In September, the classrooms of Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (SAIF) were restored to their past vitality. Having been separated by the COVID-19 outbreak for several months, students gathered together again and sat in classroom lectures with both relief and anticipation.
In order to ensure the successful return of both international and domestic students, SAIF’s academic, administrative, and IT teams (as well as MF, MBA, GES, and EMBA programs) worked together to: investigate the back-to-school intentions of faculty and students, formulate teaching plans, and facilitate the safe and orderly operations of various modules. In early July, the Academic Affairs Department began to contact local and overseas faculty (in several rounds) about their teaching preferences and worked overtime to develop teaching plans based on updated requirements. Each program, especially the SAIF MF Program (having a large proportion of international students), approached each student and tabulated the number of students who couldn’t return to campus as scheduled. In compliance with the epidemic prevention requirements of both the Ministry of Education and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), the administrative team formulated detailed epidemic prevention guidelines and procedures for entering and leaving campus.
In view of the fact that some overseas faculty and international students could not return to SAIF as scheduled, SAIF decided to implement a parallel teaching system in the Fall Semester composed of a combination of both online and offline courses. Students and faculty in mainland China would all attend in person classes, while students and faculty who couldn’t return to campus (due to restrictive entry and exit policies during the COVID-19 pandemic) would instead have online classes. In September, thirteen classes in the MBA and MF Programs would end up following the parallel system. Estimates show that at least 30 classes will implement the new system throughout the Fall Semester. The Academic Affairs Department will also realign the system periodically, according to the exigencies of the epidemic and actual circumstances on campus.
In order to uphold teaching quality, the IT team implemented urgent acquisitions, upgraded teaching systems, and cooperated with the Academic Affairs Department and various programs to carry out parallel teaching training and testing among students and teaching assistants. Now, even if faculty are soley online, they can still have a clear view of the classrooms as well as seamless interaction with both online and offline students.
After wide-ranging intensive preparation, starting on September 1st, SAIF Fall Semester 2020-2021 registration kicked off as scheduled. Existing full-time students registered on campus on September 1st, 2nd and 3rd, followed by new full-time students on September 4th and 5th. Alternatively, both existing and new part-time students (as well as students who couldn’t return to school due to immigration policies) registered online. Although 984 existing students and 541 new students were involved in the registration process for the new semester — due to well-designed planning— the traffic routes were clear, epidemic prevention instructions were elaborated upon, and the registration site was in order, without overcrowding. With temperature being measured, facial masks in place, and direction by SAIF security guards, the students swept in and out of the south and north entrances with valid SJTU Campus Passes. The administrative team also offered paper towels, hand sanitizers, alcohol cotton pads, disinfectant, and other cleaning and disinfection supplies at the entrances of SAIF Building, elevator lobbies, and student classrooms.