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Click here for more information.

Career and Professional Experience (CAPX)
CAPX is offering remote career advising and programming. Students can schedule virtual career advising appointments, register for networking events, search for internships and jobs, and attend the Fall Virtual Internship and Job Expo on Handshake. Click here for more information.

Computer Resources and Information Technologies (CRIT) Computer Labs and Help Desk
The CRIT General Access Lab will be open with reduced capacity, but the CRIT Help Desk will maintain a virtual presence Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and staff are able to assist with technology needs and related questions. Any repairs, questions, and consultations will be initiated virtually. Contact CRIT via square.saic.edu, by emailing crithelpdesk@saic.edu, or by calling 312.345.3535. More information can be found at the CRIT website.

Events
There will be several artist talks, exhibitions, and other programming available to the SAIC community this fall. Check the This Week at SAIC newsletter, sent every Monday morning to students, faculty, and staff, for the latest events and details. Virtual and in-person events featured in the newsletter will be open to all members of SAIC’s campus community. For an event to be considered for inclusion in this weekly newsletter, please email communications@saic.edu by 9:00 a.m. on Friday with the name, time, and a link to learn more and/or register.

Food Service
On-campus dining is available to all students, faculty, and staff in the Neiman Center Café, Columbus Drive Café, and MacLean Café, now located in the SAIC Ballroom. Download the Transact Mobile Ordering app from the Google Play or App Store to place an order ahead of time. Click here for more information.

Instructional Fabrication Facilities and Shops
Instructional Fabrication facilities and shops, including the Columbus Metal Shop, Columbus Wood Shop, and the Columbus Digital Fabrication Studio, will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., beginning September 2. Departmental production facilities may have adjusted hours and modified service provisions. Virtual project consultations, shop time and equipment reservations, low-contact pickup options, and expanded online and digitized alternatives to in-person visits will be available. Click here for more information.

John M. Flaxman Library and Special Collections
The John M. Flaxman Library, Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, Fashion Resource Center, Roger Brown Study Collection, and Video Data Bank spaces are open by appointment only.

Material Source
Material Source in the Sharp Building and Columbus Drive Building will be open Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., beginning September 2. Low contact transactions will be available. Click here for more information.

Media Centers
The Media Centers in the MacLean Center and Columbus Drive Building will be open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m., beginning September 2. A reservation is required to check out resources, and equipment certification and training workshops are available online. Click here for more information.

On-Campus Printing and Service Bureau
Self-Service printing is offered for color and black-and-white printing, copying, and scanning, as well as large-format printing, in every campus building and the residence halls. Print Services is now providing simplified printing from a web portal or mobile device via SAIC's new pay-for-print software, PaperCut. Click here for more information or email saicprint@saic.edu. The Service Bureau counter will be closed for the fall semester; however, staff are available for remote consultations for all faculty, staff, and students. Click here for more information or email servicebureau@saic.edu.

SafeRide
SAIC’s on-demand ride-sharing service, SafeRide, will resume service on Saturday, August 29, at 9:00 p.m. The service will operate daily from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. To promote social distancing, capacity has been reduced to three riders at a time. All members of our community must wear a face covering or mask over their nose and mouth at all times while utilizing the SafeRide service. Click here for more information, including instructions on downloading the SafeRide app.

Wellness Center
Wellness Center staff are providing counseling, health, and disability support services remotely whenever possible and in-person care when necessary. To schedule an appointment, please contact the Wellness Center services at the following emails and phone numbers:

Writing Center
Writing Center tutors are available virtually to help currently enrolled students with their brainstorming, drafting, and editing. Tutors can assist with essays, artist statements, application materials, presentation texts, theses, proposals, and creative projects. Students can sign up for an online appointment here. Once the appointment is set, students will receive a confirmation with a Zoom link to meet with a tutor at the scheduled time. Students should prepare a Google document with any material they hope to review with a tutor. Please email wcenter@saic.edu with questions.

 

AUGUST 25, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,
 
As our campus buildings begin to open for the fall semester, we would like to highlight some of the changes that have been made to on-campus dining to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

We know you'll need to take off your face covering while eating, so please try to limit eating to 15 minutes or less. While the weather is nice, we strongly encourage you to go to the park or other outside areas to eat. If you live on campus, consider taking your food back to your room. Seating in the cafés will be limited, and much of the seating has been removed. Community members should refrain from eating in their classroom. It is also important to handle your face covering appropriately before and after eating. 

Below you’ll find more details on mobile ordering and changes to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) cafés.

Mobile Ordering
We encourage all community members to take advantage of mobile ordering, where you can place your order ahead of time and pick it up at a location outside of the café service and payment lines. In order to do this, download the Transact Mobile Ordering app from Google Play or the App Store. Once you download the app, select "SAIC Mobile Ordering" and sign in with your SAIC email address. The app takes both ARTICard payment (e.g., your meal plan) and credit cards. We encourage everyone to use the mobile ordering option whenever possible. Here you’ll find more information on the hours of operation and menus for each café. 

Neiman Center Café and Columbus Drive Café
Both of these cafés will continue to offer in-person ordering. The traffic flow of each café has changed to allow for physical distancing. Café staff will be serving food and drinks in the areas that were previously self-service. Cash will not be accepted as a form of payment in either café.

MacLean Café
The MacLean Café has been relocated to the SAIC Ballroom for the fall term. Barista drinks may be ordered in person and all food must be ordered though the Transact Mobile Ordering app. Since this café will be operating out of the ballroom kitchen, it will have greatly expanded offerings from previous years and will be able to handle an increased number of students, staff, and faculty.  

As a result of these changes, as well as the need to maintain distance while waiting for elevators on the first floor of the Sharp Building, neither the Neiman Center nor the SAIC Ballroom may be used for events this fall. As the term continues, we will re-evaluate options for the spring.

Safety of Food Service Employees
The following measures have been put in place to help mitigate the risk to Food for Thought employees: 

  • Only food production team members are allowed in production areas;
  • Suppliers are required to wear face coverings and gloves for any delivery;
  • Food for Thought staff must properly wear protective face coverings and gloves, and change them throughout the day; and
  • Food for Thought staff are regularly wiping down surfaces in the kitchen, cafés, and seating areas.

To do your part, please continue to use your face covering and maintain physical distance while in the cafés, just as you would in other areas of campus.

For the latest updates, please visit saic.edu/makeready.

Sincerely,

Office of Student Affairs

 

AUGUST 24, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,
 
We're writing to share an important update on student workers for the fall semester. If budgets allow, departments may hire students who are physically present in the US to work over the fall term, beginning September 2 and ending December 21. Students may work from anywhere in the US or in-person based on the job responsibilities and will be paid at standard rates. These positions are open to either international or domestic students living anywhere in the US.

However, due to significant legal and tax implications, we are unable to employ domestic or international students who are abroad this semester, even if they are US citizens or international students with a valid visa. After thorough research, we found that employing students who reside abroad subjects the School and museum to new income and social tax reporting and payment requirements. Given the tax complexities of each individual country, we are unable to manage these requirements.

While we are unable to employ these students, we are committed to providing a tuition offset to international students living abroad who have already been offered TA positions as part of their admission package equal to the value of their TA job. We will also pay to fill these TA positions with students residing in the US for the fall semester. In addition, we will also provide tuition offsets to any other international undergraduate or graduate student living abroad who has already accepted student employment, as of August 21, for the 2020–21 academic year. New offers to students living abroad may not be extended.

We know this is a challenging time, and we are committed to supporting our students as best as we can this fall. Please email Student Payroll at studentpayroll@saic.edu if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Student Payroll

 

AUGUST 21, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,
 
We are writing to inform you of a positive case of COVID-19 among our community. The staff member was on campus in the 33 East Washington building yesterday, August 20. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Case Management Team has conducted contact tracing to establish the individual’s close contacts, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as those who were within six feet of the infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before the person began feeling sick or tested positive until the time they were isolated. If you have not received a call from SAIC’s Case Management Team, you were not identified as a close contact, and your risk to exposure is considered low.

SAIC’s Case Management Team treats information sensitively and consistent with applicable Illinois State, HIPAA, and FERPA laws. Due to the privacy of our community members, we are unable to share further details about the individual affected. As a reminder, please visit saic.edu/makeready for information about contact tracing, shared responsibilities, health guidance, and FAQs.

Thank you,

SAIC’s Case Management Team

 

AUGUST 20, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,
 
In less than two weeks, we’ll officially begin our fall term and continue to welcome many of our students, staff, and faculty back to campus. While we’ve taken a number of measures to prepare the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) campus, it is up to all of us to uphold our shared responsibilitiesBy September 2, all SAIC community members will be required to complete a mandatory virtual training. This is required even if you don't plan to be on campus this fall.

Next week, students will be emailed a link from Canvas, and staff and faculty will be emailed a link from Bridge to take this training course. At the end of the training, you will complete your Community Commitment. If you don’t receive an invitation, please reach out to saic-envsafety@saic.edu.

You will only need to take the training and make your Community Commitment once, but there are several things you should do daily before heading to campus. Read more about the expectations here.

Thank you for doing your part to help us mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Best,

Tom Buechele
Vice President for Campus Operations

 

AUGUST 14, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,
 
We invite you to join us for next week's Make Ready Forum:
 
Getting Ready to Teach
Thursday, August 20, 12:00 p.m. CT

Topics include: instructional and academic resources; online teaching support; and access to resources, including shops, the museum, and libraries
Please submit your questions by 5:00 p.m. CT on Monday, August 17, to saicinfo@saic.edu. We will also set aside time to answer any questions that you may have during the forum itself.

Submit Your Question

When it's time to attend the meeting:
 
Please Click Here to Participate
Password: SAIC820

You can also call in if you are unable to join by video:
Dial 312.626.6799 or 646.876.9923. Webinar ID: 968 0474 9989
International numbers are available here

We recommend joining the meeting five minutes prior to the start to ensure you are connecting properly. Having trouble connecting? Please try following these preparatory tips:

  • The Chrome browser works well with Zoom. You can download the latest version here.
  • Make sure you have the latest version of Zoom. If you're on a computer, check the updates for macOS and Windows. If you're on your phone, check the updates for iOS and Android. For tech questions, click here.
  • The interface will allow you to pose questions in writing during the meeting.

Thank you,

Tom Buechele
Vice President
Campus Operations

Dear Students,

We are writing to let you know that updated start and end times for fall courses have been entered into PeopleSoft. Please check your class schedule in PeopleSoft Self-Service, and make sure you review these updates to your class meeting times.

We were almost always able to make these adjustments without creating conflicts in students’ existing schedules, but with a very small number of late afternoon-start courses there were issues we could not resolve. Where scheduling overlaps exist, we will directly notify the small number of impacted students individually to help them find a solution.

All course- and schedule-related changes that we have made over the last several months have been driven by our commitment to continue necessary in-person instruction as much as possible, and as safely as possible, given the challenging circumstances of the fall. For example, all-day studio courses have been adjusted in one of two ways, depending on the curriculum of the course, size of the assigned room (if modified in-person), and number of students enrolled. In some of these courses, the meeting period has been extended from seven hours to eight. This reflects the inclusion of a two-hour lunch period, and makes it easier for groups of students to rotate into the classroom for half-day blocks. Other studio courses will now run in a five-hour block with a brief half-hour break. Your individual faculty will provide further details on how their class meeting times will be structured.

Finally, we must acknowledge that while all of the large-scale changes have been made, individual class adjustments are still happening. This is typical of late summer, as we monitor enrollment in courses and respond to the evolving needs of both students and faculty. Students should continue to check their SAIC email and individual schedules regularly during these last few weeks of summer. If you need assistance adjusting your schedule, undergraduates should please be in touch with their academic advisor or Academic Advising at 312.629.6800 or studenthelp@saic.edu. Undergraduates can also schedule an appointment directly with an advisor online through the SAIC Navigate app. Graduate students should be in touch with their department’s graduate coordinator.

We are excited to welcome you to campus very soon, whether you are in Chicago or joining us virtually from around the world.

Sincerely,

Shawn Michelle Smith
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Paul Jackson
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Dwayne Moser
Associate Dean of Graduate Studies​

 

AUGUST 12, 2020

Dear SAIC Staff and Central Admin,

While this upcoming academic year will be unlike any other, we are looking forward to returning to campus for the start of the fall semester. In an effort to de-densify our spaces, we will have fewer students, faculty, and staff on campus at any given time, and we know many of you will continue to work from home. No matter where you’re working, in the coming days you will receive details on mandatory training to understand your role in mitigating the spread of the disease, as well as other pertinent information on the shared responsibilities we all have to protect our health and the health of others.

In the meantime, we’ve received a received a number of inquiries regarding transportation, paid time off (PTO), and your presence on campus. This email seeks to answer questions you may have on those topics.

On Friday, August 21, we will host a town hall for all faculty and staff to discuss our return to campus and address your questions. We will share more details closer to the event, so keep your eye on your inbox for an update.

Sincerely,

Mike Nicolai
Chief Human Resources Officer
 
Your Presence on Campus
Departments that offer direct services to students, faculty, and staff will have a limited number of staff members on-site for a trial period through the add/drop deadline on September 15, after which presence on campus will be reassessed by your vice president or department head. In light of recent decisions made by Chicago Public Schools and other school districts to begin the school year fully online, we are re-opening the modified work arrangements request process. We will share more details soon.

Getting to/from Campus
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance for using transportation. No matter the mode of transportation, be diligent about practicing hand hygiene, social distancing, and wearing face coverings. Additionally, the CDC recommends that you bring sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Here you’ll find guidelines specific to each mode of transportation. For more details, visit the CDC’s website.

Parking
If you are visiting or will eventually be returning to work and teach on campus, the School is not in a position to cover parking fees; however, all faculty and staff are eligible to receive discounted parking at Millennium Garages, and those interested should contact payroll@artic.edu to complete the necessary forms. We also have an existing employee discount with SpotHero.

PTO Policies
These temporary policies provide guidance on how to manage time away from work in the event that you have been exposed to or have COVID-19 or are otherwise required to self-quarantine. You can find details about our standard PTO Policies here.
 
If you or someone in your home have tested positive for COVID-19
If you or someone in your home have tested positive for COVID-19, you are not permitted to return to campus. Please inform Director of Human Resources Benefits Irina Melnik at saic.covid.report@saic.edu and provide medical certification of the positive test. You will be placed on paid leave until you are permitted to return to work and will not be required to use PTO or Paid Sick Leave.

If you are exhibiting any of the symptoms of COVID-19
If you are exhibiting any of the symptoms of COVID-19, you are not permitted to return to campus. Please inform your supervisor as soon as possible. If you are on-site when the symptoms develop, you must immediately inform your supervisor and go home. You should contact your healthcare provider and arrange for a COVID-19 test. Please also inform Director of Human Resources Benefits Irina Melnik at saic.covid.report@saic.edu.

While you wait for your test results, and are not feeling well enough to work from home or working from home is not possible, you will be placed on paid leave and not required to use PTO or Paid Sick Leave until the test results come back. If your test results are positive, you must stay home until you are permitted to return to work. If your test results are negative, you may return to work consistent with CDC guidelines.

If you’ve been exposed
If you receive notification that you were exposed (as guided by the City of Chicago, State of Illinois, and CDC) to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, a 14-day self-quarantine will be required. Please inform Director of Human Resources Benefits Irina Melnik at saic.covid.report@saic.edu. You will be placed on paid leave for the duration of the self-quarantine period and will not be required to use PTO or Paid Sick Leave. You may be asked to work from home if your primary job duties allow you to do so.

If you’ve been exposed after personal travel
If you or someone in your home is required by the City of Chicago Emergency Travel Order, State of Illinois, or CDC guidelines to self-quarantine after personal international or domestic travel, a 14-day self-quarantine will be required. Please inform Director of Human Resources Benefits Irina Melnik at saic.covid.report@saic.edu. You will be asked to work from home if your primary job duties allow you to do so. If work from home is not possible, you will be required to use your available PTO or Paid Sick Leave.

All non-COVID-19 related illnesses
For all non-COVID-19 related illnesses, the Art Institute of Chicago’s regular PTO and paid medical leave policies apply.

Childcare and other caregiver needs during COVID-19 
If COVID-19 has caused a disruption to your childcare arrangements, such as school or daycare closure, or has impacted other caregiver arrangements, you may seek a modified work arrangement. If a modified work arrangement is unavailable or cannot accommodate childcare or other caregiver needs, staff may use Caregiver Leave and/or PTO.

If you have any questions on any of these policies, please email Human Resources at benefits@artic.edu.

Dear SAIC Community,

The global pandemic has caused a seismic shift in our routines and plans, and there is no doubt that when we return to School for the fall semester, learning, teaching, working, and living on campus will be different. Since most of us left campus in March, teams of faculty, staff, and students have been diligently working to prepare for our return while mitigating the risk of transmission through new processes, protocols, and physical changes to our classrooms, offices, and shops. 

We remain committed to preparing for a return to campus that pays careful attention to the health and safety of all members of our community. We are now in step two of our three-step return-to-campus plan, which has us developing and implementing department-specific protocols. We’ve contracted public health expert Dr. Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, FAPIC, to review the School’s plans and provide recommendations and guidance that inform every aspect of our policy decision-making process. We are committed to implementing all of Dr. Rebmann’s recommended changes.

This email provides more details on:

  • Expectations before you return to campus
  • Personal safety kits
  • What to expect when you arrive on campus
  • Traveling to campus

While things will look a bit different on SAIC’s campus, what will remain the same is the dedication of our faculty and staff in providing a world-class learning environment, including the support and resources needed, to help our students achieve their creative and academic goals. We look forward to seeing you in September.
 
Sincerely,
Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

Before You Return to Campus

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has taken a number of measures to mitigate the risk of infection, but it is critical that members of our community partner with us to uphold our shared responsibilities to protect the health of everyone in the community. Before you come to campus, you will be required to:

  • Make a community commitment to demonstrate respect for our community members by following all guidance provided. All students, faculty, staff, and visitors must follow the community commitment, which will be shared with you this week.
  • Monitor your health through a daily symptom checklist and daily temperature checks before you come to campus.
  • Observe social distancing while on campus, paying close attention to restrictions around capacity limits and following directions for queuing for elevators and cafés.
  • Participate in mandatory training to understand your role in mitigating the spread of the disease on our campus.

What You Can Expect

Health and Safety Measures In Place

  • SAIC is following all guidelines from the Chicago Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other local and national health authorities
  • Reduced density of students, faculty, and staff on campus
  • Face coverings required upon entry to all SAIC buildings and in public areas and shared spaces
  • All students, faculty, and staff will receive a starter pack of face masks
  • All students, faculty, and staff will receive thermometers to check their temperatures daily before coming to campus
  • All students, faculty, and staff will receive a COVID-19 symptom checklist to review daily before coming to campus
  • Plexiglass partitions have been installed at all points of entry, open offices, and labs where six feet of physical distance cannot be consistently maintained
  • Posted health, safety, and physical distancing signage in all classrooms, studios, instructional support spaces, and common areas
  • Created detailed plans for all lobbies to allow for distancing; wayfinding signage and stanchions in place for traffic flow
  • Drafted new floor plans for classrooms, lounge spaces, the Neiman Center, and SAIC Ballroom to allow for distancing
  • Number of people allowed in an elevator will be capped at four with floor markers directing riders
  • Created additional study spaces on campus to promote physical distancing
  • Added tents outside of the Columbus Drive building to be used for outdoor classes and meeting spaces
  • Increased housekeeping and sanitation in high-usage rooms and high-traffic spaces, and for frequently touched objects
  • Increased housekeeping and sanitation in spaces like restrooms, lobbies, elevators, and cafés throughout the day
  • During overnight hours all classrooms, studios, and common areas will be cleaned
  • Installed campus sanitation kits in all classrooms, common areas, and office cores
  • Cleaning protocols have been developed for each department
  • Upgraded HVAC filtration to filter out biological contaminants in buildings where we don’t already have either carbon or UV filtration systems
  • Increased the percentage of outside air brought into a building from 40 to 60 percent, where environmental conditions permit
  • All restrooms have direct ventilation to the outdoors, providing consistent fresh air and removal of contaminants
  • All spaces on campus have an air exchange of three to four times per hour. Air removed from campus spaces is filtered and mixed with outside air before being brought back into the building

Flexibility in Teaching, Learning, and Working

  • Two options for taking courses: modified in-person and all-online
  • Advisors will work with students to finalize a schedule that fits their needs
  • Remote working accommodations made for staff and faculty
  • Flexibility in remote teaching, learning, and working if you or a member of your household contracts the virus

New Policies to Mitigate the Risk on Our Campus

  • All nonessential travel sponsored by SAIC will continue to be suspended for all faculty, staff, and students
  • For now, all visitors, with the exception of essential personnel doing business on campus, will be unable to be on SAIC’s campus
  • Policies being developed to address staff paid time off
  • Policies being developed to outline protocol for positive cases on campus

Traveling to Campus

While we’re financially unable to support the parking or other travel fees for those who will be on campus, we want to make you aware that the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) recently launched its Ridership Information Dashboard. This tool is intended to help those taking CTA buses or trains better plan and avoid heavy ridership.

Dear SAIC Community,

As many of us head to campus in the coming weeks for the start of the fall semester, we want to share an update on health and care protocols and expectations for all of us as community members when we return.

Provost Berger shared this email earlier today outlining many of the changes, and I’m writing to you with more information on many of the items mentioned in his email:

  • Our shared responsibilities
  • Potential COVID-19 exposure
  • Protocols for contact tracing
  • Communications surrounding positive cases among our community members

Though this semester will look a bit different than in past years, we look forward to welcoming you back to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) for another academic year. As always, if you have any questions, please reach out at saicinfo@saic.edu and join us for our upcoming webinars. The next webinar will take place tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. CT and will feature public health expert Dr. Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, FAPIC.

Sincerely,

Tom Buechele
Vice President, Campus Operations
 
Our Shared Responsibilities
Whether you’re a student or member of the faculty or staff, we all have a role to play to help mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. You’ll be responsible for the actions below:

  • Complete a mandatory training course to enhance your understanding of expectations while on campus. You will receive a link to the course, sent to your SAIC email.
  • Make a community commitment to do your part to mitigate the spread. You will be asked to affirm your commitment at the end of your training course.
  • Check your symptoms with the daily symptom checklist and take your temperature before coming to campus each day.
  • Pick up your personal safety kit, which consists of the daily symptom checklist, five face masks, and a thermometer. Students living in the residence halls can pick up their kits upon arrival. For faculty, staff, and students living off-campus, there will be distribution tables in the Columbus Drive Building, Sharp Building, and the Maclean Center.

When on campus, all of us are expected to uphold our shared responsibilities. For the health and safety of our community, we must:

  • Monitor our health via the daily symptom checklist and stay home when necessary;
  • Maintain physical distance, paying close attention to restrictions around capacity limits and following directions for queuing for elevators and cafés;
  • Wear a face covering or mask over the nose and mouth while on campus;
  • Practice personal hygiene and frequent hand washing, and disinfect shared spaces;
  • Remain informed and stay up to date on information and resources shared by SAIC, and check saic.edu/makeready often for updates; and
  • Take care of one another by taking our shared responsibilities seriously to protect ourselves and our community members.

Below you’ll find a brief overview of health measures put in place to help mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Each of these practices are outlined in greater detail on saic.edu/makeready, so make sure to click on the links below for additional information.

SAIC is closely following the guidance issued by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other local and national health authorities. We are also implementing recommendations provided by Dr. Rebmann. Many of the key terms below, such as “contact tracing” and “quarantine,” are defined by the CDC, and we are using official terminology accepted by the CDC and other health authorities in our plans. At this link you’ll find the official definitions of key terms.

Potential COVID-19 Exposure
If you are notified by the SAIC Case Management Team or by Chicago Department of Public Health that you are a close contact—defined by the CDC as someone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before the person began feeling sick until the time they were isolated—of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, the Case Management Team will provide specific guidance. Generally, you should expect to quarantine yourself for 14 days from the date of last contact with the ill person and maintain physical distance from others at all times. Self-monitor for symptoms. Seek prompt medical evaluation if you develop fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

If you show signs or symptoms or are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19:

  • Students: Contact SAIC's Health Services at healthservices@saic.edu or 312.499.4288 and you will be directed to the nearest clinic for additional instructions.
  • Faculty and staff: Notify human resources at saic.covid.report@saic.edu and your primary care provider.

Following the most current guidance for contact tracing and quarantine and isolation, we will work with all members of the campus community who require testing.

More details can be found here. 
 
Protocols for Contact Tracing
Contact tracing is an important strategy to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing involves identifying people who have tested positive for COVID-19 (an infected person is known as a “case”) and those who have come into close contact with them, defined below by the CDC.

A close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before the person began feeling sick until the time they were isolated. Examples of close contacts may include roommates, those who have had physical contact (e.g., hugging, kissing), or those who have shared a long meal with an individual who tested positive. Examples of scenarios that would likely not lead to being a close contact include passing a positive case in the hallway or riding an elevator with them, being in a classroom with a positive case (as long as that classroom is applying physical distancing practices and everyone is wearing face coverings), and having a conversation for less than 15 minutes while wearing face coverings and standing or sitting more than six feet apart.

At the recommendation of the CDPH, SAIC’s Case Management Team will take the lead in conducting contact tracing for close contacts that occur between members of our community. SAIC will follow the contact tracing process set forth by CDPH for higher education institutions, requesting support as needed, and reporting to them all cases occurring among students, staff, and faculty. CDPH will conduct additional follow-up of close contacts outside of our community if necessary. SAIC’s Case Management Team treats information sensitively and consistent with applicable Illinois State, HIPAA, and FERPA laws. Below is the process for contact tracing. You can find more details here

Step 1: Interview positive case
When SAIC becomes aware of a positive case within the community, the individual is contacted by a member of SAIC’s Case Management Team to determine details, including their movements on campus and timeframe in which they were on campus. The contact tracer will work to determine anyone in the SAIC community who they have been in close contact with for two days prior to their first day of symptoms (or their test date for asymptomatic individuals) until they were isolated. Roommates will always be considered a close contact.

Step 2: Conduct outreach to close contacts
The contact tracer reaches out to all identified SAIC close contacts. During this call, the contact tracer will cover a set of standard information as determined by CDPH:

  • A basic health screening for COVID-19 symptoms or other COVID-19 risk factors
  • How to arrange for a COVID-19 test, if one is recommended
  • Required quarantine protocols and reporting documentation
  • Instructions for following up with the Wellness Center (if the close contact is a student) or a medical provider (if the close contact is faculty or staff)

Step 3: Inform CDPH
SAIC’s contact tracers will inform CDPH of all contact tracing efforts.
 
Communications Surrounding Positive Cases
All of us should operate with the knowledge that there are positive cases in Chicago and with the assumption that there are likely cases on campus; therefore, it is critical that members of our community who tested positive or who were notified by CDPH that they were a close contact notify SAIC immediately so we can identify others who may have been exposed. SAIC will inform students, faculty, and staff of positive cases:

  • Close contacts will be notified by the Case Management team.
  • After a positive case is reported to SAIC and SAIC’s Case Management Team identifies and notifies the people who were in close contact with them, a campus-wide notification will be sent out, noting the timeframe the individual was on campus and what facilities they visited. To protect the privacy of the individual and adhere to applicable Illinois State, HIPAA, and FERPA laws, their identity and other details about the person or their illness will not be shared.
  • We will also be adding a COVID-19 Case Tracker to the Make Ready site, which will be updated every Wednesday with confirmed cases among the SAIC community, including information on buildings impacted and when the individual was on campus. Because campus will be de-densified, many of our community members will be teaching, learning, and working remotely and will not be on campus. Those who receive a positive test and have not been on campus for more than 14 days will be noted separately in the tracker.

More details can be found here. 

 

AUGUST 10, 2020

Dear SAIC Faculty and Staff,

The City of Chicago has restricted access to the Loop and central business district in the evening and overnight hours. While our campus was closed today due to a lack of public transportation, for the remainder of the week through Friday, all buildings will be open to staff and faculty from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. 

As a reminder, faculty and staff may now have access to campus without an appointment to pick up necessary items for work and prepare for the fall semester. Here you'll find more details.

Sincerely,

John Pack
Executive Director, Campus Security

Dear SAIC Faculty,
 
As you’re preparing for the fall semester, please be sure to join us for Canvas workshops every weekday, 2:00–3:00 p.m., beginning today.
 
Every Monday through Friday
2:00–3:00 p.m. CT
Click here to join

Whether you're teaching a modified in-person or all-online course (or both), using the Canvas LMS platform will be an important component of your teaching this term. These workshops are intended to offer all faculty more information on critical tools to help you deliver curriculum through uncertainty or disruption and remain flexible in any teaching scenario you may encounter in the semester ahead.

In the first 30 minutes, we will cover topics that have been frequent requests from faculty teaching in the spring and summer terms. The rest of the time will be guided by the needs and questions from participants.

Topics will include:

  • Importing content from a previous course
  • Using Modules to organize course content
  • Uploading and recording video using Panopto
  • Canvas Zoom integration
  • Creating graded Discussions for students to share images and presentations
  • Scheduling student appointments
  • Making PDFs accessible and using Ally in Canvas
  • Taking attendance

Download the Zoom client in advance of your workshop.
 
Make sure you have the latest version of Zoom. If you're on a computer, check the updates for macOS and Windows. If you're on your phone, check the updates for iOS and Android. For tech questions, click here.

Thank you,

Todd Chilton
Director of Educational Technology Advancement and Instructional Design
Computer Resources and Information Technologies

Jill Lanza
Assistant Director of Educational Technology Advancement and Training
Computer Resources and Information Technologies

 

AUGUST 6, 2020

Dear SAIC Students,

As a result of discussions with Student Government and the Graduate Senate, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has decided to revise its audit policy for currently enrolled students whose spring 2020 semesters were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning in the spring 2021 semester, undergraduate students entering their second, third, or fourth years this fall and second-year graduate students may audit six credits worth of courses either during their enrollment or within two years of graduation.

There will be no charge for these audited courses, and eligible students will be allowed to audit both studio and academic courses. Additional details are shared below:

  • The ability to audit a given course is contingent on seat availability.
  • International students may audit courses after graduation while they are on Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  • Students do not get credit for audited courses, which means they do not fulfill graduation requirements.

The current audit policy will remain in place for the fall. If you have any questions about this shift, undergraduate students should reach out to their academic advisor and graduate students should contact their department’s graduate coordinator.

Best,

Dawn Gavin
Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Arnold J. Kemp
Dean of Graduate Studies

Dear SAIC Community,
 
We invite you to join us for next week's Make Ready Forum, which will feature a discussion with public health expert Dr. Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, FAPIC. The topics that will be covered include contact tracing, notifications, thresholds, and measures for moving classes online in order to further reduce campus density if needed.
 
Preparing for Cases on Campus
Thursday, August 13, 12:00 p.m. CT
Featuring public health expert Dr. Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Please submit your questions by 5:00 p.m. CT on Monday, August 10, to saicinfo@saic.edu. We will also set aside time to answer any questions that you may have during the forum itself.
Submit Your Question

When it's time to attend the meeting:
 
Please Click Here to Participate
Password: SAIC813

You can also call in if you are unable to join by video:
Dial 312.626.6799 or 646.876.9923. Webinar ID: 944 1625 1809
International numbers are available here.

Since we announced Dr. Rebmann’s partnership last month, we’ve received a few questions regarding her role in our planning process, which I’ve addressed below.

What is Dr. Rebmann’s expertise?
Dr. Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is board-certified in infection control and epidemiology and serves as the director of the Institute for Biosecurity at the Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice and a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She is a nurse researcher with an emphasis in infectious disease emergency preparedness.

What is Dr. Rebmann's scope of work?
Dr. Rebmann’s role is to serve as a consultant on our return-to-campus plans, reviewing our processes and protocols, advising on best practices, providing critical feedback, and keeping us abreast of what the scientific community knows about the pandemic.

What is Dr. Rebmann's role as a decision maker or changer of policy? What weight do her opinions and recommendations have, can she share candid feedback, and is the expectation that she should be suggesting specified, actionable plans for us to implement?
Dr. Rebmann is an independent consultant working with us several on critical areas of our Make Ready plan, as well as addressing new issues that arise. She is absolutely expected to provide her candid feedback, even if it is at odds with our initial thinking. We’ve contracted her to provide her expertise, and we’re closely following her guidance–we’ve begun implementing her recommendations, even adjusting course where need be, so that our planning continues to be rooted in science. While we’ve engaged her as an expert, and we are making sure our plans align with her recommendations, she does not set policy. The Campus Emergency Operations Planning group continues to set policies that will guide our return to campus.

Has Dr. Rebmann reviewed our plan?
We reviewed our Make Ready plans with her several times and implemented her recommendations on everything from daily symptom checks to new floor plans that allow for social distancing. She has consulted on every major policy decision before it has been made and will continue to help us further develop the plan.

How long will we be working with Dr. Rebmann?
Dr. Rebmann has been contracted to work with us at least until the end of the year. Closer to that time, we’ll determine if we need to continue working with Dr. Rebmann into the spring semester.

Thank you,

Tom Buechele
Vice President
Campus Operations

Dear SAIC Community,

We are looking forward to coming together, both in person and virtually, this fall semester. As outlined in Make Ready: SAIC’s Framework for Returning to Campus, one of the most important ways to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 is for all community members to commit to monitoring our health and reducing our exposure. In order for us to have a successful fall semester, we must all take an active role in these efforts, of which quarantine is an essential component.

I am writing today to provide information about the quarantine expectations for all students returning to campus this fall. These guidelines fall into two categories: 1. Expectations for students who live in areas that are mandated by federal and local health agencies to quarantine upon arrival in Chicago; and 2. Expectations for all other students who are strongly recommended, prior to coming to Chicago, to quarantine at home or in their off-campus apartment.

Regardless of where you will be living, all students enrolled in classes for the fall semester are required to inform the School of their quarantine plans by completing this form.

Quarantine Expectations Mandated by Federal and Local Health Agencies
Current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) requires students traveling from abroad or from states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Chicago. We recommend all students coming from these areas arrive in Chicago two weeks prior to their first class or by August 18. If a student is unable to arrive by this date and misses in-person class activity as a result, faculty will be prepared to work with them while they complete this required quarantine. This order applies to students who live both on- and off-campus. Individuals in quarantine should not leave their room/apartment for the entire 14-day quarantine period unless they need medical care. We recommend you review the guidance in the Chicago Emergency Travel Order so that you can best understand these requirements.

SAIC-Recommended Quarantine for All Other Students
We recommend that, prior to coming to Chicago, all students who are not coming from abroad or states that are included in the Chicago Emergency Travel Order quarantine at home or in their off-campus apartment. While this is not required by state and federal guidelines, this is one of the best ways for all of us to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Traveling Outside of Illinois During the Thanksgiving Break
All classes will be delivered online after the Thanksgiving break. However, campus facilities such as studios, shops, and residence halls will remain open until the end of the semester. Students who do not travel for the Thanksgiving holiday will have access to these facilities. Students who do travel outside of Illinois must quarantine for 14 days after arriving back in Chicago before they are allowed back on campus (students who live on campus can quarantine in their residence hall room).

Frequently Asked Questions
Please see below for a few of the most frequently asked questions. We will also have more FAQs on our website next week.

Webinar: Quarantine Questions
On Sunday, August 9, at 6:30 p.m. CT, SAIC will host a webinar devoted to quarantine requirements and resources. This will be especially useful for students who live on campus, as we will detail our procedures for the residence halls. We encourage you to submit questions ahead of time to stulife@saic.edu with the subject line Forum on Quarantine.

Click here to join the webinar.
Password: SAIC809
You can also call in if you're unable to join by video: Dial 312.626.6799 or 646.876.9923.
Webinar ID: 973 0624 5434
International numbers are available here.

Sincerely,

Debbie Martin
Dean of Student Life
 
What is a quarantine?
Quarantine separates people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 from others to prevent the transmission that occurs either before someone knows they are sick or if they are infected but do not have any symptoms.

Who is required to quarantine?
Students who are traveling from an international location or from a state that is experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Chicago. We recommend all students coming from these areas arrive in Chicago two weeks prior to their first class or by August 18. If a student is unable to arrive by this date and misses in-person class activity as a result, faculty will be prepared to work with them while they complete this required quarantine. This order applies to students who live both on- and off-campus.

We also recommend that, prior to coming to Chicago, all students who are not coming from abroad or states that are included in the Chicago Emergency Travel Order quarantine at home or in their off-campus apartment. While this is not required by state and federal guidelines, this is one of the best ways for all of us to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19.

What type of documentation of my quarantine will SAIC require?
All students enrolled in classes for the fall semester are required to inform the School of their quarantine plans by completing this form.

What if my state is added after I show up in Chicago?
The Chicago Emergency Travel Order is updated every Tuesday and goes into effect the following Friday. We are recommending that all students quarantine at their home prior to arriving in Chicago, even if they do not have to fulfill the required quarantine. If your state is added to the list after you arrive, you will not be required to quarantine.

I am a parent/family member. If I am from a state that requires quarantine, do I need to stay for 14 days after I drop off my student?
We encourage you to review the Chicago Emergency Travel Order. If you are dropping off your student, you are allowed to do so but should otherwise quarantine in your hotel or other residence while in Chicago. You should not go out to eat, visit stores, etc. You do not have to stay in Chicago for 14 days; you just need to make sure to quarantine for the entire time you are in Chicago if that is less than 14 days.

Can I quarantine with my family?
On-campus students can quarantine off-campus with a family member. Guests will not be allowed in any SAIC-provided quarantine spaces.

If I live on campus, will I quarantine in my residence hall room?
Residents will be able to quarantine in a residence hall room space at no additional cost. This could include your assigned residence hall room or a different residence hall room on campus. Students who live in double rooms will be assigned a single for the quarantine period. Because the Buckingham has private bedrooms, students who live in the Buckingham will quarantine in their own apartment.

Can I leave my room/apartment during quarantine?
If you are asked to quarantine, you should stay in your room or apartment—avoiding common areas of your building, including the hallway, elevators, and lounge spaces—until your quarantine period ends. If you live with others:

  • Stay in a separate room as much as possible;
  • Wear a face covering when in shared spaces;
  • Use separate materials to prepare food and eat;
  • Avoid spending too much time within close proximity (within six feet) of others in the space; and
  • Take extra care to practice good sanitation by wiping down surfaces, particularly in shared spaces like bathrooms and kitchens.

What if I need food or personal care items?
We recommend utilizing a grocery delivery service such as Amazon Fresh, Shipt, or Instacart. Many grocery stores or pharmacies will let you order directly from them for delivery as well. In the residence halls, we recommend ordering directly from Mariano’s (333 E. Benton Place) via Instacart, Target (1 S. State St.) via Shipt, or Jewel-Osco (550 N. State St.) direct from the store. Details for delivery windows for residence hall students will be available.

On-campus students also have the option to order lunch and/or dinner from SAIC’s cafes. More details will be provided at move-in.

How can I get to know other students during quarantine?
New Student Orientation will occur from August 10-31. We strongly encourage students to participate in all Orientation activities. The Office of Students Affairs has also planned a number of virtual programs which students will be notified about in the coming weeks.

 

AUGUST 5, 2020

You are receiving this message because you will have 90 or more credits completed by the start of the fall 2020 semester. This is the cutoff for senior status, and this message is being sent to all senior students to inform you of an important adjustment to your graduation requirements. We anticipate this change will make it easier for some of you to complete your remaining credits.

Waiving Off-Campus Requirement for Current Seniors 
As a result of the disruption to off-campus course options due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) will automatically waive any remaining off-campus credit requirements for all enrolled seniors (any student receiving this message). You do not need to take any further action to have this waiver applied to your degree audit. If you have already completed six credits in off-campus settings, this adjustment will have no direct impact.

Please note: All SAIC students are still required to complete 126 credits to complete a bachelor’s degree. All seniors benefiting from this waiver still need to complete all 126 credits in coursework as required by your degree (BFA, BAAH, BAVS, BFAAE, BFAW).

If you have questions about your degree progress or remaining requirements, please contact the Academic Advising office to arrange an appointment to speak with an academic advisor at studenthelp@saic.edu or 312.629.6800.

Sincerely,

Paul Jackson
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies

 

AUGUST 4, 2020

Dear Faculty,

As you prepare your courses for the fall semester, we wanted to share resources that will help in that planning. It is our intention to provide you with guidance, training, and ongoing support to ensure that you have both agency and assistance in delivering your course content in both modified in-person and fully online formats. The Fall 2020 Teaching Guide on Canvas has been developed by the Schedule and Curriculum Support (SCS) Team and its various subgroups to support you as you plan your curriculum for the new context of fall 2020. Additionally, throughout the month of August we will be hosting a series of faculty workshops and conversations on teaching and learning for the fall semester.

