Fall Semester FAQs
What You Need to Know about the Fall Semester
The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our top priority. Our goal is to make you comfortable as you begin your graduate education.
Simon and University of Rochester leadership continue to monitor the situation daily, and over the past months we have learned that plans can—and sometimes do—change quickly. There are still many questions that need to be answered, and we will be updating information regularly. Please continue sending us questions as they come up, and even if we don’t have an answer immediately, we will seek answers and get back to you promptly.
Based on the information we have now, here are details and answers to frequently asked questions about how we expect the fall semester to proceed. We encourage you to check back frequently for the most up to date information:
- Please note that we are not following the University of Rochester academic calendar.
- Simon's fall mini-semester academic calendar will start on August 26, with exams ending on December 18. There will be a Thanksgiving break.
- Simon will offer a hybrid program—a combination of both online (asynchronous content) and in-person (synchronous content) classes—this fall in an effort to accommodate each student’s unique situation.
- Faculty are currently developing the asynchronous content of their courses. We have hired a director of instructional design, Michele Messenger, for her expertise in this area. This content will be designed for you to learn at your own pace following your own schedule.
- For the synchronous content, participation during class times is expected. Students may participate either by being in the physical classroom or attending via Zoom.
- We have changed the format of our classrooms to accommodate social distancing (see below). Masks must be worn in the classroom and around the building to maintain the health and safety of everyone.
- All classes will be recorded in case an underlying health issue, sickness, or a personal emergency arises. If you feel like you can’t or shouldn’t come to class for any reason, we encourage you to prioritize your health (and the health of others) and stay home.
- You may have questions about COVID-19 testing and temperature checks. Many of these policies are being implemented at a University-wide level and we have not yet received full or final guidance. We will inform you once we have received this guidance. Please check back for more information.
- As guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New York State evolve, so will our plans. We will always comply with the latest state and federal guidelines to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep our community safe. We appreciate your continued flexibility and patience as we navigate this unprecedented time together.
- A draft of the schedule for the fall semester will be available by July 23.
Planning for Fall 2023
Among all the changes for the upcoming academic year, there are many aspects of the Simon experience that will remain the same. Our faculty and staff are committed to delivering a well-rounded, robust MS experience, regardless of format.
You can expect:
- Access to all resources, including staff and faculty. You will receive the same high level of service from us that we always deliver under our Integrated Student Experience.
- All Benet Career Management Center activities will be offered virtually and in person and in compliance with guidance from the University, the CDC, and state and federal regulations.
- All Office of Student Engagement activities, including club activities and experiential learning opportunities, will be offered in both virtual and in-person formats—the latter in accordance with state and federal guidelines and where appropriate social distancing and safety protocols can be followed.
- The Simon Technology Services (STS) Help Desk is currently available to assist you by appointment on Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. EDT. To set up an appointment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (585) 275-4407. We anticipate that once school is in session, the STS Help Desk, located in Gleason Hall room 335, will be open for walk-in assistance (no appointment necessary) from 7:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. on Sunday.
To comply with health guidelines, career treks and international immersions are suspended through at least the Fall 2023 semester. Companies and corporate partners are ramping up their virtual recruitment plans, along with participation in virtual job fairs. We will continue to provide guidelines and share information as we get more details, and as always, we’ll work with you every step of the way to maximize your Simon MS experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
- When should I arrive in Rochester, NY? Is there a specific date I should be there?
New York State guidelines currently require a 14-day self-quarantine period from many states. Please take this into consideration and plan to arrive in Rochester by August 1 if at all possible. That will ensure your in-person participation in Welcome Week activities.
- When I arrive in Rochester, how should I “check in” to the school?
Starting July 6, mandatory COVID-19 training will be available on Blackboard for students to complete prior to coming to campus. Regardless of your arrival date in Rochester, we encourage you to complete the training as soon as you can.
We are working on two options to check in: a virtual check-in or a socially-distanced physical check-in on campus. Both options will be available by appointment so that a member of the Admissions team can meet and welcome you to the Simon community. More information about scheduling will be posted later in July, with appointment slots available starting in early August.
- What kind of orientation activities can we expect?
Orientation activities will occur virtually in July and early August to ensure everyone can access all programming. Some activities can be completed on your own schedule, and others should be completed with your classmates. Please pay special attention to deadlines. Where possible, there will also be in-person activities taking place on campus the week of August 17 (Welcome Week).
- Are students required to participate in Welcome Week in person?
No. We will offer a variety of activities over Zoom.
- What happens if I can’t get to Rochester by August 26?
There is a list of states and countries where a 14-day self-quarantine is required upon entry to New York State. If you cannot arrive by August 26 or are in self-quarantine in Rochester, remote learning will be available.
In the fall semester, each professor will be offering a combination of synchronous and asynchronous content. Together with Director of Instructional Design Michele Messenger, we are developing learning enhancements to accommodate for synchronous and asynchronous formats.
