School of Architecture Fall 2020 FAQs

Updated September 17, 2020

The School of Architecture has put together the following list of questions and answers related to the Fall 2020 semester. While we will try our best to keep this page current, please refer to the university’s coronavirus page for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

If you have a question that’s not answered here, please email

Classes, scheduling, and fees

Which School of Architecture classes will be held fully online?

Arch 151: Architecture at Chicago
Arch 200: Architecture and Society
Arch 251: Architectural Analysis
Arch 359: Architectural Technology 1
Arch 371: Architectural Theory 1
Arch 470: Structures I: Statics
Arch 520: Topics in Architectural Theory and History
Arch 522: Topics in Architectural Technology
Arch 561: Architectural Technology I
Arch 563: Architectural Technology III
Arch 565: Topic Studio
Arch 587: Pro-Seminar I
Arch 589: Writing Tutorial I

In addition, at least three sections of Arch 414: Contemporary Practices, two sections of Arch 465: Advanced Topic Studio 1, and one section of Arch 566: Research Seminar will take place fully online.

Which School of Architecture classes will be held on campus, and where will they meet?

The following classes may meet partially on campus in the rooms listed here. Any courses not included below will meet online only.

Arch 105: Studio 1 - 4300 studio
Arch 205: Studio 3 - B100 studio
Arch 365: Studio 5 - 2100 studio
Arch 414: Contemporary Practices - Dunn, 1100; Lyster, 3100 gallery; Materia, 1300
Arch 440: Digital Design and Fabrication - 1100
Arch 531: Theory and History I - Lecture Center D, D004
Arch 551: Design I - 4100 studio
Arch 553: Design III - 4100 studio
Arch 574: Structures II - Lecture Center D, D004
Arch 585: Theory and History III - Lecture Center D, D004
Arch 566: Research Seminar (Lyster) - 3100 gallery

In addition, two sections of Arch 465: Advanced Topic Studio 1 may meet occasionally in person.

Where is my class meeting on the first day/week?

Faculty will be in contact with students to clarify their plans and share access links/instructions for classes meeting online. While most classes will hold their first session online, the following courses are planning to meet in person during Week 1:

Tuesday, August 25

Arch 440
9:30am, 1100 gallery A+DS

Arch 105
2pm, outside Architecture + Design Studios

Arch 574
3:30pm, Lecture Center D, D004

Week 1 TBD (Wednesday or Friday)

Arch 465, Wheeler section
2pm, 1100 gallery A+DS

Arch 551
2pm, 4101 graduate studios A+DS

This list is subject to change; please refer to communication from faculty for the most up-to-date information.

Will there be any adjustments to the course schedule?

Because of the many factors that go into creating the course schedule, we can’t adjust course meeting days and times for the fall semester. On-campus and synchronous online classes will continue to meet at their regularly scheduled times, which are listed in the online class schedule. Many of the classes categorized as “on-campus” will likely include online course meetings, as well, or may even meet for a majority of sessions online. Each instructor will provide a plan for their specific course.

Will classes continue to meet in person after Thanksgiving?

There will be no in-person instruction for architecture classes after Thanksgiving break, including advising or review sessions. The AD+S building and studios will remain accessible in line with the general fall access policy. Students who travel for Thanksgiving may choose not to return to Chicago to finish the semester or may return to Chicago and self-quarantine if necessary.

Are students required to come to campus for in-person classes?

The provost has communicated that students are expected to attend synchronous online and in-person classes. However, there may be many reasons why students are unable to attend in-person classes, including that a student does not feel comfortable traveling to campus, and the provost is encouraging faculty to work with students to accommodate these situations to the greatest extent possible. Students with health conditions that prevent them from attending in-person classes should contact the Disability Resource Center to discuss accommodations, and be in touch with their faculty.

What is the school’s attendance policy for Fall 2020, given the combination of online and in-person classes?

The school attendance policy remains in effect for all in-person and synchronous components of fall courses. Given the range of instructional formats for the fall, individual faculty may modify this policy as necessary and as articulated in their course syllabus. Each faculty will communicate what constitutes an excused absence and what kind of documentation is required. Students who anticipate needing accommodation for attendance-related issues (health, technology, transportation) should be in contact with their instructor to make arrangements in advance.