The first of these workshops will focus on Modular Course Structure, and will be held on Thursday, August 6, from 1:00–2:00 p.m. CT and again from 3:00–4:00 p.m. CT. Organizing your course content in Canvas with a modular structure promotes curricular flexibility as individual modules can interrelate and can be interchangeable in sequence. Both modified in-person and fully online courses can utilize a modular structure to enable flexibility in the mode of delivery, allowing for student absences due to illness, an unforeseen change, or the rapid transition of an in-person course to a fully online delivery if circumstances warrant.

The following week there will be two workshops on Accessibility and Accommodations on Thursday, August 13, from 12:30–1:30 p.m. CT and again from 4:00–5:00 p.m. CT. The Zoom links for these workshops can be found below and also in the Fall 2020 Teaching Guide. 

Here are some additional links to online training videos focusing on our Canvas learning management system. We encourage you to utilize Canvas extensively as you prepare to teach in the fall and if you are not already familiar with the platform, the following links are a great place to start: 

Intro to Canvas for Faculty
Advanced Canvas Training
Additional Canvas Resources
Additional workshops and conversations will focus on building community in an online course, principles of online teaching, conducting critiques online, assignment scheduling and workload considerations, evaluation of student engagement and learning, and strategies for asynchronous teaching, amongst other topics. Please review the Fall 2020 Teaching Guide for the most up-to-date information on these opportunities.

Faculty Workshop: Modular Course Structure
Thursday, August 6, 1:00–2:00 p.m. CT
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 913 2557 2887
Passcode: 299987

Faculty Workshop: Modular Course Structure
Thursday, August 6, 3:00–4:00 p.m. CT
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID:  951 1186 6399
Passcode: 29998

Faculty Workshop: Accessibility and Accommodations
Thursday, August 13, 12:30–1:30 p.m. CT
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 388 394 5785
Passcode: SAIC2020

Faculty Workshop: Accessibility and Accommodations
Thursday, August 13, 4:00–5:00 p.m. CT
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 388 394 5785
Passcode: SAIC2020
 
Sincerely,

Delinda Collier
Interim Dean of Graduate Studies

Dawn Gavin
Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Dwayne Moser
Associate Dean of Graduate Studies 

Workshops for Teaching and Learning Subgroup 

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past several weeks, we’ve received numerous requests from School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) staff and faculty inquiring about picking up items from offices and work spaces, and faculty have asked to begin class preparations. In order to accommodate these requests, we will allow faculty and staff to access campus beginning on August 3.

August 3: Staff and Faculty Access
Beginning August 3, faculty and staff may access campus without an appointment to pick up necessary items or work in their offices between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visitors and guests (including family members) are not allowed on campus at this time.

To access campus, staff should seek approval from their supervisor and faculty should coordinate with their department before coming to ensure campus density remains minimized.

Anyone returning to campus must first take safety training which outlines health, safety, and shared responsibility requirements. The training will highlight the importance of performing daily wellness and temperature checks and the expectations of those coming to campus. A link to take the training will be sent to all faculty and staff. Please familiarize yourself with Our Shared Responsibilities before your return.

Faculty and staff no longer need to schedule an appointment to visit SAIC, and can access campus buildings via their ARTICard. When possible, visits should be short in duration.

August 10: Faculty Preparation Access
In order for faculty to have ample time to prepare for their fall classes, they will be given more substantial access to campus beginning August 10.

Beginning August 10, faculty may reach out to instructional facilities such as the John M. Flaxman Library, media centers, Computer Resources and Information Technologies (CRIT), and the fabrication facilities for limited access.

  • To coordinate use in studio department facilities or fabrication facilities, please reach out to a relevant area assistant director.
  • While media centers and material source locations are closed, staff remain available for consultation on instructional resource needs. Contact Michelle Maynard at mmayna@saic.edu.
  • The John M. Flaxman Library and SAIC Special Collections remain closed physically, though staff continues to provide remote services, and the Flaxman Library will provide limited in-person access. More details are available here; please contact the Flaxman Reference Desk at  flaxman@saic.edu with questions or to schedule an appointment.
  • The CRIT Helpdesk will remain closed physically, though staff will be available for both remote and in-person consultations and support. For the latter, please contact the Helpdesk staff at crithd@saic.edu ahead of time and schedule an appointment.

Visitors and guests continue to be prohibited from campus.

Museum Access
The Art Institute of Chicago museum reopened yesterday, July 30, and faculty and staff can scan their ARTICards for access during normal business hours. They currently have capacity limits, and many of their enclosed gathering spaces, like study rooms, will be closed to external groups until conditions are safer. The revised museum hours are as follows:

Monday, 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Thursday–Friday, 1:00–8:00 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday, 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Member-only hours are:
Monday, 10:00–11:00 a.m.
Thursday–Friday, 12:00–1:00 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday, 10:00–11:00 a.m.

The museum is closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Additional information on what to expect when you visit the museum can be found here.

Traveling to Campus
If you are visiting or will eventually be returning to work and teach on campus, the School is not in a position to cover parking fees; however, all faculty and staff are eligible to receive discounted parking at Millennium Garages, and those interested should contact payroll@artic.edu to complete the necessary forms. Additionally, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) recently launched its Ridership Information Dashboard. This tool is intended to help those taking CTA buses or trains better plan and avoid heavy ridership.

Please note that we are still preparing for our return to campus this fall. 
Many of the measures we plan to have in place, such as signage and plexiglass partitions, are still in the process of being installed. We are also still developing our visitor policy, so visitors are not currently allowed in School buildings at this time. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Best,

John Pack
Executive Director of Campus Security

Dear SAIC Community,

We invite you to join us for next week's Make Ready Forum:

Our International Community, Travel, and Student Recruitment
Thursday, August 6, 12:00 p.m. CT

Topics will include obtaining visas for international students, recruiting students during the pandemic, and more

Please submit your questions by 5:00 p.m. CT on Monday, August 3, to saicinfo@saic.edu. We will also set aside time to answer any questions that you may have during the forum itself.
Submit Your Question Here.

When it's time to attend the meeting:
 Please Click Here to Participate
Password: SAIC806

You can also call in if you are unable to join by video:
Dial 312.626.6799 or 646.876.9923. Webinar ID: 937 4234 1520
International numbers are available here

We recommend joining the meeting five minutes prior to the start to ensure you are connecting properly. Having trouble connecting? Please try following these preparatory tips:

  • The Chrome browser works well with Zoom. You can download the latest version here.
  • Make sure you have the latest version of Zoom. If you're on a computer, check the updates for macOS and Windows. If you're on your phone, check the updates for iOS and Android. For tech questions, click here.
  • The interface will allow you to pose questions in writing during the meeting.

Thank you,

Tom Buechele
Vice President
Campus Operations

 

July 28, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,

Last Tuesday, we shared a video presentation from public health expert Dr. Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, FAPIC, detailing the current state of the pandemic and mitigation efforts to help stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. On Sunday afternoon, we were made aware of an issue with a slide intended to show contact spread. While the slide included six images of how the virus is spread via contact, two of those images–one of a person of Asian descent sneezing and then one of a white person becoming infected by touching their face–reinforce a dangerous stereotype of the cause and spread of the disease. 

Once we were made aware, we immediately removed the presentation from our website and informed Dr. Rebmann. She replaced the slide in her presentation and asked that we extend her deepest apologies to our community. The new presentation is now available here.

I am sharing these details with you because I want to take this opportunity to clearly state that this virus is no one’s fault. While this depiction on the slide was unintentional, it is critical that we reject stereotyping given the concerning rhetoric being used by some government officials. Please know that we remain committed to fostering a campus community free from discrimination, and have updated this presentation as part of this commitment. 

Sincerely,

Tom Buechele
Vice President for Campus Operations

 

July 24, 2020

Dear SAIC Students,
As shared in last Wednesday’s fall semester update, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) will deliver each of our fall courses in one of two ways—courses will be held in a modified in-person format or fully online. Over the past few months, individual departments and faculty have been diligently working to create an engaging academic experience this fall, regardless of modality and with strong consideration for the needs of our students. Today, thanks to the collective effort of hundreds of faculty and staff, we are pleased to share with you that updated course schedules are now available. PeopleSoft Self-Service and the course information on saic.edu now provide information on how each course will be delivered.

You can review your updated academic schedule; weigh it against your needs, preferences, and circumstances; and make any necessary adjustments. You can also now search for courses specifically based on how they will be delivered: “Modified In-Person” or “All-Online.” Academic advisors will have extended hours this weekend to help undergraduate students finalize their schedule. See below for details. Graduate students can reach out to their graduate coordinator, program director, or administrative director to make any needed schedule adjustments. 

One set of schedule changes is still to come: we will slightly stagger class start and end times to support necessary physical distancing in our elevators, campus cafés, and other transitional spaces. We are finalizing the details of the staggered times and determining how they will be distributed across courses. We will make sure these changes act in harmony with each other, and as a result, do not create conflicts within a student’s existing course schedule.

While we will do everything possible to limit changes to the schedule from here on, we are still managing typical late-summer adjustments. For example, if SAIC is notified that an instructor can no longer teach a course as scheduled, we will do our best to identify a new faculty member and avoid having to cancel a fully enrolled course. Enrolled students will be notified of any such changes as quickly as possible, so they can review and update their own plans accordingly.

We have prepared this frequently asked questions document to help you review the updates to your courses and the schedule as a whole. Below, you’ll find further information to assist you in identifying the fall semester courses that best meet your needs and additional resources to help you finalize your plans. 

There is much to look forward to in the fall semester at SAIC, and we are all excited to see the intensive planning of this summer give way to teaching, learning, making, and studying together when classes begin on September 2.

Sincerely,

Shawn Michelle Smith
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Arnold J. Kemp
Dean of Graduate Studies

Dawn Gavin
Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Frequently Asked Questions
Academic Advising has prepared a list of common questions and answers that they’ve heard in their recent conversations with students. This document also includes screenshot instructions for using PeopleSoft Self-Service to identify how a course will be delivered and how students may search for courses by method of delivery.
 

Academic Advising Extended Hours
SAIC’s academic advisors are ready to help undergraduate students review their needs and options. To schedule an appointment, please email your academic advisor or call their office at 312.629.6800. Academic Advising also sent an email on Wednesday, July 22, with a link to schedule an appointment online. Advisors are available for phone and online appointments Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. CT with extended hours this weekend:

  • Friday, July 24: 8:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m. CT
  • Saturday, July 25: 12:00–8:00 p.m. CT
  • Sunday, July 26: 12:00–8:00 p.m. CT

Registrar and Student Financial Services Extended Hours
The Registrar’s office and Student Financial Services will have extended hours this weekend.

  • SAIC’s Registrar’s office is available at the following times. The Registrar’s Office can be reached by calling 312.629.6700.
    • Friday, July 24: 8:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m. CT
    • Saturday, July 25: 12:00–6:00 p.m. CT
    • Sunday, July 26: 12:00–6:00 p.m. CT
  • The Student Financial Services Office can be reached via online chat during the following times:
    • Friday, July 24: 8:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m. CT
    • Saturday, July 25, and Sunday, July 26: 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. CT  

Reminder: Quarantine Requirements
Current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires students coming from international locations to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the US. The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has ordered that individuals coming from states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Chicago. Please check this list to see if your state is impacted. The list is updated frequently.

SAIC is continuing to closely monitor guidance from the CDC and CDPH, and we will work with faculty to ensure they are able to assist students unable to arrive for in-person classes on time because of a required quarantine. Depending on how many students in a class are impacted, faculty may work with them one-on-one to catch up or opt to hold some class activity online early in the semester so all students can engage as a group.

Further Details Will Come from Individual Faculty and Departments
Faculty and departments continue to finalize critical details about course activities, working within the framework of Make Ready. We have strongly encouraged faculty to be in touch with enrolled students this summer to share more specific information on their plans and expectations for the fall, and we expect a great many will be in touch over the next few weeks to provide you with further detail on what you can look forward to in your classes this term. If you have any concerns about access to technology potentially impacting your ability to participate in your courses, please contact your faculty members.

Some faculty may not be in a position to correspond with students over the summer, but SAIC will ask faculty to share their completed syllabus with students no later than September 2, the first day of the semester.

In-Person Attendance Expectations
The attendance policy and related expectations have undergone significant revisions due to the global pandemic. The full policy will be shared as a part of the Student Handbook and SAIC Bulletin and covered during New Student Orientation events.

We do want to share one crucial component of the updated policy with you as you evaluate your course options: any absence from in-person class activity due to illness, any symptoms of illness, or precautionary self-quarantine will be excused. This means that students will not face academic penalty for such absences, and instead, faculty will provide students with alternative work or ways to engage with the class while they are out.

Thanksgiving and Beyond 
The 2020 fall semester begins on Wednesday, September 2, and ends on Monday, December 21. All in-person instruction will conclude by the Thanksgiving holiday (November 25–29) and will resume online for the remainder of the semester. We will allow students to remain on campus, where facilities and resources will be available, through the end of the fall term only if they choose not to travel out of state for the holiday. 

Students should expect all courses to include some level of online/out-of-class work throughout the term, and virtually all classes will conclude with online sessions. As usual, students can expect the final weeks of their courses to focus on bringing essential resolution to the semester’s activity, and such activities may include the presentation of culminating projects or participation in virtual critiques, among many other possibilities. Your course syllabi will provide you with the exact meeting and activity structure the class will follow leading up to and after the Thanksgiving Break.

Virtual Critique Week
The semester will conclude with a virtual Critique Week for graduate students, beginning on Tuesday, December 15, and concluding on Monday, December 21. Only the courses which typically meet during Critique Week (Contemporary Practices, First-Year Seminar (English), Art History Surveys, English for International Students and Academic Access Program courses) will have their final sessions during this week. All other courses will hold their last sessions the previous week, December 8–14, although final assignments may be due the week of December 15–21.

Resources Are Available
Resources are available to assist students who do not have access to technology or internet access that will be necessary for engaging in online course activity. Through the Student Emergency Relief Fund, SAIC is able to provide financial assistance for students affected by the COVID-19 health crisis and/or recent protests and governmental response. Additionally, on July 7, SAIC received notification from the Department of Education that our Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant application was approved for funding, and we will begin awarding these grants immediately. Please find more details here.  

Dear SAIC Students and Parents,

International Affairs received an important update from the US Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement today, July 24, about online study for international students for fall 2020. They released this document with clarifying guidance.

We are currently reviewing the document to provide more details for students and their families, and will send a more comprehensive email to international students early next week with how the newly released information will apply to new and continuing students. We are also holding a webinar on Friday, July 31, from 5:00-6:00 p.m. CT, to provide information about travel and visa services and address common questions we've received from students and parents about studying in the US this fall. During this webinar, we will address this guidance. 

This webinar will be recorded for those unable to attend and will be closed captioned. To view previous webinars, click here.

Please submit any questions to intaff@saic.edu so we can address them during the webinar. We will also set aside time to answer any questions that you may have during the webinar itself. Any questions not answered during the webinar will be reviewed and answered on our website

When it’s time to attend the meeting:
 
Please Click Here to Participate
Password: SAIC731

You can also call in if you are unable to join by video:
Dial 312.626.6799 or 646.876.9923. Webinar ID: 961 5531 8295
International numbers are available here

We recommend joining the meeting five minutes prior to the start to ensure you are connecting properly. Having trouble connecting? Please try following these preparatory tips:

  • The Chrome browser works well with Zoom. You can download the latest version here.
  • Make sure you have the latest version of Zoom. If you're on a computer, check the updates for macOS and Windows. If you're on your phone, check the updates for iOS and Android. For tech questions, click here.

The interface will allow you to pose questions in writing during the meeting; however, you are also encouraged to send questions in advance by writing to intaff@saic.edu.
Thank you,

Lawrence Rodriguez
Director of International Affairs

 

JULY 21, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,

The Make Ready Advisory Group was formed to represent the perspectives of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) students, faculty, and staff. We are committed to ensuring that our community feels supported and our collective concerns heard and addressed during this unprecedented moment. As an advisory group to Campus Emergency Operations Planning leadership, we will be meeting with the Make Ready Support Teams, and in the coming weeks, we will moderate a series of Make Ready forums that touch on what we learn and share ideas generated by the larger community.

Beginning this Thursday, July 23, please join us for the forums listed below. If you have questions that you would like addressed, please submit them to saicinfo@saic.edu by 5:00 p.m. CT on the Monday of each week. Please note that all forums will be hosted at 12:00 p.m. CT with the exception of this week’s forum, which will be held at 11:00 a.m. CT so that public health expert Dr. Terri Rebmann can join us and answer your questions.

We hope to see you at an upcoming Make Ready forum.

Sincerely,

Make Ready Advisory Group
 
July 23, 11:00 a.m. CT
A Discussion on Health Measures for Returning to Campus

A conversation with public health expert Dr. Rebmann 
Topics include: health screenings, contact tracing, face coverings, social distancing, and concerns for our most vulnerable BIPOC colleagues

July 30, 12:00 p.m. CT
What Students Can Expect When They Return to Campus

Topics include: quarantine, housing, food service, access to facilities, and more

August 6, 12:00 p.m. CT
Our International Community, Travel, and Student Recruitment

Topics include: obtaining visas for international students, recruiting students during the pandemic, and more

August 13, 12:00 p.m. CT
Planning for Cases on Campus

Topics include: contact tracing, notifications, thresholds, and measures for moving classes online in order to further reduce campus density if needed

August 20, 12:00 p.m. CT
Getting Ready to Teach

Topics include: instructional and academic resources; online teaching support; and access to resources including shops, the museum, and libraries

August 27, 12:00 p.m. CT
Planning for the Spring Semester and the Following Academic Year

Topics include: planning for spring learning and beyond

Dear SAIC Community,

On Thursday, July 23, from 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. CT, the Make Ready Advisory Group will host a forum with public health expert Dr. Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, FAPIC, addressing some of the most pressing issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Rebmann will answer questions from the community and the Make Ready Advisory Group. Closed captioning will be available. If you are unable to attend, a link to the recording will be posted on saic.edu/makeready

Prior to the town hall, please review Dr. Rebmann’s video presentation for an overview of the current state of the pandemic and mitigation efforts.

 

 

 

When it's time to attend the meeting:
 
Please Click Here to Participate
Password: SAIC723

You can also call in if you are unable to join by video:
Dial 312.626.6799 or 646.876.9923. Webinar ID: 937 8707 5476
International numbers are available here
 
Please submit your questions by 12:00 p.m. CT on Wednesday, July 22. We will also set aside time to answer any questions that you may have during the forum itself.

Submit your question here.

We recommend joining the meeting five minutes prior to the start to ensure you are connecting properly. Having trouble connecting? Please try following these preparatory tips:

  • The Chrome browser works well with Zoom. You can download the latest version here.
  • Make sure you have the latest version of Zoom. If you're on a computer, check the updates for macOS and Windows. If you're on your phone, check the updates for iOS and Android. For tech questions, click here.
  • The interface will allow you to pose questions in writing during the meeting; however, you are also encouraged to send questions in advance by writing to saicinfo@saic.edu

Thank you,

Tom Buechele
Vice President
Campus Operations

 

JULY 17, 2020

Dear Students,

As Provost Martin Berger and Vice President of Finance Brian Esker announced on July 10, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) received notification from the Department of Education that our Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant application was approved for funding. We want to share details on the application and distribution process.

The CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide grants to eligible students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Students must be eligible for federal funding (must have filed a FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid) in order to qualify for CARES Act grants.

The CARES Act identifies eligible expenses as those for food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, or childcare. Receipts or other documentation of expenses incurred are not required to complete the application.

The School plans to award CARES Act grants through the existing application for the Student Emergency Relief Fund.

Funding decisions will prioritize students with the greatest need. Students not eligible for CARES funding, and who have not previously received emergency support from the School, remain eligible to apply to the School’s Student Emergency Relief Fund.

CARES Act Funds Application
Students applying for CARES Act funds must submit their applications by Friday, August 7. Eligible students who apply in July will receive a CARES distribution in the amount of $300 soon after their application is submitted. We will endeavor to distribute these funds as quickly as possible.

Once the application due date passes, and we get a clear sense of both the total number of applications submitted and overall student need, we will make additional distributions. Those students who receive the initial $300 will remain eligible for additional funding, contingent on their level of need.

By mid-August, we will make final distributions to students who submitted applications closer to the August 7 due date, and who have yet to receive any funding. In the event funds remain, students who received an initial $300 and have a greater need may receive additional funds. Our second round of funding will ensure that we distribute the entire allotment received from the federal government for student support to eligible applicants. All distributions will be processed through eRefund.

Best,

Student Financial Services

Dear SAIC Community,

Please mark your calendars and join us for a town hall with public health expert Dr. Terri Rebmann:
 
Town Hall
Thursday, July 23, 11:00 a.m. CT

Dr. Rebmann will answer questions from the community and the Make Ready Advisory Group. Closed captioning will be available. If you are unable to attend, a link to the recording will be posted on saic.edu/makeready. More details on how to join the town hall will be shared next week.

Prior to the town hall, we will share a video presentation from Dr. Rebmann addressing some of the most pressing issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A link to the video presentation will also be available on saic.edu/makeready. 

Board-certified in infection control and epidemiology, Dr. Rebmann is reviewing the School's plans, and she has been providing recommendations and guidance that is informing our policy decision-making process. Working alongside faculty and staff, Dr. Rebmann will advise on contact tracing, testing, reporting protocols for positive cases, and more, and will assist the School in following best practices that meet or exceed guidance from the Chicago Department of Public Health and other local and national health authorities. The School is committed to implementing all of the changes to our health and safety plan that she recommends.

Sincerely,

Tom Buechele
Vice President for Campus Operations

 

JULY 16, 2020

Dear Faculty,

Over the past several months, members of the Schedule and Curriculum Support team have been working tirelessly alongside members of Faculty Senate, department chairs, and many volunteer faculty to prepare for the challenges of the fall 2020 semester. Today I write to share a new set of resources developed by your colleagues that we hope will help you continue the crucial work of preparing your courses.

These resources will exist as a section of the larger Faculty Portal in Canvas. As a body of information and guidance, they seek to help you prepare curriculum that is both flexible and resilient, whether online or in person. What you’ll find here builds on everything we have learned through hard-won experience teaching through crisis and disruption during the spring 2020 and summer 2020 terms.

Click here for a direct link to the Fall 2020 Teaching Guide.

In the Teaching Guide, you will find the following items of note: 

  • Q&A Regarding Contact Time in Online and Hybrid Courses
  • Modular Course Planning Guide
  • A New Engagement, Participation, and Attendance Policy
  • Designing Course Materials for Accessibility
  • Practices All SAIC Faculty Should Adopt While Teaching Online
  • Strategies for Online Instruction at SAIC
  • Off-Campus Course Activity Policy for Fall 2020

The Fall 2020 Teaching Guide is intended to be a living document, and we will continue to update these materials and add new ones where needed. In particular, a modified version of the traditional syllabus recommendations message will be added to the Teaching Guide in the weeks to come.

Thank you for the creativity and passion you have shown again and again throughout this year. We have enormous confidence in your collective abilities to meet this next moment and share your expertise with our students, whether in a socially distanced classroom or from around the world.

Sincerely,

Shawn Michelle Smith
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Arnold J. Kemp
Dean of Graduate Studies

Dawn Gavin
Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Dwayne Moser
Associate Dean of Graduate Studies

Paul Jackson
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies

 

JULY 15, 2020 

Dear Students and Families, 

Thank you for your patience as we have worked through plans to provide you with a variety of choices to launch your education with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Those qualities that made you realize that we were the right fit for you are the exact strengths that we have built upon to provide you with options to join our vibrant learning community in the fall. 

On September 2, SAIC will return to on-campus teaching and learning with modified in-person classes, as well as fully online classes. The new academic calendar, which includes staggered class start times to reduce on-campus density, will continue through Thanksgiving Break, after which time classes will resume online for the remainder of the semester. 

As you would expect, all decisions we have made and continue to make will be rooted in our commitments to our SAIC community, including planning for a return to campus that pays careful attention to the health and safety of all our members. 

Below are some of the details of the plan for this Fall which will cover:

We understand that this update provides a great deal of information, and you are likely to have many questions. In addition to contacting us at ugadmiss@saic.edu or 312.629.6100 , join us for an online information session: 

New Undergraduate Students & Parents 
Jul 20, 2020 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada) 
Register in advance for this webinar: 
REGISTER HERE 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

CLASSES 

Whether in-person, online, or a combination of both, we have options to ensure that all students–including those who are unable to be on campus for any reason–can participate in courses and make progress toward their academic goals. All fall 2020 courses will proceed in one of two formats, and course information on the web and in Self-Service will be updated to reflect which format they will use:
Modified In-Person Courses
These courses will include in-person activity and reflect SAIC's commitment to on-campus instruction while adjusting class experiences to promote the health and well-being of our community. Many modified in-person courses will be “hybrid” courses, requiring in-person, on-campus elements, as well as online elements. Modified in-person courses will make up the majority of classes SAIC offers in the fall 2020 semester and will:

  • Focus time spent on campus toward giving students opportunities to use SAIC's tools, shops, and other campus-based physical resources
  • Schedule students to rotate when they work on campus or remotely to help de-densify campus
  • Include synchronous and asynchronous online activities to augment in-person instruction, such as lectures, demonstrations, critiques, and assignments
  • May have slightly modified start and end times to allow for social distancing, reduced elevator capacities, and traffic
  • Have an online curriculum prepared in advance for students in the event of illness, quarantine, or campus closure
  • Require regular access to a computer and a high-speed internet connection

Fully Online Courses
These courses will not include any in-person activity on our campus or elsewhere and will draw on SAIC’s versatile curriculum, faculty expertise, and technology resources to put forward digital learning experiences that take full advantage of the online format. Fully online courses ensure that all students, whether they are on campus or not, have the opportunity to continue making, learning, and progressing toward their degree. These courses are also available to any student interested in taking some online courses to complement others they’ll take in-person. Fully online courses will:

  • Allow students to take a course from anywhere, provided the student can engage in the asynchronous and synchronous requirements of the course
  • Likely include synchronous participation via videoconferencing during the scheduled hours of the course
  • Emphasize direct interaction between students and faculty online. Students should expect to connect with their instructor weekly throughout the course
  • Seek to use materials that students are more likely to have at home or are more easily acquired
  • Focus on making that is more suited to home and non-campus environments
  • Require regular access to a computer and a high-speed internet connection

International students choosing to enroll fully online may do so from their home country, and no F-1 visa is required to choose this option. Should you wish to join us on campus for the spring semester, you should request a new I-20 and apply for a visa this fall in order to be on campus when classes are currently scheduled to start in January. Contact our International Affairs office at intaff@saic.edu with any questions you may have.

Details for all existing fall courses will be posted on the web or in Self-Service by July 24. The flexibility of our options allows you to study with a full-time course load, or choose to take fewer classes. Regardless of the decision you and your family are most comfortable making, we will work with you to discuss your plans and review your schedule. Your admission counselor will be reaching out to you in the coming days to set up an appointment to assist you with this process.

ACADEMIC CALENDAR DETAILS 

The 2020-21 fall semester begins on Wednesday, September 2, and ends on Monday, December 21. All in-person instruction will conclude by the Thanksgiving holiday (November 25–29), and will resume online for the remainder of the semester. We will allow students to remain on campus with access to facilities and resources through the end of the fall term only if they choose not to travel out of state for the holiday. 

Current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires students coming from abroad to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the US. The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has ordered that individuals coming from states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Chicago. Please note, travel restrictions may be updated, so as you’re planning your return to campus, please check the CDC and CDPH websites for guidance. If you are coming from areas from which you will be required to quarantine, we recommend you arrive in Chicago two weeks prior to your first class or by August 18. If a student is unable to arrive by this date and will miss in-person class activity as a result, faculty will be flexible with them while they complete this required quarantine. 

Below is the academic calendar for fall 2020.

  • September 2: Fall semester begins
  • September 7: Labor Day (no classes)
  • November 3: Last day to withdraw from a fall semester class
  • November 24: Last day of in-person course activity
  • November 25–29: Thanksgiving Break (no classes)
  • November 30: All courses resume online
  • December 21: Fall semester ends

STUDENT FINANCIAL RESOURCES 

Whether you choose to return to campus or study exclusively online, you remain eligible for merit scholarship and financial aid packages. Any change in the number of courses you take, however, may impact your award, and you should contact Student Financial Services for a new estimated financial aid package. 

In order to accommodate the time needed to make decisions and modify schedules, we have adjusted dates related to charges, billing and payment plans as follows:

  • August 3: Fall 2020 Tuition Charges will be available to view in Self-Service
  • August 5: Housing Charges will be applied to student accounts
  • August 6: Fall bills will be processed for mailing and available online through CASHNet
  • August 28: Deadline to enroll in a fall 2020 payment plan or pay in full for fall charges

As always, we are here to meet with students and families to work through this process with you, and you can contact us at saic.sfs@saic.edu

We are committed to providing the robust art and design education you’ve come to expect from SAIC, regardless of modality, and there will be no adjustment to our tuition rate based on the modality you choose.
 

CAMPUS FACILITIES, HEALTH AND SAFETY 

SAIC has made significant strides in preparing our campus for your return, including thorough measures that promote physical distancing, modifying housekeeping efforts to provide increased attention to high-traffic areas, and improving air quality in campus buildings by upgrading HVAC filtration. 

Illinois moved into phase four of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, but with states across the US experiencing new surges in COVID-19 cases, we know this is a fluid situation. As our teams develop the many details required for our return to campus, they will keep in mind the need for flexibility, knowing that the global pandemic presents ever-evolving challenges that will necessitate ongoing adjustments, which may include closing campus for in-person teaching and learning. We will continue to closely follow the guidance of public health authorities and provide frequent updates to the campus community. 

We have also engaged an outside public health expert, Dr. Terri Rebmann, to help us in our planning. Working alongside faculty and staff, Dr. Rebmann will advise on contact tracing, testing, reporting protocols for positive cases, and more, and will assist the School in following best practices that meet or exceed guidance from the city, state, and federal health authorities. As we collaborate with Dr. Rebmann and finalize details of our return-to-campus plans, we will make any needed adjustments, formalize new processes, and clearly communicate details to our community. 

During this unprecedented time, we must be conscious of how our actions impact one another. It is critical that all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to campus uphold the shared responsibilities outlined in Make Ready: A Framework for Returning to SAIC’s Campus to protect their health and the health of others.

ON-CAMPUS HOUSING AND DINING 

Living in our residence halls is an important way for students to build community at the School. We have made many changes to reduce the risk of spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19):

  • De-densifying residence halls to allow for social distance. We will continue to offer single and double rooms in Jones Hall and the 162 North State Street Residences and private bedrooms in shared apartments in the Buckingham, but we have eliminated triple rooms in the 162 North State Street Residences and shared bedrooms in the Buckingham. All common areas will have reduced occupancy in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines, and some common areas may also remain closed.
  • Enhancing cleaning. Housekeeping staff will prioritize sanitizing high-traffic areas, such as elevators, common areas, and public restrooms throughout the day.
  • Reimagining dining. A number of changes will be implemented in our cafes, including removing self-service items (such as buffet items) and increasing grab-and-go options; introducing online/remote ordering with separate pickup locations; limiting seating; and changing traffic flow to accommodate social distancing.
  • Creating spaces for students requiring self-isolation and quarantine. We have designated rooms on campus to use if a residential student needs to self-isolate or quarantine. If a student becomes ill, SAIC will work with the CDPH to support their contact tracing efforts, the details of which will be communicated prior to the start of the semester. Students will be expected to comply with all self-isolation or quarantine guidelines.
  • Following public health guidance during move-in and throughout the semester. We will follow the guidance of public health experts to determine testing and quarantine requirements upon arrival and throughout the school year. Current guidance from the CDC requires students coming from abroad to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the US. The CDPH has also ordered that individuals coming from states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to Chicago.
  • Limiting guests. Like most colleges and universities, SAIC will limit guests and visitors in the residence halls throughout the fall semester.
  • Requiring face coverings. Students, faculty, and staff will be required to wear face coverings upon entry to all SAIC buildings, public areas, and shared spaces, including in classrooms and all common areas of our residence halls. Students do not have to wear face coverings in their individual rooms unless someone who does not live in that room is present.

SAIC will continue to implement new measures and guidance in the weeks ahead. We will keep you updated with details as they are confirmed, so continue to watch for regular emails. As always, please reach out to us at 1.312.629.6100 or ugadmiss@saic.edu with your questions and concerns. 

Finally, thank you again for your support during this challenging time. We are unwavering in our belief that the innovative way we educate emerging makers and thinkers, provide access to the unparalleled expertise of our faculty, and rise to challenges -- turning them into creative opportunities--make us the best place for you to thrive as an artist, designer, and scholar.
Best wishes, 

Rose Milkowski 
Vice President of Enrollment Management 
School of the Art Institute of Chicago​

Dear SAIC Community,

On June 22, we shared our Make Ready framework, which outlined our guidelines and responsibilities for returning to campus this fall. More than 100 School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) faculty, staff, and students continue to work on finalizing plans for our return. While we’ve made a lot of progress, there remain questions to be answered, so we promise you additional updates in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we are writing today to share the September start date and other important updates regarding the fall semester, including:

  • Classes
  • Academic Calendar
  • Modified Class Meeting Times
  • Student Financial Resources
  • Campus Facilities
  • On-Campus Housing and Dining
  • Remote Working for Staff

On September 2, SAIC will return to on-campus teaching and learning with modified in-person classes—those that may take place both in-person and online—as well as fully online classes. The new academic calendar, which includes staggered class start times to reduce on-campus density, will go through Thanksgiving Break, after which point classes will resume for the remainder of the semester online.

Details for all existing fall courses will be updated in PeopleSoft and on the web by July 24. These updates will include detailed information on how each course will proceed, whether modified in-person or fully online. That same day, students will also receive instructions for looking up how the courses for which they are enrolled will run and how to search for courses on the basis of their delivery format. Academic advisors will be available to assist as you review your classes and make any necessary adjustments, and the Academic Advising office will offer extended hours and weekend appointment options over the weekend of July 25–26.

All decisions will continue to be rooted in the commitments that we made to our community, including planning for a return to campus that pays careful attention to the health and safety of all our members. We have engaged an outside public health expert, Dr. Terri Rebmann, to help us in our planning. Working alongside faculty and staff, Dr. Rebmann will advise on contact tracing, testing, reporting protocols for positive cases, and more, and will assist the School in following best practices that meet or exceed guidance from the city, state, and federal health authorities. As we collaborate with Dr. Rebmann and finalize details of our return-to-campus plans, we will make any needed adjustments, formalize new processes, and clearly communicate details to our community.

While this update provides a great deal of information about some of your more pressing concerns, SAIC will continue to implement new measures and guidance in the weeks ahead. We will keep you updated with details as they are confirmed, so continue to watch for regular emails. As always, if you have questions or suggestions, please send them to saicinfo@saic.edu.

Sincerely,

Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

Shawn Michelle Smith
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Arnold J. Kemp
Dean of Graduate Studies

Dawn Gavin
Dean of Undergraduate Studies
 
Classes
Whether modified in-person or online, we have options to ensure that all students—including those who are unable to be on campus for any reason—can participate in courses and make progress toward their academic goals. All fall 2020 courses will proceed in one of two formats, and course information in PeopleSoft and on the web will be updated by July 24 to reflect which format they will use: 
 
Modified In-Person Courses
These courses will include in-person activity and reflect SAIC’s commitment to on-campus instruction while adjusting class experiences to promote the health and well-being of our community. Many modified in-person courses will be “hybrid” courses, requiring in-person, on-campus elements, as well as online elements. Modified in-person courses will:

  • Focus time spent on campus toward giving students opportunities to use SAIC's tools, shops, and other campus-based physical resources
  • Schedule students to rotate when they work on campus or remotely to help de-densify campus
  • Include synchronous and asynchronous online activities to augment in-person instruction, such as lectures, demonstrations, critiques, and assignments
  • May have slightly modified start and end times to allow for social distancing, reduced elevator capacities, and traffic
  • Have an online curriculum prepared in advance for students in the event of illness, quarantine, or campus closure
  • Require regular access to a computer and a high-speed internet connection

Modified in-person courses will make up the majority of courses SAIC offers in the fall 2020 semester.

Fully Online Courses
These all-online courses will not include any in-person activity on our campus or elsewhere and will draw on SAIC’s versatile curriculum, faculty expertise, and technology resources to put forward digital learning experiences that take full advantage of the online format. All-online courses ensure that all students, whether they are on campus or not, have the opportunity to continue making, learning, and progressing toward their degree. These courses are also available to any student interested in taking some online courses to complement others they’ll take in-person. All-online courses will:

  • Allow students to take a course from anywhere, provided the student can engage in the asynchronous and synchronous requirements of the course
  • Likely include synchronous participation via video conferencing during the scheduled hours of the course
  • Emphasize direct interaction between students and faculty online. Students should expect to connect with their instructor weekly throughout the course
  • Seek to use materials that students are more likely to have at home or are more easily acquired
  • Focus on making that is more suited to home and non-campus environments
  • Require regular access to a computer and a high-speed internet connection

More flexible attendance policies are being finalized and will be shared at a later date.

Academic Calendar
The 2020–21 fall semester begins on Wednesday, September 2, and ends on Monday, December 21. All in-person instruction will conclude by the Thanksgiving holiday (November 25–29) and will resume online for the remainder of the semester. We will allow students to remain on campus, where facilities and resources will be available, through the end of the fall term only if they choose not to travel out of state for the holiday.

Current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires students coming from abroad to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the US. The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has ordered that individuals coming from states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Chicago. Please note, travel restrictions may be updated, so as you’re planning your return to campus, please check the CDC and CDPH websites for guidance. If you are coming from areas from which you will be required to quarantine, we recommend you arrive in Chicago two weeks prior to your first class or by August 18. If a student is unable to arrive by this date and misses in-person class activity as a result, faculty will be prepared to work flexibly with them while they complete this required quarantine.

Below is the academic calendar for fall 2020.

  • September 2: Fall semester begins
  • September 7: Labor Day (no classes)
  • November 3: Last day to withdraw from a fall semester class
  • November 24: Last day of in-person course activity
  • November 25–29: Thanksgiving Break (no classes)
  • November 30: All courses resume online
  • December 21: Fall semester ends

Modified Class Meeting Times
To facilitate social distancing and de-densify our campus, in addition to running some courses all-online and others in a modified in-person format, students will attend classes with staggered start times. Classes may begin and end earlier or later than originally planned, by as much as a half hour. We are making these adjustments based on a detailed assessment of course enrollments and room and elevator capacities, and we are taking care to avoid creating conflicts in students’ existing schedules.

Student Financial Resources
Through the Student Emergency Relief Fund, SAIC is able to provide financial assistance for students affected by the COVID-19 health crisis and/or recent protests and governmental response. Additionally, on July 7, SAIC received notification from the Department of Education that our Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant application was approved for funding, and we will begin awarding these grants immediately. Please find more details here.

While SAIC is not in a financial position to completely offset the planned tuition increase for the 2020–21 academic year, the School will award a grant—i.e., an automatic, no-strings-attached adjustment to each student’s bill that does not need to be repaid—for all students eligible for Pell Grants, the federal program for students who display exceptional financial need. This will eliminate the tuition increase for 22 percent of the student body.

For more than 154 years, we have provided a world-class learning environment on the strength of the deep experience, knowledge, and innovative approach of our faculty. This year will be no different. We are committed to providing the robust art and design education you’ve come to expect from SAIC, regardless of modality, and we will not offer tuition refunds.

Campus Facilities
SAIC has made significant strides in preparing our campus for your return, including through measures that promote physical distancing, modifying housekeeping efforts to provide increased attention to high-traffic areas, and improving air quality in campus buildings by upgrading HVAC filtration.

During this unprecedented time, we must be conscious of how our actions impact one another. It is critical that all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to campus uphold the shared responsibilities outlined in Make Ready: A Framework for Returning to SAIC’s Campus to protect their health and the health of others.

Illinois moved into phase four of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, but with states across the US experiencing new surges in COVID-19 cases, we know this is a fluid situation. As our teams develop the many details required for our return to campus, they will keep in mind the need for flexibility, knowing that the global pandemic presents ever-evolving challenges that will necessitate ongoing adjustments, which may include closing campus for in-person teaching and learning. We will continue to closely follow the guidance of public health authorities and provide frequent updates to the campus community.

