Make Ready FAQs

If you don't see answers to your questions below, please visit the General FAQ page or the student, faculty, or staff FAQ pages. 

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.

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. More information on this can be found on our Residence Life page.

Although many things about campus will feel familiar, there is no doubt that learning, teaching, making, and working on campus will be much different this year, and we encourage all community members to review our Make Ready framework for further details. 

PeopleSoft Self-Service and the course information on 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 are available to help undergraduate students finalize their schedule, and graduate students can reach out to their graduate coordinator, program director, or administrative director to make any needed schedule adjustments.

For incoming students, an admission counselor will set up an appointment to assist you with this process.

Click here for more information on how to view these courses.

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. 

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 with any questions you may have.

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.

With the goal of protecting faculty who are most vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19 as well as being responsive to faculty who live with someone who is vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19 or who are encountering childcare difficulties related to COVID-19, SAIC developed a process for faculty to request workplace accommodations or modified teaching arrangements specific to their individual needs. Faculty were emailed about this process in mid-June, and the deadline for submitting this request was June 26. If you have any questions, please email

As outlined in our three-step plan, staff, faculty, and, eventually, students will return to campus in phases during phase three. Even once we arrive at phase four of Governor Pritzker’s plan, we expect that many employees will continue to work remotely, bringing back only those staff who need to have a physical presence on campus. Staff and faculty are permitted to return to campus when they are in good health and they have been informed they are needed on campus to complete their work. Department heads and supervisors are expected to know when the faculty and staff of their departments are working onsite, so those seeking to return to campus should reach out to department heads and supervisors to see if they are approved to return to SAIC facilities. 

While the global health crisis continues to pose risks in our daily lives, our extensive work this summer to prepare for fall seeks to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in our community. All plans will align with City of Chicago and Illinois state standards as well as other governmental requirements. Physical modifications include increased ventilation and filtration, extra sanitation equipment, plexiglass screens, and directional signage in all our facilities. Our preparations also include new hygiene requirements, like face coverings, social distance guidelines, and expanded opportunities for students who cannot return to campus to opt into an all-online semester.

For more information on precautions the School is taking, review A Different SAIC. For more information on the safety guidelines for our community, review Shared Responsibilities

All members of our community must wear a face covering or mask over their nose and mouth on campus at all times there is a likelihood of having contact with someone. Face coverings or masks are required upon entry to all SAIC buildings, public areas, and shared spaces at SAIC, particularly in those areas where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., lobbies, hallways, common spaces, meeting rooms, and classrooms). If you do not have a face covering when you arrive on campus, we will have a limited number available. Review additional guidance.

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.

We are modifying our housekeeping efforts, particularly for high-usage rooms, high-traffic spaces, and frequently touched objects. Increased attention will be dedicated to spaces like restrooms, lobbies, elevators, and cafes throughout the day. During overnight hours all classrooms, studios, and common areas will be cleaned.

While we’ve modified our efforts and increased our equipment resources, cleaning and sanitation throughout our campus depends on everyone’s participation. 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 regularly by the housekeeping staff. Community members are expected to help by disinfecting shared spaces, as outlined in Shared Responsibilities.

To assist in these efforts, we are placing sanitation supplies in all classrooms and other high-traffic spaces. Including hand sanitizer, disinfectant cleaner, paper towels, and facial tissue. Students, faculty, and staff may utilize these supplies to wipe down surfaces and sanitize hands as frequently as desired. Supplies will be regularly monitored and filled by our Facility Services staff, and requests for refills can be made to 312.499.4920 or

Instructional Resources and Facilities Management (IRFM) is working directly with departments to further develop cleaning protocols for each area, including those that have circulating equipment such as the shops and media centers.

We are studying modified classroom capacities along with staggered class schedules. This study will help us determine how we manage the flow of people into, around, and out of buildings in accordance with limited elevator capacities and reduced traffic in building lobbies and circulation areas. We are also developing room diagrams for classrooms and studios to show physically distanced furniture/equipment and indicate adjusted room capacities. These diagrams will inform what furniture and equipment are removed or relocated. 

For areas where social distancing isn’t possible, we have designed and are in the process of building plexiglass partitions for all points of transaction, open offices, and labs. We have begun surveying the campus for these locations and will expand on those as we meet with departments over the course of the summer.

CDPH will be working with Chicago’s colleges and universities in contact tracing efforts. Several SAIC staff members have already completed training for contact tracing, and additional staff members have been identified to complete the training should more in-house resources be required. Over the summer, CDPH will be assessing their own personnel resources and will be informing area colleges how much personnel they will need to devote to the city-wide contact tracing effort and what each college’s specific role will be. The framework will be further updated as those details are finalized.