To what extent are school faculty required to accommodate students who cannot attend in-person or synchronous class meetings?

The provost is encouraging faculty to record their synchronous online and in-person classes, but recognizes that there are cases when this may not be possible or advisable. In these situations, the university recommends that students and faculty work together to cover the content as necessary.

What do students do if they need to attend an online course while on campus?

All students except fourth-year undergrads will have access to properly distanced studio spaces in the Architecture + Design Studios building (more on the use of studios below). The university has also designated spaces in certain buildings as “study spaces” for students to access if they need to attend an online class while on campus. More information on these rooms is available on the student academic resources page.

Will university tuition and fees be decreased in the fall semester?

There will be no change in university tuition or fees for the upcoming year. Tuition rates and related fees are set at the state and university level. Unfortunately, the School of Architecture’s costs are largely the same regardless of whether courses are offered online or in person. For instance, we still need the same number of faculty and staff even when courses are offered online. Students do have the choice to opt out of the U-pass for the fall semester, but we aren’t aware of any other changes in the university-level fees at this point.

Will School of Architecture lab fees be reduced this year?

Lab fees for the fall semester will remain the same for all students except fourth-year undergrads, whose fees are reduced because they don’t have access to dedicated studio space this fall. Generally, lab fees cover the cost of facilities and supplies for classes that have needs beyond those of typical classes. In the School of Architecture, these fees pay for supplies and equipment in the three labs as well as costs related to our studio spaces. Because the studios and labs will continue to operate in the fall, base costs will not decrease. We suspect that any costs we save on given changes in access or activity in the labs will be offset by the new costs of extra PPE and sanitization supplies. If School of Architecture operations change for the spring 2021 semester, we may revisit lab fees again.

Is the adjusted grading policy from this spring still in effect?

The adjustments the university made to the grading policy in Spring 2020 are no longer in effect. In other words, grading is back to normal. For more information, see the university’s grading system page.

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Health and safety on campus

Note: In mid-August, the university posted its comprehensive COVID-19 campus-wide public health policy; please refer to that page for more detailed information.

What do students, faculty, and staff need to do before arriving on campus? Are there consequences for failing to follow these procedures?

Students, faculty, and staff must complete a daily self-screening survey to access the campus, including the Architecture + Design Studios building and all outdoor spaces. The survey is available at

The system will notify school staff if you enter the AD+S building without having completed the self-check. Students who consistently fail to complete a daily self-check will be referred to Student Affairs for disciplinary action, which could include loss of access to the building. Employees could also face disciplinary action, per policies outlined by Human Resources.

In addition, students, faculty, and staff are required to complete the online COVID-19 Safety Training by August 24.

Is everyone required to wear masks on campus? What about outdoors?

According to the Circle Back to Campus plan, face coverings are required at all times on all property that is owned or operated by the university, including outdoors and in classrooms. Exceptions include when a person is alone in a private office or personal residence hall room, or when an individual has a medical condition or disability or other reason that prevents them from safely wearing a face covering.

The the provost has clarified that masks can be removed for eating or drinking, but only when maintaining appropriate physical distancing from others. No one is allowed to eat in classrooms.

Will masks be provided on campus or in the Architecture + Design Studios building?

All students living or taking classes on campus will receive two reusable masks as part of a safety kit the university has put together. These kits are still available for pickup; for details, visit UIC Today.

The Circle Back to Campus plan specifies that university employees, including faculty, will also receive reusable masks; we are awaiting information on how these will be distributed.

Disposable masks will be available in the office and lab spaces for those who enter the building without one.

What do I do if I see someone not following the university’s health and safety guidelines?

If the person is a faculty or staff member in the School of Architecture, notify Bob Somol, the school’s director. If the person is a student, notify Tom Moss, Associate Dean of Student Affairs for CADA, or Linda Deanna, Dean of Students.

Will there be consequences for students, faculty, or staff who fail to follow health and safety guidelines?

University-wide policy is that students who do not wear a mask will be asked to leave the classroom and will not be allowed back in class unless they wear one. Faculty can also contact Tom Moss, Associate Dean of Student Affairs for CADA, or Linda Deanna, Dean of Students, with concerns.