On-Campus Housing and Dining
Living in our residence halls is an important way for students to build community at the School. We have made many changes to reduce the risk of spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19):

  • De-densifying residence halls to allow for social distance. We will continue to offer single and double rooms in Jones Hall and the 162 North State Street Residences and private bedrooms in shared apartments in the Buckingham, but we have eliminated triple rooms in the 162 North State Street Residences and shared bedrooms in the Buckingham. All common areas will have reduced occupancy in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines, and some common areas may also remain closed.
  • Enhancing cleaning. Housekeeping staff will prioritize sanitizing high-traffic areas, such as elevators, common areas, and public restrooms to clean throughout the day.
  • Reimagining dining. A number of changes will be implemented in our cafes, including removing self-service items (such as buffet items) and increasing grab-and-go options; introducing online/remote ordering with separate pickup locations; limiting seating; and changing traffic flow to accommodate social distancing.
  • Creating spaces for students requiring self-isolation and quarantine. We have designated rooms on campus to use if a residential student needs to self-isolate or quarantine. If a student becomes ill, SAIC will work with the CDPH to support their contact tracing efforts, the details of which will be communicated prior to the start of the semester. Students will be expected to comply with all self-isolation or quarantine guidelines.
  • Following public health guidance during move-in and throughout the semester. We will follow the guidance of public health experts to determine testing and quarantine requirements upon arrival and throughout the school year. Current guidance from the CDC requires students coming from abroad to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the US. The CDPH has also ordered that individuals coming from states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to Chicago.
  • Limiting guests. Like most colleges and universities, SAIC will limit guests and visitors in the residence halls throughout the fall semester.
  • Requiring face coverings. Students, faculty, and staff will be required to wear face coverings upon entry to all SAIC buildings, public areas, and shared spaces, including in classrooms and all common areas of our residence halls. Students do not have to wear face coverings in their individual rooms unless someone who does not live in that room is present.

More details will be shared with students and can be found here.

Remote Working for Staff
With the changes outlined above, SAIC will significantly de-densify campus. However, all departments that offer services to students, faculty, and staff will have a limited number of staff members on-site to support those who are on campus. Human Resources will work with individual departments to identify on-site staffing needs and has developed a process staff may follow to request workplace accommodations or modified work arrangements specific to their individual needs. Human Resources shared more details on this process in this email.

 

JULY 13, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,

After an extensive search, I am pleased to share that the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has hired public health expert Dr. Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, FAPIC to help guide the School’s plans to resume in-person teaching, learning, and residential life this fall. Working alongside faculty and staff, Dr. Rebmann will advise on contact tracing, testing, reporting protocols for positive cases, and more, and will assist the School in following best practices that meet or exceed guidance from the Chicago Department of Public Health and other local and national health authorities. Board-certified in infection control and epidemiology, Dr. Rebmann will review plans and provide guidance and scientific expertise in support of the School’s efforts to reduce the risk of spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), on our campus.

Dr. Rebmann is the director of the Institute for Biosecurity at the Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice and a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She is a nurse researcher with an emphasis in infectious disease emergency preparedness. Her past work experience includes research and clinical practice with HIV/AIDS patients, hospital infection prevention, and epidemiology, and research areas of focus include the long-term use of respiratory protection and addressing barriers to vaccine uptake. Dr. Rebmann publishes and lectures on pandemic planning, emerging infectious diseases, and infection prevention practices. To date, she has contributed to more than 90 publications and presented at more than 100 conferences.

Dr. Rebmann will begin meeting with members of the School’s Campus Emergency Operations Plan team this week and will join future town halls. We are grateful for her expertise and will be sharing additional updates on the School’s operations in the weeks to come.

Best,

Thomas Buechele
Vice President for Campus Operations​

 

JULY 10, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,

As we plan for a return to in-person teaching, learning, and residential life this fall, we are pleased to share more details on the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Make Ready Advisory Group, a team of students, faculty, and staff appointed by President Tenny to advise on return-to-campus plans. SAIC has made a number of changes to campus already, including through the development of policies for daily operations, physical modifications to allow for social distancing, HVAC system upgrades, the availability of sanitation equipment in all common spaces and classrooms, and hygiene requirements. The Make Ready Advisory Group will play a key role in advising on all further aspects of our return to campus, including consulting with a public health expert, contact tracing, testing, and the process of maintaining the most up-to-date information regarding the ongoing development of COVID-19. This will be an ongoing process, but we strive to adapt to the challenging times.

Serving as a sounding board for plans and ideas for working, teaching, learning, and residence life, the Make Ready Advisory Group will meet weekly with the Campus Emergency Operations Plan leadership team, representatives from the return-to-campus support teams, and SAIC leadership as needed. Feedback from the greater SAIC community is crucial. As always, if you have questions about Make Ready: A Framework for Returning to SAIC's Campus or the return-to-campus process in general, please email saicinfo@saic.edu.

The Make Ready Advisory Group consists of:

  • Jada Jeni Bennett, Undergraduate Student, Student Government Representative
  • Anita Bhardwaj, Assistant Director, International Admissions
  • Anavi Bhushan Nugyal, Undergraduate Student, Student Government Representative
  • Celeste Collins, Senior Administrative Director, Academic Operations
  • Robin Deacon, Professor, Faculty Senate Chair
  • Richard Deutsch, Associate Professor, Adj.
  • Eric Fuertes, Instructional Facility Manager
  • Eala O'Sé, Material Source Assistant Manager
  • Seth Sexton, Graduate Student, Graduate Senate Representative
  • Lawrence Rodriguez, Director of International Affairs
  • Amy Vogel, Associate Professor and Director of Contemporary Practices
  • Lisa Wainwright, Professor

The Make Ready Advisory Group will host community forums in the coming weeks to share updates and hear from you. We’ll share more information on these advisory group forums by July 16.

Thanks,

Thomas Buechele
Vice President for Campus Operations

Dear Students,

On July 7, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) received notification from the Department of Education that our Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant application was approved for funding.

As you are likely aware, the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide grants to eligible students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Students must be eligible for federal funding (must have filed a FAFSA) in order to qualify for CARES Act grants.

The School plans to begin awarding CARES grants immediately through the existing application process. All student emergency grant requests, including those from students not eligible for CARES funding, have been awarded through the School’s Student Emergency Relief Fund. The CARES Act application process will be consistent with the Student Emergency Relief Fund application process and details will be shared next week. Each eligible request will be considered, with priority consideration given to students with the greatest need.

Best,

Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

Brian Esker
Vice President of Finance

 

JULY 9, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,

On Monday evening, the US Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced changes to guidance for the fall semester for international students, stating that international students on F-1 visas who plan to study fully online would not be permitted to remain inside the US.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) international students make up more than 30 percent of our student population, and they are vital to the work we do together. We resist any actions that seek to divide our community. We strongly oppose these changes, and we believe them to be unfair, dangerous, and unethical.

SAIC is planning to resume in-person teaching, learning, and residential life this fall, so international students who are taking a mix of in-person and online classes will be able to remain in the USHere you’ll find more details.

Please note that the announcement provided by the government on Monday is not final. The update was a notification of planned changes that may occur for the fall semester, and these guidelines could change dramatically in the coming weeks. When we receive new guidance, we will update students as soon as possible.

SAIC’s International Affairs office is here to support our more than 1,200 international students. In addition to providing guidance in response to this government update, we are doing the following:

Hosting a Webinar for SAIC Students and Parents
On Tuesday, International Affairs will hold a Zoom webinar for students to attend next week to address all the information contained in this email for students and families. This webinar will be recorded for those unable to attend and will be closed captioned. Please submit any questions not answered by this email to intaff@saic.edu so we can address them during the webinar. We will also set aside time to answer any questions that you may have during the webinar itself. Any questions not answered during the webinar will be reviewed and answered on our website.
 
Tuesday, July 14
9:00-10:00 a.m. CT
A link to the webinar will be sent to students and parents on Monday evening.

Engaging in Communication with Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)
International Affairs staff is compiling a list of questions and concerns about this policy to be submitted to our SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) government representative.

Petitioning to Support Changing the Guidance
Members of our office have signed several petitions, including a White House petition in support of changing this guidance. Members of our office are also reaching out to local government representatives. We encourage students to do the same if they are comfortable doing so.

Partnering with the Association of International Educators
International Affairs staff are members of the Association of International Educators (NAFSA), a professional organization that advocates for international students and study abroad. You can find their statement here on this recent government update. We are also reaching out to our contacts at NAFSA and will contribute to advocacy actions they implement.

Hosting One-on-One Meetings with Students
Throughout the last few months, International Affairs staff have met with several hundred students over phone and video calls as well as advised students through thousands of individual emails. We understand many of you have questions. Please read through our guidance and join our webinar on Tuesday. If your questions have not been answered by this email or our webinar, please reach out to intaff@saic.edu or request an appointment with an international advisor.

We understand this information is complex. We also understand that as this information continues to be updated by the different government agencies, many questions will continue to arise. International Affairs is committed to providing the best possible support and advice as we navigate through this uncertain time together. Please do not hesitate to reach out to intaff@saic.edu if you have questions.

Kind regards,

Lawrence Rodriguez, Director of International Affairs
Jessica Wolfe, Assistant Director of International Student Services
Jen Dentel, International Student Advisor
Victoria McAllister, International Student Advisor and SEVIS Analyst

 

JULY 2, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,

We are a hardworking community, and throughout the challenges of the global health crisis, we have worked harder than ever. So far during the pandemic, we invented dynamic online learning environments, raised emergency student relief funds, made critical steps toward anti-racism, donated our time and talents toward pandemic relief, and kept everyone employed during the spring semester, whether they were able to work or not. We are also hard at work on our return-to-campus planning and are looking forward to soon announcing expanded opportunities for dialogue with School leaders, including me, about this coming academic year. Like last semester, our next academic year will look different as we seek to mitigate the risk of viral spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, the pandemic endures, as does its financial impact.

Like most colleges and universities, the pandemic-related additional expenses mean we’ve already faced financial difficulties. Those challenges are likely to continue. In response, we need to make changes to our budget and this unfortunately includes a reduction in workforce, which means the elimination of certain staff positions. By now, you may have learned that some staff members have been informed that their positions were eliminated. This is painful. Please know that all affected individuals are valued and made significant contributions to SAIC, and it is only due to financial necessity and operational needs that these staff reductions were made. The School is committed to being as generous as possible to our departing colleagues. I also want to explain what has changed and why.

Below you will find a detailed narrative which explains our financial outlook, budgetary measures, workforce reduction, and severance and benefits-continuation efforts. These changes are necessary to preserve the future of SAIC and safeguard our mission of providing a world-class art and design education for the long term. Nevertheless, our mission is unchanged and we will continue to teach, practice, and support our students throughout this momentous period. During this time, it is so important to take care of yourself. Please remember that the counseling services of the Employee Assistance Program are available to all faculty and staff at 800.311.4327. Students may reach out to the Wellness Center for consultation at 312.499.4271 and counselingservices@saic.edu.

Next Tuesday at noon, I will address the School community via webcast. You will receive a separate email prior to the event where you can let me know what questions you want answered and learn how to watch; a video recording of the event will be shared later in the week for those who cannot join us synchronously. This will be a time to mark the changes to our School going forward. It will also be a moment to consider the important work of SAIC that must continue: The community of belonging we strive for. The interdisciplinary boundaries we exceed. The learning, making, and growing we foster. And the significant contribution School of the Art Institute of Chicago artists, designers, and scholars make to our shared society.

Elissa Tenny
President

Financial Outlook
Since the pandemic required us to close our campus in March, we’ve taken a number of steps to mitigate the impact of reduced revenue and increased costs. As we’ve previously shared, the spring and summer reductions in revenue from residential and summer tuition, the temporary closure of the Gene Siskel Film Center, and increased expense to transition to remote instruction totaled $8.4 million in additional costs and lost revenue. To balance the budget and offset this loss, to date, we have:

  • Placed a moratorium on all non-essential faculty and staff travel;
  • Placed a freeze on hiring vacant positions;
  • Frozen the discretionary spending of all vice presidents, deans, and department heads;
  • and Delayed all capital projects that required institutional funding (we are continuing to move forward with the opening of our new galleries and graduate studios at 33 East Washington Street, since the major renovation of the space has been paid by our landlord and because the lease will ultimately provide a cost savings of $6.8 million over the duration of the 12-year lease).

These steps were undertaken this spring and will continue into the fall. These were critical cost-saving measures which enabled us to balance the budget for the 2020 fiscal year.

For the 2021 fiscal year, which began yesterday on July 1, 2020, we are projecting a $25 million revenue shortfall, primarily due to a drop in enrollment that is on track to decline by at least 15 percent. In addition to the current financial challenges, we also need to prepare our institution for potentially more financial disruptions, including:

  • Ongoing costs to address COVID-19;
  • Challenges in enrolling international students, as the US State Department is currently not issuing student visas;
  • and Significant financial hardships faced by our current and prospective students.

To prepare for this financial impact, we have taken the following actions:

Staff Workforce Reduction
We have decided not to fill 30 vacant staff positions, and despite every effort to preserve every job at the School, we simply cannot avoid a workforce reduction. As we’ve shared before, nearly 80 percent of the School’s revenue comes from tuition, and we are projecting a drop in enrollment, given the challenges facing students and families. As of July 6, we have eliminated 65 full-time staff positions and 12 part-time and special services staff positions. Additionally, decreased spending on contracted services has led to the reduction of 26 contract workers. Staff and departments impacted by this reduction are being informed. No faculty teaching positions have been eliminated as part of this staff workforce reduction.

We will provide as much support as possible to ease the transition with a severance benefit for all affected employees, including at least four weeks of pay—or more, based on years of service—and healthcare continuation through the end of September for full-time staff. While we will not name the impacted employees today out of respect for each individual’s privacy, we will share more information soon so that continuing employees can adapt to the changes in our workforce.

Please know that this was a decision over which we agonized. It was the result of careful, thorough planning. We considered everything possible to avoid this scenario, and I am heartbroken to have to move forward in this way to preserve the future of the institution.

Additional Salary-Based Cost-Saving Measures
Merit adjustments and raises for all faculty and staff, as well as the starting course rate increase for newly hired part-time faculty, have been put on hold for the fiscal year, July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.

A temporary pay reduction has been implemented for some faculty and staff. These progressive cuts take a higher percentage from those who earn more, and we have established a floor so that those who earn less are not being asked to carry the burden at this time. Starting July 1, 2020, all staff who earn $150,000 or more per year will take a temporary pay reduction. Faculty earning $150,000 or more per year will also take a temporary pay reduction, effective August 16 with the 2020–21 contract. These reductions will last six months, and may be extended, following the schedule below:

  • President: 20%
  • Provost: 17%
  • $200,000+: 15%
  • $150,000–$200,000: 10%

Please note that depending on our fall enrollment, faculty and staff earning between $100,000 and $149,999 may also be required to take a temporary pay reduction of 5 percent.

Debt Payments and Controllable Expense Reductions
We refinanced institutional debt to reduce our debt payments, including interest and principal. Additionally, vice presidents and deans reviewed their fiscal year 2021 budgets and identified an additional $4 million in non-personnel reductions.

Our Endowment
There have been questions about the role of the School’s endowment in our financial situation. The vast majority of our endowment is restricted, meaning that the original gift, the principal, cannot be spent and must survive in perpetuity to benefit future generations. In addition, the income from the endowment may only be used for specific purposes such as financial aid, which is the largest portion of our endowment. Legally, we cannot simply use these restricted funds at our discretion. Therefore, these funds cannot address the scope of the current challenge. However, there are a small number of endowments that do not have these stringent donor restrictions, and we are temporarily increasing the funds drawn from these endowments to help support our operations.

 

JUNE 22, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,

As announced last week, we anticipate a return to on-campus learning and living this September. Over the past two months, 128 faculty and staff members from the School have been working in CEOP groups to develop an approach to returning to on-campus facilities. Make Ready: A Framework for Returning to SAIC’s Campus is the culmination of their efforts.

Our Process
Developing Make Ready was a truly collaborative process. Many different options were discussed by staff and faculty, and we acknowledged the benefits and drawbacks of each path forward. Although we did not achieve total consensus, the guidelines and responsibilities outlined in Make Ready received the most positive feedback and comport with state and national health guidance. We believe this approach is the right one for our School community.

Some elements of our return to campus—including the distribution of online, in-person, and hybrid classes and the needs of each particular department—will be decided throughout the summer before our return, so Make Ready will be updated periodically. In order to maintain a shared institutional perspective, the Make Ready Advisory Group was formed with members from faculty and staff and student leaders. This group will meet with leadership members of the CEOP to discuss reopening plans as they continue to be developed and implemented.

The Framework
This framework outlines our plans for a staged return to campus that reduces the risk of spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). It’s designed to implement the State of Illinois’s standards, as outlined in Restore Illinois: A Public Health Approach to Safely Reopen Our State, as well as other governmental requirements.

The framework provides information on the following:

  • Commitments guiding the return-to-campus process
  • Our three-step plan for returning to campus
  • Our shared responsibilities
  • Working groups convened to lead this process

A Different SAIC
While we intend to offer as many in-person courses as possible this fall, we know teaching, learning, working, and living on campus will be different. Changes outlined in the framework include:

  • A combination of in-person, online, and hybrid course offerings
  • Physical distancing
  • Reconfigured campus spaces
  • Guidelines for masks or face coverings 
  • Daily symptom checks
  • Occupancy tracking
  • Guidelines for large, in-person events
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols
  • Limited travel

We encourage you to read Make Ready for a more thorough explanation of what each of these will look like in practice. All community members are expected to commit to the shared responsibilities outlined in the framework and work cooperatively to fulfill them upon returning to campus. Specific guidelines are being developed to address noncompliance.

Next Steps
This framework will guide our return to campus process throughout the summer and into the 2020–21 academic year. It is designed to be responsive to evolving health demands, and it will be updated as our situation changes. The exact date classes will be scheduled to begin will be announced by July 15, and in the coming weeks, we will be sharing additional information specific to students, faculty, staff, and departments. We know you have many questions, and that it’s frustrating not to have all of the details of this transition. We are doing our best to be thorough and responsive in the face of a dynamic situation, and we thank you for your patience.

Thank you to all of the community members who contributed to this framework so far. It was a true team effort, and the work continues. If you have questions about Make Ready: A Framework for Returning to SAIC’s Campus or the return to campus process in general, please direct them to saicinfo@saic.edu.

Sincerely,

Tom Buechele
Vice President for Campus Operations

John Pack
Executive Director, Campus Security​

 

JUNE 15, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

As Illinois loosens its stay-at-home order and Chicago residents gradually return to public life, I want to update you on the step-by-step, cooperative, and conscientious approach we are taking to on-campus learning and living in the fall at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). While the global health crisis continues to pose risk in our daily lives, our extensive preparatory work this summer seeks to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in our community. Meanwhile, our learning, teaching, and working remains of paramount importance. Artists, designers, and scholars help us reckon with who we are and show us who we could become, making our work vitally important today. Working together, we aim to carefully reconvene our creative, caring community this fall, and our soon to be released return to campus framework will be our guide in that endeavor. Today, I want to give you a broad overview of our return to campus preparations by introducing the framework, the principles behind it, its alignment with health guidance and governmental mandates, and how the framework will help us respond nimbly to evolving challenges throughout the 2020–21 academic year.

Resuming Classes in September 
We anticipate a return to on-campus learning and living this September. The exact date classes will be scheduled to begin will be announced by July 15. Our buildings and spaces will feel familiar, even as learning, teaching, and working on campus will take new forms. The majority of our classes will be offered on campus, through both entirely in-person courses and hybrid courses, featuring a blend of in-person and online instruction. Additionally, many courses will be offered online to all students, and students unable to return to campus in the fall due to visa, health, or other personal reasons may choose to continue their studies entirely online. For faculty and staff, a process to request modifications to their work is also being developed.

While most of us have been away from campus for some time, essential on-campus staff and the faculty and staff of the Campus Emergency Operations Plan (CEOP) groups have been hard at work establishing facilities modifications, protocols, and guiding documents that will govern our return to campus. Physical modifications that have already been completed or are in process include increased ventilation and filtration, extra sanitation equipment, plexiglass screens, and directional signage. Our preparations also include new hygiene requirements, such as mandatory face coverings, social distance and work travel guidelines, and enhanced cleaning protocols.

Return to Campus Framework 
These new requirements and procedures will be summarized in our return to campus framework. While this framework is designed to be adaptive, allowing us to respond to the most up-to-date guidance from health officials, all of our decision making surrounding our return to campus will be aligned with the following commitments:

  • We will plan for a return to campus that pays careful attention to the health and safety of all members of our community;
  • We will engage public health expertise to guide our planning as we adhere to guidance from national and local public health agencies;
  • We will work to minimize the disruption to our academic mission;
  • We will honor student financial aid commitments; and
  • We will ensure that the School will weather the long-term financial impact of the pandemic and will continue to provide a world-class art and design education in the years to come.

The framework is currently in its final stages of review. Over the next week, the vetting process will expand as updated drafts of the framework are reviewed by relevant CEOP groups, Faculty Senate, department heads, President’s Cabinet, the Advisory Council on Staff Engagement, and other shared governance bodies. The framework will then be released later this month, and an invitation to an All Faculty and Staff Meeting will follow shortly after, during which questions related to the framework will be discussed. It is designed to be a living document so that it can be adjusted, as needed, for the well-being of our community.

Campus preparations will continue throughout the remainder of the summer. These preparations will include the staff and faculty of individual departments working with one of several support teams to address the particular needs of each area of the School. In order to maintain a shared institutional perspective, the initial membership of a Return to Campus Advisory Group, comprised of staff, full- and part-time faculty, and student leaders, is being appointed now to advise the CEOP and support teams throughout the summer and into the academic year.

A Responsive Approach 
SAIC designed its framework to follow the state’s standards as well as other governmental requirements and health guidance. State standards can be found in Restore Illinois: A Public Health Approach to Safely Reopen Our State, key metrics of which are posted by region on the Illinois Department of Public Health website, with Chicago included in the Northeast Illinois region. In addition, we will continue to engage public health expertise as we apply these standards to our campus and our community. Adherence to governmental regulations requires us to be responsive to evolving demands of public health; therefore, we have also been thinking creatively about the course schedule for the fall.

Faculty and staff in the CEOP working groups and the Faculty Senate are currently evaluating scenarios for a delayed start to the semester, changes to the duration of some course sessions, and an abbreviated semester that we can employ if we deem it prudent or if it's demanded by health requirements. For faculty, advice for structuring flexible syllabi is also being developed. We will keep everyone abreast of our progress throughout the summer, so that we can all prepare for the academic year ahead.

Our framework seeks to make the on-campus instruction, facilities, and community to which I know many of us long to return available for the coming academic year while responsibly anticipating and reacting to the challenges posed by the pandemic. That effort has already benefited from the tireless work of many staff and faculty, for which I thank them. In practice, it will also require everyone’s participation as we all comply with the new guidelines and procedures designed for the health of everyone in our community. As we share the details of our framework, I imagine you will have questions, and we will endeavor to answer them at saicinfo@saic.edu. This fall may look new and different; however, because of you we will remain a caring community that values belonging and cooperatively supports one another through change, growth, and creatively exploring art, design, and scholarship in this extraordinary moment. I look forward to our continued work this fall. 

Take care,

Elissa Tenny
President

 

JUNE 1, 2020

Dear SAIC Community,

As our Campus Emergency Operations Plan working groups continue to plan for our reopening this fall, we want to share an update on summer instruction. In a message sent on April 15, we shared that the first three sessions of summer classes, those taking place May 26–July 2, were moved online, while a selection of studio courses were shifted to the second half of summer. While we remain eager to resume in-person instruction, we must continue to balance this with our commitment to preserving high standards of safety and providing community members with sufficient notice to make informed decisions. Because the best-case scenario would see Chicago moving into phase four of Governor Pritzker’s reopening plan—which permits for the reopening of schools—just days before the start of classes, we have decided to transition courses scheduled to run in the second half of summer, July 6–August 14, to remote instruction wherever possible. In cases where remote instruction of a particular course is not possible, we will work with departments and faculty to identify course content which is better suited to an online context. In a very limited number of cases where courses cannot transition online and suitable alternatives cannot be identified, courses may be canceled.

Guidance for Currently Enrolled Students
If you are a student currently enrolled in one of the courses that will be moved online, you will receive a notification from the Office of Registration and Records regarding this change to the course. Many faculty are already planning outreach to their individual summer students about how their courses will proceed in an online context, and we are encouraging this proactive communication whenever possible.

Students who have questions about the status of their classes should contact the Office of Registration and Records at saic.registrar@saic.edu or administrative staff in their department for assistance.

Students with questions about their summer schedule plan, degree requirements, or who need assistance re-evaluating their schedule based on class changes should contact their academic advisor or the Office of Academic Advising at 312.629.6800 or studenthelp@saic.edu.

SAIC residence halls will remain closed while classes continue to be taught remotely. Any students who had planned to live in the residence halls during the second half of the summer and need assistance with alternate housing should contact stulife@saic.edu.

Impacted faculty have been alerted to this change, and, where applicable, are making plans for remote instruction for the second half of summer. We are confident in the ability of our faculty to deliver a dynamic summer learning experience, and we appreciate your flexibility during this challenging time.

Sincerely,

Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs​

 

MAY 26, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Between now and June 7, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) faculty and staff and Central Administration staff may visit campus to retrieve items from offices and other campus spaces that are necessary to continue remote work. Please note that SAIC’s campus remains closed, and you will not be allowed to work on-site at this time. Removal of any computers or other equipment and resources must have prior approval from departmental vice presidents and Instructional Resources and Facilities Management (IRFM). Upon vice president approval, please email IRFM at irfm@saic.edu. Furniture items, such as office chairs, desks, and lamps, will not be allowed out of the building. Appointment times are limited to one hour and can be made here.

You may also return any equipment and resources that belong to SAIC, though this is not required. This includes items checked out from:

  • Media Centers
  • Fabrication Facilities
  • John M. Flaxman Library and Special Collections
  • Individual department labs or checkout centers

Persons needing accessibility assistance should contact Human Resources Employee Relations staff:

The health and safety of the SAIC community continues to be our number one priority, and you will have the opportunity to retrieve your belongings while practicing recommended health, safety, and social distancing protocols. For more details on staying safe on campus, please review the guidelines below.

Sincerely,

Thomas Buechele
Vice President, Campus Operations

Community Health Guidelines for Campus Visits
Please be aware that SAIC is complying with Chicago Department of Public Health, state, and national health and social distancing guidelines. It is our responsibility to ensure the safety of the SAIC community by keeping contact to a minimum and reducing the number of people who need to come to campus. When visiting campus, please follow the guidelines below:

  • Only those with reserved time slots should come to campus. As usual, you will need to show your SAIC ID and you will have to check out when leaving.
  • Do not come to campus if you are ill (fever, cough, etc.). We need your help to keep everyone healthy.
  • You may be asked to participate in a health screening which could include taking your temperature, answering a few questions, and providing information on COVID-19 symptoms.
  • You will be asked to wear a face mask while you are on campus. If you don’t have one, we will provide you with a standard surgical mask.
  • Please follow all social distancing protocols, which will be reviewed with you at the start of your visit.
  • You may bring one person to assist you. This person must also follow all community health guidelines.
  • Items should be hand-carried or removed with a small personal cart through the front entrance of the building.

 

MAY 22, 2020

Dear Early College Program Summer Institute Students and Parents,

While we are committed to nurturing your creative development, the COVID-19 pandemic requires us to continue to be diligent in considering your safety, the health of our campus community, and the well-being of our shared society. With this in mind, we’ve made the decision to move the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Early College Program Summer Institute courses online this summer.

Although we are unable to host you on campus this summer, you are able to transfer your enrollment into our Early College Program Online Summer Institute (ECPOSI). The program is designed with the same high standards that have made SAIC a destination for students wishing to prepare themselves for art and design futures or develop their creative passions. We’ve added some new benefits and features specific to our online program that make this a world-class remote learning experience. Led by SAIC’s acclaimed faculty who have successfully taught online and have adapted their course content to a virtual platform, you will join peers from around the globe to create portfolio-quality work, deepen your understanding of contemporary art, and earn college credit.

Online Program Highlights

  • Engagement with faculty members and teaching assistants in real time, in addition to robust virtual content crafted by our faculty that you can explore at any hour
  • One- and two-credit options available
  • Meet with acclaimed visiting artists from around the globe
  • Develop a community with peers from around the world
  • Access to the institution’s full library of on-demand demos, lectures, and resources
  • An optional session focused on preparing a digital portfolio and website

Benefits for Those Wishing to Apply to SAIC for Fall 2021

  • Learn your admission decision by September 1, earlier than all other applicants
  • Receive a one-time $1,000 scholarship to SAIC’s undergraduate program
  • Access robust one-on-one faculty and admissions counselor advising throughout fall 2020

Visit saic.edu/ecposi to learn more
View a recording of our information session

 
The Following Options Are Available to You:

1. Transfer into a two-credit intensive class with a topic that closely aligns with the course in which you were enrolled. We suggest the following course for you:

Online: Visual Communication Design: June 29–August 7 (6 weeks, 2 college credits)

Other two-credit options can be found here.

2. Transfer into a one-credit class with a topic that closely aligns with the course in which you were enrolled. We suggest the following courses for you.

Online: Design Projects
Session 1 #1490: June 8–June 26 (3 weeks, 1 college credit)
Session 2 #1491: June 29–July 17 (3 weeks, 1 college credit)
Session 3 #1507: July 20–Aug 7 (3 weeks, 1 college credit)

The tuition price for a one-credit course is $1,666. We will work one-on-one with students who were awarded a merit scholarship or need-based financial aid for ECPSI who want to transfer their enrollment to an online course to prorate their awards accordingly.

Other one-credit options can be found here.

3. Cancel your enrollment entirely. We will process a refund of any payment you have made toward summer courses, including the $100 deposit. This process can take between 4–6 weeks.

Please let us know how you would like to proceed no later than June 1 by clicking here.

If you would like advice about what is the best option for you, contact us at cs@saic.edu or 312.629.6170.

 
Payment Reminder 
If you do wish to move into an online course offering this summer, we want to remind you that the payment deadline for courses beginning June 8 is June 1. All other courses have a June 15 payment date. You may complete your payment online at saic.edu/cspayment.

 
In spite of the current challenging situation, we remain committed to the importance of an art and design education, and firmly believe that the innovation, curiosity, and creativity of our makers and thinkers will help us re-envision the future. We very much appreciate your patience and understanding. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at cs@saic.edu or 312.629.6170 with any questions you may have.

With my sincere wishes for your safety and that of your loved ones,

Paul Coffey
Vice Provost & Dean of Community Engagement

 

MAY 20, 2020

Dear Early College Program Students and Parents,

While we are committed to nurturing the creative development of young artists, designers, and scholars, the COVID-19 pandemic requires us to continue to be diligent in considering their safety, the health of our campus community, and the well-being of our shared society. With this in mind, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all Continuing Studies Early College Program courses taking place this summer.

We will fully refund the payments you have made to us, and this process will take between 4-6 weeks.

For students between the ages of 15-18, we are offering multiple online summer sessions for college credit. Information on these sessions is available at saic.edu/ecposi. If you are interested in this option, please contact us by Tuesday, May 26, at cs@saic.edu or 312.629.6170, and we will work with you one-on-one to make adjustments.

While we can’t be with you in person during the next few months, we will be reaching out to you via email with ideas to spark creative thinking and playing. We will also be sharing activities developed by our museum, the Art Institute of Chicago. It is our firm belief that in addition to building problem solving skills and critical thinking, engaging in art and design activities helps us process our experiences and the world around us.

We appreciate your understanding, and encourage you to reach out to us at cs@saic.edu or 312.629.6170 with any questions you may have.

With my sincere wishes for your safety and that of your loved ones,

Paul Coffey
Vice Provost and Dean of Community Engagement

Dear Colleagues,

With the spring semester complete, we want to follow up on our May 1 message with further information on the planning and preparations of our Campus Emergency Operations Plan (CEOP) working groups.

On May 5, Governor Pritzker announced the state's reopening plan, Restore Illinois: A Public Health Approach to Safely Reopen Our State. This statewide strategy outlines five phases with guidelines that all Illinois residents and businesses will need to follow. Each of these phases—including the fourth phase, during which schools can resume onsite operations—are indefinite in duration and require some safety precautions, like limiting gathering size and wearing face coverings. The safety protocols we follow on campus will meet or exceed the state’s mandates and will comport with all governmental requirements and health guidelines. 

The president’s cabinet and faculty and staff serving on CEOP working groups—including safety, facilities operations, instructional support spaces, employee considerations, and policy—are currently reviewing an initial draft of our campus’s safety plan. In early June, all faculty and staff will be invited to review the in-process draft of the plan, attend a meeting where we will present the plan, and participate in a week-long period for community feedback. Shortly after incorporating feedback, the final iteration of the safety plan will be distributed along with resources so that all members of the campus community can prepare for their return, know what to expect when they do so, and learn what resources are available to help them prepare.

Additionally, vice presidents and deans are already working with Instructional Resources and Facilities Management staff to identify necessary modifications to workspaces in alignment with Restore Illinois guidance and the emergent guidelines of our safety plan. The exact date of your return to campus will depend on the nature of your role and ensuing safe and effective campus operation. Given that the State of Illinois is currently in Phase 2, we do not expect all staff to return on June 1 or whenever Governor Pritzker announces a move to Phase 3, but some staff members' return to campus will be essential in order to prepare for our eventual reopening. In the coming weeks, supervisors will be in touch with their staff to identify when they ought to return to work and will make necessary accommodations, where needed. Please anticipate that, in some cases, staff may need to return to campus this summer to help prepare for the fall, yet return to a remote work schedule once classes begin again in earnest. For others it is possible that you might continue to work remotely into the fall semester or work a modified in-person schedule to help maintain social distancing campus-wide.

The exact date of students’ return is contingent, too, on how we can best make campus as safe as possible. While we await a final decision on courses for the second half of summer, we are also considering a number of strategies for an on-campus fall. In June, we will also be sharing more information about these potential scenarios, when you may anticipate knowing which strategy we will employ, and how those strategies relate to the safety plan.

While the ever-evolving nature of the pandemic requires us to continually plan for a number of outcomes, we understand that this uncertainty can be difficult to manage. We hope sharing this information with you, even in its developmental stages, will help us build towards a shared vision, broadly understood protocols, and a sense of uncertainty that is managed, if not resolved. Throughout this global health crisis, the staff and faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago have worked together to take care of one another and our students, and we will continue to do so.

We will be in touch again in early June to share the drafted safety plan with you. In the interim, please reach out to us if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Tom Buechele
Vice President, Campus Operations
tbuechele@saic.edu

John Pack
Executive Director, Campus Security
jpack@saic.edu

 

MAY 12, 2020

Dear Graduate and Post Bacc Students,

We received a few questions about your studios since the email from Instructional Resources and Facilities Management (IRFM) regarding studio move-out was sent the other week, and we want to provide a bit more clarity. Please continue reading for more information.

Thanks again for your patience and understanding and hats off to everyone for powering through these challenging times. See you soon!

Persons needing accessibility assistance should contact the Disability and Learning Resource Center at 312.499.4278 or dlrc@saic.edu to make arrangements.

Sincerely,

Ann Marie Martens

Assistant Director of Facilities for Graduate and Post Bacc Studios

Returning Items and Moving Out of Lockers, Classrooms, Labs, Fabrication Facilities, Galleries or Installation Spaces, May 18–June 7 Move Out

  • If you have any items in the following locations, you can schedule an appointment in a one to two hour time block. Please fill out the Item Move-Out/Return Form to schedule an appointment. If you are unable to bring these items home with you, you may store them in your studio.
  • Lockers, Classrooms, Labs, Fabrication Facilities, Galleries, or Installation Spaces
  • There are different time allotments for picking up artwork from galleries or installation spaces (Sullivan Gallery, Columbus SITE, Sharp SITE). For more details and appointment scheduling, please fill out the Installed Artwork Move-Out Form.
  • If you have any equipment or resources to return from the following locations, you can schedule an appointment in a one to two hour time block. Please fill out the Item Move-Out/Return Form to schedule an appointment.
  • Media Centers, Fabrication Facilities, John M. Flaxman Library and Special Collections, and individual department labs or checkout centers. 
  • Please limit your appointments to one appointment per building to allow everyone the opportunity to safely retrieve their belongings. Options to return and pick up from the same building are available in the form (second page).
  • Anyone unable to remove and/or return items during the dates above may request alternative arrangements by filling this form.

Moving Out of Your Studio

All graduating MFA students, all post-bacc students, and all MFA Writing and MA students with studios must move out between May 18–July 31. 

  • If you would like to move out between May 18–June 26, please fill out the Studio Move-Out Form to make an appointment.
  • Appointments are nine hours in length; you will need to arrive at 9:00 a.m. (even if you do not need the full nine hours) and leave by 6:00 p.m. 
  • Appointments made between May 18–June 7 can be made every day of the week, except May 25 (Memorial Day). 
  • Appointments between June 8–26 can be made on weekdays only, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • You may only bring one person to assist your move in order to help us maintain social distancing guidelines and ensure the safety of others. Please follow the “Community Health Guidelines for Campus Visits” as outlined in this email. 
  • Please do not leave any unwanted items or trash in your studios. There will be designated areas for surplus materials and trash.
  • You may not use these appointments to work in your studio. Staff will be making rounds to ensure that people are only packing and moving.
  • If the campus remains closed after June 26, more appointment times will be added in July.
  • For MFA Writing and MA students who are not yet graduating, we encourage you to apply for a studio for the fall semester. More information regarding this process will be provided in the fall term.

If you are unable to move-out during the dates above, you may request alternative arrangements by filling this form.

Continuing MFA Students and Lotteries

You do not need to move out of your studio. Your items may stay in your current studio until we have determined the timeframe for you to switch to your new studio space. We are currently ironing out the details for a remote lottery platform, and we will provide more information soon. Thanks in advance for your patience. 

33 East Washington Move

We are still planning to move into our new studio and exhibition space at 33 East Washington in August. We will provide details about this move in the coming months. Should anything change this timeline we will let you know.

Access to Work in the Studios

While we don’t yet know when students will be able to return to campus, SAIC will continue to follow all city, state, and national health and safety guidelines to ensure our community stays safe. We will communicate with you when we have information on when it will be safe to return to campus and your studios.

Graduating MFA Students 

As was shared in an email from Arnold Kemp, dean of graduate studies, Trevor Martin, executive director of exhibitions, and on April 24, the Remote Events Task Force is continuing to develop a robust website to serve as a hub for engagement around the creative practices of graduating MFA in Studio, MArch, and MDes students. Though participation is optional, students are encouraged to share their creative output and critical thinking with each other and the broader public. In order to give graduating students time to complete their studies, the deadline to submit content is Friday, June 12. Information about the kinds of content submissions that will be supported can be found here.

 

MAY 7, 2020

Dear Supervisors of Student Employees,

As you know, our student employees are being paid for their time worked through the end of the spring 2020 semester. Teaching assistants needed to assist with spring semester grading can continue to work until the date grades are due on Sunday, May 24, without completing a new work authorization.

Students who are deemed essential (and for whom departmental budget is available) can be hired to work over the summer term. The work would begin remotely at the end of the spring semester starting Monday, May 11. When we are able to return to campus, the work could be either remote or in-person based on the job responsibilities and the need to adhere to social distancing requirements. Students working remotely will be paid at standard rates: $14 per hour for most students and $15 per hour for teaching assistants, advanced instructional assistants, and specialists.

TAs working through May 24 and students deemed essential for summer work should continue to report hours using the Student Employee Hours Google form here. Please complete the form by 5:00 p.m. CT on the Monday following the end of each pay period.

Criteria for Approval of Summer 2020 Student Employment

  1. Hiring managers should consult with their vice president or dean to determine if the work is essential. The work must be in direct support of your department’s institutional mission. While we want to provide gainful employment for our students, we should not invent “busy” work at this time.
  2. Hiring managers should consult with their vice president or dean to determine if the budget is available for your department to support summer student work. Proposed student hiring must not exceed the budgeted amount.
  3. Each student employee must work no more than 20 hours per week. Employment for more than 20 hours per week will not be acceptable for any individual student during the current fiscal year and may continue at this limit pending a reevaluation of departmental budgets.

If you have questions, please email Student Payroll at studentpayroll@saic.edu.

Sincerely,

Student Payroll
Student Financial Services​

 

MAY 5, 2020

Dear Faculty,

The spring 2020 semester ends Monday, May 10. In preparing for the end of the academic term, the Dean’s Office and Office of Registration and Records would like to provide you with updates and recommendations on a number of grading-related topics.

Below, you will find information on:

  • WCV: The Spring 2020 Semester Non-Credit Notation
  • Reminder: Grading Period Extended for Faculty
  • Utilize the Incomplete Grade Option as Necessary
  • Grading During a Semester Like No Other
  • Entering Your Grades

We also want to acknowledge the enormous effort it has taken all of our faculty to reach this point. What you have accomplished—making an unanticipated transition to remote instruction under these circumstances—is remarkable. This was not the semester anyone imagined, but as the world changed, you found new ways to think, work, and communicate. As we near the conclusion of this challenging semester, we hope you will take pride in the tremendous efforts you have made to keep teaching and keep our students learning.

On behalf of the entire School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) community, thank you again for your tireless support of our students as they continue their studies and reach a successful conclusion to the spring 2020 semester. Do not hesitate to reach out to any of us as needed.