If you anticipate a delayed arrival for Fall A classes, it is very important that you speak with the Admissions Office about your situation as early as possible and no later than July 31. We realize that some students face unique challenges, but it is extremely important that we can ensure the necessary faculty and staff resources and support are in place to allow for a delayed arrival and hybrid learning experience.
- Is the academic calendar changing? Will students get breaks for holidays?
We are not following the University’s undergraduate academic calendar. We made only modest, necessary updates to the academic calendar in an effort to minimize disruption and stay in line with the expectations you had for your studies during the admissions process. Please refer to the Fall A and Fall B published Simon academic calendar for planning purposes. We will also provide you with information about a health code of conduct, protocols to be observed, and any training sessions you must attend as part of your student experience at Simon. The University, and Simon Business School, has suspended school-sponsored travel until the end of the year. If you choose to travel, it is critical you follow CDC and New York State prevention guidelines, but we strongly suggest that if students are based in Rochester, they not travel (domestic or international) for the combined Fall A and B mini semesters.
- If I choose to take my classes online, will my tuition be adjusted?
Regardless of your location, we will be providing the same high-quality academic, co-curricular, and career access for MS students. As such, program tuition will be the same regardless of learning format or location.
- What will my classroom experience be like when I arrive on campus in August?
Classroom capacity will be reduced due to CDC and New York State guidelines. We will move some of our classes to larger classrooms so that we can further spread out students. We will also remove some chairs from each classroom to maintain social distancing. Masks must be worn in the classroom and around the building to maintain the health and safety of everyone. Hand sanitizer stations will be available in every building. In addition to enhanced cleaning protocols, sanitation wipes will be available at the entrance to all classrooms so that you can wipe down your area upon arrival.
- What kind of participation is expected for synchronous content?
Students can choose to participate in person or via Zoom. International students must consult with the OSE and ISO to ensure compliance with the terms of their student visas.
- If students want to come to class in person, but there are not enough seats, will students be turned away?
Students will not be turned away if they chose to come to for in-person learning. The Simon operations team is preparing classes to accommodate students and proper social distancing. Students, however, MUST attend the sessions they are scheduled for.
- What protocols should students follow if they think they’re sick or have contracted COVID-19?
Students should email their professors to let them know they’re sick. If students are showing COVID-19 symptoms, follow University guidance.
- Are all exams and group work sessions going to be virtual or in person?
Exams and any co-curricular activities will be available in both a virtual environment as well as in person.
Office of Student Engagement
- What kind of social activities can students expect?
Clubs have submitted business plans that include in-person events where safety can be maintained and virtual events with outside alumni or speakers where larger groups are involved.
- What Experiential Learning activities does the Office of Student Engagement have planned for the fall semester?
The Experiential Learning team is identifying external case competitions at other schools and internal (Simon-only) case competitions for the fall term that will more than likely be virtual. They will also be providing training on team formation, teamwork, and problem solving to support the participants in these competitions virtually and in person where possible. The student-led Simon VISION Consulting club is sourcing projects for MS and MBA students, either virtually or in person where possible. The Simon School Venture Fund is also sourcing companies for fall reviews.
- Will I be able to schedule 1:1 meetings with academic advisors?
Academic advisors are available to meet via Zoom; appointments can be scheduled through SimonWorks or via email. Advisors will also offer weekly open hours in larger classrooms where social distancing can be practiced for in-person appointments.
- What kind of support can I expect from the Benet Career Management Center?
The Benet Career Management Center team continues to be available to students. SimonWorks will continue to house information about upcoming professional development activities, including Career Action Team schedules. All Benet Career Management Center activities will be offered virtually and in person and in compliance with guidance from the University, the CDC, and state and federal regulations.
- Will I be able to schedule 1:1 meetings with career advisors?
Career advisors will maintain a schedule for 1:1 meetings, and students will register through SimonWorks. The 1:1 meetings will be hosted through Zoom or in person in a space where social distancing guidelines can be followed.
Health and Safety
- What am I required to do before arrival from a health and safety perspective?
New York State guidelines currently require a 14-day self-quarantine period from many states. Please take this into consideration and plan to arrive in Rochester by August 1 if at all possible. This will ensure your participation in Welcome Week activities that will be scheduled in an in-person format. Travel remains complex due to various federal and New York State travel restrictions and quarantines. While all school-sponsored travel has been suspended for the fall term, if students choose to travel within the United States or internationally, they will have to follow the 14-day quarantine.
- Are there guidelines I should review about carrying out a quarantine period? What do I need to know?
Yes! It is important that you review this Quarantine Information document for instruction on how to determine if you need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to Rochester, what a quarantine requires, Simon and University resources for helping you settle in while staying at home, and more.
- What do I need to do when I plan to be on campus?