The “Workplace Expectations” section of the Road to Recovery plan outlines what happens for faculty and staff who don’t follow the policies.

Will there be testing available for the UIC community?

The university is conducting required saliva-based surveillance testing for certain groups on campus, including all students living in university housing, and voluntary saliva-based testing for other members of the university community by appointment beginning August 25. For more information, see the university’s COVID-19 testing page.

What happens when a student, faculty, or staff member tests positive?

According to the August 12 Circle Back to Campus update, the university is coordinating and partnering closely with local public health departments to supplement contact tracing for all COVID-19 cases that are related to UIC faculty, staff, or students. The Circle Back to Campus plan specifies that areas known to be occupied by a COVID-19 positive/presumed positive student, faculty, or staff will be closed off for at least twenty-four hours, if feasible. 

What if I test positive, feel sick, or believe I have been exposed to COVID-19?

The Road to Recovery plan says that you should not not report to campus if: you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and need to be tested; you may have been exposed to COVID-19; and/or you tested positive for COVID-19 outside of University Health Services.

University faculty and staff in this situation should isolate at home, contact your UIC supervisor, and call University Health Services at 312-996-7420 (select the COVID-19 option). The University Health Services line is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days per week.

According to the Circle Back to Campus August 5 update, students who think they have been exposed to COVID-19 or who have tested positive should inform Student Health Services at 312-996-2901 as soon as possible so that the university can take action in accordance with university policies. Students should also notify their professors in order to make arrangements to cover any classes or work missed because of illness or the need to isolate.

I’m coming from a state or country that is subject to the City of Chicago self-quarantine order. What should I do?

The Office of International Services has published a set of FAQs for international students who need to self-quarantine. The Student Housing office asks students living in campus housing to contact to determine fourteen-day quarantine options. Any other School of Architecture students in this situation should notify their professors that they will be quarantining at home in order to make arrangements.

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AD+S building use and resources

How and when will the building be accessible to students, faculty, and staff?

The Architecture + Design Studios building will be accessible only via swipe-card access until further notice. Starting August 24, students will be able to use their I-cards to access the building from 7am until 9pm Monday through Friday. The building will be closed overnight, from 9pm until 7am, and all day on Saturdays and Sundays to allow for additional cleaning. Faculty will still have twenty-four-hour access, seven days per week. 

The building will remain locked to the public, though various other groups—design students, facility managers, and building service workers, for example—will be able to enter the building with proper clearance. Because studio spaces cannot be locked, we cannot guarantee their security, and students should continue to exercise caution in leaving personal belongings, supplies, models, etc., in these spaces.

Will any guests be permitted in the building?

No. Students, faculty, and staff will not be permitted to bring any guests into the building (e.g., family members / children, friends). Anyone who does not have personal swipe access to the building may not enter.

How will the building be cleaned?

The university has posted its COVID-19 campus cleaning strategies online here. In general, common areas (stairwells, elevators, breakrooms, bathrooms) are cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants by building services staff three times daily.

Students will be expected to use the cleaning materials provided at sanitization stations to clean their individual work stations, desks, and chairs each day in each classroom and studio both before and after occupying the space. Building services will clean classrooms overnight.

What sanitation methods/equipment will be available to students, faculty, and staff?

The university and school have installed sanitization stations with appropriate materials including hand sanitizer, disinfectant, and paper towels in public areas such as entrances and lobbies, as well as in all classrooms with revised capacities of at least twenty people. There will be signs on all stations with information on how to use the materials correctly. 

Will there be guidance or training on methods and products to clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in offices (desks, door knobs, computer keyboards, phones)?

Signage posted near all cleaning stations will indicate how to use the materials. The university’s facility recovery plan states that building service workers do not clean individual office computers, mouses, desktops, or keyboards. Employees are responsible for cleaning these items, and should contact the school to request materials.

Who will monitor sanitizing stations and replenish supplies as needed?

The campus will supply and replenish sanitization stations at building entrances. School of Architecture staff will supply and replenish other sanitization stations daily.

Will soap and paper towel dispensers be installed at all studio sink stations? Will building services staff replenish these?