Sincerely,

Jefferson Pinder, Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Arnold J. Kemp, Dean of Graduate Studies
Dwayne Moser, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
Dawn Gavin, Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Paul Jackson, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Christy Miceli, Director of Registration and Records
 
WCV: The Spring 2020 Semester Non-Credit Notation

As noted in an earlier message sent on April 9, this semester, SAIC will not record No Credit (NCR) grades for any student. We have since finalized the alternative notation. If a student does not earn Credit (CR) for a course or courses this semester, SAIC will automatically issue a notation of WCV next to that course.

WCV stands for Withdraw (COVID), and this specific code was chosen as it is consistent with what schools across the country are utilizing as they take similar action.

In effect, WCVs will be similar to student-initiated Withdraw (W) grades: they will not factor into students’ academic standing, and will not be factored into students’ ongoing eligibility for SAIC institutional merit financial aid. Unlike W grades, WCV grades will count as normal enrollment for the purposes of our international students maintaining required full-time status.

By law, SAIC is required to use all non-completed courses in determining eligibility for other types of federal financial aid, but we will be ready to follow up with any impacted student to assist them in taking the necessary steps to maintain their access to financial aid.

When entering spring 2020 grades, faculty should issue Credit (CR) to all students who have successfully completed their course, as usual. If a student cannot earn Credit, faculty should issue No Credit (NCR). Issuing NCR for a spring 2020 course will result in that student automatically being issued a WCV notation for that course.
 
Reminder: Grading Period Extended for Faculty

To support faculty in their ability to be flexible with students in this extraordinary semester, SAIC has pushed back the deadline for submitting spring 2020 grades. This semester, faculty will have until Sunday, May 24, to submit their grades. Faculty are strongly encouraged to use this extended grading period to offer students more time to submit any final assignments or work that puts them in a better position to ultimately earn Credit for a course.

As a reminder, this extension of the grading period is not an extension of the teaching period. The semester will conclude on Sunday, May 10. Faculty should not build curriculum which requires students to engage in new course activity beyond this date, giving them up to three weeks of additional time to complete all outstanding work.
 
Utilize the Incomplete Grade Option as Necessary

Faculty should continue to enter placeholder grades of Incomplete (INC) for students who require additional time (beyond May 24) to complete outstanding coursework, when (in the judgement of the faculty) there is a viable plan for them to do so.

Incomplete grades have always represented a way for faculty to provide flexibility to students who can successfully complete course requirements but need more time than is left in the course. Incompletes signal that there is agreement between the faculty and student on a plan for the student to continue working towards Credit (CR). They are ideally student-requested but if a faculty feels an Incomplete arrangement is the most feasible way for a student to finish the course successfully, we strongly encourage faculty to broach this subject and propose a suitable plan.

As usual, faculty must notify the Registrar's Office at saic.registrar@saic.edu to have an Incomplete grade changed to Credit (once the student has completed the required work). For this cycle, any INC grades remaining at the end of the fall 2020 semester add/drop period will automatically be changed to WCV notations.
 
Grading During a Semester Like No Other

The Dean’s Office appreciates that both students and faculty are experiencing significant levels of stress and anxiety generally and around grade outcomes specifically. In making your final determinations on how your students have performed and what grade they should receive, we ask that faculty take into account the tremendous difficulties students have faced in their lives and studies over the course of the semester.

We’d also like to reiterate several suggestions that may help you operationalize this recommendation and evaluate individual students:

  • Do not be reluctant to adjust your expectations from when you began the semester. As all students’ ability to attend to their studies has become greatly challenged by external circumstances, the successes they do achieve in courses should be recognized as more significant accomplishments.
  • Consider both the on-campus and online components of the course as parts of a whole, but if a student is stronger in one component of the course, give that performance greater weight.
  • Give significant weight to a student’s engagement with the course and their relative growth or improvement since the course began as factors which complement objective performance markers (assignment grades, test scores, etc.), and do not hesitate to let these considerations be determinative if they favor the student.

These are suggestions only, based on the number of students we know to be in situations that make it extremely difficult to maintain the connection, concentration, and capacity they would otherwise bring to their classes.
 
Entering Your Grades

As usual, grades should be submitted online through SAIC Self-Service. Once logged in, please make sure you are using the Faculty Self-Service platform, and not the Employee Self-Service or Student Self-Service versions.

After logging in, your spring 2020 teaching schedule should appear. To the left of each class are several icons; one of the icons will bring up your current grading roster for that class. Once on the grade roster, assign grades to all students and change the approval status to “Approved.” Make sure to then click “Save” and your information will be submitted. Please note: if you have more than 20 students on your roster, you will need to scroll to the next page(s) to assign grades for all students.

If you have any questions regarding submitting your spring 2020 grades, please do not hesitate to contact Christy Miceli, director of registration and records, at cmiceli@saic.edu.

 

MAY 1, 2020

Dear SAIC Faculty, Staff, and Central Administration Staff,

As the spring semester winds down, we’ve shifted our emergency operations planning to focus on summer and fall, and we want to provide you with an update on the planning and implementation processes for the months ahead.

As President Tenny and Provost Berger shared at previous all faculty and staff meetings, during emergency situations, such as the one precipitated by the global pandemic, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) utilizes a Campus Emergency Operations Plan (CEOP), which is a crisis management strategy that Illinois colleges are state-mandated to follow. The CEOP outlines actions and response procedures required for situations in which normal operations are impacted, providing the management structure, key responsibilities, assignments, and procedures to follow during such emergencies.

The CEOP guides our decision-making through the formation of different working groups to address complex problems. These working groups are shaped by the current needs of the institution in the phases outlined below:

  • The first phase of the plan focused on moving to a remote learning environment and closing the campus. The working groups consist of 92 members of our faculty and staff, with significant faculty and academic representation among the Remote Learning Group, Academic Concerns, and Remote Events Group. These three groups will remain unchanged and will play a vital role as we transition to the next phase of the plan.
  • The second phase is focused on summer operations, which will help provide a roadmap and test run for our fall semester. The working groups, composed of faculty and staff, will help prepare for a return to campus, focusing on areas that include academics and instructional support spaces, campus housing and food service, and facilities operations. Additionally, the Safety Group will play a critical role in preparing us for our fall operations, by determining strategies to mitigate the risk of the pandemic, overseeing campus sanitation, leading training to ensure a healthy campus, and communicating efforts around campus safety. This group is made up of members of our faculty, staff, and Central Administration staff.

A latter phase of the CEOP will focus on operations over the fall semester. The working groups for this phase of planning are not yet finalized, but as our summer reentry brings our needs for fall into better focus, we will continue to work with Interim Dean of Faculty Jefferson Pinder to identify faculty to serve on any new working groups.

Thank you to the nearly 100 faculty and staff members who have played a critical role in transitioning our academics and operations during this unprecedented time, and to the many, many more who have supported these efforts. We will continue to provide you with updates as planning for summer and fall move forward. In the meantime, please contact us directly if you have questions.

Sincerely,

Tom Buechele
Vice President, Campus Operations
tbuechele@saic.edu

John Pack
Executive Director, Campus Security
jpack@saic.edu

Dear Parents,

While we are committed to nurturing the creative development of young artists, designers, and scholars, the COVID-19 pandemic requires us to continue to be diligent in considering their safety, the health of our campus community, and the well-being of our shared society. With this in mind, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Continuing Studies Children’s Workshops, Family Camps, and Middle School Programs scheduled to take place this summer.

We have chosen to make this decision in advance of our original June 1 decision date to give families additional time to make alternative arrangements.

While we can’t be with you in person during the next few months, we will be reaching out to you via email with ideas to spark creative thinking and play. We will also be sharing activities developed by our museum, the Art Institute of Chicago. It is our firm belief that in addition to building problem solving skills and critical thinking, engaging in art and design activities helps children process their experiences and the world around them.

We will be processing a full refund for the course(s) in which your child was enrolled. Refunds typically take between 4–6 weeks.

We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to reach out to us at 312.629.6170 or cs@saic.edu with any questions you may have.

With my sincere wishes for your safety and that of your loved ones,

Paul Coffey
Vice Provost and Dean of Community Engagement

 

APRIL 30, 2020

Dear Students,

You are receiving this message because after successful completion of the spring 2020 semester, you will be within nine credits of completing your undergraduate degree, and do not already have an off-campus waiver applied to your record.

Background
Generally, SAIC students must take six credits of their undergraduate degree requirements in an off-campus format. Opportunities to earn credits off campus include study trips, internships, Ox-Bow, and some SAIC classes.

This coming summer, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly restricted the types of off-campus learning experiences that SAIC typically offers. Study trips have been cancelled, Ox-Bow scheduling has experienced significant restructuring, and we expect there will be fewer internship opportunities. These limited offerings would be particularly challenging for seniors who may have been planning to complete their off-campus course expectations in this final summer before their graduation.

The Change
As a result of the disruption to the planned summer off-campus experiences, SAIC will automatically waive any remaining off-campus expectations for seniors close to graduating (those with nine credits or fewer remaining) after the spring 2020 term concludes. This waiver will make it easier for seniors to complete their remaining degree requirements using SAIC’s planned summer class offerings, whether remote or in person. This is a one-time automatic waiver for a specific group of seniors who are very close to graduation.

Please note: All SAIC students are required to complete 126 credits to complete a bachelor’s degree. This is not changing. All seniors benefiting from this waiver still need to complete all 126 credits in coursework as required by your degree (BFA, BAAH, BAVS, BFAAE, BFAW).

If you have already completed six credits in off-campus settings, this adjustment will have no direct impact. Though, keep in mind that these previous courses you took, such as study trips or internships, were and remain necessary as they contributed credits towards your degree requirements, in addition to being valuable experiences in their own right.

If you have questions about your degree progress or remaining requirements, generally or specifically in light of this change, please contact the Academic Advising office to arrange an appointment to speak with an academic advisor at studenthelp@saic.edu or 312.629.6800.

Sincerely,

Paul Jackson
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies​

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear Students,

As the spring semester comes to a close on May 10, we are reaching out to you with information on moving your personal belongings from your residence hall.

All items must be removed from the 162 North State Street Residences and Jones Hall by June 7, and below you’ll find options to facilitate this process. The health of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) community during this process is our number one priority. The following options offer you the opportunity to retrieve your items while following recommended health guidance, including limiting the amount of people on campus. SAIC coordinated with the Chicago Police Department on plans for moving out of the residence halls, and students who are moving out, even with the State of Illinois’ Stay-at-Home order, will still be able to do so.

If you also have items that you need to retrieve from another campus building, please review this information.

Persons needing accessibility assistance should contact the Disability and Learning Resource Center at 312.499.4278 or dlrc@saic.edu to make arrangements.

Please note, move out information for the Buckingham was previously shared with Buckingham residents. If you believe you received this message in error or have questions about your options for retrieving items, please contact stulife@saic.edu.

Sincerely,

Abigail Holcomb
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs
 
1. You may return to campus between May 18–June 7 to pack and move out.

You may sign up to move out between May 18–June 7. During your move out time, you may pack your items and load them out of the building. You may only be in the building during your four-hour window to complete this task, and you are allowed to bring one guest to assist.

During move out, you and your guest must follow national and local health guidelines, including wearing a mask, keeping six feet away from other people, and not sharing elevators with people beyond your guest. Read the community health guidelines for campus visits below.

You and your guest are only allowed in the building during your four-hour move out time; you may not stay overnight in the building or sign up for multiple move-out times. SAIC will provide free packing boxes and tape to help facilitate a smooth move out.

Schedule Your Move

2. You may enlist Collegeboxes to pack, store, and/or ship belongings.

If you are unable to return to campus, you may have your items packed, stored, and/or shipped through Collegeboxes. Collegeboxes will charge a flat fee of $295 per student to pack all items in their room. Please visit collegeboxes.com to contract directly with the company and to see rates for shipping and storage, and click here for more information. If you utilize Collegeboxes and also have items in the academic buildings, please complete this form to identify alternate methods for retrieving these items.

If you plan to use Collegeboxes, please let us know here.

3. You may return to campus between May 18–June 7 to pack and enlist Collegeboxes to store and/or ship belongings.

You may sign up to move out between May 18–June 7. During your move out time, you may pack your items. You may only be in the building during your four-hour window to complete this task, and you are allowed to bring one guest to assist.

During move out, you and your guest must follow national and local health guidelines, including wearing a mask, keeping six feet away from other people, and not sharing elevators with people beyond your guest. Read the community health guidelines for campus visits below.

You and your guest are only allowed in the building during your four-hour move out time; you may not stay overnight in the building or sign up for multiple move-out times. SAIC will provide free packing boxes and tape to help facilitate a smooth move out. When you complete your scheduling, please indicate that you will use Collegeboxes and be sure to go to collegeboxes.com to contract for services.

Schedule Your Move

Financial Support for Move-Out Process
We understand that some students may have financial hardships. If you need financial assistance with the move-out process, support from the Student Emergency Relief Campaign may be available. Students seeking support from either the Student Emergency Relief Campaign and/or the Butler Loan–an interest-free, SAIC-sponsored loan–should submit their request here. Each request will be considered in relation to all requests, with priority consideration given to students with the greatest need.

Community Health Guidelines for Campus Visits
Please be aware that SAIC is complying with Chicago Department of Public Health, state, and national health and social distancing guidelines. It is our responsibility to ensure the safety of the SAIC community by keeping contact to a minimum and reducing the number of people who come to campus. When visiting campus, students and their guests should follow the guidelines below:

  • Only those with a reserved move-out time should come to campus. As usual, you will need to show your student ID to enter campus buildings.
  • Do not come to campus if you are ill (fever, cough, etc.). We need your help to keep everyone healthy.
  • You may be asked to participate in a health screening, which could include taking your temperature, answering a few questions, and providing information on COVID-19 symptoms.
  • You will be asked to wear a face mask while you are on campus. If you don’t have one, we will provide you with a standard surgical mask.
  • Please follow all social distancing protocols, which will be reviewed with you at the start of your visit.
  • You may bring only one person to assist your move. We are unable to accommodate more than one guest per student without compromising social distance distancing guidelines and the safety of others.

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear Students,

As the spring semester comes to a close on May 10, we are reaching out to you with information on retrieving your personal belongings and artwork from campus and returning equipment and resources owned by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). The health and safety of the SAIC community continues to be our number one priority, and students will have the opportunity to retrieve their belongings while practicing recommended health, safety, and social distancing protocols. Please note, SAIC coordinated with the Chicago Police Department on plans for moving out of campus buildings, and students who are moving out, even with the State of Illinois’ Stay-at-Home order, will still be able to do so.

Below you will find important information to facilitate this process, including options for requesting financial support and alternate timelines. You will also find community health guidelines for campus visits.

Between May 18–June 7, students may return to campus to remove their belongings from the following locations:

  • Galleries and installation spaces
  • Classrooms and labs
  • Advanced undergraduate studios
  • Lockers
  • Jones Hall and the 162 North State Street Residences

Students must also return any equipment and resources that belong to SAIC. This includes items checked out from:

  • Media Centers
  • Fabrication facilities
  • John M. Flaxman Library and Special Collections
  • Individual department labs or checkout centers

Please note, graduate and post-baccalaureate students must also remove their belongings from the locations listed above by June 7; however, the deadline for moving out of your studio has been extended until July 31. Please continue reading for more information.

Persons needing accessibility assistance should contact the Disability and Learning Resource Center at 312.499.4278 or dlrc@saic.edu to make arrangements.

Sincerely,

Thomas Buechele
Vice President, Campus Operations
 
Students may make appointments to retrieve their items following the guidelines below. To allow everyone an opportunity to safely retrieve their belongings, we ask that you limit your visit to campus so that you are able to completely move out during one appointment time slot.

Picking Up Items from Galleries and Installation Spaces, Classrooms and Labs, Advanced Undergraduate Studios, or Lockers
You may make appointments to pick up your items between May 18–June 7. Appointment times are available from 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. CT every day of the week, except for Memorial Day, May 25. Appointments can be made in one- to two-hour blocks of time. In order to limit the number of people in a building at any given time, students must come prepared to adhere to their scheduled in and out time.

Schedule Artwork Pick-Up
Schedule Your Move

Returning Equipment and Resources
Students must return any equipment and resources that belong to SAIC. Items that have been checked out from any of the following locations can be returned to the lobby of any campus building.

  • Media Centers
  • Fabrication facilities
  • John M. Flaxman Library and Special Collections
  • Individual department labs or checkout centers

Schedule a Return

Graduate and Post-Bacc Studio Move-out
Graduate and post-bacc students must also remove their belongings from the locations listed above by June 7; however, the deadline for moving out of your studio has been extended until July 31. You may store items from the above locations in your studio until you are able to schedule a move-out time. Graduate and post-bacc students may make one nine-hour appointment to move out of studios beginning May 18. Appointments begin at 9:00 a.m. CT and end at 6:00 p.m. CT.

Schedule Your Move

Jones Hall and the 162 North State Street Residences
Residents of Jones Hall and the 162 North State Street Residences will receive an email from Abigail Holcomb, assistant dean of student affairs, with information on moving out of those residence halls. The email will also be posted here. Buckingham residents previously received a communication with move-out instructions.

If you have questions about retrieving your items from the residence halls, please email stulife@saic.edu.

Financial Assistance and Alternative Arrangements
We understand that some students may have financial hardships. If you need financial assistance with the move-out process, support from the Student Emergency Relief Campaign may be available. Students seeking support from either the Student Emergency Relief Campaign and/or the Butler Loan—an interest-free, SAIC-sponsored loan—should submit their request here. Each request will be considered in relation to all requests, with priority consideration given to students of greatest need.

We understand that some students may face challenges returning to campus. Students who are unable to return during the dates set above may request alternative arrangements by filling out this form.

Community Health Guidelines for Campus Visits
Please be aware that SAIC is complying with Chicago Department of Public Health, state, and national health and social distancing guidelines. It is our responsibility to ensure the safety of the SAIC community by keeping contact to a minimum and reducing the number of people who come to campus. When visiting campus, please follow the guidelines below:

  • Only those with a reserved move-out time should come to campus. As usual, you will need to show your student ID to enter campus buildings.
  • Do not come to campus if you are ill (fever, cough, etc.). We need your help to keep everyone healthy.
  • You may be asked to participate in a health screening, which could include taking your temperature, answering a few questions, and providing information on COVID-19 symptoms.
  • You will be asked to wear a face mask while you are on campus. If you don’t have one, we will provide you with a standard surgical mask.
  • Please follow all social distancing protocols, which will be reviewed with you at the start of your visit.
  • You may bring one person to assist your move. We are unable to accommodate more than one guest per student without compromising social distance distancing guidelines and the safety of others.
  • Remember to bring packing and moving supplies and any tools you’ll need to facilitate your move. There will be a limited number of carts available for use.
  • As with all move-ins and move-outs, items should primarily be hand-carried or removed with a small personal cart through the front entrance of the building. Dock access may be arranged for larger moves out of grad studios and residence halls.

 

APRIL 24, 2020

Dear Class of 2020 Graduate Students and Faculty,

The current global pandemic has created an ever-evolving situation in which our community must operate under unprecedented conditions. Through creative-problem solving, we must stay true to our mission. It is in this spirit of adaptability that we have updated our plan for supporting our graduating MFA in Studio, Master of Architecture (MArch), and Master of Design (MDes) students. This email represents a major change from the “Graduate Student Exhibitions and Related Events” email that was sent on April 15, and these changes have been implemented in direct response to feedback from faculty and students. This effort continues to be led by a group of dedicated faculty and staff working as the Remote Events Task Force, in consultation with departments and deans.

First and foremost, we are committed to enabling all MFA in Studio, MArch, and MDes students to graduate on time this May, despite the suspension of spring exhibitions and events. The reaction to the announcement of the alternative online format has shown that the original May 8 submission deadline does not provide the meaningful experience that was intended. And so, with compassion for the many challenges that our graduating students are currently facing as they seek to complete their studies and degrees this semester, students will not be required to submit content online.

In this message you will find information about the following:

  • Waiving of the Thesis Show Degree Requirement
  • Possibilities for Future In-person Exhibitions and Events
  • Online Professional Opportunity for Presentation and Engagement this Summer

In closing, the health and safety of the SAIC community continues to be our primary concern, and we sincerely appreciate your understanding.

Sincerely,

Arnold J. Kemp
Dean of Graduate Studies

Trevor Martin
Executive Director of Exhibitions
 
Waiving the Degree Requirement
As stated in SAIC’s Bulletin, participation in a graduate thesis exhibition or event is a requirement for the MFA in Studio, MDes, and MArch degree programs. This year, that requirement will be waived for graduating students, such that any student who has met all other degree requirements for their respective program will be able to graduate on time this May.

This decision was the result of much deliberation, and we can assure you that it does not represent a withdrawal from the responsibility and commitment to providing meaningful opportunities for graduating students to present their work. In fact, we hope the effect is the opposite. By waiving this requirement, and thus being able to extend the timeline for participation, the online platform can become a meaningful professional opportunity, as graduating students transition to life after school.
 
Possibilities for Future In-Person Graduate Exhibitions and Events
We hope to accommodate optional in-person, exhibitions and events for the class of 2020 this coming fall, to make up for the in-person events lost this semester. The Department of Exhibitions has rearranged their exhibition schedule with the hope to be able to prioritize the class of 2020, and alternate fall dates for the Impact Festival and Gene Siskel Film Center screenings are under discussion. However, our ability to provide these opportunities is contingent on many unknown factors beyond the School’s control. We do not yet know when the campus will be able to reopen, the scope of stay-at-home orders, or what social distancing limitations and other health and safety factors will be for the fall. We will provide an update this summer when the plans for fall are clearer.
 
Online Professional Opportunity for Presentation and Engagement this Summer
The Remote Events Task Force is continuing to develop a robust website to serve as a hub for engagement around the creative practices of graduating MFA in Studio, MArch, and MDes students. This online experience offers students a way to share their work or working process, a moment to reflect on the current situation, or a space to imagine possible futures. Though participation is optional, we encourage students to seize this moment to share their creative output and critical thinking with each other and the broader public.

In addition to traditional invitations to shows that are sent to gallerists, curators, collectors, and other important professionals in the field, we will promote the online experience via SAIC’s broad-reaching communications channels, as well as explore additional opportunities to engage the public. We are also developing an exciting schedule of programming to spotlight participating artists and designers.

Artwork by participating artists and designers will be tagged, allowing for thematic sorting by the viewer. Activated by a myriad of images, sounds, videos, poems, prompts, games, drawings, notebook entries, scores, prototypes, manifestos, livestream performances, and more, the interactive online environment will engage the public, collectively socializing ideas in this time of social distancing.

In order to give graduating students time to complete their studies, the deadline to submit content is Friday, June 12. Details about how and where to submit are forthcoming.

The public-facing website will launch later this summer and will be promoted and celebrated with special programming. More information about the kinds of content submissions that will be supported can be found here. Details about how and where to submit your content will be shared in May. Participation will be facilitated by Staci Boris, associate director of Exhibitions, and Lauren Steinberg, assistant director of Exhibitions, and questions can be directed to exhibitions-saic@saic.edu.

 

APRIL 23, 2020

Dear Early College Program Summer Institute Students and Parents,

While we are committed to nurturing your creative development, the COVID-19 pandemic requires us to continue to be diligent in considering your safety, the health of our campus community, and the well-being of our shared society.

With this in mind, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) first Early College Program Summer Institute (ECPSI) session, originally scheduled to run from June 15–26, will now take place from July 27–August 7. We will automatically adjust your enrollment to reflect the schedule change. Please note, if you are also enrolled in sessions two, three, or four, your course enrollment for those courses has not been changed.

At this time, we will plan on hosting our two-week sessions, which run from June 29–July 10, July 13–24, and July 27–August 7, as well as our four-week session, which runs from June 29–July 24, as scheduled. SAIC will be closely monitoring the public health situation and will notify you by June 1 if we can no longer host in-person classes this summer.

We’re also very excited to be launching our Early College Program Online Summer Institute, led by our acclaimed faculty who have adapted their course content to a virtual platform. Students will join peers from around the globe to create portfolio-quality work, deepen their understanding of contemporary art making, and earn college credit. They will experience dynamic virtual demos, engage in group critiques, and receive the ideal blend of one-on-one meeting time with faculty and independent exploration. Students who were awarded a Merit Scholarship or need-based financial aid for ECPSI who want to transfer their enrollment to an online course will have their awards prorated and applied towards the cost of the online course(s).

Those who join us online can enjoy these benefits:

  • Engagement with acclaimed visiting artists from around the globe;
  • An additional learning module focused on preparing a digital portfolio and website;
  • A virtual exhibition publicized on SAIC’s main social media channels;
  • Preferred merit scholarship for rising juniors who wish to return to the Early College Program next summer;
  • The opportunity to apply for SAIC’s undergraduate program and learn your admission decision by September 1 (for rising seniors);
  • A guaranteed $1,000 one-time scholarship awarded to students admitted to SAIC’s undergraduate class of 2021 (for those who successfully complete the ECPSI online program); and
  • Robust one-on-one faculty and admissions counselor advising throughout fall 2020.

Visit saic.edu/ecposi to learn more.

If you don't wish to join us in Chicago due to date conflicts, would prefer to participate online, are interested in combining options, wish to drop your classes entirely, or have questions, please contact us at 312.629.6170 or cs@saic.edu to update your enrollment by May 4.

Whether you are joining us in Chicago, as part of our virtual community, or both, we look forward to helping you expand your creative future. We appreciate your understanding, and please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have.

With my sincere wishes for your safety and that of your loved ones,

Paul Coffey
Vice Provost and Dean of Community Engagement

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear Students,

As classes continue remotely for the remainder of the semester, we are reaching out to you with information on moving your personal belongings out of the Buckingham. Please note the following information applies only to the Buckingham as this is not an SAIC-owned building and therefore has a different move-out process. Move-out information for Jones Hall and the 162 North State Street Residences will be sent at a later date to those residents.

All items must be removed from the Buckingham by May 18, and below you’ll find options to facilitate this process. The health of the SAIC community during this process is our number one priority. The following options offer you the opportunity to retrieve your items while maintaining recommended health guidance, including limiting the amount of people on campus. SAIC coordinated with the Chicago Police Department on plans for moving out of the residence halls, and students who are moving out, even if the State of Illinois’ Stay-at-Home order is extended, will still be able to do so.

Persons needing accessibility assistance should contact the Disability and Learning Resource Center at 312.499.4278 or dlrc@saic.edu to make arrangements. If you also have items that you need to retrieve from another campus building, please fill out this form to coordinate access.

If you believe you received this message in error or have questions about your options for retrieving items, please contact stulife@saic.edu.

Sincerely,

Abigail Holcomb
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs
 
Options for Moving Out of the Buckingham
 
1. You may return to campus between May 1–18 to pack and move out.

You may sign up to move out between May 1–18. During your move out time, you may pack your items and load them out of the building. You may only be in the building during your four-hour window to complete this task, and you are allowed to bring one guest to assist.

During move out, you and your guest must follow national and local health guidelines, including wearing a mask, keeping six feet away from other people, and not sharing elevators with people beyond your guest. More specific details will be outlined in a separate email.

You and your guest are only allowed in the building during your four-hour move out time; you may not stay overnight in the Buckingham or sign up for multiple move-out times. SAIC will provide free packing boxes and tape to help facilitate a smooth move out.

2. You may enlist Collegeboxes to pack, store, and/or ship belongings.

If you are unable to return to campus, you may have your items packed, stored, and/or shipped through Collegeboxes. Collegeboxes will charge a flat fee of $295 per student to pack all items in their room. Please visit collegeboxes.com to contract directly with the company and to see rates for shipping and storage, and click here for more information.

3. You may enlist Collegeboxes to pack and you can return to campus between May 18–June 7 to pick up items.

You may enlist Collegeboxes to pack your items, and you can return to campus between May 18–June 7 to pick up your belongings. Please note, Collegeboxes will charge you a fee based on the number of items to be packed. To contract this service, please email kristen@collegeboxes.com, and include your name, building and room number, and requested packing service.

You will register for a specific date and time to return to campus to pick up your items. You are allowed to bring one guest to assist, and during move out, you and your guest must follow national and local health guidelines, including wearing a mask, keeping six feet away from other people, and not sharing elevators with other people beyond your guest. More specific details will be outlined in a separate email.

We understand that some students may have financial hardships. If you need financial assistance with the move-out process, support from the Student Emergency Relief Campaign may be available. Students seeking support from either the Student Emergency Relief Campaign and/or the Butler Loan, an interest-free, SAIC-sponsored loan, should submit their request here. Each request will be considered in relation to all requests, with priority consideration given to students of greatest need.

Tell Us Your Plans for Moving Out

By Thursday, May 1, at 12:00 p.m., complete this form to notify us of your choice for retrieving your personal belongings from the Buckingham.

 

APRIL 21, 2020 

 While we are committed to nurturing your creative development, the COVID-19 pandemic requires us to continue to be diligent in considering your safety, the health of our campus community, and the well-being of our shared society. With this in mind, we will be canceling the following Adult Continuing Education (ACE) sessions:

  • Weekend Workshops: May 16–17
  • 1-Week Session: May 18–22
  • 5-Week Session: May 26–June 29
  • 10-Week Session: May 26–August 9

We hope that we will be able to welcome you to campus later in the summer, and have been working to provide you the following options in light of these cancellations:

  • You can shift your enrollment now into courses taking place on campus later in the summer. In addition to those already scheduled beginning in July and August, we will be shifting our weekend workshops to August, as well as offering new sections of popular courses such as: Design Matters, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Digital Drawing: Interior Design, Introduction to Drawing, and Introduction to Digital Photography. Alternative course dates and details can be found at saic.edu/continuing-studies/ace/online.
  • We are excited to have expanded our online classes to include Drawn from Life: Illustrating the Personal Narrative, taking place May 17–July 25; Game Environments, taking place May 31–August 8; and Digital Design: Adobe Illustrator, taking place June 21–August 29, all available for you to swap into now. More online offerings will be available throughout the summer.
  • You can choose to drop your course(s) and receive a full refund (the process will take between 4–6 weeks).

Please contact us at 312.629.6170 or cs@saic.edu and we’ll work with you to make your desired adjustments. If we don’t hear from you by May 4, we will drop you from course(s) taking place during these sessions and process a full refund for you.

We are disappointed that we can’t have you on campus sooner, but very much hope to work with you later this summer. We are carefully monitoring this challenging situation and will notify you by June 1 if conditions require us to cancel the remainder of our summer sessions.

We appreciate your understanding, and encourage you to reach out to us at cs@saic.edu or 312.629.6170 with any questions you may have.

With my sincere wishes for your safety and that of your loved ones,

Paul Coffey
Vice Provost and Dean of Community Engagement

Dear SAIC Students,

In an effort to encourage further openness and accessibility within our community, the Dean’s Office has collaborated with department heads to compile classes and opportunities that are open for all students to attend. Below please find a list of faculty members who welcome students from other classes to join in artist talks, presentations, and performances.

An enormous thank you to each of these faculty members for generously opening your virtual classrooms to the community. And thank you to everyone for all of your incredible work during these unprecedented times.

Sincerely,

Jefferson Pinder
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs
 
Peter Burr
Peter Burr, a full-time visiting artist teaching in the Film, Video, New Media, and Animation department, has turned his installation course into an all-star visiting artist program. Please contact Peter at pburr@saic.edu to join the following visiting artist experience.
 
Tuesday, April 28, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. CT
Visiting Artists: Eric Dyer and Deborah Stratman (BFA 1990)

Adrian Wong
The Sculpture department will be featuring visiting artists and graduate sculpture conversations in their ongoing Sculpture Dialogue series. Hosted by Assistant Professor Adrian Wong, the community is invited to take part in Zoom conversations about the intersection of academia and contemporary art making. Please contact Adrian at awong6@saic.edu for more information about joining the following events as well as future events yet to be scheduled.
 
Wednesday, April 22, 4:00–6:00 p.m. CT
Sculpture Dialogue with Anastasia Tinari, director of Anastasia Tinari Projects and Richard Gray Gallery, and former director of Rhona Hoffman Gallery

Wednesday, May 6, 4:00–6:00 p.m. CT
Sculpture Dialogue with James Kao (BFA 2004, MFA 2006) and Valentina Zamfirescu, co-founders of 4th Ward Project Space

Claire Ashley and Mark Jeffery
Claire Ashley (MFA 1995), associate professor, adj., teaching in the Painting and Drawing and Contemporary Practices departments, and Mark Jeffery, associate professor teaching in the Performance department, co-teach Senior Capstone: Quivering Bodies - BFA + Beyond and invite students to join their class for presentations from SAIC staff members and guests. Previous events can be found here. To attend upcoming events, please contact Claire, cashley@saic.edu, and Mark, mjeffe@saic.edu.
 
Tuesday, April 28, 10:00 a.m. CT
Executive Director of Alumni Relations Ashley Spell and Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Rebecca Mosena: Networking with Alums

Tuesday, April 28, 12:00 p.m. CT
Executive Director of Exhibitions Trevor Martin: Alum, Art, and Curatorial Practice

Kirsten Leenaars
Kirsten Leenaars, associate professor teaching in the Contemporary Practices department, invites you to view work from students in the class Everyone Says I Love You performed live via Zoom on Friday, May 1, beginning at 12:00 p.m. CT. To attend, please contact Kirsten, kleenaars@saic.edu, for more information.

Erica Mott
Assistant Professor, Adj. Erica Mott highlights student work from the Site Practice performance class in a newly designed website titled Shelter In Place.

 

APRIL 20, 2020 

Dear Parents, 

While we are committed to nurturing the creative development of emerging artists, designers, and scholars, the COVID-19 pandemic requires us to continue to be diligent in considering their safety, the health of our campus community, and the well-being of our shared society. With this in mind, we will be canceling Continuing Studies Youth Program courses, which include the Middle School Program and Children’s Workshops, taking place in our June 8–19 and June 22–26 sessions.

We will process a full refund for the courses your child was enrolled in during these sessions. Refunds typically take between 4–6 weeks.

While we can’t be with you in person during the next few months, we will reach out to you via email with ideas to spark creative thinking and playing. We will also share activities developed by our museum, the Art Institute of Chicago. It is our firm belief that in addition to building problem solving skills and critical thinking, engaging in art and design activities helps children process their experiences and emotions.

We appreciate your understanding, and encourage you to reach out to us at cs@saic.edu or 312.629.6170 with any questions you may have.

With my sincere wishes for your safety and that of your loved ones,

Paul Coffey
Vice Provost and Dean of Community Engagement

Dear Adult Continuing Education Faculty,

Per the State of Illinois’ Stay-at-Home order, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is closed and, with many uncertainties related to the global pandemic, we do not yet know when we’ll be able to have our students and faculty back on campus. The disruption from the virus has also impacted Continuing Studies classes, and we’re only able to offer a limited selection of classes right now. When the global health emergency subsides, we’ll look for ways to offer additional classes. 

Adult Continuing Education courses beginning in May and June have been canceled. If space and enrollment permits–and if the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Chicago Department of Public Health allow–some courses will be moved to take place later this summer. If yours falls into this category, I will reach out to you directly. 

The health and safety of our community are of utmost importance, so please be aware that conditions may necessitate further changes to the schedule. We plan to share updated information regarding the status of courses running in the second half of the summer term on June 1. If your course will take place later this summer, we’ll also share contract information at this time as well. 

Thank you for your continued flexibility and understanding during this unprecedented time.

Sincerely, 

Kristina Wyatt
Associate Dean of Continuing Studies

 

APRIL 16, 2020 

Hello, 

We hope this message finds you healthy and safe. International Affairs staff are committed to providing support to you, wherever you may be. Advisors have been meeting with students remotely to provide immigration guidance and assist in Optional Practical Training (OPT) applications. We have responded to more than 1,000 emails over these past few weeks, and we are here to answer any questions you have via email, phone, or video appointment.

We want to address some questions and concerns that you shared with our office, and below you will find information, guidance, and resources surrounding the recent move to online learning and maintaining your immigration status.

Please note that we continue to monitor the government agencies that provide oversight to international students in the U.S., and we will notify you of any changes that may impact how you manage and maintain your status. If you have additional questions, please email intaff@saic.edu and an advisor will reach out to you as soon as they are able.

Kind regards,

Lawrence Rodriguez
Director, International Affairs

International Student Services
Jessica Wolfe, Assistant Director of International Student Services
Jennifer Dentel, International Student Advisor
Victoria McAllister, International Student Advisor and SEVIS Analyst
Leslie Wong Rutt, International Student Advisor and SEVIS Analyst

Study Abroad
Norman Miller, Assistant Director of Study Abroad
Alicia Ortiz, Study Abroad Advisor
 
Immigration Status
Your immigration status will not be impacted by the academic changes made this term. International students who remain enrolled full-time and complete their spring term coursework online will continue to maintain their F-1 student immigration status.

I-20 Travel Signatures
An online process was launched last month, allowing students to request travel signatures. Students should look on page 2 of their I-20 in the “Travel Endorsement” box and identify the date of their last travel signature. Travel signatures are valid for reentry up to 12 months after the signature date for current degree-seeking students. Travel signatures for students on OPT are valid for six months. If your planned reentry to the US will be greater than the validity identified, please click here to request a new travel signature. A new I-20 with a valid travel signature will be sent to you via courier.

Full-time Enrollment
The federal government’s Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has advised that students must remain enrolled full-time to maintain their F-1 status. Students completing the spring 2020 semester outside of the US must also remain enrolled full-time to maintain their status.

Withdrawal Deadline and Reduced Course Load (RCL) Authorizations
SAIC has extended the withdrawal deadline to April 30. International students may request a withdrawal from a course through April 30 but are required to remain enrolled full-time.

A Reduced Course Load (RCL) authorization can be requested through International Affairs by a student who has a recommendation from a medical or mental health professional to enroll less than full-time. Students must obtain approval and authorization before withdrawing from any course that would result in going below full-time. Please contact an advisor with any questions at intaff@saic.edu.

Reentry to the US After an Absence of More Than Five Months
Students who complete the spring 2020 term and maintain their F-1 status outside of the US are eligible to reenter the US. On March 23, SEVP released the following guidance:
 
Under current conditions, if an active F student leaves the United States to complete the spring term online, their SEVIS record should remain in Active status and not be terminated. While the temporary measures related to COVID-19 are in place, students deemed to be maintaining status if they are making normal progress in their course of study. For that reason, the five-month temporary absence provision addressed in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(4) will not apply for students who remain in Active status.

If you were enrolled at SAIC during the spring 2020 term and departed the US to complete the spring 2020 term outside the US, have remained outside the US for a period of time of more than five months, and plan to return to the US to resume classes for the fall 2020 term, please download and print this Arrival Support Letter and hand-carry it with your immigration documents.

Program Extensions
Students should review their program end date located in the “Program of Study” section on page 1 of their most recent I-20.

If your I-20 reflects a program end date of May 2020 and you will not complete all degree courses this spring, you must request a Program Extension. Please email intaff@saic.edu with the subject line “I-20 Program Extension” and an image of page 1 of your I-20 to request a program extension.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Authorization
Students who wish to engage in an off-campus internship through the Career and Professional Experience (CAPX) office should contact CAPX to review options for summer internships. Any internship or work off-campus must be approved for CPT prior to your start date. CAPX will work with International Affairs to complete any necessary paperwork for CPT work authorization and issue a new I-20 form.

Career and Professional Experience (CAPX)
All Career and Professional Experience (CAPX) services and resources are available to you virtually! CAPX career advisors are available to meet with you by phone or on Google Hangouts to discuss your career options, offer advice on resumes, cover letters, portfolios, websites, and your internship and job search in the US and abroad. Career advisors can help you explore postgraduate opportunities including residencies, grants and fellowships, and graduate school. Schedule virtual career advising appointments with CAPX advisors on Handshake. In addition to meeting with a career advisor, the Handshake resource page contains valuable career advice and is accessible 24/7. Go to the CAPX website for more information and for FAQs.

OPT Authorization
Students who will complete their degree program in May or summer 2020, and who were enrolled in fall 2019 courses, may be eligible to apply for OPT. Students must complete an OPT workshop that reviews the details of OPT and the application process before making an appointment with an international student advisor. An OPT workshop is available through Canvas and students can request enrollment by emailing intaff@saic.edu. If you are unsure if you are eligible or have questions about applying for OPT, please email us.

Students Who Have Applied for OPT
Please note that OPT applications are processed by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and not by International Affairs. USCIS has not announced any extensions to application deadlines or start dates. Any changes announced will be communicated to students as the information becomes available.

Students who have applied for OPT cannot request a change to their original OPT application start date once it is received by USCIS. Students who wish to change their start date must submit a notification to withdraw the original application to USCIS and subsequently submit a separate application and $410 fee. This process will delay overall processing time and students may be subject to later approval dates and the loss of days of OPT. Currently, the latest start date a student can request is 60 days after their program end date (for May graduates, this is July 9).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
International Affairs continues to update a list of frequently asked questions on our website. Announcements and emails addressing the entire SAIC community related to the impact of COVID-19 can be found at saic.edu/alerts.