Currently, the School is not planning to offer tests on campus. If a student thinks they might have COVID-19, they should contact Health Services at 312.499.4288 or for assistance in identifying where they can be tested. Faculty and staff will need to coordinate their own testing through their own health providers or through public health testing facilities.

If you receive a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, stay home and report your status. Students should contact Health Services at or 312.499.4288. Staff and faculty members should notify Irina Melnick, director of employee benefits, at or 312.629.3382. Human Resources and Health Services will consult with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on next steps for treatment, containment, and outreach.

Health information is private; information gleaned from individuals’ reports will be shared only with those who need to know as required by the IDPH, CDPH, or other government health officials.

All visitors to the School’s non-public spaces must be accompanied by a member of the SAIC community throughout their visit. It is additionally required that all community members acquaint their guests, including contractors, with the shared responsibilities and make sure they are compliant. SAIC’s visitor policy will be updated to require that, in addition to accompanying a visitor at all times, the SAIC host creates a log of the visitor’s movements through campus.

In-person events and exhibitions on campus need to follow current Illinois, Chicago, and SAIC guidelines. Online events will be considered on a case-by-case basis with your area vice president.

All nonessential travel sponsored by SAIC has been suspended for all faculty, staff, and students. Essential travel is defined by the vice president of each respective area.

  • The School does not regulate non-work travel; however, it is sincerely requested that you are mindful of personal travel given its potential risk to other SAIC community members. Those traveling are asked to follow the latest CDC guidelines upon return.
  • If you go through a period of self-isolation due to travel, please ensure you have essential items such as medications, laptops, or items related to your coursework or job duties, as you might need them before you are able to return to campus.

If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19, you should stay home or in your residence hall room except for essential reasons, such as seeking medical care. You should limit contact with others, keeping six feet away from everyone, even those with whom you live. You should stay home until you meet the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria to be around others. More guidelines for on-campus housing is forthcoming.

If you are sick in any way, or believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, stay home. Self-isolation is essential if you have COVID-19. Everyone should be flexible in their expectations, knowing that alternative deadlines can be made and substitutes can be found to complete one’s work. If you come to campus showing symptoms of illness, you will be asked to leave.

If a student thinks they might have COVID-19, they should contact Health Services at 312.499.4288 or for assistance in identifying where they can be tested. Faculty and staff will need to coordinate their own testing through their own health providers or through public health testing facilities.

If you have had close contact with someone known to have COVID-19, you should stay home for 14 days after your last contact. If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, stay home until 14 days after your last contact with the person who is sick or 14 days after the person meets CDC criteria to end home isolation. If you have traveled abroad, you should stay home for 14 days from the time you returned. 

During emergency situations, SAIC utilizes a Campus Emergency Operations Plan (CEOP), which is a crisis management strategy that Illinois colleges and universities are state-mandated to follow. The CEOP outlines actions and response procedures required for situations in which normal operations are impacted. Initially tasked with closing the campus and moving classes online, the working groups of the CEOP have pivoted to preparing the campus to reopen. For many weeks, 128 faculty and staff members from across the School have been working in CEOP groups to develop an approach to returning to on-campus facilities. This framework is the result of their efforts, touching on the operations of every area of the School.
This framework is the culmination of external research and internal planning. In finalizing the framework, we will solicit the perspectives and feedback of faculty and staff. Final decisions are made by the Policy Group leading the CEOP in consultation with several shared governance groups: President’s Cabinet, Faculty Senate, CEOP Safety Committee, CEOP Remote Learning Committee, CEOP Employee Considerations Committee, the Make Ready Advisory Group, and five support teams. 
In order to maintain a shared institutional perspective, the Make Ready Advisory Group was formed with faculty and staff members 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.

In addition to the Make Ready Advisory Group, five support teams have been created to lead the development of return-to-campus plans specific to each area of the School:

  • Instructional and Academic Resources Support Team
  • Schedule and Curriculum Support Team
  • Administrative and Office Support Team
  • Housing, Food Service, and Student Life Support Team
  • Campus Facilities Operations and Security Support Team

For more information on these groups, visit Planning.

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 US. Here you’ll find more details, and click here and here for more information on how the School is responding, which includes information about how SAIC is joining an amicus brief in support of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) suit challenging the forthcoming ICE Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) rules.

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 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. You can read more about Dr. Rebmann’s credentials here.

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.

