Our program has made the difficult decision to conduct the fall semester fully online.
Yesterday, SVA’s Provost shared with our community that the mounting public health concerns related to COVID-19 will impact our ability to operate an in-person semester this fall.
There are several factors and recent developments that made the option to open in-person classes not possible—and the details of those decisions are outlined in the Provost’s note. The back and forth has been dizzying; so, too, are the constantly shifting conditions under which we have made decisions for the fall. The current national picture, as well as the seasonal increases that we experience each fall semester with viruses, have influenced our decision to operate entirely online.
However, classes are only one part of an education experience; they’re only one aspect of the work graduate students will engage in during their time with MFA Interaction Design. While classes will be conducted online, SVA and our studio will be open, and we’re planning for as many in-person experiences as the pandemic allows. Our staff will be in the studio daily, and student time in the studio will be more limited than usual, but possible.
We intend that the studio remain a place for collaboration for people who are in New York City. To make that collaboration possible, people will have to make appointments, and we’ll use contact tracing and other required protocols. Further, faculty and students can meet in person individually, following the protocols (wearing face coverings, social distancing, and maintaining strict contact tracing). The SVA Library is open, the Residence Halls are open, and the Visible Futures Lab is open for a pick-up model, to start. This is only a small selection of how SVA will be open, while holding classes online.
That said, we are monitoring the situation closely and will adjust should the situation in New York City change.
As a department, we are lucky that not only are we small and nimble, but as a discipline, we are agents of change. As interaction designers, our community thrives on change and look at it as an opportunity to innovate. Faculty have already been anticipating at least a partial or full semester online, and are thinking about ways to not only make the most of these platforms, but to reinvent what learning can be in this new way. While this semester will be different from any other in history, it will be one where we are the architects of the program we need to thrive in this new normal, and thrive in the future.