Tax Deadline Extended to July 15
All international students and recent graduates on OPT who were physically present in the United States in 2019 are required to complete tax paperwork. This deadline has been extended to July 15. International Affairs has sent two emails this semester to all international students with access to Sprintax tax preparation software. If you need access to these instructions, please email intaff@saic.edu.

Dear SAIC Low-Residency MFA Students,

We are moving the summer 2020 residency online. This is both necessary and exciting. We are confident that the residency can be delivered in most of its components, remote (online) with the highest degree of quality. Certainly, some aspects of the residency, in particular the enjoyment of being together, will be missed. Yet, these perilous times call for that most precious of Romantic qualities—mutability. 1

Plan for Moving SAIC’s Low-Residency Summer 2020 Program Online

Moving Online: What we can deliver at a high level of creditable quality and what we cannot deliver.

SAIC’s Low-Residency MFA (LRMFA) program can and will shift most of its offerings to online remote delivery. The design of the program lends itself to this shift. Most of our classes can be shifted online as they are similar to the classes we already provide online during the fall and spring—Art History (3 credits), Professional Practices (1.5 Credits), and Grad Studio Seminar (GSS 4.5 credits). These three classes are offered at different levels for all three cohorts, and they can easily be moved online.

Enrollment caps will be lowered pending final enrollment in the online residency. This will mean smaller classes for better attention to students and freeing teachers to devote the appropriate amount of time.

Additionally, our robust visiting artist and scholar programming can proceed online! We will commission the already contracted eleven visitors to deliver live-streaming lectures and/or record downloadable presentations to make them available online. Colloquia with visiting artists and scholars will occur on Zoom, with the addition or substitution of asynchronous chat options. Visiting artists and scholars will hold two days of online studio visits with students.

Commencement can proceed online. We have a commencement speaker secured. Their commencement address and the ceremony can be delivered through Zoom accommodating the same number of participants or even more participants than usual. We will consult with Student Affairs to deliver the same official format.

Regarding the required graduate thesis show, an online approach provides a novel platform for virtual exhibition. The same applies to open studio night. Our interest grows out of the spirit of innovation and our shared interest in online mediums. However, online presentations of exhibitions are not satisfactory substitutes for such “real life” events. The summer 2020 LRMFA graduate exhibition can be installed at some point later in the calendar; LRMFA exhibitions can be combined in real-life with next summer’s 2021 exhibition.

Thesis presentations for the graduating class can also be moved online this summer with the thesis presentation class. This will still give students the opportunity to develop presentations on their work and the opportunity for faculty to respond. Likewise, remote studio visits will be organized for all students in every cohort.

The 2020 online summer residency cannot provide studios, shops, equipment, and some supplies. However, we can provide technical advice and some instruction online. As the program depends on the studio departments, we will follow their lead. Our program works with all studio departments to provide facilities and technical training. Studio departments are now discussing the summer 2020 contingencies. This year’s graduating students will be able to use facilities in the fall, or as soon as the school is open, after their graduation. All current students have access to the school’s facilities year-round and you can use them as soon as the school opens safely.

An online residency provides continuity to students for this summer. Graduating students will be able to graduate on schedule. Continuing students will continue to engage necessary classes. Incoming students will experience much of the unique programming we offer and continue on schedule.

Due to the current pandemic crisis we maintain our commitments to our students. We recognize the following factors: The School facilities will be closed in June and into July. Planning for the in-person Chicago residency is not possible. Many students cannot make travel arrangements and secure accommodations for the residency now. Travel is compromised. Visa application is compromised. Most consulates are closed for international students. The pandemic may be “rolling”—in terms of infections throughout the country and the world—well into the summer. As a matter of safety for students and faculty, the only way to go forward with a summer residency is to shift online. We do so as a matter of safety; to stem the spread of COVID-19 to all students, faculty, and staff.

We make a principled commitment to continue education through these difficult times. Artists have continued to make art under the worst of circumstances. The need to create is irrepressible. Art and culture contribute a necessary vitality to society, in good times and bad. We make art in spite of or directly addressing the challenges thrown at us, personal and historical. Just drawing, writing, making objects, models, and sketches, provisional, tentative, unknowing—these activities continue. Studying, conversations, discussions, the exchange of ideas, all continue. The only time to make art is now, with the materials at hand, in the time you have. This is a truly strange and profound moment in our history. I’m neither trying to calm nor to panic. Art abides in the present.

We, as faculty, will show up, be present, and model art-making as a commitment during a crisis. No one should feel pressured to work considering life’s considerable demands, but for those who feel that making art is an inner necessity and studying is essential to continuing with life plans during the crisis, we will be present and provide the most of what can be delivered online. It will be different, but no less inspiring.

If you have any questions, please contact graduate coordinators Kelly F. Kaczynski, kkaczynski@saic.edu, or John D. Neff, jneff1@saic.edu. Our senior administrator director can be contacted for enrollment information: Celeste Collins, ccollins11@saic.edu. Please let Celeste know if you will be attending the residency online as soon as possible.

Sincerely, Gregg

1
Mutability ["We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon"]
By Percy Bysshe Shelley

I.
We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed and gleam and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly! yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost for ever:—

II.
Or like forgotten lyres whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mood or modulation like the last.

III.
We rest—a dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise—one wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep,
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away:—

IV.
It is the same!—For, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free;
Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability.

Source: The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley: The Text Carefully Revised by William Michael Rossetti, Volume 3 (John Slark, 1885)

 

APRIL 15, 2020 

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear SAIC Community, 

As faculty and students finish the second week of online classes, the administration is looking ahead to the summer term. In planning for summer instruction, we are balancing a commitment to keeping everyone in our community safe with the strong desire to return to the in-person instruction we so value. As always, our decisions are shaped by guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Ultimately, the School has decided to move the first three sessions of summer classes, those taking place May 26–July 2, online. A selection of studio courses will be moved to later in the summer, in the hopes that we will be able to return to campus in July.

Below you’ll find greater detail about our plans for summer instruction, in terms of both schedule and method of delivery, so that students can finalize their plans for the summer.

  • The first three sessions of summer classes (3W1, 3W2, and 6W1), taking place May 26–July 2, will be conducted remotely. Working with departments and faculty, we have reviewed all of our first-half of summer courses to determine those that will move online.
  • At this time, the final three sessions of summer classes (3W3, 3W4, and 6W2), running from July 6–August 14, are scheduled to take place on campus.
  • Certain summer courses previously scheduled for the first half of summer will be shifted to a session in the second half of the summer. Such courses will move to a slot (3W3, 3W4, and 6W2) running from July 6–August 14.

These changes are being made based on the best information available to us at this time. Please be aware that conditions may necessitate further changes to the schedule, but know that any future changes will only be made for reasons of safety. We plan to share updated information regarding the status of courses running in the second half of the summer term on June 1.

Guidance for Currently Enrolled Students
If you are a student currently enrolled in one of the courses being moved, you will be auto-enrolled into the rescheduled version. You will receive a message directly from the Office of Registration and Records alerting you to the new dates and times for the course. Students who are unable to take the course during the new timeframe will be directed to drop it from their schedules.

Students who have questions about the status of their 3W1, 3W2, or 6W1 classes should contact the Office of Registration and Records at saic.registrar@saic.edu or administrative staff in their department for assistance.

Students with questions about their summer schedule plan, degree requirements, or who need assistance re-evaluating their schedule based on class changes should contact their academic advisor or the Office of Academic Advising at 312.629.6800 or studenthelp@saic.edu.

SAIC residence halls will remain closed while classes continue to be taught remotely. Any students who had planned to live in the residence halls during the first half of the summer and need assistance with alternate housing should contact stulife@saic.edu.

Faculty have already begun preparing those first-half summer courses, and we are confident we will have a successful summer term. Thank you, as always, for your flexibility and understanding during this unprecedented time.

Sincerely,

Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dear Early College Program Students and Parents, 

While we are committed to nurturing the creative development of emerging artists, designers, and scholars, the COVID-19 pandemic requires us to be diligent in considering their safety, the health of our campus community, and the well-being of our shared society. With this in mind, we will be canceling Continuing Studies Early College Program courses taking place in our June 8–19 and June 22–26 sessions.

We hope that we will be able to welcome you to campus later in the summer, and we are providing the following options in light of these cancelations:

  • You can shift your enrollment now into a course(s) taking place later in the summer. Alternative course dates and details can be found at continuingstudies.saic.edu.
  • You may choose to let us know by June 1 if you would like to shift into a later summer offering. Alternative course dates and details can be found at continuingstudies.saic.edu.
  • You can drop your course(s) and receive a full refund (the process will take between 4–6 weeks).

Please contact us at 312.629.6170 or cs@saic.edu, and we’ll work with you to make your desired adjustments.

While we can’t be with you in person during the next few months, we will be reaching out to you via email with ideas to spark creative thinking and playing. We will also be sharing activities developed by our museum, the Art Institute of Chicago. It is our firm belief that in addition to building problem solving skills and critical thinking, engaging in art and design activities helps us process our experiences and emotions.

We are disappointed that we can’t have you on campus sooner, but very much hope to host young artists later this summer. We will continue to monitor recommendations from local and national health authorities and will provide you with any updates or changes to July or August offerings by June 1.

We appreciate your understanding, and encourage you to reach out to us at cs@saic.edu or 312.629.6170 with any questions you may have.

With my sincere wishes for your safety and that of your loved ones,

Paul Coffey
Vice Provost and Dean of Community Engagement

Dear Class of 2020 Graduate Students and Faculty, 

To help students graduating from the MFA in Studio, Master of Architecture, and Master of Design programs satisfy the exhibition and event thesis component of their degrees, a dedicated group of faculty and staff, working as the Remote Events Task Force of the Campus Emergency Operations Plan, in consultation with departments and deans, are developing a robust online strategy, and we want to share more about plans for programming.

While we continue to finalize details, we hope that insight into this planning will help you think about ways you want to engage in Critique Week conversations. The interdisciplinary critiques now have an underlying shared experience as we consider projects, place, proposals, and process.

We acknowledge that at this moment, all graduate students are at different points on a continuum with their creative practices: some may be starting anew, some may be in-progress, and some may be close to completion. All states of creative practice are acceptable. Both Critique Week and the new online format for completing the thesis requirement are opportunities to address where students are now and give feedback to help them think about the future.

Below you will find information about the following:

  • The Online Experience
  • Timeline and Process for Submitting Content
  • Programming, Engagement, and Planning for the Future

Questions that relate to the alternative exhibition plans outlined in this message can be directed to exhibitions-saic@saic.edu.

Sincerely,

Arnold J. Kemp
Dean of Graduate Studies

Trevor Martin
Executive Director of Exhibitions
 
The Online Experience
We all recognize that this is not the spring semester or culminating moment that any of us had envisioned.

In our discussions, we felt it was important to reframe this experience in the following way: this is not an online exhibition that will attempt to replicate the experience of in-person exhibitions, performances, or screenings. It is a different kind of platform that will respond to the situation we are all experiencing and help launch SAIC’s MFA in Studio and graduate architecture and design students into the next phase of their creative lives. It is an opportunity to reflect on where each person’s creative practice and process are at this unique moment in time.

The online experience offers graduating students a way to share their work or working process, a moment to reflect on the current situation, or a space to imagine possible futures.

Some faculty members have been responding to the current circumstances in writing that the committee has found particularly poignant and timely. We are sharing these texts with you, along with others that are being collected, in the hope that you may find encouragement, inspiration, and/or a sense of camaraderie.
 
Timeline and Process for Submitting Content
To satisfy the degree requirement, all graduating MFA in Studio and graduate design students are required to submit content, but will have two options to do so: 1.) Make their content visible to the public via the website that the School is creating, or, 2.) Keep their content internal for review by SAIC faculty for degree completion only.

Students need to upload their content by Friday, May 8, to satisfy the degree requirement. Students will upload their content through a link that will be provided.

The public-facing website will launch after graduation in late May or early June and will be promoted and celebrated with special programming.

There will be an opportunity for students to update their content after the initial launch of the website. More details will be provided soon.
 
Programming, Engagement, and Planning for the Future

Programming and Engagement
The Remote Events Task Force is dedicated to creating a robust series of programs to celebrate and support the work of SAIC’s MFA in Studio and graduate architecture and design students. As part of the new web format, we are asking guest curators for both the MFA Show and Design Show to share reflections and interviews that further speak to the creative challenges, opportunities, and important work of this time.

Innovative opportunities to promote student work, generate excitement, and extend engagement are being planned. Opportunities for panel discussions, critiques, and connecting students with curators and other professionals are being discussed.

Coming Soon: Updated Calendar of Events
Information about all spring events will continue to be shared via our Event Cancellations and Updates webpage and community emails.

Planning for the Future
As President Tenny’s message stated last week, the School is working on a strategy that will permit continued access to campus facilities into the fall for graduating students. Should conditions permit, we hope to accommodate optional in-person, celebratory exhibitions and events for MFA and graduate design students this fall to augment the online versions of all those in-person events lost this semester. More information is forthcoming.

Dear Undergraduate Students and Faculty,

We are writing today to provide you with an update on a number of initiatives focused on end-of-year events for our graduating senior students. While so much has changed in less than a month, our commitment to providing optional opportunities for our seniors to exhibit their work has not. A dedicated group of SAIC staff and faculty have been working together as a Remote Events Task Force, as part of the Campus Emergency Operations Plan, tasked with reimagining our existing senior-related events in response to the challenges posed by the public health crisis. While many details are still being finalized, we want to share our plans with the community now, so that seniors can begin to consider their capacity to participate in these events, and the rest of our community can look forward to experiencing and celebrating their work.

In our discussions of how to proceed against a backdrop of an unfolding pandemic, we felt it was important to commit fully to the value of these end-of-year events in helping launch SAIC’s graduating seniors into the next phase of their creative lives. The Undergraduate Exhibition, Senior Exhibition, and numerous other related performances, screenings, readings, and symposia are opportunities to appreciate where each person’s creative practice and process have led them through this culminating moment in their studies.

Below you will find information about the following:

  • Spring Undergraduate Exhibition: Phase 2
  • Senior Expo 2020
  • Alternatives for Other Impacted Events

We all recognize that this is not the spring semester that any of us had envisioned. However, in such a semester, celebration and recognition of student accomplishment becomes more important than ever. These events are manifestations of our community’s values, resilience, and determination. They are opportunities for us to be together, even while we are at home.

In this spirit, SAIC looks forward to sharing our seniors’ work with you and the public in the weeks and months to come.

Sincerely,

Dawn Gavin
Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Trevor Martin
Executive Director of Exhibitions
 
Spring Undergraduate Exhibition: Phase 2
Earlier this semester, 316 seniors participated in the Spring Undergraduate Exhibition, which opened in the Sullivan Galleries on Friday, March 13. The exhibition had been scheduled to run between March 13 and March 27, but due to the campus closure that began on Monday, March 16, opportunities to review this exhibition were significantly curtailed. Unfortunately, the exhibition will not reopen for public viewing.

Thanks to the efforts of our Exhibitions and Admissions teams, many of the works in the exhibition were documented by a professional photographer. Others were documented by the Exhibitions staff themselves, who sought to capture as much student work as possible before any of it was taken down and before the campus closed. We are creating an Undergraduate Exhibition website to bring this work to a broader audience.

Students who participated in the Spring Undergraduate Exhibition can expect to receive an email from the Department of Exhibitions in the coming weeks. Students will be able to view their personal artist’s page on the new site and provide approval, prior to the site going public. Students who do not wish for their work to be made public via the site will have the option to opt out.

Curated Senior Capstone 4900 course exhibitions within the larger show, as well as group exhibits, will have dedicated pages that link to individual artist pages.

We are cautiously optimistic that we can have this work completed before the end of the spring 2020 semester. As the plan moves forward, we will be able to share more specific information about the site’s intended launch date.
 
Senior Expo 2020
In addition to plans for the Spring Undergraduate Exhibition, the Remote Events Task Force has recommended a dedicated online venue for Senior Expo, now in its third year celebrating Senior Capstone work. All students participating in Senior Capstone courses this spring will work with their individual faculty members to develop work to be linked through the main Senior Expo site. More details about this site will also be forthcoming.
 
Alternatives for Other Impacted Events
The Remote Events task force is also working to address options for students who were planning to participate in the annual IMPACT Performance Festival and Exhibition or the screenings hosted at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Should conditions permit, we hope to showcase the work of these students during the upcoming fall semester. Additional details will be shared as they are worked out.

Coming Soon: Updated Calendar of Events
Information about all spring events will continue to be shared via SAIC’s COVID-19 Event Cancellations and Updates webpage and community emails.

 

APRIL 13, 2020 

Dear Graduate Students, Post-Baccalaureate Students, Faculty, and Staff, 

Spring 2020 Critique Week will be April 20–24, and the schedule is now posted. You may access the schedules and find your panel information in the link below or you can locate the link on the studentfaculty, and staff dashboards. 
 
Spring 2020 Critique Week Schedule

Please review your assigned panel(s) carefully. This listing is final and you will be expected to be present remotely at your computer or other device at the time listed.

Please note the following:

  • Critique times are listed in North America’s Central Standard Time, so please plan accordingly if you are in a different time zone.
  • Students will need to upload the files they want their panel to critique to a Google folder provided by the Graduate Division office no later than Saturday, April 18. If you need to share a link, create a Word file or pdf with the link and upload that to your folder.
  • Video conference critiques will use Google Hangouts or Zoom. Please take the time to test these platforms on your preferred computer/device to ensure that your mic and camera are functioning properly, and use your SAIC Gmail account for Google Hangouts. SAIC has created this Canvas Page for more information about Zoom. If you are experiencing technical issues, please reach out to the CRIT Help Desk at 312.345.3535 or crithelpdesk@saic.edu.
  • The Graduate Division office will be scheduling all video conference critiques and invites, so please accept their Google Calendar invite. This is really important for video conference critiques as it will contain the link for the video conference.
  • Text-based critiques will take place in a Google doc set up by the Graduate Division office in the designated student folder. If you do not have access to Google, please let us know well in advance of a text-based critique.
  • If you have been selected as a moderator for a panel, please contact each of your panelists in advance to see if they have any questions about the format or critique procedures. I will be sharing the panel survey with you this week.
  • Faculty should contact their moderator directly with any questions they have about their schedule for the day. If your panel is assigned with a graduate student from the Writing program, writing materials may be emailed to you by Wednesday, April 15. You are expected to read and prepare comments on this work in advance of the critique.
  • If you are a graduate student from the Writing or Visual and Critical Studies departments and you want your panel to critique your written work, you must have writing materials emailed to them by Wednesday, April 15.

Best,

Ann Marie Martens
Assistant Director of Facilities: Graduate and Post-Bac Studios
critiques@saic.edu

Dear Class of 2020,

I’m writing to share details for the Commencement 2020 ceremony, which will occur virtually on Saturday, May 16, at 8:00 p.m. CT. The ceremony will be streamed at saic.edu/commencement.

We know that each of you had a different vision for how we would celebrate this incredible milestone, and if you haven’t already, we encourage you to review President Tenny’s message on how you can walk in next year’s ceremony. Regardless of whether you choose to join us in person next year, we hope you will join us in recognizing your achievement in this year’s virtual ceremony.

Ceremony Details
On Saturday, May 16, at 8:00 p.m. CT, the ceremony will be streamed at saic.edu/commencement, and will be available at the same link afterward. The ceremony will include remarks from your commencement speaker and appearances from honorary doctorate recipients, who will be announced later this week. This will be followed by a special video celebration.

We will also recognize you individually. Please submit one picture of you or your work, and when it is time to be recognized during the Commencement ceremony, you will see this image, along with your name and degree, and hear your name read aloud. You will be able to share this personalized slide via email and social media with your friends and family.

How to Submit Your Image
To submit your image, please visit the Marching Order website and click "Register" under New Users, then enter your SAIC email address. You will be able to submit your image, help us ensure the pronunciation of your name, and provide us with your updated address information. The deadline to submit your image and other information is Friday, May 1.

We will also mail you a ceremony program to commemorate your achievement. To ensure proper delivery, please make sure to update your information, including your address, via the Marching Order website.

More information on how to watch the ceremony and invite your friends and family will be sent in the coming weeks. If you have any questions, please let us know. We look forward to celebrating you!

Best,

Patrick Spence
Associate Dean of Student Affairs for Campus Life

 

APRIL 10, 2020 

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear Students,

As online instruction is now underway, the Dean’s Office sent a message to all faculty with important updates regarding grading and expectations, and we want to share this information with you as well.

In this message, you’ll find information on:

  • Reminder: Spring 2020 Withdrawal Deadline Pushed Back to April 30
  • A Reimagined Student/Faculty Communication Tool
  • How SAIC Will Address Grading in Spring 2020
  • A Reminder Regarding Incomplete (INC) Grades

The Dean’s Office, along with your faculty and staff, are fully committed to helping you emerge from this challenging semester with new knowledge, increased confidence in your capabilities, and fresh momentum to propel your studies forward in the semesters and years to come.

Sincerely,

Jefferson Pinder, Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Arnold J. Kemp, Dean of Graduate Studies
Dwayne Moser, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
Dawn Gavin, Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Paul Jackson, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
 
Reminder: Spring 2020 Withdrawal Deadline Pushed Back to April 30

Because of the extended Spring Break, the withdrawal deadline was moved to Thursday, April 30, giving all students ample time to return to their now-online studies and fully assess their ability to succeed in them.

You can find more general information about withdrawal grades here.
 
A Reimagined Student/Faculty Communication Tool

During the extended break, SAIC significantly reworked one of the primary automated tools for faculty to formally communicate with students and other campus supports regarding their class performance. Faculty will now submit “Instructor Check-In” messages to students as another way to communicate. These messages can be used to share positive feedback, to discuss concerns, and to encourage students to take particular actions or be in touch with their faculty for direct discussion. We have encouraged faculty to take advantage of the Instructor Check-Ins as a way to share positive or affirming feedback with students, especially while we are engaged in remote teaching and learning.

Instructor Check-In messages are primarily a communication between the faculty and student, but academic advising/advisors will continue to review these messages, and advisors will reach out appropriately to undergraduate advisees when a message or combination of messages indicates concern.
 
How SAIC Will Address Grading in Spring 2020

As usual, students will earn Credit (CR) based on satisfactory completion of course requirements, and individual faculty will determine who should earn Credit in the course(s) they teach, based on the merits of each student’s performance.

When students are not able to successfully complete a course or courses, SAIC will not issue No Credit (NCR) grades. Instead, we will apply a one-time special notation in lieu of placing an NCR grade.

The technical particulars of what exact notation to use are still being worked out, but the final product will be different from a No Credit in that:

  • Students’ academic standing will not change one way or the other.
  • There will be no impact on a student’s eligibility to receive institutional merit aid.

Note: SAIC is required to include non-completed courses in determining a students’ ongoing eligibility to receive federal, state, and institutional financial aid. SAIC will take all necessary steps to assist any student whose financial aid is impacted by their spring 2020 performance.

Students receiving this spring 2020 notation for a course will not receive the benefits associated with earning Credit. Specifically, such courses will not:

  • Provide any credit hours toward degree requirements or satisfy any prerequisite requirements for future courses.
  • Satisfy any specific degree requirement. If received in a degree-required course, the student must retake the course in a future semester and earn Credit.

An explanation of the basis for this one-time notation will be included on transcripts, emphasizing SAIC’s decision to highlight this semester’s very difficult circumstances in cases where students are not able to complete a course or courses for Credit.
 
A Reminder Regarding Incomplete (INC) Grades

Faculty continue to have the option to enter placeholder grades of Incomplete (INC) for students who require additional time to complete outstanding coursework.

INC grades have always represented a way for faculty to provide flexibility to students who can successfully complete course requirements but need more time than is left in the course. Incomplete grades should always represent an active agreement between the faculty and student on a plan of action. INC grades are often student-requested, but if a faculty member feels an Incomplete arrangement is the most feasible way for a student to finish the course successfully, they may reach out to the student and suggest a possible plan.

 

APRIL 9, 2020 

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear SAIC Students, 

This week as School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) faculty and student services began remote delivery of courses and support to locations around the world, we want to let you know that we received your many requests for additional support, monetary refunds, and opportunities for programming. We hear you. We agree that for the remaining weeks of the spring semester, classrooms, studios, and campus life will be different than any of us anticipated. We have also heard your calls for greater transparency and your wish for more certainty in this still-evolving situation. Over the next few paragraphs, and in a detailed list at the bottom of this email, we endeavor to respond to the many requests received, noting where we have support to offer, where we do not, and where we are still working on a solution. While this email is lengthy, the number and complexity of your requests and questions requires a considered response. We will be as candid as possible.

During emergency situations, like that precipitated by COVID-19, SAIC utilizes a Campus Emergency Operations Plan (CEOP), which is a crisis management strategy that all Illinois colleges are state-mandated to follow. Our plan guides our decision-making through the formation of different working groups to address complex problems. Many of these groups have been meeting nonstop, seven days a week, to work through challenges and provide solutions that best support our students today while also ensuring the long-term safety, health, and viability of our entire campus community of students, faculty, and staff.

SAIC is its people. The well-being of you and our faculty and staff are always at the heart of our decision-making, especially now. While our facilities, studios, equipment, and programming are treasured elements of our campus, it is the education that we make together that is core to SAIC’s mission. The students who study and create, the faculty who teach and research, and the staff who support and administrate at the School are our most precious resource. Fulfilling our promise to help you complete your educational goals and to next year’s returning and new students, requires that we continue to go on teaching and learning, so that when we return, we’ll have all the tools and services we rely on.

SAIC, like most colleges in the United States, is a nonprofit institution, and we carefully steward the revenue we receive from tuition, donations, and grants so as not to exceed our operating expenses. Approximately 79 percent of our revenue comes directly from tuition, and nearly 70 percent of every dollar we receive goes directly to fund compensation for faculty and staff, including student employees. Equipment purchases, rent, maintenance, and interest on debt takes up much of the rest. Using the limited funds that remain, we have nonetheless made several commitments to our students, faculty, and staff.

To date, we made a large number of investments in services for students. We are:

  • committing to paying all faculty; staff; contract services employees, such as security and food service; teaching assistants; and student employees whether they can work remotely or not, through the spring semester so that they can continue to support students;
  • keeping residence halls open to students with extenuating circumstances, now each living in their own room, and providing virtual programming (Residence Life);
  • continuing to support and advocate for international students with visa issues and other concerns (International Affairs, Chinese and Korean Student Advising);
  • maintaining vital student services online, including career services (CAPX); health, counseling, and disability learning services (Wellness Center); and course registration (Academic Advising);
  • working with student groups to reimagine their planned events for remote presentation; and
  • establishing the new Student Emergency Relief Campaign, described below, to help students with immediate hardships, including living expenses, online learning needs, and food assistance.

These are commitments not all colleges and universities have been willing or able to make.

Making these commitments comes at a cost. This semester, lost revenue and the addition of new costs—which include housing refunds, canceled Continuing Studies courses, and a significant investment in the move to online teaching—total more than $6 million. If the pandemic continues through the summer, or any part of it, we will have additional, very dramatic summer revenue losses. As noted above, the overwhelming majority of our budget goes toward compensating our faculty and staff, and we are doing everything we can to help you earn necessary credits and complete requirements while we grapple with a global crisis and ensure our institution can provide coming generations of students with a world-class education. To pay for tuition refunds, we would be forced to lay off a significant number of faculty and staff. There is no other way we could fund such a sizable expense.

Given this reality, we cannot issue tuition refunds. However, we are working on a strategy that will permit continued access to campus facilities for graduating students into the fall. This fall, we also hope to accommodate in-person, end-of-year exhibitions and events for MFA and graduate design students to augment the online versions of all those in-person events lost this semester. Beyond these, we also heard requests for programming, student services, online learning support, and wellness, many of which we can support. Please continue reading for more information. We also anticipate that many of you will have follow-up questions, so we will host an online meeting with students, during which we will answer any questions you have; we’ll announce the time for the student meeting by Monday, April 13, and it will take place by the end of next week.

Even with all of these efforts, we know you will grieve for the semester we anticipated. Furthermore, we understand that while COVID-19 has forced us to reimagine our semester, it has also caused uncertainty regarding the physical health, mental well-being, and financial stability of many in the SAIC community, from students and families to faculty and staff. Please know that we are working tirelessly to address your concerns as quickly and as clearly as possible, and we will continue to do so. However, it is perhaps true that no college can make up for all their students have sacrificed, or ameliorate all the uncertainty they feel, during a crisis of this scale while preserving the staff and faculty positions needed to continuing educating current students and go on to educate the next generation of artists, designers, and scholars.

Despite these difficulties, we are certain we can continue to fulfill the educational promise we made to you, as SAIC has been doing for more than 150 years, through fires and polar vortexes, great depressions and censorship controversies. We have the most talented students, best art and design faculty, and the most dedicated staff anywhere. We are confident in our ability to address the most pressing issues and challenges we face today, as artists often do, with creativity and new ways of thinking and working.

Thank you,

Elissa Tenny
President

Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

Resources and Support Available to Students

Below are resources and support available to students. Some things you asked about we have addressed, online when necessary, through announcements we previously made and new solutions we are announcing today. In this section, please find information on:

  • Commencement
  • Future Facilities Access
  • Continued Pay for Student Workers
  • Continued Scholarships and Fellowships
  • Student Emergency Relief Campaign
  • Housing and Meal Plan Refunds
  • Registration
  • Student Health Insurance
  • Wellness Center
  • Writing Center
  • International Affairs and Student Visa Support
  • Career Support
  • Awarding Credit and Withdrawals
  • Programming and Resources
  • Online Connectivity Issues

Commencement
As announced in an email to students on April 6, students have three options to participate in Commencement:

  1. They can attend SAIC’s virtual 2020 Commencement ceremony online.
  2. They can attend the in-person 2021 Commencement ceremony in May of next year.
  3. They can attend both the 2020 Commencement ceremony online and the 2021 Commencement ceremony in-person.

Students will receive additional communication about how to participate.

Future Facilities Access
Assuming that we are able to return to normal operations this fall, we will invite students who are graduating this semester to make use of our facilities such as shops, labs, the Media Center, and libraries and special collections into the first eight weeks of the fall 2020 semester, ending Saturday, October 31. Unfortunately, this cannot include access to graduate studios. Additionally, future facilities access will need to align with all social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines if still in place.

Continued Pay for Student Workers
All student workers, including teaching assistants, will be paid through the end of the semester, whether they are able to work on campus or not. Students working remotely will be paid time-and-a-half for actual hours worked; a recent communication to students detailed how they can report their hours, as ARTICtime will not be used for the rest of the semester. That communication also had information about signing up for direct deposit, allowing the School to deposit pay directly to each student’s bank account. If you have yet to do so, we encourage all student workers to sign up for direct deposit, in case the ability to make and mail paper checks becomes limited in response to health and safety precautions.

Continued Scholarships and Fellowships
All scholarships and financial assistance students received as part of their 2019–20 aid package will continue as promised.

Student Emergency Relief Campaign
Inaugurated by Anita Sinha, chair of SAIC’s Board of Governors, and generously supported by faculty, staff, alums, and friends of SAIC, an emergency relief fund has been established for students. Students may apply to this grant fund to support their emergency needs caused by the COVID-19 health crisis, including living expenses, online learning needs, and food assistance. These awards are not loans and do not need to be paid back. All monies raised for the Student Emergency Relief Campaign will go directly to students, and SAIC is matching all donor contributions to the fund, doubling the available aid.

Additionally, students may be eligible to take out Butler Loans. These interest-free, SAIC-sponsored loans can be used for any living, educational, or crisis-related expenses. Repayment on these loans begins in the fall with a minimum $50/month payment with full repayment due by June 30, 2021.

Students seeking support from either the Student Emergency Relief Campaign and/or the Butler Loan should submit their request here. Each request will be considered in relation to all requests, with priority consideration given to students of greatest need.

Housing and Meal Plan Refunds
Students who left the residence halls were only charged for living in the residence halls through March 22. This includes students who have left the residence halls but still have items remaining in the halls. A credit was sent to students’ accounts. This credit reflects the prorated amount for housing from March 22 until the end of the semester. Residence Life has waived the contract breakage fee, and any unused meal plan funds will roll over to the following semester. Refunds of any resulting credit balance on a total student account balance will be processed within 3–5 weeks and issued via eRefund. Students not yet enrolled in eRefund should set up their account in CASHNET, which can be accessed through Self-Service. If you have difficulty with your refund process please contact sfs@saic.edu.

Registration
As advance registration is underway, please know that registration holds for students who have a balance under $10,000 have been removed. This allows most students to register for the fall semester with the opportunity to choose their best class schedule for fall 2020, during their designated time spot.

Student Health Insurance
SAIC contracts with a third-party provider, Academic HealthPlans (AHP), for student health insurance coverage that is Affordable Care Act compliant. The current plan is provided through National Guardian Life and uses the Cigna PPO Network. Students currently enrolled in the student health insurance plan are covered through August 17. Because this coverage is continuous through this date, the provider does not offer refunds.

All international students and full-time domestic students (including those enrolled in summer 2020 classes full time) are automatically enrolled in the student insurance plan. New students enrolling in summer 2020 part-time are not automatically enrolled, but coverage is available upon request. Continuing degree students who are enrolled in any summer 2020 class are eligible to enroll in the summer health insurance plan during the open enrollment period. Active summer coverage dates extend from June 14 to August 17.

Students with comparable coverage can opt out of the plan when they register for classes. Although AHP’s enrollment period for student health insurance for the spring semester has ended, they will review situations known as a qualifying event, such as losing coverage under a student or parent employer plan due to an employment status change or turning 26 years old and no longer being eligible for coverage under a parent’s health insurance plan. If you believe you have a qualifying event and wish to request student health insurance for the spring 2020 semester, please contact saic_studentinsurance@saic.edu.

Students without a qualifying event who are seeking health insurance coverage for themselves and/or their dependents are encouraged to explore options available through healthcare.gov.

For updates regarding COVID-19 provided by your carrier, please go to saic.myahpcare.com for more details.

Wellness Center
The Wellness Center, which includes Counseling Services, Health Services, and the Disability and Learning Resource Center, can be contacted at the following emails and phone numbers:

Writing Center
The Writing Center is open and tutors are available online to help students with writing and brainstorming. Tutors can assist with artist statements, application materials, essays, presentation texts, thesis drafts, proposals, and creative projects. Sign up for an appointment here or send questions to wcenter@saic.edu.

International Affairs and Student Visa Support
Due to the campus closure, many students have returned to their permanent residence, including international students. Nevertheless, students’ immigration status will not be impacted by the academic changes. The move to online learning allows international students to remain enrolled full-time and complete their spring term coursework, thereby maintaining their immigration status. Moreover, though primarily working remotely, the Office of International Affairs remains open and will receive all communications from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), including Optional Practical Training (OPT) Receipts, Requests for Evidence and OPT/EAD Cards. They will notify students of any documents received and will send them to international students via courier.

International students who have left the United States, or who plan to do so, and have not yet contacted International Affairs to discuss their plans are encouraged to do so. International Affairs staff are available remotely to discuss travel outside the United States, OPT applications, and I-20 filing status. Students with questions about these or other visa concerns are encouraged to contact International Affairs by emailing intaff@saic.edu.

Career Support
All Career and Professional Experience (CAPX) services and resources are available to students virtually. Career advisors are available to meet by phone or on Google Hangouts to discuss career options and offer advice on resumes, cover letters, portfolios, websites, and other professional materials. Career advisors can help students explore postgraduate opportunities including residencies, grants and fellowships, and graduate school. CAPX has increased the number of appointments available to students and alums, and students should schedule virtual career advising appointments on Handshake. The Expert Exchange program will also resume online in the next few weeks.

Additionally, CAPX continues to work with organizations that wish to recruit SAIC students and alums. Employers are posting internships and jobs on Handshake, and students are encouraged to complete their profiles on Handshake so they are visible to peers and employers.

Awarding Credit and Withdrawals
Some students have expressed concern that the work they make away from campus and facilities will not be sufficiently sophisticated enough for their faculty. Fear not. Faculty understand that this is an extraordinary time. While they still anticipate you will meet assignment requirements, they will understand that not all tools available to you on campus will be available at home. Additionally, the withdrawal deadline was pushed to April 30, which means you can take a “W” grade past the usual deadline.

Programming and Resources
The John M. Flaxman Library, Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, Fashion Resource Center, Roger Brown Study Collection, Video Data Bank, and Visiting Artists Program have online resources for students.
 
Library and Special Collections
Many resources and services of the library and special collections are available remotely. Moreover, please disregard due dates; no overdue fines will accrue during campus closure.

Additionally, the Video Data Bank (VDB) has a selection of its collection available on Panopto, including some of their “greatest hits.” VDB will be adding close to 50 new titles each week for students to access.

Requests for particular VDB titles to be added to Panopto, as well as questions specific to the library or any SAIC special collections, can be directed to the appropriate staff via the following contact information:

Visiting Artist Program
While the Visiting Artists Program works to reschedule events canceled this semester, please enjoy previous lectures archived on the website. Recently, spring 2020 lectures by Suzanne Anker and distinguished alum Emil Ferris (BFA 2008, MFA 2010) were added.

Online Connectivity Issues
We appreciate that not everyone has reliable internet service at home, and we want to support students in purchasing this service wherever it is possible to do so. In the frequently asked question sections of saic.edu/alerts, you will find a list of discounted services many internet providers are offering during the COVID-19 pandemic. To fund the service, students may appeal to the emergency relief fund, described above.

Requests We Are Unable to Accommodate

Though faculty and staff are working tirelessly to support students, there are some things that we simply cannot do or are not in our purview to address. In this section, please find information about:

  • Tuition and Future Course Vouchers
  • Fees
  • U-Pass
  • In-Person Critiques

Tuition and Future Course Vouchers
As we explained above, our duty to preserve SAIC’s educational mission through and beyond this unprecedented global health crisis means we cannot offer tuition refunds. Credit hours earned through the remainder of the semester will be awarded. Other tuition-based ideas you have suggested, such as waivers or discounts on future tuition, are similarly unsustainable.

Fees
Fees, like tuition, cover the expenses for necessary elements of the School’s operations; while we understand that online learning is not your preferred way of learning, the School has absorbed significant cost increases in moving to online education in an effort to preserve the semester, so allowing students to graduate and make timely progress toward their degrees; therefore, we cannot make across-the-board fee refunds. If the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent changes to online learning have caused you financial hardship, however, you may appeal to the Student Emergency Relief Campaign, described above.

U-Pass
Unfortunately, the School does not have jurisdiction over the U-Pass program. The Chicago Transit Authority, which administers the U-Pass for degree-seeking students at Chicago-based colleges and universities, has informed us that they will not be issuing refunds for spring U-Passes; however, the passes will remain active through May 13.

In-Person Critiques
For the health and safety of everyone, we must adhere to the governor’s stay-at-home order and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for social distancing. Unfortunately, given the pandemic, we are unable to have in-person critiques at this time; however, faculty will continue to provide dialogue and reflection on student work remotely.

Events and Resources Being Developed

Other requests we received are being actively worked on by groups of staff and faculty, and further information is forthcoming. In this section, please find information on:

  • End-of-Year Exhibitions and Events
  • Summer Courses and Study Trips

End-of-Year Exhibitions and Events
A dedicated group of faculty and staff, in consultation with departments and deans, are hard at work reimagining ways to showcase end-of-year programs virtually, which includes the MFA and Design shows and other end-of-year events. Degree requirements, where applicable, will be completed through participation in these new opportunities. Please note that the group strongly desires to identify future, in-person exhibitions, screenings, and performance events this fall for graduating MFA and graduate design students who wish to participate, and hopes to be able to do so. They will also begin arranging online documentation of the spring 2020 Undergraduate Exhibition, whose run was truncated due to the campus closure. More information is forthcoming.

Summer Courses and Study Trips
A team of faculty and staff are currently reviewing the entire summer interim, and we anticipate further news about on-campus summer courses later this month.

All summer study trips have been canceled, and faculty and registered students have been informed. Study trip deposits will be refunded to students, and Student Financial Services will process refunds by the end of April. There is no action needed on students’ part at this time. Student Financial Services will reach out if anything is needed.

Students will be dropped from their summer study trips, which will be reflected in PeopleSoft Self-Service. To identify alternatives to complete these credits, undergraduate students may contact Academic Advising at studenthelp@saic.edu or 312.629.6800 and graduate students may contact their department. Students who were registered for a study trip to fulfill an off-campus credit requirement will be offered the option to have this waived. Please email studyabroad@saic.edu if you have any questions.

Additional Concerns and Resources

In addition to the specific requests we’ve received, which we have endeavored to answer above, we also heard about worries that were more complex and personal in nature. We want to offer support for these concerns, too. In this section, please find advice on:

  • Support for Asian and Asian American Students
  • Campus Is Where I Can Be Myself

Support for Asian and Asian American Students
SAIC is committed to maintaining an educational and working environment that is free from any form of unlawful discrimination. Sadly, we know that the fear of this pandemic has sparked anti-Asian and anti-Asian American xenophobia across the United States, and there is a heightened sense of vulnerability, especially for our Asian and Asian American students, staff, and faculty, and the School stands with them.

