PAFA Shares Fall 2020 Academic Plan

As PAFA prepares to reopen our physical on-campus spaces for the fall academic term, we are prioritizing the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff, while ensuring that students continue to receive a robust and high-quality arts education.

To this end, PAFA will take a hybrid and flexible approach to the Fall 2020 semester, allowing for both on-campus and online learning, and increased social distancing.

Our Core Response Team is monitoring the pandemic closely, and meeting regularly to work on reopening plans.

PAFA is taking multiple steps to maintain the safety of our campus community, and is enacting new protocols, including:

  • Initiating on-site health screenings and requiring the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE). All students, staff and faculty are required to wear face masks inside PAFA's buildings, have their temperature checked upon entering, and must not exhibit any of the symptoms that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have associated with COVID-19.
  • Installing protective Plexiglass screens at entrance desks, and self-cleaning covers for elevator buttons, glass door handles, and push bars.
  • Cleaning the HVAC systems to ensure the circulation of fresh air.
  • Reconfiguring workspaces, classrooms, and studios to facilitate social distancing.
  • Staggering course schedules and limiting class sizes.
  • Limiting access hours to our buildings to allow overnight disinfecting and sanitizing.
  • Placing signage in the elevators and throughout our campus to remind everyone of proper preventative measures.

COVID-19 safety measures and recommendations are evolving as more information becomes available about the status of the pandemic. As such, we will continue to adapt our approach based on the recommendations of health authorities and federal, state, and municipal leaders. 

Jimmie Greeno, our Vice President of Safety and Security, has been named PAFA's Pandemic Safety Officer as per the May 4, 2020 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania COVID-19 Safety Procedures for Businesses (view PDF), and leads the planning efforts for PAFA's reopening and return to campus. 

What follows is an outline of PAFA's plans for the fall term. Throughout the semester, we will continue to closely monitor and follow federal, state, and local guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and pending further developments, will adjust our plans as needed to maintain the safety of the community.


Fall 2020 Academic & Campus Reopening Plan

PAFA's Fall 2020 semester will begin as scheduled on August 26, 2020. In an effort to mitigate potential transmissions following holiday travel, on-campus courses will move online for the two weeks following Thanksgiving break (weeks of November 30 and December 7). Refer to the Academic Calendar for more important dates and deadlines.

In some cases, studio and shop courses will add extra hours on campus prior to Thanksgiving, rather than moving online.


The Classroom Experience: A Hybrid, Flexible Approach

PAFA will take a hybrid approach to the Fall term, with courses running on campus, online, and through a combination of these two platforms. Any student who wishes to study fully online will be able to do so.

All courses will be prepared to run fully online, in the event that it becomes necessary to return to a virtual learning environment.

Course content for the Fall term will be accessible online, which will enable students to keep up with any coursework that they have missed on campus due to illness or other factors.

All Liberal Arts and seminar courses will be online, and many studio courses will have online options.

All courses that meet on campus will adhere to social distancing protocols and class sizes will be reduced. Course meeting times will be staggered to alleviate congestion in the elevators and hallways.

  • Studio and shop courses will be held primarily on campus, and will utilize online sessions where appropriate. Some studio courses will alternate between on-campus and online meetings.

  • A full course-by-course listing of planned class formats will be available in July.

  • Liberal Arts and seminar courses will be held primarily online for the fall semester, with occasional in-person meetings planned for some courses.


Graduate and Undergraduate Critiques

Graduate and undergraduate individual critiques will utilize a mix of online and in-person experiences. This may include individual critiques held in classrooms rather than studios, viewing of work by faculty in studios, followed by in-person or online discussions, as well as the potential for fully online critiques.

MFA Core Critiques and Final Review

MFA Core critiques and group reviews will be held on campus, and the in-person meetings will include only faculty members and the students whose work is being discussed. Critiques and reviews will be live-streamed, so all MFA students are able to participate in the process.


On-Campus Shared Spaces & Studios

As PAFA takes steps to ensure that proper social distancing is maintained in on-campus spaces, individual and group studio spaces will be open to students for the Fall term.

Shops, labs, and the Library will be open, with updated social distancing and sanitization protocols in place.

In order to avoid the congregation of large groups, the Student Lounge (11th Floor) will be closed for the Fall term.

PAFA's café, Tableau, will operate initially on a take-out only basis, with further details to come.


Stiles Hall & Residential Life at PAFA

Stiles Hall is currently scheduled to be open and available to house students for the 2020-21 academic year. We are partnering closely with Drexel University—the owner of Stiles Hall—to establish careful protocols, policies, and procedures, to prioritize residents' health and safety. We will provide updates and detailed information as more information becomes available soon.


Student Services, Career Services, and Student Care Services

Student Services programing, Career Services workshops, and Health and Wellness programing will be held primarily online. Sessions will be recorded and archived on the Student Services website, allowing students to access the programing outside of scheduled program times.


Campus Events: Visiting Artist Lectures & Student Exhibitions

Visiting artist lectures and studio visits will be conducted online for the Fall term.

Students will be able and encouraged to submit work for on-site exhibitions in PAFA's school galleries throughout the year. Refer to the April 16 bulletin for information regarding the Annual Student Exhibition.

Last Updated
July 2, 2020 - 10:10 AM

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Thomas Eakins, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.