The University has deployed a daily symptom check using the Dr. Chat Bot tool for all University students, faculty, and staff. Dr. Chat Bot is an online tool that was implemented by the University’s Medical Center to screen Medical Center faculty, staff, and trainees for COVID-19 symptoms before reporting to work. The back end feeds to University Health Service (UHS), and UHS staff follows up with anyone who reports symptoms each morning to assess whether testing is needed. The Dr. Chat Bot daily screening process takes less than two minutes and can be completed on a computer, tablet, or smartphone with internet access.
Students living in University dorms are not required to be tested daily. All students, regardless of testing, will answer questions in ChatBot before coming to campus, and the information will be triaged. Someone from URMC will reach out with protocols and next steps if you indicate that you are exhibiting symptoms. Current guidance from URMC does not require testing everyone since it’s a one-time test and does not prevent subsequent exposure. This is the same protocol all URMC staff, UR faculty, and staff follow. There are no current plans to check temperatures at every entrance. Wearing a mask and hand washing is the best combination we can use.
- Will personal protective equipment (PPE) be available?
Masks will be available to all students and employees. You can pick up a mask from two locations: either at the Office of Student Engagement (second floor of Schlegel Hall near the spiral staircase) or at the IT Help Desk (third floor of Gleason Hall). Hand sanitizer will be available in building entryways and common areas. Disinfecting wipes will be available outside of all classrooms so that you can wipe down your area upon arrival.
- What is expected in terms of physical distancing?
All individuals on campus (students, faculty, staff, visitors, and guests) should always remain physically separated from others by at least six feet, acknowledging that hallways as well as exits to rooms and buildings will not accommodate a six-foot separation. When with other people, masks should be worn in addition to distancing measures. Masking exceptions include:
- Being outside more than six feet away from others, or
- While eating using social distancing guidelines. Additional guidelines will be provided about designated areas for consuming food and beverages around campus.
- What building protocols will be in place for in-person classroom attendance?
Classrooms will be carefully marked and excess chairs removed to accommodate physical distancing. In addition, disinfecting wipes will be available at the entrances to all classrooms so that students can clean their personal space upon arrival. Classrooms with two doors will utilize one for entrance and the other for exit, which will be clearly marked. Classrooms having one door will utilize a process similar to airlines: back to front for entrance; front to back for exiting. No eating or drinking will be allowed in the classroom. Masks must be worn at all times.
- Is there a plan for movement within the buildings (not only the classrooms?)
The buildings contain signs which set forth room occupancies, where individuals should not gather, where individuals should stand to wait for service in various offices, prohibited areas, and directional signage as well as signage regarding masks, hand washing, and social distancing.
- Will students be able to utilize common areas and shared spaces?
We are preparing all Simon buildings to allow for as many places for study or relaxing as possible, while adhering to the following guidelines: smaller areas used for breaks, common areas or study areas will be limited to one person in the space or no less than 40 square feet per person. While we enjoy good weather, we hope that students will also utilize the patio outside The Brew as well as the outdoor patio on the fourth floor of Gleason Hall.
- What dining options will be available on campus?
The Brew (our café at Simon) will open on August 17. We offer Glen Edith coffee, sandwiches, salads, soup, bagels, and pastries. In addition, Campus Dining has a wide variety of dining options on campus that will be open for the fall. The University of Rochester’s dining experience is regularly ranked among the best in the nation.
- Will there be any restrictions on dining and eating on campus?
Yes. The University will make both facilities and service modifications to keep people safe.
Dining Services is developing a plan adhering to New York State guidance for dining/restaurants and the following principles: Occupancies for dining should not exceed approximately 50% of the posted occupancy, and occupants should observe social distancing guidelines and wear masks while waiting in line. Markings on the floor will indicate where people should stand to maintain correct social distancing. No food will be allowed in classrooms while class is in session, general common areas not designated for dining, or libraries due to masking requirements.
All managers and employees of Dining Services will go through University mandatory training as well as Dining Services-specific training. Health checks will be completed at the beginning of all shifts and face masks will be worn by employees at all times. Dining Services will remove all self-service options and will use disposables for utensils, plates, and trays to limit the spread of germs. We are redesigning our staffing and menus to maintain our commitment to local purchasing and our commitment to serving our diverse community while also being mindful of the need to simplify choices to minimize transaction times and maximize throughput.
- What will on-campus transportation look like when students return to campus?
To promote safety for riders and drivers, shuttle bus capacity will be reduced initially to 50%. Standing will be prohibited. Every other seat will be taped off to easily identify whether capacity remains. Shuttle bus routes will be adapted in order to accommodate greater physical distancing with available resources. Extra buses have been added to the heavily utilized shuttle lines to spread out rider capacity, and service hours will be expanded to accommodate a greater number of shuttles. Passengers and drivers will be required to wear masks. Sanitizer stations will be located at each bus point of entrance/exit. Shuttles will be wiped down after each route. Shuttle operations will end between midnight and 5 a.m. in order to have proper sanitization and deep cleaning time.