Soap dispensers have already been installed at all studio sinks. Paper towels and hand sanitizer will also be available in all studios and classrooms with a revised capacity of over twenty people. Building service workers will replenish soap dispensers. Sanitization stations will be replenished by School of Architecture staff.

How will the studios be arranged? Will there be extra measures to limit close contact (e.g., dividers on desks)?

Studios will be arranged to reduce capacity and allow for a minimum of 6 feet of physical distance between work stations. Plans for the studios and all other public spaces have been approved by the campus Fire Marshal. These plans will be posted in each space, along with revised maximum capacity numbers.

Will students be permitted to keep supplies, models, and personal belongings in the studios?

Students can keep studio supplies, including model-making materials, in studios only at their assigned desk space. Students may not keep any personal belongings in studios (e.g., clothing, dishes, coffee mugs). Students should also keep in mind that studios are not fully secure and should continue to exercise caution in what they choose to keep in studios. (This was obviously also the case pre-COVID.)

Are there limitations on activity in the studios? Is there anything students are not permitted to do?

Students should not enter any studio or classroom space that is not associated with a class they are enrolled in (i.e., no visiting other studios). Eating is not allowed in studios, per university policy about eating in classrooms.

How will the Project Lab work?

Lab staff are coordinating directly with instructional faculty to manage fabrication needs and supply orders for individual courses. Please direct questions about fabrication needs to your professors.

How will the Fab Lab work?

Lab staff are coordinating directly with instructional faculty to manage fabrication needs and supply orders for individual courses. Please direct questions about fabrication needs to your professors.

How will the Print Lab work?

The Print Lab is accessible by appointment only Monday through Friday from 9:30am to 2pm. To request lab access, please email or call 312-996-3335. Staff may be available in the building to open the lab as needed, but appointments are recommended. For other printing options on campus, visit

Will the school library (in the old office on the third floor) be accessible?

Generally, no. Students or faculty who have borrowed books from the library should contact Jayne Kelley to make arrangements for their return.

Will there be any additional measures taken to promote ventilation in the building (e.g., open windows, air purifiers)?

On August 19, the university posted additional information about updates to HVAC and other building systems; our building services staff is following this same approach.

What is the process for reserving space in the building? Can students reserve space?

The school will continue to follow previous space-reservation policies using the YAROOMS system. Reservations for space outside of regularly assigned classrooms should be booked at least forty-eight hours in advance to allow school staff to prepare them. Reservations should be extended thirty minutes before and after the planned use time to allow for entry/exit buffers and sanitization. Space reservations must be made by faculty or staff; students are not permitted to reserve space.

Will paper towel dispensers be installed in all bathrooms? Is it safe to use hand dryers?

According to the university’s facilities recovery plan, electronic hand dryers are considered by public health experts to be low-risk, low intensity, and will not be deactivated. Paper towel dispensers are being installed where none exist.

Will faculty and staff offices have new policies related to distancing and sanitation?

All facilities will follow campus-wide guidelines for distancing and sanitizing. Supplies will not be available in all faculty offices (because they are private offices), but supplies will be available in the main office and in public spaces throughout the building.

When will the school office be open and staffed?

The school office will remain locked and accessible only to staff and faculty. Staff who need to work in the building will work on a staggered schedule that will be finalized in the coming days. Please contact or individual staff for specific concerns.

Will the school office remain open to faculty?

Faculty will continue to have swipe access to the office to use the copier, get supplies, etc., but they should not work in the office, congregate in the break room, or hold any meetings in the office, including meetings with students. Faculty will be able to reserve seminar rooms or other large spaces in the building to hold meetings if necessary.

Are there any limitations on the use of outdoor space around the building? Do members of the school community have to complete the daily self-check if they don’t plan to go inside?

All the general campus policies about masks, distancing, etc., apply to outdoor spaces owned or maintained by the university. This also means that anyone planning to use these spaces must still complete the self-screening available at

Can I eat in the Architecture + Design Studios building?

Eating is not allowed in any classrooms on campus, including studios in our building. In general, students, faculty, and staff should eat or drink only in places where it is easy to keep your distance from others. When the weather permits, it’s best to eat outside; otherwise, students may use the 3100 octagon as a distanced break/eating room. Students can also find spaces designated for eating in the Behavioral Sciences Building or Student Center East.

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