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Academic Affairs Christina Gómez and Interim Dean of Faculty Jefferson Pinder sent out an email to faculty reiterating this message, which was subsequently shared with students and staff.

Additionally, Chinese and Korean Student Advising and Multicultural Affairs are actively reaching out to students and affinity and alum groups to provide additional support.

Campus is Where I Can Be Myself
Some concerns we have heard were about community—not facilities—enabling art making, with some students sharing that they safely felt like themselves only on campus. Our hearts go out to you. Please remember that all Wellness Center services, which includes counseling services, are available remotely.

Additionally, Campus Life eNewsletters are an excellent resource for how the SAIC community continues to build a space of belonging, even at a distance. Many programs and student groups are still active, including student government elections, Peanut Butter and Jelly Award applications, CH/LL meditation series, and the League of Extraordinary Genders’ resources guide shared in celebration of March 31’s International Transgender Day of Visibility.

Dear Faculty,

As online instruction gets underway this week, the Dean’s Office is aware that many faculty members have sought guidance on how to evaluate student performance in this unprecedented semester. Today, we write to share updates that we hope will inform your approach to evaluation as you re-engage with your students and their work:

  • Spring 2020 Withdrawal Deadline Pushed Back to April 30
  • A Reimagined Class Progress Report System
  • How SAIC Will Address Grading in Spring 2020
  • Recommendations for Evaluating Student Performance
  • An Extension of the Spring 2020 Grading Period for Faculty to May 24
  • A Reminder Regarding Incomplete (INC) Grades

The Dean’s Office, your department chairs, administrative directors, and staff across the School will support you fully in helping students emerge from this difficult semester with new knowledge, increased confidence in their capabilities, and fresh momentum to propel their studies forward in the semesters and years to come. On behalf of the entire SAIC community, we thank you again for your continued flexibility and empathetic engagement with your students. Do not hesitate to reach out to any of us as needed.

Sincerely,

Jefferson Pinder, Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Arnold J. Kemp, Dean of Graduate Studies
Dwayne Moser, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
Dawn Gavin, Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Paul Jackson, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
 
Spring 2020 Withdrawal Deadline Pushed Back to April 30

Because of the extended Spring Break, the withdrawal deadline was moved to Thursday, April 30, giving all students ample time to return to their now-online studies and fully assess their ability to succeed in them.

As usual, when a student withdraws from a course or multiple courses, a system-generated message will be sent to each faculty member, and until you receive such a message, do not assume a student has formally withdrawn.

You can find more general information about withdrawal grades here.

As a reminder, if a student in your class has not been participating and has not responded to your outreach, please contact SAIC’s dean on call at doncall@saic.edu. Include in your email the name of the student, course, and issue you are experiencing. Staff from the Office of Student Affairs will respond as soon as possible.

If you have reason to believe that there is an emergency involving a student, as always, the dean on call is available via phone 24/7 at 312.768.8485.
 
A Reimagined Class Progress Report System

The Class Progress Report early alert system has been significantly reworked over the extended break. Now called “Instructor Check-Ins,” this PeopleSoft-generated communication has additional flexibility in terms of the messages it can convey. Notably, we have added two checkbox options that provide students with positive feedback and throughout emphasized the message’s function as an initiation of further dialogue between the student, faculty, and academic advising support. We encourage all faculty to make use of the tool’s expanded ability to formally provide affirming feedback for students who are either doing well or in the process of improving their class performance.

Your comments in any given situation remain the most important information an Instructor Check-In message will contain, and we continue to encourage all faculty who submit one to include comments that provide students with detailed guidance or instruction.

Instructor Check-In messages are primarily a communication between the faculty and student, but academic advising/advisors will continue to review these messages, and advisors will reach out appropriately to undergraduate advisees when a message or combination of messages indicates concern.

The process for submitting an Instructor Check-In via PeopleSoft Faculty Center has not changed. Academic Advising has updated the Guide for Submitting an Instructor Check-In. This guide can be found on the faculty dashboard in the “Policies: Student Interactions” section on the left hand side.
 
How SAIC Will Address Grading in Spring 2020

First, let us affirm what will be the same: As usual, students will earn Credit (CR) based on satisfactory completion of course requirements. Individual faculty must determine who should earn Credit in the course(s) they teach, based on the merits of each individual’s performance, and only faculty will be able to award students Credit.

What will be different this semester: When students are not able to successfully complete a course or courses, SAIC will not issue No Credit (NCR) grades, or subject students to the typical consequences that accompany NCR grades.

The reason we will set aside NCRs this semester: truly extenuating circumstances surround every one of our students. As such, when a student is not able to successfully complete a course, SAIC will highlight the circumstances, not their individual performance. To do this, we will apply a one-time special notation in lieu of placing an NCR grade.

The technical particulars of what exact notation to use are still being worked out, but the final product will be functionally different from a No Credit in both nomenclature and in that as a result of receiving this notation:

  • Students’ academic standing will not change one way or the other.
  • There will be no impact on a student’s eligibility to receive institutional merit aid.

Note: SAIC is required to include non-completed courses in determining a students’ ongoing eligibility to receive federal, state, and institutional financial aid. SAIC will take all necessary steps to assist any student whose financial aid is impacted by their spring 2020 performance.

However, students receiving this spring 2020 notation for a course will not receive the benefits associated with earning Credit. Specifically, such courses will not:

  • Provide any credit hours toward degree requirements or satisfy any prerequisite requirements for future courses.
  • Satisfy any specific degree requirement. If received in a degree-required course, the student must retake the course in a future semester and earn Credit.

When faculty submit their spring 2020 semester grades, they should follow the usual process, issuing either a grade of CR, NCR, or INC (Incomplete, see below) to each student on their roster. This semester, faculty should understand that issuing a NCR grade on the grading roster will automatically result in the placement of the spring 2020 special notation in its place.
 
Recommendations for Evaluating Student Performance

The Dean’s Office has previously offered some observations on the challenges many of our students face right now, and these need not be repeated here, particularly as many are challenges all of us, faculty, students, and staff, confront both individually and collectively. We understand, however, how important these considerations are for faculty as you evaluate student performance in the midst of so many concerns.

When determining if a student should receive Credit, SAIC will continue to rely on faculty to apply their professional judgement and consider a student’s performance against both the course requirements (online and remote) and the circumstances surrounding their performance. As always, SAIC will support faculty judgement in making these determinations, and in this unique semester we will utilize the new, one-time spring 2020 notation (see above) to specifically mitigate some of the negative consequences in the event that students simply cannot earn Credit.

With that said, we offer some additional recommendations for faculty to consider in making the most challenging decisions—how to proceed when students are almost, but not quite, performing up to course standards:

  • Expect all students to participate (to the best of their ability) through the duration of the course as a minimum expectation for issuing Credit. We have asked all faculty to redevelop curriculum which they will share throughout the remainder of the spring semester, and students should be expected to continue to regularly engage with the class curriculum as it deploys. However, if a student has been doing well and then shares that they are no longer able to participate, consider whether independent assignments are a suitable alternative, and offer these where appropriate.
  • Do not be reluctant to adjust your expectations from when you began the semester. As all students’ ability to attend to their studies has become greatly challenged by external circumstances, the successes they do achieve in courses should be recognized as more significant accomplishments.
  • If you are willing to exercise flexibility, make this clear as soon as possible, and let students know exactly how to secure flexibility (if it will not automatically be granted).
  • Consider both the on-campus and online components of the course as parts of a whole, but if a student is stronger in one component of the course, give that performance greater weight.
  • Emphasize what it will take to earn Credit in your discussions with students, so they have clear markers to aim for, but be prepared to adjust these in students’ favor when you feel circumstances warrant.
  • Consider a student’s engagement with the course and their relative growth or improvement since the course began as factors which complement objective performance markers (assignment grades, test scores, etc.), and do not hesitate to let these considerations be determinative if they favor the student.
  • Reach out proactively if a student is not on track to earn Credit, and be willing to suggest options without being asked.
  • Suggest students take the time they need after the semester ends to complete viable work-in-progress (see below).
  • Do not hesitate to propose an Incomplete when even more time is needed, without waiting for the student to do so (see below).

If you would like to consult on a specific case or situation, please do not hesitate to contact your department chair, or the deans or associate deans in the Undergraduate or Graduate Divisions, respectively.
 
An Extension of the Spring 2020 Grading Period for Faculty

To support faculty in their ability to be flexible with students this semester, SAIC will push back the deadline for submitting spring 2020 grades. Typically, this deadline is set a week after the last day of the semester, which would have been Sunday, May 17. With this change, faculty will have until Sunday, May 24 to submit spring 2020 grades. We encourage all faculty to use this extended grading period to offer students greater flexibility in submitting any final assignments or work that puts them in a better position to ultimately earn Credit for a course.

Please note: An extension of the grading period is not an extension of the teaching period. As planned, the semester will conclude on Sunday, May 10. Faculty should not build curriculum which requires students to engage in new course activity beyond this date, and in practice, the last round of class activities/assignments should be shared with students by Sunday, May 3, giving them up to three weeks of additional time to complete all outstanding work.
 
A Reminder Regarding Incomplete (INC) Grades

Faculty should continue to enter placeholder grades of Incomplete (INC) for students who require additional time (beyond May 24) to complete outstanding coursework, when (in the judgement of the faculty) the student has presented a viable plan to do so.

INC grades have always represented a way for faculty to provide flexibility to students who can successfully complete course requirements but need more time than is left in the course. Incomplete grades should always represent an active agreement between the faculty and student on a plan of action. They are ideally student-requested but if a faculty feels an Incomplete arrangement is the most feasible way for a student to finish the course successfully, we encourage faculty to broach this subject and propose a suitable plan.

As usual, faculty must notify the Registrar's Office at saic.registrar@saic.edu to have an INC grade changed to Credit (once the student has completed the required work). Also as usual, any INC grades remaining at the end of the fall 2020 semester add/drop period will automatically be changed, but this semester they will be changed to the unique spring notation, rather than being changed to No Credit.

 

APRIL 6, 2020 

Dear Class of 2020,

I’m writing today to tell you something I wish could be different. The global health crisis has asked so much of you already, and now it demands more.

To ensure the health and safety of you, your classmates and faculty, and your families and friends, we are unable to host the Commencement ceremony in-person as scheduled on Monday, May 11. With Governor Pritzker’s extension of Illinois’s stay-at-home order until at least April 30, and the grim reminder from McCormick Place’s conversion into a field hospital just one-half mile from the Wintrust Arena, our Commencement venue, continuing to plan for an in-person ceremony is no longer feasible. However, we have devised several ways to celebrate the completion of your course of study. Recognizing your achievement remains important; moreover, during this horrible pandemic, rites of passage are perhaps more important than ever.

If you are graduating this spring, you will have three options to celebrate your monumental accomplishment. Soon you will receive additional communication about how to participate, but today, I want to let you know what your options are:

  1. You can attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s virtual 2020 Commencement ceremony online.
    The virtual Commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 16, at 8:00 p.m. CST and will include special video remarks and the names of each graduate announced. As a graduating student, you will also have the opportunity to send in a photo of yourself or your work, which will be broadcast with your name and degree during the ceremony. This can be shared with family and friends, and if you and your guests are unable to join us on this date, you will still be able to access the Commencement remarks and this moment of recognition for you and your classmates after the ceremony is complete.
  2. You can attend the in-person 2021 Commencement ceremony in May of next year.
  3. You can attend both the 2020 Commencement ceremony online and the 2021 Commencement ceremony in-person.

I know that the loss of our planned ceremony this year is disappointing to you and your families. It is disappointing to me as well. Having worked in higher education for over 40 years, I know how hard you have worked in your studies, and I know how important it is to recognize your achievement as a community. That is why deans in Students Affairs and Academic Affairs are hard at work to bring you a virtual ceremony this year, and next year, they will work equally hard to celebrate you at the in-person 2021 Commencement ceremony. I hope you will choose to participate in either or both of these important rites of passage.

That is what commencement ceremonies are: rites of passage. As you move from student to alum, the ceremony isn’t your achievement. You are achieving your education already. The rite of passage is your community—classmates and faculty, families and friends—telling you that we recognize your achievement. We applaud you. We celebrate you.

And so we will. This year online; next year in person. Please join us for your celebration.

Elissa Tenny
President

 

APRIL 2, 2020 

Dear SAIC Students,

On behalf of all SAIC faculty and staff, we send our best wishes to you, your loved ones, and your communities. We hope the extended Spring Break, now coming to a close, has given you both time and space to take care of yourselves and be in a position to continue your spring 2020 courses at a time when we all face new and unforeseen challenges.

Our faculty and staff have spent the past few weeks preparing to transition all courses online, and we are looking forward to welcoming you back to our virtual campus beginning Monday, April 6.

Reconnecting to Your Faculty and Your Classes
We know many faculty and students have been in touch over the break, and in the interest of providing you with clear information and direction, we have asked all faculty to reach out to their classes in the next few days to share details regarding how their courses will resume, as well as their plan for the remainder of the semester. Please be on the lookout for these communications.

If you haven’t heard from your faculty members by the day next week when your class is typically held, please reach out for assistance. Undergraduate students should contact their academic advisor or the Academic Advising Office at 312.629.6800 or stuhelp@saic.edu and graduate students should contact their department chair, graduate coordinator, or the department’s administrative director.

Familiarize Yourself with Online Learning
As you re-engage with your courses, we know you have many questions about what a half-semester of online instruction will look like at an interdisciplinary school of art and design. As a prelude to what faculty will soon share, the Dean’s Office has developed a few resources to help orient you to studying and making remotely:
 
Remote Learning at SAIC: 10 Tips for Success as You Move Your Studies Online

Remote Instruction and Learning: A Student FAQ

Guidelines for Safe “Making” at Home

The Semester Ahead
We urge you to approach your classes with an open mind, a willingness to continue your work, and patience and care for your fellow class participants and faculty as we all put the pieces together. You may find new ways of making that stay with you or new ideas that transform your work. You will have opportunities to develop lasting relationships or deepen existing ones. There will be moments of inspiration, excitement, and challenge. Through it all, ask questions when you have them and ask for help when you need it. Our commitment to you has not changed, despite the changing world around us all.

Do not hesitate to contact us if we can support you in continuing and successfully concluding the spring 2020 semester. Welcome back to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Sincerely,

Jefferson Pinder, Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Arnold Kemp, Dean of Graduate Studies
Dwayne Moser, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
Dawn Gavin, Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Paul Jackson, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies

 

APRIL 1, 2020 

Dear Faculty,

As you know, spring 2020 courses officially resume online beginning Monday, April 6. In support of your work moving your teaching into an online/remote context, the Dean’s Office would like to share additional recommendations. These recommendations have emerged from the many conversations happening across our virtual campus in the past two weeks. In order to cut down on separate messages, we are condensing a number of related topics into this communication, broken into content sections for your convenience.

Also please note that department chairs, administrative directors, and area coordinators are reaching out to faculty this week to solicit any further assistance faculty may need to be ready to resume teaching. Departments are trying to reach any faculty with whom departmental personnel have not recently had contact. Should you receive such outreach from your department, please respond to it as promptly as you can, as we collectively seek to make sure all faculty are in the position to resume instruction next week.

In closing, all of us in the Office of the Dean of Faculty, on behalf of the entire SAIC community, want to thank you again for the work you have done to prepare for this moment. The Dean’s Office, your department chairs, administrative directors, and staff across the School are ready to continue to support your teaching in the weeks to come. Do not hesitate to reach out to any of us as needed.

Sincerely,

Jefferson Pinder, Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Arnold Kemp, Dean of Graduate Studies
Dwayne Moser, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
Dawn Gavin, Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Paul Jackson, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
 
Ongoing Assistance for Faculty in the Remote Instruction Virtual Resource Room

CRIT staff will continue to host a virtual Resource Room every weekday from 2:00–3:00 p.m. CT through the remainder of the spring semester. All faculty may stop in for one-on-one assistance. This is the link to the virtual Resource Room for the duration of the semester.
 
Resuming Regular Communication with Your Students

We know that many faculty members have kept in regular communication with students these past few weeks, and we appreciate all of these efforts to stay connected and offer community and support during a tremendously challenging time. To help all students prepare to resume their studies, we ask that all faculty reach out to their class(es) between Thursday, April 2, and Sunday, April 5, to officially resume course-related communication. SAIC will notify all students to look out for such a message.

Here are some further suggestions of what all faculty should share with students in these “welcome back” communications to class participants:

  • Share how the course will proceed. In other words, what work will happen, in what time, using which tools and resources (physical and digital)?
  • Make clear what resources (physical and digital) students will need to participate in your course moving forward, and invite them to communicate with you individually if they do not have the resources they need so you can help them make a plan (also see the “Resources for Students” section below).
  • State what students will need to do in order to keep on track to earn credit for the class.
  • Let students know how they should contact you directly should they need to do so.
  • Offer reassurance that we’ll all get through this challenging time together.

We strongly encourage all faculty to share their course adjustments and expectations through either a revised syllabus or a simple addendum to your existing syllabus. This will make the transition to online learning less stressful for your students. These can be shared in your “welcome back” communication or as classes begin next week.

If you would like to survey your students on their resources/capabilities as a part of finalizing your revised curriculum, a group of SAIC faculty have developed a brief student questionnaire as a resource for other faculty to draw from or utilize as they feel would be helpful. This questionnaire is among many resources offered in the Guide to Rapid Transition to Online Teaching. This guide is in continuous development and we are currently focusing on sharing discipline-relevant ideas for student work and assignments. We encourage all faculty to draw on these resources as you deploy and refine your remote curriculum over the remainder of the semester.
 
Ongoing Engagement with Students

The Dean’s Office recommends that faculty and TAs plan to interact with each student in the class at least once a week between now and the end of the semester (May 10). These interactions could include work being assigned and then submitted, participation in discussion boards, one-on-one correspondence, participation in virtual office hours, or virtual course activities.

We understand that student interaction will vary from week to week and from class to class, but we ask all faculty to consider how they can most sustainably continue to be in dialogue with each student on a weekly basis and proceed accordingly.
 
What to Do If a Student is Not Participating in Class and You Cannot Reach Them

During this time when we are navigating remote learning, if a student in your class has not been participating and has not responded to your outreach, you can contact SAIC’s dean on call at doncall@saic.edu. Please include in your email the name of the student, course, and issue you are experiencing. Staff from the Office of Student Affairs will respond as soon as possible and asks for your patience during this transition.

If you have reason to believe that there is an emergency involving a student, as always, the dean on call is available via phone 24/7 at 312.768.8485.
 
Resources for Students

SAIC has established additional avenues for students to seek computing or other urgent resources related to their continued ability to participate in their studies. Faculty should be aware of these avenues and refer students to them as appropriate:

  • Emergency Relief Funding: The Office of Advancement has raised emergency relief funding to help our students during this difficult time. While funding is limited, there may be extenuating circumstances with your students' situations related to COVID-19 that could increase their eligibility for additional institutional aid in the form of loans or grants. If you know of a student who is struggling to pay for food, rent, utilities, etc., please send the student’s message or information to Jane Brumitt, executive director of enrollment services. Note that this funding will not be used for tuition relief support, but rather it is intended to help students with unexpected needs during this time.
  • Computing Resources: SAIC may be able to provide some limited resources to assist students who have urgent course-related computing needs. If faculty become aware of a student who does not have the basic computer equipment necessary to be able to participate in your now-online class, you can refer them to seek these resources. Please have any such students complete this form so we may evaluate their needs.
  • Many SAIC services continue to operate in support of student well-being and ongoing teaching and learning. The SAIC COVID-19 FAQ page is a great place to find a list of these resources (navigate to the question: “What resources and services for students and faculty are still available?”) and we encourage faculty to continue to connect students to resources as appropriate.

 
Emphasizing Asynchronous Approaches in Your Curriculum

We again wish to remind all faculty to emphasize asynchronous (non-time-based) approaches in their revised curriculum. For more information on why we encourage asynchronous approaches, please see the Dean’s Office message in the aforementioned Faculty Guide.

We appreciate that there is ample appetite among both faculty and students for synchronous activities, often via videoconferencing applications such as Zoom or Google Hangouts Meet, and videoconferencing resources are available to you via CRIT.

When planning any synchronous activities related to a class, please keep in mind that students may have as many as five different faculty seeking their availability for such sessions each week, which students will have to factor in among many other expectations, School-related and otherwise, and in some cases from another side of the world.

Anticipating that some students will struggle to engage in synchronous instruction for these types of reasons, the Dean’s Office asks faculty to ensure that students’ ability to participate in videoconferencing activities does not determine whether or not they ultimately earn credit for any spring 2020 course. As such, faculty should be prepared to offer asynchronous alternatives for students who cannot participate in synchronous activities.

For faculty who do utilize videoconferencing, we suggest that you record these sessions and post them to your Canvas course page. CRIT has developed a page with instructions for recording and sharing your class meetings/activities.
 
Online Course Curriculum and Intellectual Property

The General Counsel's Office has affirmed that faculty teaching online courses will maintain the exact same intellectual property rights that they currently possess for their in-person classes.
 
Preliminary Guidelines for Safe “Making” at Home

The Instructional Support Spaces/IRFM team has developed some basic guidelines for students making art in a home studio environment, for the health and safety of the artist and anyone else living in the home. Faculty should keep these guidelines in mind when assigning students work and guiding them as they develop course-related projects. A more extensive document addressing specific art-making practices is in development and will be shared in the future. These guidelines will also be shared with students:

  • All art-making materials should only be used according to the manufacturer's approved usages, and those usage scenarios should follow all Safety Data Sheet (SDS) precautions for the product.
  • Do not use toxic substances or processes.
  • Stick to no-VOC or low-VOC products in small quantities, and avoid powders and pigments that could contain silica or heavy metals.
  • Anything that would normally have been done in a spray booth is not safe for the home studio environment.
  • Always use personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary and according to manufacturer guidance.
  • Ask yourself if a material is really necessary, and when possible, substitute it for a less toxic material.
  • If utilizing power or hand tools, use only those tools you are trained on and are comfortable controlling. Tools should be maintained in good working order with required guards installed, and used in conjunction with proper PPE (goggles, respiratory, and/or hearing protection). Comply with manufacturer guidelines for the tool’s usage.
  • Tools should not be used to process toxic or potentially sensitizing materials such as plastic, painted surfaces, or materials containing formaldehyde binders or adhesives.

 
Grades and Student Performance Expectations

This is a singular and unprecedented semester, which includes both an on-campus and online period of instruction, all taking place against a backdrop of tremendous distraction and anxiety for all members of our community. Many faculty and departments have been in touch with the Dean’s Office regarding how to approach evaluating student performance and grading in such an environment.

The Dean’s Office and Campus Emergency Operations Group are currently working on addressing these questions and preparing related policy changes. Faculty should expect a communication on this subject as instruction resumes next week.

We are also in the process of updating our Class Progress Report content options to accurately reflect the nature of our remote operations and to make these communications a more useful vehicle for sharing positive and/or encouraging feedback with students, in addition to issues or concerns which require their attention and action. We will share these changes with you as soon as they are finalized

 

MARCH 31, 2020 

Dear SAIC Community, 

We continue to work closely with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines as we ensure proper protocols and preventative measures are in place for the health and safety of our School community. In Friday’s all-campus message from President Tenny and Provost Berger, we were reminded to take proactive measures for own health and safety and for the well-being of others.

According to the CDPH, there is community-wide transmission of COVID-19 in Chicago. This means the risk of contracting COVID-19 is no longer only tied to high-risk travel or potential exposures on campus or at work. Those you encounter may be carriers of the virus, even if they do not present symptoms. You may be, too. The best way to prevent contracting COVID-19 or to limit its spread is to practice good hand hygiene, avoid contact with people who are sick, stay home if sick, and practice social distancing. Per CDPH guidance, we will not send campus-wide alerts for each positive case, given that all of us should already be exercising maximum caution. Everyone should continue to monitor their health for symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or difficulty breathing).

Public Health Guidance
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever (temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), cough, and shortness of breath. If your symptoms are mild and you are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (over 60 years old or have underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or chronic lung diseases), please contact your medical provider to discuss whether you need to be evaluated in person. Individuals who are not high risk and who exhibit mild symptoms do not need to be evaluated in person or tested unless the severity of symptoms escalate. The vast majority of ill people experience relatively mild symptoms and can recover at home.

If your symptoms are severe, such as difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or difficulty waking up, or bluish lips or face, please contact the closest emergency department or call 911 immediately.

Any individuals who are sick or exhibiting symptoms must stay home. You should stay home and away from others for at least seven days since your symptoms first appeared and at least three days (72 hours) with no fever (without using fever-reducing medications) and improving symptoms.

CDPH Answers Health Questions
We know that many of you have specific questions about COVID-19 and Chicago’s response to the health crisis. Every morning at 11:00 a.m. Central Time, seven days a week, the CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D., hosts a live stream session to provide updates and answer questions. We encourage you to take advantage of this resource.

Additionally, Chicago’s COVID-19 site provides guidance, FAQs, and additional resources that may be of help. If you do not find the information you need on their website, please feel free to email CDPH directly at coronavirus@chicago.gov.

SAIC’s Wellness Center Continues to Provide Services
As a reminder, the School’s Wellness Center staff are providing services remotely. Please contact the Wellness Center’s services at the following emails and phone numbers if you need assistance:
 
Counseling Services: counselingservices@saic.edu and 312.499.4271
Health Services: healthservices@saic.edu and 312.499.4288
Disability and Learning Resource Center: dlrc@saic.edu and 312.499.4278

Be Aware of COVID-19 Symptoms
We must continue to preserve our own health and self-monitor for symptoms. CDPH published guidance on how to determine if you need testing, and the CDC developed tools for recognizing the symptoms of COVID-19 and steps you should take if you are sick or are taking care of someone who is sick.

Practice Social Distancing
The State of Illinois’ and City of Chicago’s stay-at-home policy, like similar approaches in cities around the world and the campus closure at SAIC, has been enacted to enforce social distancing, which keeps viruses from spreading among groups of people. It is best to stay at home as much as possible, going outside only for essential items and maintaining six feet of space between yourself and others.

Take Good Care of Yourself

  • To help prevent the spread of viruses, please:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth;
  • Cover your nose and mouth with tissue when you cough or sneeze; remember to wash your hands afterward;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick; and
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

Seek a Doctor If You Are Feeling Sick
Any students who have health-related questions or concerns, who are not feeling well, or who need emotional or psychological support are encouraged to contact SAIC Health Services, at 312.499.4288 or healthservices@saic.edu, or their healthcare provider immediately. Students are also encouraged to use our 24-hour free nurse advice line available at 877.924.7758.

Staff and faculty with questions about their health are encouraged to reach out to their primary care provider for medical concerns or the employee assistance program for mental health support. Additionally, for questions regarding benefits and coverage, benefits-eligible faculty and staff may contact Cigna at 800.244.6224. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff may also reach out to Telehealth at 855.667.9722 or MDLIVE at 888.726.3171 for questions about their health.

If You Test Positive for COVID-19
If you have been on campus, including our residence halls, within the past 14 days and you test positive for COVID-19, or your healthcare provider suspects you have COVID-19, we ask that you inform the School. We will follow CDPH guidelines while working to protect the confidentiality of anyone at SAIC who self-reports.

To report a positive test or likely diagnosis for COVID-19, students should contact Health Services at healthservices@saic.edu or 312.499.4288, and faculty and staff should notify Irina Melnik, director of employee benefits, at imelnik@artic.edu or 312.629.3382.

The health and wellness of our students and staff are our highest priority. We will continue to provide you with regular updates.

Sincerely,

Joe Behen, PhD
Dean of the Wellness Center

Megan Skarr, MS, FNP-C
Director of Health Services

This email was also forwarded to parents, students, and staff.

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

These are unprecedented times. Most of our students have returned home, while a few stayed in the residence halls to finish up their semester coursework remotely beginning April 6. Otherwise, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) campus is closed to all but essential staff, and Illinois residents are following a stay-at-home policy, as are many worldwide. As we work to comply with this global public health crisis, we want to support our students, staff, and faculty—whether they returned home, to another location, or remain in Chicago. While we think about how we move forward, we draw upon our core values, which recognize the diverse experiences and diverse practices we bring to campus and how students are viewed as emerging peers and full participants in the learning that occurs at the School. These values underscore SAIC’s unwavering commitment to and insistence upon an equitable and just environment where all voices within our learning community are valued, trusted, and respected.

Maya Angelou reminds us that “Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space.”

Sadly, we know that the fear of this pandemic has sparked anti-Asian and anti-Asian American xenophobia across the United States, and there is a heightened sense of vulnerability, especially for our Asian and Asian American students, staff, and faculty. Some members of our community have reported incidents of harassment and behavior from individuals on the streets of Chicago that make them feel unsafe. As members of the SAIC community, we believe that xenophobic actions are dishonorable and unacceptable. As we are working to address these concerns, we encourage you to help us ensure that everyone remembers that, even though we are apart this semester, everyone at SAIC belongs.

Members of the Office of Student Affairs have been reaching out individually to speak with faculty and our students, specifically our Asian and Asian American students who are struggling at this time. Cheeyon Cha, director of student affairs for Korean and Chinese advising, is checking in with students she has worked with this year via individual appointments to ensure their well-being. She has also been speaking to all of our Korean and Chinese students during these challenging times and will continue these exchanges to encourage students to contact her and others in the Office of Student Affairs if they have concerns or need additional support. In addition, Cheeyon has engaged our Korean Student Groups—KSA and KGSC—both formally and through their active WeChat dialogue, and she will be encouraging them to develop a series of virtual programming and community building. Also, SAIC’s two Chinese graduate student liaisons who work with our Chinese Student and Scholar Association student groups are connecting with students and working with the student groups to explore additional virtual programming options.

We want to emphatically restate that SAIC is committed to maintaining an educational and working environment that is free from any form of unlawful discrimination. The School has a longstanding policy of nondiscrimination toward its students, employees, and visitors, and SAIC will not tolerate unlawful acts or harassment based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, age, actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender-related identity, marital status, parental status, military or former military status, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local law.

As faculty, if you are aware of any incidents where you see or experience xenophobic activity or any level of disrespect, racism, or bigotry, even in your online classes, please email Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Academic Affairs Christina Gómez at cgomez3@saic.edu.

Finally, we want to thank each of you for your words and actions of support. We appreciate your commitment to the SAIC community. Please continue to join us as we work together to live and practice being citizen artists in the world for our community and the greater good.

We choose hope. We choose respect. We choose love.

Christina Gómez
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Academic Affairs
Professor, Department of Liberal Arts

Jefferson Pinder
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

 

MARCH 27, 2020 

Dear Student Employee, 

We wanted to let you know that staff in Student Payroll and Student Financial Services are working diligently to support you -- our student employees -- during this challenging time. The following will take effect beginning with the payroll period of March 16-29, and student employees are defined as TA-A’s or Instructors of Record, TA-B’s, and GA’s or Graduate Assistants as well as all SAIC students with campus jobs.

  • If you are a student employee who was scheduled to work beyond March 15 but are now unable to work through the remaining eight weeks of the term, you will still be paid. Your compensation for the remainder of the term will be calculated by the average number of hours worked from February 17 through March 15.
  • If you are a student employee who was scheduled to work beyond March 15 and have arranged with your supervisor to keep working remotely, you will be paid time and a half for actual hours worked through the remainder of your employment. You should report your hours each pay period using the Student Employee Hours google form linked here. Please complete the form by 5pm on the Monday following the end of each pay period.
  • Students who have a work authorization but who have not worked or who stopped working before March 15 will not receive payments.

We encourage you to verify that you have signed up for direct deposit per the instructions below. If you have not yet signed up, please do so as soon as possible. It is very likely that we won’t have the ability to process paper checks at some point, so direct deposit will ensure that the Payroll department can transfer funds to those who are eligible for payment. Please remember that no time should be recorded in ARTICtime for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester.

Direct Deposit Instructions:

  • Log into Self-Service at saic.edu/selfservice and choose “Employee Homepage” from the drop-down menu at the top of the page.
  • Click on the “Employee Self Service” tile. This should open a new browser tab.
  • In the new tab, click on the “Payroll – Other Services” tile and then Direct Deposit along the left hand side.
  • In the Direct Deposit screen, choose “Add Account” button and add the following information:
  • Your bank’s routing number
  • Your bank account number
  • Your account type (most likely checking or savings)
  • Deposit Type = Balance of Net Pay
  • Deposit Order = 999

If you have further questions about the student payroll process, you may find helpful information at saic.edu/studentpayroll or contact Student Payroll by email at studentpayroll@saic.edu.

Additional information, including answers to frequently asked questions, can be found on saic.edu/alerts.

Sincerely,
Student Payroll
Student Financial Services

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear SAIC Community, 

We write to let you know that today we learned that a member of our School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) community has tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual is a staff member from our Central Administration office, supporting operations at both the School and museum. The staff member was last on campus two weeks ago (March 13) and has been in self-isolation since then. Additionally, a few individuals in the SAIC community have reported that, while they lack an official positive test result, they or their doctors believe they have COVID-19. Please join us in wishing all of these members of our community a speedy recovery.

Incidence of COVID-19 are on the rise in our hometown. Today (March 27), the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced 1,489 positive cases in the city so far. While these numbers are significant, we also recognize that many Chicago residents with COVID-19 are unlikely to be tested, given the current lack of widespread testing in the United States. Given the prevalence of COVID-19 in the Chicago area and our first positive test, it is imperative that we act with prudence by assuming that there are additional cases of COVID-19 in our community. All students, faculty, and staff in Chicago and beyond should continue proactive measures for their own health and safety and for the wellbeing of others. We will not send additional campus-wide alerts for each positive case beyond this initial notification, given that all of us should already be exercising maximum caution.

Those you encounter may be carriers of the virus, even if they do not present symptoms. You may be, too. We share this update with you not to alarm you, but to remind you to be vigilant in following the health advice and safety protocols below:

Be Aware of COVID-19 Symptoms
We must continue to preserve our own health and self-monitor for symptoms. The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) published guidance on how to determine if you need testing, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed tools for recognizing the symptoms of coronavirus and steps you should take if you are sick or are taking care of someone who is sick.

Practice Social Distancing
The State of Illinois’ and City of Chicago’s stay-at-home policy, like similar approaches in cities around the world and the campus closure at SAIC, has been enacted to enforce social distancing, which keeps viruses from spreading among groups of people. It is best to stay at home as much as possible, going outside for only essential items and maintaining six feet of space between yourself and others.

Take Good Care of Yourself
To help prevent the spread of viruses, please:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth;
  • Cover your nose and mouth with tissue when you cough or sneeze; remember to wash your hands afterward;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick; and
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

Seek a Doctor if You are Feeling Sick
Any students who have health-related questions or concerns, who are not feeling well, or who need emotional or psychological support are encouraged to contact SAIC Health Services, at 312.499.4288 or healthservices@saic.edu, or their healthcare provider immediately. Students are also encouraged to use our 24-hour free nurse advice line available at 877.924.7758.

Staff and faculty with questions about their health are encouraged to reach out to their primary care provider for medical concerns or the employee assistance program for mental health support. Additionally, for questions regarding benefits and coverage, benefits-eligible faculty and staff may contact Cigna at 800.244.6224. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff may also reach out to Telehealth at 855.667.9722 or MDLIVE at 888.726.3171 for questions about their health.

If You Test Positive for COVID-19
If you recently have been on campus, including our residence halls, within the past 14 days and you test positive for COVID-19, or your healthcare provider suspects you have COVID-19, we ask that you inform the School. We will follow CDPH guidelines while working to protect the confidentiality of anyone at SAIC who self-reports.

To report a positive test or likely diagnosis for COVID-19, students should contact Health Services at healthservices@saic.edu or 312.499.4288, and faculty and staff should notify Irina Melnik, director of employee benefits, at imelnik@artic.edu or 312.629.3382.

In closing, we want to remind you, as we have in many COVID-19 messages, that we are a diverse and inclusive campus where everyone, even those who fall ill, belongs. Though this time apart will be hard, our sacrifices underscore how much we value one another.

Take care,
Elissa Tenny
President

Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

Below please find updates on resources and services available remotely to students, faculty, and staff. This list is also available on the frequently asked questions page on saic.edu/alerts, and will be updated as more information becomes available. If you have a resource or service you'd like included on this list, email saicinfo@saic.edu.

Academic Advising
Academic Advisors are available to meet with students remotely. You can email your advisor to schedule a phone conversation or Google Hangouts meeting. If you have general advising questions or do not know who to contact, email studenthelp@saic.edu or call 312.629.6800.

Career and Professional Experience (CAPX)
CAPX is offering remote programming and support. Students can schedule virtual advisor appointments, search for internships, attend remote information sessions, and look for jobs on Handshake. Visit the CAPX page for more information.

Library and Special Collections
The John M. Flaxman Library, Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, Fashion Resource Center, Roger Brown Study Collection, and Video Data Bank spaces are closed. All due dates for library materials have been extended, and no overdue fines will accrue during this time. Though the physical locations are not accessible, many resources and services are available remotely. Please use the contact information shared below if you have questions.

Wellness Center
Wellness Center staff are providing counseling, health, and Disability and Learning Resource Center services remotely. If you need support, please use the contact information shared below.

Writing Center
The Writing Center is open and tutors are available online to help students with their writing and brainstorming. Tutors can assist with artist statements, application materials, essays, presentation texts, thesis drafts, proposals, and creative projects. Learn more about their services and tutors’ particular specialties and sign up for an appointment here. To prepare for your appointment, please make sure that you have a functional internet connection; Google Hangouts ready to use; and writing ready to share with your tutor in a Google doc. If you have any questions, email wcenter@saic.edu.

Media Centers and Production Facilities
While all Media Center locations on campus are closed until further notice, all current equipment loans have been extended. Click here for more info.

Fabrication and Instructional Resources: General Access Facilities
All general access fabrication facilities are closed until further notice. This includes Columbus Wood and Metal Shops, and the Columbus Digital Fabrication Studio. During the campus closure, information about facilities, individual contacts, and other online resources made available for students and faculty can be found on the Instructional Fabrication Canvas page.

Departmental Production Facilities
Academic and departmental production facilities are closed until further notice. Departmental tech staff are available for consultation on art making practices. Contact department-specific liaisons for more information.

On-Campus Printing and Service Bureau
Campus printing is available to essential staff still on campus. Please continue to report issues or outages with the CRIT Help Desk by creating a case at square.saic.edu, emailing crithelpdesk@saic.edu, or by calling 312.345.3535. The Service Bureau is closed until further notice, though staff are on hand to provide online consultations and offer assistance on proper file setup with off-site printing projects. Visit the Service Bureau website or email servicebureau@saic.edu with questions.

Advanced Output Center
The Advanced Output Center is closed until further notice, though staff are on hand to provide remote assistance with questions and provide guidance on projects. More information can be found on the Advanced Output website or via email at advancedoutput@saic.edu.

Material Source
All Material Source locations are closed until further notice. If you have questions, contact them at saicmaterials@saic.edu.

Computer Resources and Information Technologies (CRIT) Computer Labs and Help Desk
All CRIT Computer Labs are closed until further notice, but the CRIT Help Desk will maintain a virtual presence Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and are able to assist with technology needs and related questions. Contact CRIT by emailing crithelpdesk@saic.edu or by calling 312.345.3535. More information can be found at the CRIT website.

 

MARCH 25, 2020 

Dear SAIC Students,

We are reaching out to share information about the housing credit that was announced by Felice Dublon, vice president of Student Affairs, on March 16. As you know, the School’s residence halls were officially closed to students on March 22, and as a result, students who did not appeal to remain in their residence hall will only be charged through that date, regardless of whether or not they still have personal items left in their room. In addition, Residence Life is waiving the contract breakage fee and rolling over any unused meal plan funds to the following semester.

Housing credit will be sent to students’ accounts this week. The credit will reflect the prorated amount for housing from March 22 until the end of the semester. This credit will be added to your student account, and refunds of any resulting credit balance on a total student account balance will be processed within 3-5 weeks and issued via eRefund. Students not yet enrolled in eRefund should set up their account in CASHNET, which can be accessed through Self-Service. 
 
If you have questions about the impact this credit will have on your student account, please be in contact with Student Financial Services at saic.sfs@saic.edu.

This credit has no impact on your application for housing for the 2020-21 academic year. If you are interested in living on campus for the 2020-21 academic year, you will need to complete a housing application, including signing the 2020-21 Housing Contract, making a $550 prepayment, and answering roommate preference questions. Please submit your housing application here by 12:00 p.m. on Friday, March 27. If you're concerned you can't make this deadline, or have other questions about the housing renewal process, please email stulife@saic.edu.

Thank you for your flexibility and patience during these rapidly changing times. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Best,

Abigail Holcomb
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs for Residence Life

 

MARCH 24, 2020 

Dear SAIC Staff, Faculty, and Central Administration, 

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts business as usual for the School, supervisors may receive a number of questions from staff. While we are continuing to work through the full impact of this unprecedented situation, we ask that you review the guidance and communications tools below to help staff and managers transition to remote working.
 
