Updates from Aquinas College about COVID-19 are at aquinas.edu/coronavirus.  Updates on our academic plans are at aquinas.edu/saintstogether.

Academic Instruction

Note: The following information pertains to the 2020-21 academic year.

For the 2020-21 academic year, Aquinas College will maintain its high standards for learning regardless of the mode of class delivery. The mode of class delivery will be determined by a number of factors, including class size, room capacity, schedule constraints, course content, learning outcomes, and health and safety concerns.

See the Academic Calendar for important dates.

Academic spaces

Aquinas College has established a space utilization plan to provide the most optimal spaces for social distancing in academic instruction. Each space has unique uses, needs and challenges, so adjustments may include room layout and usage, the use of plexiglass screens or other social-distancing apparatus, other physical changes, limits on capacity, etc.

To protect instructors and students, all classrooms and study spaces will be de-densified and arranged in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Additional space will be identified and modified for classroom and study use.

  • Average classroom, studio, and laboratory occupancy will be reduced to 40 percent with the largest occupancy limited to 48. Most classrooms will have occupancy between 12-18 seats.
    • Students should sit facing the same direction as much as possible.
  • Classroom protocols will include cloth face coverings, plexiglass protection at key interaction points and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of public spaces, including restrooms, with a focus on increased frequency of cleaning in accordance with guidelines from CDC and EPA.
    • In classrooms, high-touch surfaces will be cleaned each morning during the week, including disinfecting of table tops.
    • Disinfecting wipes will be provided in each classroom to allow students or employees to clean surfaces in between classes. The College will also use disinfecting sprayers.
    • Other public spaces and high-touch surfaces (e.g., door handles, railings, light switches, elevator buttons, stairwells, meeting rooms and break rooms) will be disinfected multiple times each day.
  • New hand-sanitizing dispensers are located at or near the entrances to all buildings on campus.

Modes of instruction

Aquinas College’s goal is to provide our students with an academic schedule where a majority of their classes meet either fully in-person or using a hybrid model. Aquinas will communicate with students very soon about specific mode of instruction for their classes. Please stay tuned to the Saints Together website, AQ email and social media for updates and informatoin.

 Classes will be offered in three modes:

  1. In-person according to the regular schedule in a classroom that accommodates the precautionary guidelines above;
  2. In a hybrid model that allows a portion of the class to meet on a regular basis and includes a robust online component, including, if possible, synchronous, real-time delivery;
  3. In a fully online mode according to best-practice expectations for remote instruction.

However, it is important to emphasize that all courses will be planned for with the possibility that some enrolled students may not be permitted to attend in person, either because of personal health risks, travel situations, or because of quarantine and/or isolation. Those instances will be managed on a case-by-case basis.

Aquinas will not require a single model for the continuation of instruction in the event that one or more enrolled students must receive instruction remotely, but we do encourage the use of synchronous learning.


Instructors will decide how classes will be offered based on class size and classroom capacity. Currently, we are continuing the enrollment process for fall, so decisions have not been finalized.

Instructors will notify students as soon as possible and before the first day of classes. (This information will not be listed on the course schedule except for courses that were identified as fully online before the start of registration.)

We recognize that some students may have direct or indirect health concerns that may prevent you from physically attending classes. Instructors are preparing for this so that you can continue to work on your personal and academic goals either in person or online.

If you are unable to attend class in person due to direct or indirect health concerns, please notify the Registrar's Office at registrar@aquinas.edu. Please send your email with the subject “Remote Participation Notification.” You are not required to submit medical confirmation, but we ask that you contact the Registrar’s Office so that instructors can prepare.

Aquinas also has invested in new and upgraded technology in classrooms in order to be prepared to support our faculty and students in various modes of learning as well as adjust our plans as necesary.

  • All classrooms will be equipped with cameras and microphones for synchronous delivery. Students who reside in a different time zone may not be able to join in synchronous learning.
  • All faculty will be provided with access to Zoom (and recording capability).

All academic advising and faculty office hours will be conducted virtually or by telephone.

Student Success and CORE resources will be available virtually or by telephone.

Continuing Education and Graduate programs will be conducted in keeping with the general instructional protocols reviewed above.

All Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Aquinas fall classes will be conducted online.


The Library will be open to Aquinas faculty, staff and students in order to support their academic needs and provide academic services. Some adjustments will be made to the spaces and services in order to adhere to social distancing, personal hygiene, and health and safety practices. See the What's Open page for library hours and services.

  • The library will be open to faculty, staff and students with swipe card access.
  • Social distancing
    • Marked social distancing queues and plexiglass shields at key interaction points
    • Adjusted seating
    • Adjusted computer stations
  • Resources available
    • Stacks will be open
    • Archives will be available by appointment only
    • Media will be closed stacks
  • Services available
    • Curbside service and mailing of materials
    • Remote synchronous and asynchronous library instruction
    • Remote video, as well as in-person, reference services
    • Media services will still be available
  • Health and safety practices
    • Returned books quarantined for 72 hours before reshelving
    • MelCat books quarantined for 72 hours before processing
    • No food or drink
    • Moratorium on book donations

AQ Advantage Center

The AQ Advantage Center will continue to provide a comprehensive program for students to develop the world-ready skills necessary to compete in a global environment through career services, internships, research opportunities and future study away programs.

To accommodate safe social distancing practices, the Advantage Center will provide the following:

  • Virtual or telephone appointments available (scheduled through Handshake platform)
  • Virtual employer engagements for the fall semester
  • Virtual class to career professional development events
  • Staggered appointment blocks for in-person appointments
  • In-person and online career development courses
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting

Students wishing to complete off-campus internships for credit should include the organization's COVID-19 policy in their Handshake request. Organizations hosting student interns are expected to follow CDC guidelines and follow the state epidemic orders.

Students who are participating in spring Study Away programs should be aware that operational decisions will be made by Oct. 1. Please consult the Study Away Office for more information.