Return to MCAD Campus Fall 2020

Dear MCAD Community:

After much thoughtful discussion and planning with staff, administration, and faculty, I am excited to announce that we are returning to campus for Fall 2020. This semester faculty will offer a blended teaching and learning experience that combines on-campus access to facilities with multimodal teaching.

As always, our commitments to students, staff, and faculty have not changed: we will uphold MCAD’s educational integrity and excellence, encourage collaboration and do the hard work of building community both inside and outside MCAD, and provide a safe learning and living environment for all–even under the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In order to maintain a healthy, supportive community within these new limitations, we have developed a multimodal approach to learning. We will deliver the curriculum through blended instruction that includes an on-campus experience and remote instruction. We will have the flexibility for on-campus presentations and demonstrations, small group discussions, and access to faculty. Facilities and classrooms will be available by reservation; students will have access to studios.

We recognize that living on campus will look different than it has in years past. Our efforts to ensure the health and safety of everyone in our community will include closely following medical experts’ recommendations for physical distancing, the wearing of face-coverings, hand washing, and disinfection protocols across the campus. This will impact housing, dining, academic and studio spaces, and how we convene together. Our underlying goal is to keep students, staff, and faculty healthy and safe at all times. 

To realize our fundamental commitment to MCAD students for the upcoming semester, we have outlined our most recent and critical decisions and how they will impact life on campus. This update is the first communication with others that will follow this summer. Our next communication with additional details is scheduled to be sent and posted to our website on July 8.

We Will Return to Campus for Fall Semester 

We have modified the fall calendar in order to address the needs of faculty, staff, and each group of students–incoming freshmen, transfer students, continuing students, Spring 2020 graduates, and graduate students.


  • August TBD: Spring 2020 BFA and MFA Grads will have access to facilities 
  • August 21-23: Students’ residential move-in days by assigned, staggered times
  • August 24: MA Classes begin
  • August 24-28: New Undergraduate and MFA Student Orientation 
  • August 24-28: Continuing Student Orientation programming (online only) 
  • August 28: MCAD Community Conversation
  • August 31: Undergraduate and MFA Classes begin
  • November 25-27: Thanksgiving Break; students who return home for break may choose to not return to campus, and to complete the last two weeks remotely. 
  • December 11: Undergraduate, MA, and MFA semester ends 

Faculty & Staff

  • August 17: Faculty and Staff College Assembly 
  • August 17-21: Faculty Prep Week 
  • August 24-28: Faculty Prep Week Extension
  • August 24: MA Classes begin
  • August 31: Undergraduate and MFA Classes begin
  • August 28: MCAD Community Conversation
  • December 11: Undergraduate, MA, and MFA semester ends 


  • August 28: MCAD Community Conversation 
  • September 7: Labor Day
  • September 8: Continuing Education classes begin.
  • November 25-27: Thanksgiving Break
  • End of November to December 11: Commencement Show
  • December 11-12: Commencement for Spring and Winter 2020 graduates 

We Will Offer Flexible, Blended Instruction with Access to Facilities

All courses will be designed for: 

  • Remote delivery with the option to bring small groups of students together for limited, in-person meetings during the semester
  • Students’ access to MCAD’s shops, studios, and facilities for making and creating 
  • Student-to-student cohorts and collaboration
  • Faculty-to-student learning and mentoring 

Some classrooms will be repurposed for students to schedule and use for completing their coursework.

We Will Create a Safe, Supportive Campus Experience Together 

While all of us will work diligently to protect the safety of everyone on campus, we want to emphasize that it is each individual’s responsibility to adhere to these new protocols and to support one another. Although there is heightened attention and awareness, we know that it is important to have clear plans for any COVID-19 eventuality that could emerge during the school year. To this end, we have developed the following protocols:

  • Offering accommodations for vulnerable students, staff, and faculty who have underlying conditions and cannot return to campus. 
  • Signaling and adhering to 6’ of physical distancing
  • De-densifying housing and common areas like the Cafe, Library, and Service Bureau
  • Offering online ordering and refillable gift cards for meals at the Cafe
  • Utilizing cleaning protocols and process training according to MDH and CDC guidelines
  • Restricting card-access entry for staff, faculty, and students
  • Per the mayor's executive regulation, requiring masks be worn on campus and making them available at the Public Safety Desk
  • Adhering to HVAC best practices identified by American Society of Heating and Refrigerating Engineers (ASHRAE) and CDC
  • Establishing virus testing, tracking, and isolation practices
  • Reserving special housing for virus quarantining

We will provide a more detailed update on July 8 with a link to the Fall 2020 Plans & Guidelines on our website. Questions and comments from you will help shape subsequent communications. We welcome your input via:

Speaking on behalf of the staff and faculty, we have missed students talking, laughing, creating, making, learning, and communing throughout the halls, studios, galleries, and classrooms. We look forward to seeing you back on campus. I hope you and your families remain healthy and well. 

All my best,
Sanjit Sethi