Working from Home Guidance
Communications Tools

All of these resources are available in the Working from Home section at saic.edu/alerts. In the coming days, we'll add answers to managers' frequently asked questions, so check the webpage for updates.

Please understand that your staff may be feeling uneasy with the uncertainty we’re all facing, and empathy and understanding are crucial to working through challenging times together.

For additional questions, staff may reach out to the following contacts in Human Resources:

  • Irina Melnik, director of employee benefits, at imelnik@artic.edu or 312.629.3382
  • Antoinette Murril, director of employee relations and training, amurril@artic.edu or 312.629.3380

As a reminder, the Art Institute (both the School and museum) has an excellent resource in ComPsych, part of our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Counselors are available 24/7 to confidentially address concerns you and/or members of your family may have. For additional information about the EAP or any other benefits, please reach out to the HR Benefits Team at 312.629.3382.

Sincerely,

Michael Nicolai
Chief Human Resources Office

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear SAIC Community,

We were notified today by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the building management company for Sullivan Center—a building in which the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) operates classrooms, offices, and an exhibitions space—that an employee of another organization in the Sullivan Center has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The employee is self-isolating and has not been in the Sullivan Center for 12 days. Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, the tenant quarantined and disinfected the space where the individual was working and JLL informed the other tenants in the building, including SAIC, of the positive diagnosis. 

We wish this—and all—individuals with COVID-19 a complete and speedy recovery. This person is not an immediate member of the SAIC community, and we do not believe that this individual accessed School facilities given our security protocols, other than the shared lobbies and elevators used by all tenants and guests to the Sullivan Center. Nevertheless, we thought it best to alert everyone, both to be as forthcoming as possible during the health crisis, and to address questions and concerns that this announcement may cause.

While we are not aware of anyone who has tested positive among our students, faculty, or staff, on campus or off, SAIC will follow the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and CDC guidance for further prevention and responsible notification in the event of a positive test result. According to the latest numbers (March 24), CDPH has reported 730 cases identified in Chicago. We anticipate the numbers will continue to increase, particularly as more tests are performed, and will regularly update our microsite at saic.edu/alerts with additional statistical information.

If you test positive for COVID-19, we ask that you inform the School. Students should contact Health Services at healthservices@saic.edu or 312.499.4288, and faculty and staff are encouraged to notify Irina Melnik, director of employee benefits, at imelnik@artic.edu or 312.629.3382.

In accordance with CDPH guidelines and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we will work to protect the confidentiality of anyone at SAIC who tests positive for COVID-19 while following current CDPH guidelines.

Second, we must continue to preserve our own health and be on the lookout for the health of our community, at SAIC and beyond, throughout this crisis. The CDPH recently published guidance on how to determine if you need testing, and the CDC has developed steps you should take if you are sick or are taking care of someone who is sick. Also, the following CDPH information, which we have shared with you before, remains relevant. To help prevent the spread of viruses, please:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth;
  • Cover your nose and mouth with tissue when you cough or sneeze; remember to wash your hands afterward;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick; and
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

Any students who have health-related questions or concerns, who are not feeling well, or who need emotional or psychological support are encouraged to contact SAIC Health Services, at 312.499.4288 or healthservices@saic.edu, or their healthcare provider immediately. Students are also encouraged to use our 24-hour free nurse advice line available at 877.924.7758.

Staff and faculty with questions about their health are encouraged to reach out to their primary care provider for medical concerns or the employee assistance program for mental health support. Additionally, for questions regarding benefits and coverage, benefits-eligible faculty and staff may contact Cigna at 800.244.6224. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff may also reach out to Telehealth at 855.667.9722 or MDLIVE at 888.726.3171 for questions about their health.

In closing, we want to remind you that we are a diverse and inclusive campus where everyone belongs. When and if we have a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in our community, we will need to remember that ostracizing any member of our campus community is neither fair nor helpful. It is imperative to keep in mind that viruses are no one's fault, and we should avoid uninformed assumptions. Compassion is needed during times of uncertainty, and how we steward one another’s well-being should ensure the sense of belonging we foster for everyone at SAIC.

Take Care,

Elissa Tenny
President

Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

 

MARCH 23, 2020 

Dear Faculty, 

As you prepare your curriculum to transition to remote instruction when classes resume on April 6, we want to highlight three new or updated resources this week. Below you will find information on:

  • Ongoing Technology Assistance
  • Resources for the Transition to Remote Instruction
  • Utilizing Zoom/Teleconferencing Guidance for Faculty

The Computer Resources and Information Technologies (CRIT), the John M. Flaxman Library, and the Dean’s Office staff are all here to assist you in the days and weeks to come. As a reminder, questions about remote teaching platforms (i.e., Canvas) can be emailed to canvas-help@saic.edu. General questions can be addressed to the CRIT HelpDesk at 312.345.3535 or crithelpdesk@saic.edu.

Sincerely,
Dev Ravichandran
Vice President of Educational Technologies and Chief Information Officer

Melanie Emerson
Dean of the Library and Special Collections

Paul Jackson
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Ongoing Technology Assistance

  • Several of last week’s remote instruction workshops, hosted by Todd Chilton and Jill Lanza, have been posted to the Canvas Faculty Portal page. All current faculty should already have access to this Canvas page. Please note that the slides used during all presentations are also accessible in the same place.
  • As a supplement to the recorded workshops, CRIT staff will continue to host an online Remote Instruction Resource Room via Zoom this week, beginning Tuesday. The hours for the Resource Room are below. During the hours of operation, the Resource Room can be accessed via this link.

Tuesday, March 24–Friday, March 27
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

  • We invited faculty with previous experience delivering remote instruction to be available along with CRIT staff in the Resource Room to provide their own expertise and suggestions.
  • As always, faculty are also invited to reach out to canvas-help@saic.edu with questions or requests for specific assistance.

Resources for the Rapid Transition to Remote Instruction
Staff from the John M. Flaxman Library have been working very hard to develop a one-stop reference site for faculty looking to dig into the wealth of information available on how to develop effective approaches to remote instruction. In concert with CRIT and the Office of the Dean of Faculty, the Library team has curated a key selection of resources to create a single starting point for faculty. This guide is an excellent start but it is also a living repository, and we will develop both its content and functionality according to need and circumstance in the days and weeks to come.

Please review the John M. Flaxman Library Research Guide on Remote Instruction/Online Teaching.

Zoom/Teleconferencing Guidance for Faculty
In the past week, one of the most frequent questions we heard was “How can/should faculty utilize teleconferencing generally and Zoom specifically?”

In response, we put together a brief sheet that provides full details on Zoom, how faculty can gain access to SAIC’s Zoom client, details on the recent removal of meeting duration restrictions for educators, and recommendations for how faculty may wish to use teleconferencing as a supplement to asynchronous instruction.

The Zoom Information sheet will be hosted on the Canvas Faculty Portal page.

Dear Friends of SAIC,

We’ve made the difficult decision to suspend all School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) public programs, including those taking place at the Gene Siskel Film Center and Sullivan Galleries, and lectures, screenings, and other events taking place on- or off-campus. We are also closing our campus buildings.

Supporting the health of our students, faculty, staff, and guests has been at the heart of our decision making, and we believe this step is essential to ensuring the well-being of our community, both within and outside of the School, during this unprecedented time.

Thank you for being part of our community. We look forward to welcoming you back on our campus for a talk, exhibition, film screening, or art sale in the near future.

Until then, we wish you a safe and healthy spring.

 

MARCH 20, 2020 

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear SAIC Community, 

Under the direction of Governor J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Illinois and Chicago will soon join several other American states and cities, as well as countries around the world, in implementing a stay-at-home policy. Just as the steps we have taken at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) have been in the interest of the health and well-being of the members of our community, and to play our part in slowing the spread of COVID-19, this action has been taken in the interest of the public health.

 

During a press conference today, Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot stressed this stay-at-home order will not greatly change the behaviors of institutions, like SAIC, and individuals, like us, who have already begun practicing social distancing; nevertheless, I wanted to explain how this stay-at-home policy will affect our campus and its students, faculty, and staff. In this email, please find information about:

  • Stay-at-Home Policy
  • Residence Halls
  • Faculty Access to Campus
  • Staff Access to Campus
  • Online Learning and Critique Week
  • Wellness Center and Health Services

The plans we have previously announced in response to the health crisis are aligned with this latest action of our local and state governments. These actions are necessary, as COVID-19 poses a serious health risk to each of us and all of us; I urge you to please take care. We can weather these interruptions to our daily lives. The herculean effort we have all made over the past few weeks has prepared us for this. We are truly nimble and resourceful. That same energy, ingenuity, and creativity will serve us well as we continue to prepare for campus-wide online learning to begin on April 6.

With care,
Elissa Tenny
President

Stay-at-Home Policy
Stay-at-home will take effect in Chicago tomorrow, Saturday, March 21, at 5:00 p.m. and will expire on April 7. In accordance with this policy, SAIC’s campus will be closed to all but essential staff at that time. All shops, faculty, and non-essential staff offices and computer labs will be closed. Everyone is asked to stay home as much as possible, traveling throughout the city for only essential needs.

Residence Halls
SAIC coordinated with the Chicago Police Department on plans for moving out of the residence halls, and students who are moving out this weekend will still be able to do so. 
Roads will still be passable. Public transit will continue to run. Airports will remain open. Please note that residents who have not submitted an appeal to stay must move out of the residence halls by 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 22.

Students staying in the residence halls should keep to their rooms as much as possible; however, they can still move throughout the city for essential needs, including food and medicine as well as sunlight and fresh air, so long as they continue to practice social distancing.

Faculty Access to Campus
Faculty may no longer come to campus to use the computer labs or studios, even in preparation for teaching the remainder of the semester; however, support can still be found from Computer Resources and Information Technologies (CRIT) and most other campus offices, now working remotely. Part-time faculty in need of further technological support for teaching online will receive an email from Provost Martin Berger and Vice President for Education Technologies and Chief Information Officer Dev Ravichandran soon with more information.

Staff Access to Campus
Staff whose work requires them to come to campus during the stay-at-home policy’s duration will be notified by Sunday by their vice president, dean, or supervisor. Who is deemed necessary, on-campus staff may change in response to the evolving health crisis, and staff members will be informed by their supervisors if they are needed on-site. Staff currently working remotely who have needs on campus should contact their supervisors to seek accommodation on a case-by-case basis.

Online Learning and Critique Week
As planned, online learning will continue with classes beginning April 6. As announced in an email sent earlier today, Critique Week will now take place from April 20–24 remotely through a variety of formats, including an option to opt out. Extended Spring Break, which runs March 16 to April 3, will allow faculty time to transition to remote teaching for the duration of the semester.

Wellness Center and Health Services
The Wellness Center, which includes counseling services, health services, and the Disability and Learning Resource Center, will close its physical location today, Friday, March 20. Staff will continue to provide services remotely. Please contact the Wellness Center services at the following emails and phone numbers:

Counseling Services: counselingservices@saic.edu and 312.499.4271
Health Services: healthservices@saic.edu and 312.499.4288
Disability and Learning Resource Center: dlrc@saic.edu and 312.499.4278

Unanswered Questions
As always, if you have questions on anything we haven’t yet clarified for the community, please email saicinfo@saic.edu exclusively, so that we can be sure you are receiving the most up-to-date information.

Dear Part-Time Faculty, 

You know from President Tenny’s most recent email communication that Governor J.B. Pritzker has issued a stay-at-home order for the State of Illinois to begin at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, and last through Tuesday, April 7.

As Elissa noted, this will prevent all but a handful of employees needed onsite from gaining access to campus facilities. As of tomorrow, faculty may no longer access campus to use any School facilities, including computer labs, studios, or department offices, even in preparation for online teaching.

As a result, I want to move quickly to determine those of you who need computer equipment to continue your spring 2020 online teaching. I ask that you please respond to a brief survey, which will help us determine how to allocate our limited number of laptops and iPads.

I would be grateful for a response by Monday, March 23, at noon. In light of the stay-at-home order, it may be necessary for us to engage commercial shippers to send you needed hardware, hence the tight deadline.

Sincerely,
Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dev Ravichandran
Vice President for Education Technologies and Chief Information Officer

Dear Graduate Students, 

The modified plan for Spring 2020 Critique Week is below. The plan was developed after consultation with faculty and graduate students from a broad range of departments. It recognizes that the global pandemic requires a rethinking of many curricular structures, including Critique Week. While all of us would have preferred in-person critiques, the outlined alternative preserves the rich, meaningful discussions of creative practice that are a hallmark of SAIC’s critiques.

 

  • Spring 2020 Critique Week will be April 20–24.
  • Given the current circumstances, students who wish to petition to opt-out of Critique Week may do so. The petition form will be available on the Graduate Division's website.
  • Per standard practice, the spring semester critiques will be interdisciplinary in nature. Students will have the option to select, in advance, either a real-time video conference conversation with their faculty panel or an asynchronous text-based discussion.
  • Students will be encouraged, but not required, to respond to writing prompts both before and after their critiques. These prompts are intended to provide students with the ability to contextualize their practices and frame the critique itself, as well as the opportunity to productively reflect on their critique experience.

Your faculty are excited to support you and look forward to continuing their work with you during these unprecedented times. A message with further details about the petition process and other logistical matters will be sent to each of you early next week.

Sincerely,
Jefferson Pinder
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear SAIC Community,

As the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) continues to closely monitor the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we are taking proactive measures to ensure the well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.

In an effort to keep our community as safe as possible, and to reduce potential for exposure to COVID-19, SAIC has suspended all campus-sponsored events, including the Spring Undergraduate Exhibition, until further notice in accordance with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We understand that this is disappointing and represents a substantial change to the many ways we usually celebrate the work of SAIC’s talented artists, designers, and scholars.

Be assured that faculty are working with the Dean’s Office to identify appropriate alternative formats for end-of-year and thesis-related events and will provide more information in the coming weeks. This includes the following programs:
 
ArtBash
Design Show
Fashion Show
Film, Video, New Media, Animation, and Sound Festival
IMPACT Performance Festival
MA in Visual and Critical Studies Exhibition at Co-Prosperity Sphere
MakeWork Showcase
MFA Thesis Exhibition
Senior Expo Exhibition
All BFAW, MFAW, BA, MA, and MS readings and symposia

Programs that are canceled for spring 2020 include:
 
Art Sale
Conversations at the Edge
SITE Galleries Exhibitions
Visiting Artists Program Lectures

On or before Monday, April 6, SAIC will provide an update about Commencement. All public events beyond May 10 will be evaluated on a three-week rolling basis. Regular updates on any future cancellations will be shared via SAIC’s COVID-19 Event Cancellations and Updates webpage and community emails.

The health and safety of the SAIC community is our primary concern, and we sincerely appreciate your understanding. Please do not hesitate to reach out to saicinfo@saic.edu with any questions.

Sincerely,
Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs​

 

MARCH 19, 2020 

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear SAIC Community, 

You have been resourceful, resilient, and compassionate in all the rapid changes we have made for the health and safety of everyone in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago community. I am overwhelmed by your effort. Thank you.

I wanted to take a moment to be sure you knew that your feelings matter, too. Your work matters. The sacrifices we are called to make in this time are extraordinary, but our mission as artists, designers, and scholars endures.

Take Care,
Elissa Tenny

Dear Faculty, 

Ensuring that part-time faculty have the computer resources they need in order to complete their spring 2020 courses remotely is an institutional priority, and we’re writing to let you know how faculty without these resources can request a short-term hardware allocation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

 

The Computer Resources and Information Technologies (CRIT) office is keeping track of all institutionally owned laptops, tablets, and other resources as we transition to both primarily remote operations and instruction.

That being said, we ask that all faculty be prepared to utilize any personal computing resources they may have, including desktop computers, laptop computers, tablet devices, and mobile phones, in their efforts to teach remotely. CRIT can offer as much guidance and support as possible for all faculty utilizing a variety of personal resources. Questions about remote teaching platforms (i.e., Canvas) can be emailed to canvas-help@saic.edu. General questions can be addressed to the CRIT HelpDesk at 312.345.3535 or crithelpdesk@saic.edu.

If you do not have access at home to computing resources that are minimally necessary to continue instruction, please complete this form. Your request will be reviewed, and you will receive a response via phone or email as soon as possible. Please try to be available to connect with CRIT regarding your request. If you need an SAIC-issued computer to support your online teaching, please submit a request and be prepared to pick up the hardware as soon as possible, preferably by the end of the day tomorrow, March 20.

We will do everything possible to issue the resources needed, but what we have is very limited. Please consider all other options prior to requesting institutional hardware.

Sincerely,
Jefferson Pinder
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

 

MARCH 18, 2020 

Dear Undergraduate Exhibition participants, 

As President Tenny and Provost Berger mentioned in their emails on Monday, March 16, supporting the health of everyone in our campus community has been and remains our paramount concern, and we will take every action required to safeguard the well-being of our community here at SAIC and beyond. 

As was shared, all on-campus events have been suspended. Sullivan Galleries are closed until further notice and the Undergraduate Exhibition will not reopen this spring. Though we are all disappointed that the Undergraduate Exhibition was abbreviated, I want to take a moment to congratulate the more than 320 of you whose work was featured in our biggest Undergraduate Exhibition ever. We share your sadness and frustration during this unprecedented global health crisis, but we are also hopeful because it is artists and designers whose problem-solving and art-making sustain and propel us through difficulty. The world needs artists and designers now more than ever, so keep creating. 

We don’t yet know how long campus or Sullivan Galleries will be closed, but we are committed to protecting any belongings and artwork you’ve left. Your belongings will be safe behind our doors until we are able to reopen.  

We highly encourage everyone to stay home and away from the public, though we realize many of you may still be on campus. If essential, those who are on or near campus may pick up their artwork from the Undergraduate Exhibition through Friday (March 20th, 2020). To do so, please email the Undergraduate Exhibitions team at undergradexhibitionsaic@gmail.com to coordinate deinstallation and pick-up. 

All my best,
Trevor Martin
Executive Director of Exhibitions
And The Exhibitions Team

Dear Students,
As noted in previous emails, students will be unable to access campus buildings after Friday at 7:00 p.m. At this time, we are unable to determine when students will resume access to these spaces, so please plan accordingly.

If you have any further questions, please email us at saicinfo@saic.edu. Thanks in advance for your patience and understanding.

Sincerely,
Tom Buechele
Vice President for Campus Operations

Trevor Martin
Executive Director of Exhibitions

I am currently in Chicago and want to retrieve my belongings. What should I do?

  • You may retrieve your belongings from campus buildings from 7:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m. through Friday, March 20.
  • Any items left in lockers, painting racks, studio spaces, and the Undergraduate Exhibition will be left as they are until arrangements can be made for their retrieval.

I have work in the Undergraduate Exhibition. How do I retrieve my work?

  • Students with work in the Undergraduate Exhibition will receive an email from the Department of Exhibitions about how to retrieve their work.

I'm a graduate student. Do I need to clean out my studio?

  • If you have an opportunity to document your work in the studio, we encourage you to do so. Nothing elaborate is necessary—just take pictures with your cell phone.
  • The campus, including graduate and post-bac studios, will be closed to all students beginning Friday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. We strongly recommend that you retrieve any items or supplies from your studios that you may need to continue your practice off campus. As the impact of the global outbreak may be felt beyond these next few weeks, we do not know when you will be able to access your studio after Friday.

I’ve already left Chicago or I’m in Chicago, but I’m unable to retrieve my belongings. What happens to my belongings?

  • If you have already left campus, please do not return to collect your belongings at this time.
  • Any items left in lockers, painting racks, studio spaces, and the Undergraduate Exhibition will be left as they are until arrangements can be made for their retrieval.
  • If you've left Chicago and need essential items (e.g., laptop, passport, medications, items integral to resuming online coursework, etc.), please let us know by filling out this form so that we can make individual arrangements. We are unable to ship large items (e.g., large canvases, sculptures, musical equipment, etc.), and we reserve the right to prioritize these requests.

 

MARCH 16, 2020 

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear SAIC Community, 

I write to let you know that the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) will be closing our campus buildings to nonessential operations as we continue to move toward remote learning. Campus closure will begin in phases beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, until further notice. This includes access to academic buildings. We are also asking all students still living in the residential halls, except those who have nowhere else to go, to vacate by Sunday, March 22.

Supporting the health of everyone in our campus community—students, faculty, and staff—has been at the heart of our decision making, and we must act for the well-being of us all, at SAIC and beyond. While we have tried our very best to meet every new challenge with responses that value safety and try to preserve the greatest possible portion of the educational experience for the remainder of the semester, it seems clear that the unprecedented health crisis presented by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, requires our further action. 

You will have many practical questions. Another email will follow this one with details; it can also be read here. The frequently asked questions section of our alerts page will also be continually updated with the most up-to-date information.
 
But first, I want to recognize that this is an unprecedented time, and we know that this moment asks an extraordinary amount from all members of the SAIC community. I am so grateful for what all of you have accomplished already, especially our staff, who have been working selflessly and tirelessly to maintain as much regularity to our operations as possible. Meanwhile, students and faculty are gearing up to explore learning at a distance, many for the first time. Simultaneously, everyone, especially students, is dealing with the grief of shortened exhibitions and cancelled events. We all anticipate the stress of distancing ourselves from one another, especially when we need one another most. This is hard, and teaching, learning, and working remotely will be a challenge; however, we are doing the right thing.
 
In taking this action, we are, in essence, trying to do for our School what we are all doing for our shared society. Staying indoors. Taking care of those we live with. Making sure we minimize the risk of viral spread, as much as possible, for everyone. This process is likely to keep evolving, and we will need to be responsive to events as they occur. Nevertheless, I have complete faith in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago community. We will weather this moment, and prepare for a full return to campus after the immediate threat is mitigated. Together, we can do this.
 
We must, because even in this uncertain time, our values endure. We are still artists, designers, and scholars. The ways we picture, interrogate, and shape our shared society will always be fundamental elements of the human experience. The images we make, environments we build, and ways of being we envision will be essential throughout this health crisis and beyond.
 
Yours in hope,
Elissa Tenny
President

Dear SAIC Community, 

As President Tenny mentioned in her email this afternoon, supporting the health of everyone in our campus community has been and remains our paramount concern, and we will take every action required to safeguard the well-being of our community here at SAIC and beyond.
 
Below please find answers to information about:

  • Residence Halls
  • Essential Staff Only on Campus
  • Payroll for All Employees
  • Preparation for Online Learning
  • Campus Access
  • Wellness Center
  • Critique Week
  • Events
  • Unanswered Questions

As a reminder, all messages sent related to COVID-19 have been published on the alerts microsite at saic.edu/alerts and we continually update the Frequently Asked Questions section.

If you have questions on anything we haven’t yet clarified for the community, please email saicinfo@saic.edu exclusively, so that we can be sure you are receiving the most up-to-date information.  

Residence Halls
All residential students are expected to leave campus as soon as possible and go home for the semester. Residence halls will close at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, in order to give students and families time to make necessary travel arrangements. 

We recognize not all students will be able to return to their permanent residences. Students who are unable to leave should submit an appeal to stay in the residence halls. Appeals to stay due to extenuating circumstances will be considered on an individual basis. Students and families should recognize that our services and support on campus will be limited. More information is forthcoming. 

If you have already left Chicago, please do not return to campus. Residence Life will follow up with a separate email with more details on leaving campus and retrieving your belongings if you’ve already departed.

Essential Staff Only on Campus
Some staff and faculty members need to be on campus in order to ensure a transition to remote education and operate critical functions. However, many of our functions can effectively operate remotely with no disruption. To reduce the density of employees on campus, we formally ask vice presidents to move personnel who have the ability to operate remotely off campus, starting tomorrow or as soon as is practical. 

At least until April 3, and perhaps for the remainder of the semester, the campus will be open only to those who are performing essential business functions. Vice presidents can designate certain employees as essential in special circumstances, and a position may be designated as essential at any point and assigned to critical functions in another department at SAIC. Employees in essential functions and positions are expected to work onsite unless excused by their supervisor. 

Essential employees will be notified by their department management within the next 72 hours. SAIC is committed to the safety and well-being of all employees whose presence on campus is deemed essential and will take all recommended safety measures.

Payroll for All Employees
During this time, all staff, including contracted services staff (i.e., engineering, foodservice, housekeeping, and security), and faculty will continue to be paid. Teaching assistants and student workers will be paid through the end of the semester, whether they are able to work on campus or not.

Preparation for Online Learning
As scheduled, remote learning for all courses will begin on April 6, as announced in an email on March 12. Faculty should continue to prepare for remote learning. The training sessions for faculty will continue Tuesday, March 17, through Thursday, March 19, and an additional email for faculty with more information about accessing these sessions online or arranging on-campus assistance is forthcoming.

Campus Access
Beginning tomorrow, all campus buildings, with the exception of residence halls, will only be accessible to faculty, essential staff, and students who need to retrieve items from their studios and lockers. Academic buildings will close at 10:00 p.m. tonight, and adjusted hours for the coming weeks are listed below:

Tuesday, March 17–Friday, March 20: 7:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
Buildings are accessible to all students, faculty, and staff

Monday, March 23–Friday, March 27: 7:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
Buildings are accessible only to faculty and essential staff 

Monday, March 30–Friday, April 3: 7:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
Buildings are open only to faculty and essential staff

We understand that the impact of the global outbreak may be felt beyond these next few weeks, and we may be unable to go back to our normal operations this semester. 

Wellness Center
The Wellness Center plans to be open this week, through Friday, March 20, and staff are considering options for the remainder of the semester. Fortunately, counseling services, health services, and the Disability Learning Resource Center services will be available remotely throughout the semester.  

Critique Week
All graduate students will still have the opportunity to hear from their faculty about their practice; however, the unanticipated health crisis means that Critique Week cannot happen on campus. Further plans for an alternate, remote Critique Week experience are being developed, and graduate students will receive further communication soon. 

Events, Exhibitions, and Programming
In accordance with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), SAIC has suspended all on-campus events until further notice. The Gene Siskel Film Center is already closed. 

Unanswered Questions
We know you may have many unanswered questions. Your safety remains our number one priority and that's why we're taking this unprecedented step. While the landscape continues to change, please know that we are committed to protecting any belongings and artwork you leave behind in the interim; your things will be safe behind our doors.

As always, if you have questions on anything we haven’t yet clarified for the community, please email saicinfo@saic.edu exclusively, so that we can be sure you are receiving the most up-to-date information.  

Sincerely,
Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear SAIC Students, 

As President Tenny and Provost Berger announced today, SAIC has taken further measures to minimize the number of individuals on campus in order to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). These actions include closing the residence halls, an extraordinary step that we wanted to avoid, but at this time, can no longer. To ease the process as much as possible, you’ll find important information below on moving out of your residence hall.

Student Affairs staff will be available to assist you through this transition. We know this is hard, and there are no easy answers, but please know you are supported by teams of people working around the clock to ensure the process is as seamless as possible.

Please watch your email inbox and saic.edu/alerts for further details. In addition, forward your questions to stulife@saic.edu so that we may route to the appropriate resources and reply as quickly as possible. Thank you for your continued patience and partnership throughout this most challenging time.

Sincerely,

Felice J. Dublon, PhD
Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs
 
Residence Halls Will Close at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 22
All residential students should leave as soon as possible, no later than 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. If you have already left Chicago, please do not return to campus. In very extraordinary circumstances, students may appeal to remain on campus. Students who are allowed to stay on campus may be required to move to a different residence hall and/or a different residence hall room. Students and families should recognize that our services and support on campus will be limited at times. To appeal, complete this form by Wednesday, March 18 at 12:00 p.m.

What if I left Chicago and need essential items (e.g., medications, travel documents, etc.) from my residence hall room to complete the semester?
If you’ve already left Chicago, please do not return to campus. Complete this form and we will ship these items to you. Please note, we are unable to ship large items. We will keep your items safely locked, and we will send more details on getting your belongings at a later date.

If I’ve left Chicago, when can I return to retrieve my items and complete my move out?
At this time, we don’t yet know when you’ll be able to return to campus, but we will keep your items safely locked and send more details on collecting your belongings at a later date.

If I am currently on campus and will be moving out of my residence hall room by March 22, do I need to take all of my belongings?
Yes, please plan on moving out of the residence halls and follow our standard check out procedures. To check out of your room, do the following:

  • Clean your room or your part of the room and common spaces.
  • Move your belongings out. Five boxes per resident are available for free in these locations: 162 North State Street Residences, 4th floor office; Jones Hall, 3rd floor office; Buckingham Basement Residence Life Offices.
  • Check your mail to pick up letters and packages.
  • Check out by filling out a check-out envelope and leaving your key(s) inside. Check-out envelopes can be found in these locations: Buckingham security desk and next to the residence hall offices in 162 North State Street Residences (4th floor) and Jones Hall (3rd floor).

Can I ship or store my belongings?
If you are interested in off-site storage or shipping, SAIC has contracted with an independent vendor to provide this service, Collegeboxes, Inc. Collegeboxes will pick up your belongings from your room, store the items, and deliver them back to the residence hall just prior to move-in weekend. Collegeboxes will be on campus to scan, track, and pick up your boxes before the semester ends. Residents may leave these boxes in their room for Collegeboxes to scan and pick up. Collegeboxes can also store items for students who will be living off campus in the fall. For more information on this service or to place an order, visit collegeboxes.com.

Can I get a refund on housing or my meal plan?
Students who leave the residence halls will only be charged for living in the residence halls through March 22. This includes students who have left the residence halls but still have items remaining in the halls. A credit will be sent to students’ accounts by the end of March. Residence Life will be waiving the contract breakage fee, and any unused meal plan funds will roll over to the following semester.

If I successfully appeal to stay in the residence hall, where should I get food?
Governor Pritzker has announced that restaurants and bars must close by the end of the business day today, Monday, March 16 (this does not include the LeRoy Neiman Center Café). At this time, grocery stores remain open and food delivery services can continue.

The current plan is to keep the LeRoy Neiman Center Café open from 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. through March 20, and if it is possible and safe to do so, we will try to remain open for the remainder of the semester. However, students living in the residence halls will receive updates if these plans change.

Dear SAIC Faculty and Staff,

As announced, Computer Resources and Information Technologies (CRIT) will host workshops on remote instruction delivery Tuesday, March 17; Wednesday, March 18; and Thursday, March 19.

The workshops listed below will be provided via Zoom, which is the preferred mode of instruction, but CRIT staff will accommodate requests for in-person support as needed. Faculty requiring an in-person appointment for March 17–19 should email canvas-help@saic.edu.

Online Workshop Schedule
The remote workshops will be one hour long and recur on Tuesday, March 17; Wednesday, March 18; and Thursday, March 19 at:

  • 10:00 a.m.
  • 12:00 p.m.
  • 2:00 p.m.
  • 4:00 p.m.

Joining the Online Workshop
Faculty should connect to the workshops via Zoom at the link below: https://zoom.us/j/4042146713

When you click the workshop meeting link, you will be prompted to download the Zoom client application onto your machine (if you have not already done so). We encourage you to click the link and download the client in advance of your workshop at this link: 
https://zoom.us/download#client_4meeting

If you have difficulty downloading the client, please contact the CRIT HelpDesk via phone at 312.345.3535.

Online Resource Room
We will also host a supplemental Remote Instruction Resource Room in between workshops, where faculty can digitally connect to CRIT staff and fellow faculty to discuss individual questions. The resource room will be open to all faculty and CRIT staff will respond to questions on an ongoing basis.

In the Remote Instruction Resource Room, CRIT staff will host dedicated question-and-answer sessions for an hour on Tuesday, March 17; Wednesday, March 18; and Thursday, March 19 at the following times:

  • 11:00 a.m.
  • 1:00 p.m.
  • 3:00 p.m.

Here is the link to connect with all of the resource room sessions through the week: https://zoom.us/j/3103589643

Faculty with experience or ideas related to delivering curriculum remotely and interested in sharing are invited to join discussions in the Remote Instruction Resource Room. We will keep the room open between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Sincerely,

Jefferson Pinder
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dev Ravichandran
Vice President of Educational Technologies and Chief Information Officer

 

MARCH 14, 2020 

Dear Faculty and Staff,
By now, many of you have read President Tenny and Provost Berger’s message from Thursday afternoon, announcing SAIC’s plan to move up and extend Spring Break and transition all undergraduate and graduate courses in spring 2020 to a remote or online model of teaching thereafter.

As a community of faculty and staff, our charge is this: while classes are suspended between March 16 and March 29, all faculty must prepare to move all existing graduate and undergraduate courses into a remote context. We anticipate much of the resulting curriculum will be delivered via online mediums. Please know that our primary disciplinary accrediting body, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), has already signaled their full support for institutions making such a change in this unprecedented moment. When instruction resumes on April 6, we will be prepared to continue with the spring 2020 term through its successful conclusion.

Please know that the Dean’s Office and the Computer Resources and Information Technologies (CRIT) staff are your co-facilitators in this curricular pivot. We will deploy all our professional experience and technological resources, and we will work collaboratively to provide faculty with guidance, training, and ongoing support. Our goal is to ensure you have both agency and assistance in delivering a remote-instruction version of your course content.

Your creativity and flexible thinking will be essential in our efforts in supporting our students at this time of tremendous challenge, and ensuring that they can continue to make progress toward their educational and creative aspirations.

At its best, online education is more than simply the delivery of existing curriculum by a different means. Strong online education takes advantage of its medium and what we develop here will necessarily not be a reproduction of five weeks of existing course content (which was built for an on-campus setting); this is an opportunity to try new approaches that also further student learning, differently.

Most importantly, our revised curriculum must not require that students have access to any campus-based resources. Many students will depart Chicago in the coming days and not have access to comparable facilities and resources. Wherever they go, we must also recognize that our students will confront circumstances and emotions that greatly challenge their ability to attend to their studies at any given moment. Our curriculum must now reach them there, and we must make plans which include all students, are mindful of what is going on in the world around them, and are achievable in as flexible a manner as possible.

It is important for us to acknowledge that this transition, both philosophically and operationally, will be much easier for some faculty and departments than others. SAIC will meet all our faculty where they are. Whatever our individual familiarities with the medium, we are all about to leap into this mode of instruction together. We will deploy all necessary support resources to facilitate your teaching.

Beginning on Tuesday, March 17, and through Thursday, March 19, CRIT and Dean’s Office staff will host one hour workshops every other hour on the following schedule:

10:00 a.m.
12:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m.
4:00 p.m.

All workshops will focus on content most relevant to converting instruction to an online medium, and all workshops will be broadcasted via Zoom teleconferencing to allow faculty remote access. Instructions for joining workshops via Zoom will be sent to all faculty on Monday, March 16.

For those who wish to attend in person, please come to the lobby of the MacLean Center ten minutes prior to the session you wish to attend. Staff in the lobby will direct you to an appropriate classroom with computer access. Even if you plan to attend an on-campus session, you are invited to bring a laptop if you will be using that computer as a primary tool in your teaching.

Please note that seats in each room will be limited to promote social distancing and no food or beverages will be provided to reduce the spread of germs. All rooms will be cleaned in between each session.

In addition to the workshops, a separate resource room will be open for faculty to visit between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. each day, where CRIT staff will be present to assist faculty with resources and answer questions.

In addition to active training provided via workshops, you can expect more communications and specific resources to be shared by staff in the Undergraduate and Graduate divisions as well as CRIT in the coming days. These will include:

  • Information on general approaches to remote instruction
  • An FAQ which we will initially build out and then continue to update on a regular basis as questions arise which have not yet been addressed
  • Guidance on the various SAIC-supported software platforms and digital resources available for all faculty to utilize in transitioning to remote instruction
  • Resources already available from peer institutions, which may provide inspiration or avenues for SAIC faculty to consider

Below you’ll find links to several online training videos focused on our Canvas learning management system. We anticipate that many of you will utilize Canvas extensively in this undertaking, so this is a great place to start your consideration of how this platform will be of use to you, in advance of workshops beginning next week.

Intro to Canvas for Faculty

Advanced Canvas Training

Additional Canvas Resources

During business hours, CRIT staff are reachable via email at canvas-help@saic.edu, and we encourage you to reach out to them with specific technical questions you are interested in addressing via email.

Please note that graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs) assigned to courses will be asked to continue to support faculty in their delivery of course content once (remote) instruction resumes. While we are sure there will be disruptions, we ask that you work with them as creatively and flexibly as you will your students, and continue to engage TAs in your work through the end of the spring semester. TAs should be given tasks or responsibilities that they can complete remotely.

So many of us are experiencing this together at art and design institutions around the world. Facing such a challenge, great ideas will come from everywhere and are encouraged to be shared in the spirit of collaboration, generosity, and a common purpose of teaching students. Many of you have already begun to make these connections and exchange resources. In that spirit, we will set up means for you to share your own ideas and those you have encountered, with both the Dean’s Office and your SAIC colleagues.

To give you time to focus on preparation, Elissa and Martin asked students to refrain from contacting you as much as possible in the coming days so that you may prepare. We expect that many students will be unable to fully hold off, and you will receive questions, probably before you can answer them. As much as you can, respond and assure students you hear their questions or concerns and are working hard on re-developing materials. Remind them that you will be in touch with the whole class in the near future regarding how you will continue in your work together.

Many of us believe in the benefit of slowing down, to think, to reflect, and to re-approach one’s ideas or work. In the coming weeks, we have a tremendous opportunity to engage in just this practice as colleagues. We are excited to see what you will do, and we are all ready to support you as you take your teaching further beyond our campus.

As always, we want to conclude with a reiteration of resources for faculty and our support for you in looking after your own well-being and those around you. All faculty with questions about their health should reach out to their primary care provider for medical concerns or the employee assistance program for mental health support. Additionally, for questions regarding benefits and coverage, benefits-eligible faculty and staff may contact Cigna at 800.244.6224. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff may also reach out to Telehealth at 855.667.9722 or MDLIVE at 888.726.3171 for questions about their health.

We will continue to keep you updated via email and will post updates on our continuing response to COVID-19 at saic.edu/alerts.

If you have any questions regarding academics, please reach out to Jefferson at jpinder@saic.edu or 312.899.5180. For technical questions, please reach out to Dev at devarajulu@saic.edu or 312.345.3730.

Sincerely,
Jefferson Pinder
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dev Ravichandran
Vice President of Educational Technologies and Chief Information Office

 

MARCH 13, 2020 

Dear SAIC Parents and Students, 

As the Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), I know firsthand that yesterday’s announcement about the extended Spring Break and move to online learning has left many of you with questions. Please know that members throughout the institution are actively reaching out with the most up-to-date information. In the hopes that I can answer some of the most frequently asked questions in a timely fashion, I wanted to reach out to all of the parents and students in our SAIC family.

If there are any questions we don't yet have answers for in this evolving situation, know we will have those answers soon, will reach out to you via email, and will be continually updating the FAQ page online with our most up-to-date information, which can be found at saic.edu/alerts.

Answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) can be found below.

Please direct any additional questions you may have to saicinfo@saic.edu solely, so that we can make sure you are getting the most up-to-date and accurate information.

At SAIC, we believe that parents—as well as students, faculty, and staff—belong to our creative community. And having worked at SAIC for many years, I know that our community is a resourceful and resilient one. Just as SAIC parents and students are working together to make the best logistical decisions for their immediate families, SAIC faculty and staff are working tirelessly to protect the health of our community as we strive to keep our students’ educations on track. We care about you. We are here for you. And we are grateful for your trust in us.

Yours,

Felice Dublon, PhD
Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs
 
May students return home? May they finish the semester online?
Yes and yes. We anticipate that all students will be able to complete the semester remotely, so please return home if that is the right decision for students and their families.

During the extended Spring Break, our creative and innovative faculty will be reformatting their syllabi to deliver the fundamental principles of course content from a distance. More information about what students will need to do to complete their coursework this semester will be sent to students prior to April 3.

May students remain in the residence hall?
Yes. Residence halls will remain open. The dining halls, Wellness Center, and campus buildings are open, although hours may change. Please know our team will continue to support students.

I am concerned that my parents won’t receive this email.
In addition to sharing this information via email, we will also post it on the School’s social media platforms and at saic.edu/alerts; nevertheless, it is likely that students know best how to reach their families, and we encourage them to share this information.

I am an international student with questions about my visa status.
We sent a communication to international students yesterday with information and recommendations about visas, travel signatures, OPT applications, and other concerns pertaining to international students. You can review that message here. If your question is not answered there, please send any additional questions you may have directly to saicinfo@saic.edu, so that we can make sure you are getting the most up-to-date and accurate information.

I am an undergraduate student. May I use studios on campus after the extended spring break?
To promote social distancing, undergraduate students will be able to complete an appeal process to be able to work on campus. That process is being designed now, and undergraduate students will receive an additional email with instructions about that process before the extended Spring Break ends.