Students who are planning to live in a residence hall and who are required to quarantine by the CDPH or the CDC may move in early, between August 15-20. Each student will be provided a bedroom in which to quarantine (either in the residence hall or in a hotel). Students should plan to bring groceries with them and at least 14 days of clothes. Students may also use their meal plan as our food service provider will be delivering up to two meals a day to rooms. Students should try to arrive by August 18, however, we know that not all students will be able to do this. Faculty will be flexible if a student is unable to physically attend classes for the first few days due to the quarantine requirement. The CDPH Travel Order is updated frequently and we recommend you check this each week to determine if there are any changes to the quarantine requirement.

Whether you choose to return to campus or study exclusively online, you remain eligible for merit scholarship and financial aid packages. If you plan to be part-time, or anything other than 15 credits, you should fill out the Early Aid Adjustment form on the Student Financial Services (SFS) website. This will prompt SFS to reevaluate your aid and provide you with that information. If a student attends part-time and has a merit scholarship, it still applies and will be prorated. Students should contact Student Financial Services about federal aid or other non-SAIC scholarships and grants that may be impacted by credit changes.

The tuition for modified in-person and all-online instruction will remain the same. For more than 154 years, SAIC has 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. SAIC has committed to providing the robust art and design education students come to expect from SAIC, regardless of modality.

Each section of every course has been evaluated on the basis of the course's curriculum, the needs of the faculty, the overall need to de-densify campus, and how the class will be delivered. In some cases, you will find that departments have offered a section of the same course in both formats. However, we are not able to offer both an all-online and modified in-person format for every class. PeopleSoft Self-Service will always remain the best place to see every course that is offered, and each course will show its mode of instruction, whether modified in-person or all-online.

SAIC expects that roughly a third of our existing fall courses will be fully online. SAIC has also added almost 40 new online courses that are available to all interested students and that meet at times that may be more feasible for students living abroad. Students should contact their academic advisor via email or by calling Academic Advising at 312.629.6800 for assistance with their course schedule and to discuss individual concerns and types of support they may need. Students can also reach out to the Disabilities and Learning Resource Center (DLRC) to discuss potential accommodations.

Most departments have existing procedures allowing students to postpone their placement into advanced studio courses after being accepted. Students should contact the department to which they applied for an advanced or specialized course to discuss their unique situations.

Synchronous instruction involves faculty and students meeting virtually at a scheduled time. Most synchronous instruction will involve streaming audio/video, but a live text or group chat would also fall in this category. Faculty will often use video conferencing software such as Zoom and Google Hangouts for delivering synchronous instruction. Other materials such as homework and instructions for projects will be made available on Canvas or by email.

Asynchronous instruction involves faculty providing material online, but does not include the faculty and class meeting virtually together at a particular time. Faculty might upload slide presentations (PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Suite), video-recorded lectures accompanied by slides or notes, student assignments, etc. Students then access the material and complete work as required according to a schedule provided by faculty. Exams may sometimes be taken during a particular time window.

For more general information about online study at SAIC, visit the John M. Flaxman Library’s Guide for Remote Learning and Making.

Faculty and departments continue to finalize critical details about course activities, working within the framework of Make Ready and establishing the method of delivery their class will use. 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.

Yes, students will need to be available during a course's stated time unless the instructor indicates otherwise. SAIC has created a suite of classes to specifically cater to our students in different time zones, and these courses are held at times where it will be easier for such students to participate in synchronous activity. 

SAIC facilities will be open for the fall semester. Please contact each resource for hours of operation. Generally, shops and other making spaces will be available to all students, no matter the course type they are taking. The exceptions would be making spaces which are linked to enrollment in specific courses. As is the case in a typical semester, such spaces would be limited only to access by course participants.

Faculty will excuse any absence from in-person course activity when a student is ill, has any symptoms of illness, or is engaging in a precautionary quarantine. Instead, faculty will issue students alternative assignments or activities to stand in for any in-person content that is missed. To the extent that their health permits, students should continue keeping up with online course activity and independent work while they are studying remotely. The attendance policy for 2020-2021 has undergone significant updates and will be published in the forthcoming 2020-2021 SAIC Student Handbook.

SAIC plans follow our typical grading and evaluation processes for the fall 2020 semester. Students will ultimately receive grades of Credit or No Credit based on their satisfying a course's stated requirements. Students will also have the option of seeking a voluntary Withdraw from a course by the standard deadline midway through the semester on November 3. More information on grades and grading will be published in the forthcoming 2020-2021 SAIC Bulletin.

The fall 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.

Students can leave their items in their residence halls if they are returning for the spring semester. To ensure students’ items are not moved or misplaced over the winter interim, we recommend removing all items from shared studio and classroom spaces. Winter Break is a time when classrooms and shared facilities undergo a clean-out. If students have their own studio spaces as part of a class, they should speak to their department about whether their items should be removed before the Thanksgiving Break.