I still have questions and would prefer to talk to someone. Who should I reach out to?
Beginning on Monday, March 16, we’ll be opening an SAIC Resource Line at 800.844.6578, and we’ll keep it open next week Monday to Thursday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Central Time. Please feel free to give us a call.

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear Students, 

On March 12, President Tenny and Provost Berger announced new actions to help limit the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) among our campus community. In particular, SAIC is extending Spring Break to allow faculty and staff time to better prepare for our planned move to online teaching. Spring Break will now take place from Monday, March 16–Sunday, March 29, meaning no in-person, on-campus classes will be held during this time. Critique Week will continue the week of March 30, though all undergraduate classes that take place during Crit Week are suspended. Then, beginning April 6 through the end of the semester, all classroom instruction will be moved online. The residence halls will remain open, and students may choose to stay on campus or leave campus.

 

All students who remain on campus are required to notify the Residence Life staff of housing plans for the remainder of the spring semester. Complete this form by March 18 at 12:00 p.m. CST to maintain access to the residence halls.

Below you’ll find more information on residence hall access, summer housing, summer staff positions, and housing renewal for the 2020–21 academic year.

If You Are Planning to Stay in the Residence Halls

  • Res Life Desks at Jones Hall and the 162 North State Street Residences will remain open with normal services, however hours may be adjusted. Please see posted signs for open hours.
  • Common area spaces remain open for student use.
  • The Buckingham Fitness Center is temporarily closed for an undetermined amount of time.
  • Dining services will remain open. The LeRoy Neiman Center will be open the following hours: March 16–20: 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.; March 21–22: Closed; March 23–April 5: 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. The MacLean and Columbus Cafes will be closed. We will reevaluate hours and announce plans as of April 6 at a later date. Our campus catering company, Food for Thought (FFT), will no longer be offering self-serve options and will not allow reusable cups to be used for beverages.
  • Students are expected to continue following all policies listed in the Student Handbook.

Guests and visitor privileges are the same throughout the weekend. Please note that we do not yet have guidance regarding guests for the future in residence halls. We will share more information as it becomes available.

If You Are Planning to Leave the Residence Halls and Return Before the End of the Semester

  • Notify your roommate(s) that you will be gone.
  • Check your mail to pick up letters and packages.
  • Remove perishable items from your refrigerator/room.
  • Take all valuables with you (laptop, passport, medications, external hard drives, jewelry, etc.)
  • Consider packing and labeling items before leaving the SAIC campus in case your plans change for returning to campus. Five boxes per resident are available for free in these locations: 162 North State Street Residences, 4th floor office; Jones Hall, 3rd floor office; Buckingham Basement Residence Life Offices.
  • If you are in a single room or if you and all of your roommates will be gone for a period of time:
    • Close and lock all windows; lower blinds.
    • Turn heat on low.
    • Turn all lights off.
    • Double check your faucets to make sure the water is not running.
    • Take out the trash and recycling.
    • Make sure your door is closed.
    • Label your bike.
    • Remove your art from common area studios.
  • Plan on returning to campus to move out of the residence halls at the end of the term. More details will come as the end of the semester approaches.

If You Are Planning to Leave the Residence Halls For the Remainder of the Semester

  • Notify your roommate(s) that you will be gone.
  • Clean your room or your part of the room and common spaces.
  • Move your belongings out. Five boxes per resident are available for free in these locations: 162 North State Street Residences, 4th floor office; Jones Hall, 3rd floor office; Buckingham Basement Residence Life Offices.
  • Check your mail to pick up letters and packages.
  • Check out by filling out a check-out envelope and leaving your key(s) inside. Check-out envelopes can be found in these locations: Buckingham security desk and next to the residence hall offices in 162 North State Street Residences (4th floor) and Jones Hall (3rd floor).

If you are interested in off-site storage or shipping, SAIC has contracted with an independent vendor to provide this service, Collegeboxes, Inc. Collegeboxes will pick your belongings up from your room, store the items, and deliver them back to the residence hall just prior to move-in weekend. Collegeboxes will be on campus to scan, track, and pick up your boxes before the semester ends. Please sign up by March 20. Residents may leave these boxes in their room for Collegeboxes to scan and pick up. Collegeboxes can also store items for students who will be living off campus in the fall. For more information on this service or to place an order, visit collegeboxes.com.

Housing Renewal for 2020–21 Academic Year
Residence Life will continue to accept applications until March 24, at 4:00 p.m. for the 2020–21 Academic Year. The online application will require you to sign the 2020–21 housing contract, make a $550 prepayment, and provide roommate preferences. You were given information about applying for housing at the floor meetings hosted on March 1 and via your SAIC email.

The Buckingham Open House originally scheduled for March 16 and the Roommate Finder Fair originally scheduled for March 17 have been canceled. The Housing Renewal Fair is being reworked, and information on how students will select the room of their choice will be shared with students with complete applications.

Summer Housing for Summer 2020
Applications for summer housing will open on April 2. All summer housing for SAIC degree-seeking students is located at the 162 North State Street Residences. Both double and single rooms are available. More details will be available here soon.

Summer Staff Positions in Residence Life
If you are interested in working for Residence Life this summer as a Summer Resident Advisor or a Summer Housing Assistant, applications are open via Engage and will close on March 25. Residence Life staff will be in touch with candidates to set up phone or email interviews.

For Questions About Your Health
Any students who have health-related questions or concerns, who are not feeling well, or who need emotional or psychological support are encouraged to contact SAIC Health Services, at 312.499.4288 or healthservices@saic.edu, or their healthcare provider immediately. Additionally, here is a list of nearby clinics and a 24-hour free nurse advice line available to all students at 877.924.7758.

SAIC Faculty and Staff,
In line with guidance to limit large group congregations city-wide, the museum has announced that they are closing to the public for two weeks. As you know, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has already taken similar steps to mitigate this risk with the changes to events, an extended Spring Break for students, and a move to distance learning that was announced in yesterday’s communication.

The next several weeks will be a critical time as students make decisions about traveling home or staying locally and faculty engage their creativity in, for many, unprecedented ways as they accommodate student learning from a distance. We recognize the newness and uncertainty of our situation, and understand that no one was anticipating this. As this situation evolves, we know we will continue to work together to protect the health of everyone in our community while keeping our students’ educations on track. That entails changes in how we work and teach while maintaining a place to live, as well as learn, for our students.

As we work through the many logistical issues we now face, we have been reminded of your talent, ingenuity, and compassion and are so grateful for your contributions, perseverance, and dedication as staff and faculty of SAIC.

As communicated yesterday, Interim Dean of Faculty Jefferson Pinder and Vice President of Educational Technologies and Chief Information Officer Dev Ravichandran will reach out to faculty with more information about online resources and training for faculty as they prepare during the extended Spring Break.

All administrative offices will remain open, and staff are expected to work their normal schedule. However, we ask that departments and administrative units be flexible about letting staff work remotely to ensure childcare or other family responsibilities.

  • Our flexible work policy provides information and guidance on working remotely.
  • If you become ill, please stay home from work for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Additionally, notify Irina Melnik (imelnik@artic.edu) or Toni Murril ( amurril@saic.edu) in Human Resources if you or anyone you’ve been in contact with becomes presumptively ill with COVID-19 or if you have health concerns that put you at high risk.
  • Please talk with your supervisor about flexible work options if you must care for someone who is ill.

With admiration and thankfulness,

Elissa Tenny
President

Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

Jefferson Pinder
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Michael Nicolai
Chief Human Resources Officer

 

MARCH 12, 2020 

Dear International Students, 

As President Elissa Tenny announced in the email below, changes have been made to deliver courses online after an extended spring break. Below are some important points to review related to your immigration status.

 

All International Students

  • Your immigration status will not be impacted by the academic changes outlined below. International students who remain enrolled full time and complete their spring term coursework online will continue to maintain their immigration status.
  • If you have immediate travel plans and need a travel signature, you may depart and International Affairs will work with you to obtain the travel signature before your planned reentry to the U.S.

International students who will complete their degree in May or summer 2020 and have submitted an application for OPT:

  • International Affairs will remain open and receive all communication from USCIS, including OPT Receipts, Requests for Evidence and OPT/EAD Cards. International Affairs will notify students of any documents received and will send them to international students via courier.
  • If you decide to depart the U.S., you should contact International Affairs to discuss your plans so that we can advise you accordingly.

International students who will complete their degree in May or summer 2020 and wish to apply for OPT:

  • It is recommended that you submit your application prior to any immediate plans to depart the U.S.
  • If you will travel for the spring break and return to Chicago to resume your studies, you may submit an application upon your return.
  • If you wish to submit your application for OPT during the extended spring break, follow the current instructions to complete the OPT workshop and make an appointment with an International Student Advisor by calling or emailing the office.

International students who will depart the U.S. and plan to return to resume classes this summer or fall 2020:

  • You must have a valid travel signature that is less than 12 months old at the time of reentry. Check page 2 of your I-20 to determine if you need a new travel signature.
  • Your immigration status will remain active and you may reenter the U.S. to resume classes prior to your classes beginning this summer or fall.

A document with additional information and frequently asked questions will be posted on the website and shared with all international students. International Affairs will remain open normal business hours and you may send questions to intaff@saic.edu or call 312.629.6830 to speak with an International Student Advisor.

Best regards,

Lawrence J. Rodriguez
Director, International Affairs

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear SAIC Community,
Today we are announcing new actions to help limit the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) among our campus community. There are no confirmed cases on our campus; however, we are taking additional measures to help protect and reassure SAIC students, faculty, and staff and to help stem the spread of the virus throughout the larger community:

Extended Spring Break to Prepare for Remote Teaching
We are extending Spring Break to allow faculty and staff time to better prepare for our planned move to online teaching. Spring Break will now take place from Monday, March 16–Sunday, March 29, meaning no in-person, on-campus classes will be held during this time.

  • SAIC’s campus, including residence halls, dining facilities, and Sullivan Galleries, will remain open during the extended Spring Break and for the remainder of the semester with modifications made for social distancing.
  • This extended Spring Break will allow faculty time to modify their syllabi and acquire the online skills needed to teach remotely. Closer to April 3, students will receive an email with more information on their classes. Please hold off on reaching out to instructors in order to give them time to plan for moving their classes online.
  • Interim Dean of Faculty Jefferson Pinder and Vice President of Educational Technologies and Chief Information Officer Dev Ravichandran will reach out to faculty with more information about online resources and training for faculty as they prepare during the extended Spring Break.
  • We expect all students will be able to complete the semester online.
  • MFA students will continue to have access to their studios and campus workshops and labs during the break, but hours may be adjusted. Undergraduate students who wish to access studios and workshops beginning April 6 can appeal to gain access for the remainder of the semester. More information will be coming from the Undergraduate Division about the appeal process.
  • Online Low-Residency MFA courses will continue as scheduled.
  • Continuing Studies classes will be suspended as of March 16 for the remainder of the term.

Critique Week Will Continue the Week of March 30
As of today, we are moving forward with Critique Week as scheduled during the week of March 30; however, all undergraduate classes will be suspended during Critique Week. In the coming weeks, the Graduate Division will share more information via email to participating students and faculty about how critiques will be conducted. Students should please hold off on contacting faculty with questions until they have received further instruction via email.

After Spring Break, All Classes Will Begin Online and Campus Will Remain Open

  • Beginning April 6 through the end of the semester, all classroom instruction will be moved online.
  • Residence Halls will remain open, and the semester will continue. Students may choose to stay on campus or leave campus. More information will be sent from Residence Life.
  • Dining services will remain open, but hours may be adjusted. Our campus catering company, Food for Thought (FFT), will no longer be offering self-serve options and will not allow reusable cups to be used for beverages.
  • Classroom instruction and critiques will take place remotely.
  • MFA students will have access to their studios and campus workshops and labs, but hours may be adjusted. Undergraduate students who wish to access studios and workshops can appeal to gain access for the remainder of the semester. More information will be coming from the Undergraduate Division about the appeal process.
  • Students will continue to receive financial aid. Student workers will receive additional details in the coming weeks.
  • Registration for Summer Study Trips remains open at this time. We will monitor and make adjustments as needed as more information becomes available.

Events and Public Programming
Following new guidance on social distancing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we’ve limited event capacity to no more than 100 people.

  • As announced yesterday, adjustments have been made to the Undergraduate Exhibition; rather than hosting a ticketed preview event on Friday and an opening reception on Saturday, no tickets will be required for entry and viewing hours will be extended, with doors now opening Friday at 2:00 p.m. through 8:00 p.m. and noon to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. Extending the open hours will hopefully allow a staggered attendance, as gallery capacity will be limited to 100 individuals at a time.
  • Scheduled events and programs may move forward as planned with limited capacity of no more than 100 individuals, though some adjustments will be made on a case-by-case basis. This applies to events, film screenings, and rentals at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Visiting Artists Program, Conversations at the Edge, the Roger Brown Study Collection, and any School-sponsored off-campus events.
  • We also anticipate that some visiting artists or guests may cancel their speaking engagements given travel advisories.
  • At this time, the Commencement Ceremony is moving forward as planned. We are following guidance from the CDPH and CDC, and we will communicate any updates to our community via email, and we will post the latest information on saic.edu/alerts. As we've done in previous years, we plan to livestream the event at saic.edu/commencement for those who are unable to attend in person.

Flexible Work Options for Staff
All administrative offices will remain open, and staff are expected to work their normal schedule. However, we ask that departments and administrative units be flexible about letting staff work from home to ensure childcare or other family responsibilities.

  • Our flexible work policy provides information and guidance on working remotely.
  • If you become ill, please stay home from work for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Additionally, notify Irina Melnik (imelnik@artic.edu) or Joan Pavlicek ( jpavlicek@artic.edu) in Human Resources if you or anyone you’ve been in contact with becomes presumptively ill with COVID-19 or if you have health concerns that put you at high risk.
  • Please talk with your supervisor about flexible work options if you must care for someone who is ill.

Travel Restrictions and Advice
All non-essential travel sponsored by SAIC has been suspended for all faculty, staff, and students. Additionally, we ask that you reconsider personal travel given how quickly guidance from health officials is changing. If you decide to travel, please ensure you have essential items, such as medications, laptops or items related to your coursework or job duties, you might need if you are not able to return immediately given changing travel advisories and possible quarantines.

Remembering Compassion
During this current health crisis, it is understandable that we may feel anxious; however, ostracizing any member of our campus community is neither fair nor helpful. It is imperative to keep in mind that viruses are no one's fault, and we should avoid uninformed assumptions. Compassion is needed during times of uncertainty, and how we steward one another’s well-being should ensure the sense of belonging we foster for everyone at SAIC.

We know this is a substantial change to our regular routine, and it was not made lightly. We care deeply about the health and safety of our entire campus community as well as the need to keep our students’ educations on track. Ultimately, we are making these extraordinary changes out of an abundance of caution, both for our campus and as responsible members of a global society working together to slow the spread of this virus.

We will continue to keep you updated via email and will post updates on saic.edu/alerts. If you have any immediate questions, please direct them to saicinfo@saic.edu solely, so that we can be sure you are receiving the most up-to-date information.

Sincerely,

Elissa Tenny
President

Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

 

MARCH 11, 2020 

This email was also forwarded to parents.

Dear SAIC Community,
While you have received several campus-wide emails in the last few weeks about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), all of which are posted on saic.edu/alerts, I want to reach out to reiterate some of the actions we have taken and provide updates. I also want to respond to some common questions and dispel a few rumors that have been reported to me and my administrative colleagues.
 
There are No Known Cases at SAIC
Please know that there are no known cases of COVID-19 in the campus community. In the event of a positive case, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will announce this publicly. We will share this information with you immediately via email and on saic.edu/alerts and follow the CDPH’s guidance.

Changes to Undergraduate Exhibition
In order to allow our campus to celebrate the work of our undergraduate students while keeping the campus community safe, we have made adjustments to the Undergraduate Exhibition. Rather than hosting a ticketed preview event on Friday and an opening reception on Saturday, no tickets will be required for entry and viewing hours will be extended, with doors now opening Friday at 2:00 p.m. through 8:00 p.m. and noon to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. Capacity of the gallery will be reduced in order to help visitors practice social distancing, so we encourage students, their families, and faculty members to stagger their attendance on Friday and Saturday and use both entrances on Wabash and State. Additionally, to help reduce the spread of germs, food and beverages will not be served. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility while we showcase the work of our students.

Planning Continues
Just as the health crisis is rapidly evolving, so is our response. School officials are actively preparing for a number of potential scenarios in line with our Campus Emergency Operations Plan that formally dedicates staff and resources to our efforts. The most up-to-date information can always be found on saic.edu/alerts. Any emails you receive about campus health and safety as well as changes to our routine schedule are archived there. On our alerts microsite, you will also find a frequently asked questions document, which will be continually updated. In particular, you will find our most current responses to frequently asked questions below.

This is an unusual challenge we’re facing together, and you will receive up-to-date information as soon as it becomes available. Everyone in the School’s leadership cares deeply about the health and safety of our entire campus community, and we have been actively planning for many possible scenarios to forestall the spread of disease without unnecessarily disrupting the education of thousands of students. I hope that the health and wellness resources listed below will alleviate some unease you may be feeling during this uncertain time; nevertheless, please know that you may reach out to saicinfo@saic.edu with any additional questions or concerns.

With care,

Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Below are answers to questions you may have regarding COVID-19. More questions and responses can be found in this FAQ document on saic.edu/alerts. Please know that this is a swiftly changing situation, and we are working hard to provide you with updated information as quickly as possible. The FAQ document will continue to be updated. For the latest updates, please check saic.edu/alerts.

Are there any cases of COVID-19 on campus?
There are no known cases in the campus community
. SAIC is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19, and we are following guidance from the CDC and the CDPH.

Are there restrictions on travel for SAIC students, faculty, and staff?
For the time being, travel sponsored by SAIC has been suspended for all faculty, staff, and students to those countries with CDC travel health notices at level 2 or 3. The CDC’s list is regularly updated, so please consult the CDC website before booking and/or departing on any international travel.

SAIC has also suspended Admissions-sponsored international travel slated to begin the week of March 8.

With Spring Break and Critique Week approaching, we strongly discourage students from international travel and also ask that they reconsider domestic travel given how quickly guidance is changing.

For domestic travel and countries to which School-sponsored travel is permitted, the choice to travel is yours. If faculty and staff are uncomfortable traveling, faculty should work with the dean of faculty and staff should work with their supervisor to make alternate plans.

If you are planning any travel outside the US to countries that are not currently listed by the CDC as level 2 or 3, we ask that you:

  • Review any US State Department, CDC, and World Health Organization advisories before traveling;
  • Recognize that, given the speed with which precautions around the world are changing, you may be subject to additional screening measures and travel disruptions;
  • Consult with your healthcare provider prior to travel if you are sick or particularly susceptible to illness; and
  • Comply with all instructions for post-travel issued by government officials or your healthcare provider.

Students, faculty, and staff currently traveling and returning to campus from a country with a level 3 designation from the CDC should complete this form immediately. Upon returning to the US, individuals should stay home and monitor their health for 14 days before returning to campus.

Will SAIC suspend classes?
The CDC considers this a serious public health threat, however, for the majority of people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. We will continue to follow guidance from the CDPH and CDC, and we are assessing the virus’s impact on our operations.

Will classes be moved online?
We are currently exploring alternative learning options, and encourage you to check your email and saic.edu/alerts for the latest updates. If you have questions about your attendance for a particular class, please reach out to individual faculty members.

Will SAIC cancel events (VAP, CATE, Sullivan Galleries openings, etc.)?
As part of our travel restrictions, all visitors to campus from countries with a CDC level 3 travel alert cannot come to campus; this has already caused some events to be canceled. We have also made adjustments to the Undergraduate Exhibition. Rather than hosting a ticketed preview event on Friday and an opening reception on Saturday, no tickets will be required for entry and viewing hours will be extended, with doors now opening Friday at 2:00 p.m. through 8:00 p.m. and noon to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. For now, all other events will be canceled on a case-by-case basis. Please refer to saic.edu/alerts for the most up-to-date information.

Has SAIC increased cleaning efforts?
SAIC has increased our campus housekeeping efforts, particularly for high-usage rooms, high-traffic spaces, and frequently touched objects. We are also placing sanitation kits in all classrooms and other high-traffic spaces. These kits contain a spray bottle of disinfectant cleaner, facial tissue, and paper towels. Students, faculty, and staff may utilize these kits to wipe down surfaces and sanitize hands as frequently as desired. For instructions on how to properly clean and disinfect surfaces, visit the CDC’s site.

Should I wear a mask?
CDPH does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask. They advise that only those showing symptoms of COVID-19, healthcare workers, and those taking care of someone in close settings such as a home or healthcare facility should wear one. However, if you typically wear a mask, feel free to continue wearing it.

What do I do if I feel sick?
If you are sick, stay home from school or work for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

Any students who have health-related questions or concerns, who are not feeling well, or who need emotional or psychological support are encouraged to contact SAIC Health Services, at 312.499.4288 or healthservices@saic.edu, or their healthcare provider immediately. Additionally, here is a list of nearby clinics and a 24-hour free nurse advice line available to all students at 877.924.7758.

Staff and faculty with questions about their health are encouraged to reach out to their primary care provider for medical concerns or the employee assistance program for mental health support. Additionally, for questions regarding benefits and coverage, benefits-eligible faculty and staff may contact Cigna at 800.244.6224. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff may also reach out to Telehealth at 855.667.9722 or MDLIVE at 888.726.3171 for questions about their health.

As with any virus, the CDPH recommends taking the following measures to help prevent the spread of viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth;
  • Cover your nose and mouth with tissue when you cough or sneeze; remember to wash your hands afterward;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick; and
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

Where can I find the latest SAIC updates on COVID-19?
Updates will be sent frequently to students, faculty, staff, and parents via email. These updates will also be posted on saic.edu/alerts

 

MARCH 10, 2020 

Dear SAIC Community,

As we continue to monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and assess its impact on our campus operations, we want to share an update on our efforts to curtail the spread of germs on our campus. It is important to note that there are no known cases in the campus community.

 

We’ve increased our campus housekeeping efforts, particularly for high-usage rooms, high-traffic spaces, and frequently touched objects. Every evening, all classrooms; gathering spaces; hallways; and frequently touched items such as tabletops, handrails, doorknobs, and elevator buttons are cleaned with a disinfectant cleaner. Restrooms will continue to be cleaned and sanitized three times per day.

While we’ve increased our efforts and resources to help stop the spread of germs, it is impossible for our team to clean every surface around campus. Certain surfaces, such as personal desks, tables with student or faculty projects that cannot be moved, personal phones, and electronics such as keyboards are not cleaned by the housekeeping staff. The Facilities team at SAIC will work directly with departments and administrative offices to maintain adequate cleaning supplies so community members can clean these surfaces.

To assist in these efforts, we are placing sanitation kits in all classrooms and other high-traffic spaces. These kits contain a spray bottle of disinfectant cleaner, facial tissue, and paper towels. Bottles of hand sanitizer will be added to the kits when they become available. Students, faculty, and staff may utilize these kits to wipe down surfaces and sanitize hands as frequently as desired. These kits will be regularly monitored and filled by our Facility Services staff, but if there is a need, they can be refilled by calling 312.499.4920 or emailing irfm@saic.edu.

We will continue to work closely with SAIC’s Campus Health and Safety Team and follow all guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Chicago Department of Public Health.

Sincerely,
Thomas Buechele
Vice President for Campus Operations

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As noted in my previous message, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Campus Health and Safety Team is closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19. While there are still no known cases on SAIC’s campus, we continue to emphasize healthy habits and campus wellbeing while preserving the regular operations of our educational environment as much as possible.

 

As of today, we have decided to further limit School-sponsored travel, based on the significant increase in positive tests in many of our international destinations and the rising possibility of foreign or US authorities imposing quarantines on international travelers. In addition to the existing travel restrictions to international destinations with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel advisory of level 2 or 3SAIC has suspended all Admissions-sponsored international travel that was slated to begin this week. We will continue to monitor events on a daily basis and may cancel additional international School-sponsored travel this spring. The Office of Admissions is seeking digital solutions to stay engaged with prospective students. Please know that we are taking this measure out of an abundance of caution.

For any personal travel you have planned, the choice to travel is yours. Before you travel, we ask that you:

  • Review any US State Department, CDC, and World Health Organization advisories before traveling;
  • Recognize that, given the speed with which precautions around the world are changing, you may be subject to additional screening measures and travel disruptions;
  • Consult with your healthcare provider prior to travel if you are sick or particularly susceptible to illness;
  • Keep in mind that if you are returning to campus from a country with a level 3 designation from the CDC you should inform the Dean’s Office or your supervisor immediately, stay home, and monitor your health for 14 days before returning to campus; and
  • Comply with all instructions for post-travel issued by government officials or your healthcare provider.

Please note that summer study trips scheduled for the 2020 summer interim are currently proceeding as planned; however, students, faculty, and staff will be updated if there are any changes. Check our alerts page for the most up-to-date information.

Take care,
Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

 

MARCH 9, 2020 

Dear Faculty,
As Provost Berger mentioned in his message this Wednesday, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) continues to closely monitor the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and we are following guidance from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). While there are no known cases of COVID-19 in our campus community, SAIC has established a Campus Health and Safety team, drawing on expertise from across the School, to engage in both responsive measures and proactive planning.

The spread of COVID-19 has already placed stress and uncertainty on students, faculty, and staff and introduced new complexity to our teaching. I recognize that few of us have had to manage course requirements in the midst of a public health concern on this scale, and our documented absence policies and typical practices around attendance simply do not address a scenario like the one we now find ourselves confronting. We must acknowledge these challenges and the limitations of our traditional tools, and continue to be in dialogue as we proceed in collective and individual efforts to support the academic and emotional needs of our students in this uncertain climate.

Since my last message to you on January 29, the CDPH has released additional Guidance for Schools and Institutions of Higher Education. This guidance, released on March 3, further emphasizes the importance of supporting students, faculty, and staff in staying home if they become sick and directs schools to deploy policies around attendance which are flexible and consistent with present public health guidance. The updated CDPH guidance is consistent with what we hear from experts locally, nationally, and internationally: supporting sick individuals in staying home until they have fully recovered is one of the most critical actions an institution or community can take in slowing the spread of this (or any) virus.

With this in mind, I write with suggestions to help inform your thinking and planning related to student absences. Some of these were included in my January 29 message, and some are new as we monitor the evolving situation and consider input received from faculty and students in the intervening weeks:

Prepare a plan. Faculty should consider alternatives which meet student needs, based on circumstance, that address course outcomes and are minimally impactful in terms of the additional effort required from the instructor. Suggestions for ways in which you can help a student keep up with coursework include:

  • Post notes, audio, or video for missed lectures and other course materials on Canvas.
  • Provide students with assignments via Canvas.
  • Provide avenues for students to communicate as a group in an online context as an alternative way to critique work.
  • Accept completed assignments or works in progress through Canvas.
  • Encourage students to share class notes with one another electronically.
  • Relax attendance requirements for classes and labs, although any assignment work will need to be made up to receive course credit.
  • Offer supplemental readings or readings available online to supplement classmates' notes from missed lectures.
  • Offer additional office hours either in person or through Canvas.
  • Offer students opportunities to make up work as needed and when appropriate plan to offer make-up exams.
  • Prepare assignments that can be completed at home. Consider take-home tests or papers in place of in-class exams.

Canvas is a tremendously helpful resource for engaging students remotely. The Computer Resources and Information Technologies department (CRIT) has an extensive suite of resources and staff directly positioned to assist faculty in utilizing this platform.

Communicate proactively with students. Some students have shared that they feel uncertain or fearful of contacting faculty for assistance making up work after an illness, including in our present context. As much as possible, faculty should address the prospect of absences and make-up strategies with their students/classes even before these strategies are needed. Invite students to contact you as soon as possible to begin discussing make-up strategies and options if they become sick, and acknowledge the importance of remaining in touch and working together to ensure they meet course requirements. Be as responsive as you can to student outreach on this subject when it arrives.

Correspondingly, SAIC has and will continue to emphasize to students that they must be proactive, constructive, and communicative with their faculty in addressing course content missed due to absences, and that they are expected to complete a necessary amount of work in order to receive Credit (CR), as determined by their instructor.

Work with students on an individual basis to help them make up missed class work due to illness or elevated levels of anxiety. It is possible that students may exceed the stated maximum absences in a course through a combination of illness-related absences and other cumulative absences. Faculty should assess how students can make satisfactory progress towards meeting course requirements and outcomes, and work with students to set updated expectations for their work and course-related responsibilities.

Refer students to SAIC Health Services. If a student contacts you directly regarding their illness or elevated levels of anxiety, please be sure to direct the student to contact SAIC Health Services at healthservices@saic.edu or 312.499.4288, or their healthcare provider. They can also use the 24-hour nurse advice line at 877.924.7758. Additionally, here is a list of nearby clinics. Having shared these resources, please then invite a dialogue on how to address the student’s absence with alternative work/assignments, and provide available resources to assist the student in getting caught up when they are able to do so.

Do not request a “Doctor’s Note.” While it is important to refer students to resources in the SAIC Wellness Center for advice and treatment options related to illness or mental health and wellbeing, we ask that faculty do not request notices or notifications from Health Services or other healthcare providers as a criteria for providing alternative options when a student is absent. Illness verification communication takes time and resources that can otherwise be spent treating ill patients and helping students connect to needed care.

I believe that the skill, compassion, creativity, and flexible thinking of our faculty are the best resources for determining how to adjust curriculum and further student learning in a reassuring learning environment, especially in these very difficult and uncertain circumstances. Please know that SAIC supports you fully in determining absence-related alternatives for students to engage with course content and meet course outcomes.

Provost Berger’s message contained additional guidance on resources for faculty and staff, and I want to conclude by emphasizing that everyone, not just students, should feel supported in making the decision to stay home if they become sick, or if they are responsible for caring for a sick household member. Faculty with questions about their health should reach out to their primary care provider for medical concerns or the employee assistance program for mental health support. Additionally, for questions regarding benefits and coverage, benefits-eligible faculty and staff may contact Cigna at 800.244.6224. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff may also reach out to Telehealth at 855.667.9722 or MDLIVE at 888.726.3171 for questions about their health.

If you have questions or need additional guidance, please feel free to contact myself at jpinder@saic.edu, any of the deans and associate deans in my office, and/or your department chair.

Best,
Jefferson Pinder
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affair

 

MARCH 6, 2020 

Dear SAIC Parents,
I am writing to share an update on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the proactive measures we are taking to ensure the well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. This is a global issue, affecting many countries, and as a parent myself, I can understand the concern you may feel with your student away from home.

I want to assure you that there are no known cases in the campus community. SAIC is closely following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), and our Campus Health and Safety team is assessing the potential impact to classes and campus operations. In addition, we’ve taken the following actions:

  • Earlier this week, Provost Martin Berger shared this email, which outlines policies and recommendations for travel;
  • We are providing regular updates to the community and are keeping the campus informed via email of what to do if they present with concerns;
  • We provided guidance and information to all students studying abroad; study abroad programs in countries with CDC travel health notices at level 3 have been suspended;
  • For the time being, travel sponsored by SAIC has been suspended for all faculty, staff, and students to those countries with CDC travel health notices at level 2 or 3;
  • SAIC's dean of faculty is providing ongoing guidance to faculty for addressing student absences and advised that faculty should develop alternative strategies to help students make up work that is missed due to absence from class related to illness or elevated levels of anxiety; and
  • ​We will deploy a campus emergency operations plan in the event of a local outbreak.

The latest information, including emails to students from President Tenny and Provost Berger and answers to frequently asked questions, can be found on saic.edu/alerts. Additionally, our Office of Student Affairs team is informing the parent community via posts on the Parent Facebook group. If you are the parent of a current student and have not joined this group already, I encourage you to do so.

I also want to make you aware of relevant SAIC resources. Any students who have health-related questions or concerns, who are not feeling well, or who need emotional or psychological support are encouraged to contact SAIC Health Services at 312.499.4288 or healthservices@saic.edu. Additionally, here is a list of nearby clinics and a 24-hour free nurse advice line available to all students at 877.924.7758. Of course, they may also contact their own health care providers.

As President Tenny and Provost Berger reminded the campus community in their message last Friday, this is a time for compassion, and a time to ensure the sense of belonging we foster for everyone at SAIC.

Sincerely,
Felice J. Dublon, PhD
Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs

 

MARCH 4, 2020 

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) continues to closely monitor an outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and we are taking proactive measures to ensure the well-being of our community. As President Tenny and I shared on Friday, this is an issue with a global impact, and the health and safety of the SAIC community is our primary concern. While there are no known cases in the campus community, SAIC is implementing several new policies and recommendations, specifically related to travel, in response to the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). I also want to take this opportunity to reiterate best practices we should all follow to keep ourselves and our community healthy.

While I understand these changes may impact your study, teaching, and working, I appreciate your cooperation as we strive to ensure the well-being of our educational environment. These new policies and recommendations are reflected on SAIC’s alerts page, and you’ll be updated on any further adjustments to normal operations via email.

Travel Policies and Recommendations

SAIC is aware that some of our students, faculty, and staff are currently traveling or have plans to travel abroad for SAIC-sponsored trips or for personal reasons. The CDC has issued cautions for travel to certain areas, and this message provides instructions and travel guidance for members of our community in light of these advisories.

School-Sponsored Travel

For the time being, travel sponsored by SAIC has been suspended for all faculty, staff, and students to those countries with CDC travel health notices at level 2 or 3. These countries currently include: China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea. The CDC’s list is regularly updated, so please consult the CDC website before booking and/or departing on any international travel.

For countries to which School-sponsored travel is permitted, the choice to travel is yours. If faculty and staff are uncomfortable traveling, faculty should work with the dean of faculty and staff should work with their supervisor to cancel plans.

Spring Break and Personal Travel

If you are planning any travel outside the US to countries that are not currently listed by the CDC as level 2 or 3, we ask that you:

  • Review any US State Department, CDC, and World Health Organization advisories before traveling;
  • Recognize that, given the speed with which precautions around the world are changing, you may be subject to additional screening measures and travel disruptions;
  • Consult with your healthcare provider prior to travel if you are sick or particularly susceptible to illness; and
  • Comply with all instructions for post-travel issued by government officials or your healthcare provider.

Summer 2020 Study Trips

Currently, all study trips scheduled for the 2020 summer interim will proceed as planned, with registration beginning March 11; however, the Campus Health and Safety Team will continue to monitor the situation and affected students, faculty, and staff will be updated immediately if there are any changes.

Guidance for Those Currently Studying Abroad

SAIC is reaching out to several students currently enrolled in study abroad programs to provide individual guidance and support to each student based on their location and with an eye toward community health campus-wide.

Returning to Campus

Students, faculty, and staff currently traveling and returning to campus from a country with a level 3 designation from the CDC should inform the Dean’s Office or their supervisor immediately, stay home, and monitor their health for 14 days before returning to campus.

Visitors to Campus

Visiting artists, designers, and scholars play an integral role in deepening our academic experience at SAIC. However, guidelines for travel to the US are rapidly changing, and there are restrictions on entry to the US from certain locations. Those who have been in an area with a level 3 designation from the CDC should monitor their health for 14 days before they will be allowed on campus.

Best Practices for Personal and Community Health

In addition to the new policies and procedures described above, please follow recommendations from the CDPH to help prevent the spread of viruses. We should all comply with these best practices, just as SAIC’s housekeeping service has increased cleaning efforts. Observing these behaviors will help bolster our own health as well as the health of the campus community. 

What Should I Do If I Feel Sick?

Please contact SAIC Health Services, at 312.499.4288 or healthservices@saic.edu, or your healthcare provider immediately. Stay home from school or work for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. This means students should excuse themselves from classes and refrain from working in studio spaces and shops while they are unwell. Faculty are ready to work with their students to keep them abreast of course information and assignments while they are out of class. Similarly, faculty should reach out to their departments and staff should reach out to their supervisors immediately if they become ill.

How Can I Protect Myself from Viruses?

As a reminder, the CDPH continues to advise that the risk of transmission within the general public living in Chicago remains low. As with any virus, CDPH recommends taking the following measures to help prevent the spread of viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth;
  • Cover your nose and mouth with tissue when you cough or sneeze; remember to wash your hands afterward;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs; and, as mentioned before
  • If you are sick, stay home from school or work for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

What If I Have Additional Questions or Concerns?

Any students who have health-related questions or concerns, who are not feeling well, or who need emotional or psychological support are encouraged to contact SAIC Health Services, at 312.499.4288 or healthservices@saic.edu, or their healthcare provider immediately. Additionally, here is a list of nearby clinics and a 24-hour free nurse advice line available to all students at 877.924.7758.

Staff and faculty with questions about their health are encouraged to reach out to their primary care provider for medical concerns or the employee assistance program for mental health support. Additionally, for questions regarding benefits and coverage, benefits-eligible faculty and staff may contact Cigna at 800.244.6224. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff may also reach out to Telehealth at 855.667.9722 or MDLIVE at 888.726.3171 for questions about their health.

Sincerely,
Martin Berger
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

 

FEBRUARY 28, 2020 

We know that many at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) have been concerned about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), as are many the world over. The virus is already having a significant global impact and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts it will, in time, become more prevalent in North America. SAIC has been in close contact with the CDC and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) since early January, and we will share updates with the School community as the course of the virus develops. For the time being, we want to reiterate health officials’ best practices for avoiding illness. We also want to remind everyone that while you take care of yourself, please take care of one another too.

First and foremost, our health, as individuals and as a community, is our primary concern. Currently, there are no known cases of COVID-19 at SAIC. The CDC and the CDPH continue to advise that the risk of transmission within the general public living in Chicago remains low. Nevertheless, as with any virus, CDPH recommends taking the following measures to help prevent the spread of viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Cover your nose and mouth with tissue when you cough or sneeze; remember to wash your hands afterward
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • If you are sick, stay home from school or work for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs

SAIC’s Campus Health and Safety Team continues to closely monitor the outbreak. When and if health officials advise us to take additional measures or we have further updates to share, we will reach out to you right away. The CDC’s latest advice can be found here, and the School’s most up-to-date advice is always available on saic.edu/alerts.

We should all be vigilant in our self-care both physically and mentally; know that SAIC has resources to assist our students. Any students who have health-related questions or concerns, who are not feeling well, or who need emotional or psychological support are encouraged to contact SAIC Health Services at 312.499.4288 or healthservices@saic.edu, or their healthcare provider immediately. Additionally, here is a list of nearby clinics and a 24-hour free nurse advice line available to all students at 877.924.7758.

Staff and faculty with questions about their health are encouraged to reach out to their primary care provider for medical concerns or the employee assistance program for mental health support. Additionally, for questions regarding benefits and coverage, benefits-eligible faculty and staff may contact Cigna at 800.244.6224. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff may also reach out to Telehealth at 855.667.9722 or MDLIVE at 888.726.3171 for questions about their health.

Community care is equally important. We ask everyone to remember that SAIC is a global community, with students, alums, and families from all over the world. Our hearts go out to everyone affected, no matter where they reside. Similarly, keep in mind that viruses are no one's fault, and we should avoid uninformed assumptions. Compassion is needed when we are ill, and how we steward one another’s well-being should ensure the sense of belonging we foster for everyone at SAIC.

 

JANUARY 24, 2020 

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), and we are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). We are not aware of any cases in the SAIC community.

First identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, to date, the outbreak has resulted in approximately 800 confirmed cases. While the vast majority of the cases have been confirmed in China, the 2019-nCoV coronavirus has been identified in several countries, with two confirmed cases in the United States: A man in his 30s in Washington state and a woman in her 60s in Chicago. Both had traveled to Wuhan. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is one of five US airports screening for illness in passengers entering the United States who traveled from Wuhan.

While CDC has not yet determined how easily or sustainably this particular strain is spreading between people, most coronaviruses can spread through coughing or sneezing, or by touching an infected person. CDC considers this a serious public health concern; however, "based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time." If you must travel to Wuhan, the US Department of State offers this guidance.

See a Healthcare Provider If You Have These Symptoms

Symptoms related to this coronavirus strain include fever, cough, or shortness of breath. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia or other complications. CDC believes at this time that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear up to 14 days after exposure.

We encourage any student who is not feeling well or who has questions or concerns to contact SAIC Health Services, healthservices@saic.edu or 312.499.4288, or your healthcare provider. Additionally, here is a list of nearby clinics and a 24-hour free nurse advice line available to all students. Staff and faculty are encouraged to reach out to their primary care provider with questions about their health. Make sure to inform your medical provider of any recent travel.

Recommendations from the Chicago Department of Public Health

The Chicago Department of Public Health says that at this time, Chicago students, residents, workers, and visitors do NOT need to change their behavior in any way. As with any virus, CDPH recommends taking the following measures to help prevent the spread of viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Cover your nose and mouth with tissue when you cough or sneeze; remember to wash your hands afterward
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • If you are sick, stay home from school or work for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs

For additional information and updates, please visit CDC’s 2019-nCoV coronavirus page.