COVID-19 & Fall 2020

The Fall 2020 semester will look a little different in Murphy Hall. Below you'll find information and links you might need to navigate the semester. Please reach out with any questions. For University-wide update, visit the Safe Campus website. 

An Update from the Director

To all members of the Hubbard School community,  
I hope that you and your loved ones are healthy, and have had the opportunity for rest and recreation while enjoying this beautiful Minnesota summer. The COVID-19 pandemic has created numerous challenges for the School and University, but I continue to be inspired by the creativity, innovation, and goodwill of our community. As we begin the 2020-2021 academic year, I wanted to take a moment to let you know the steps that the faculty and staff in the School have taken to ensure that students can keep learning this fall.

As we prepared for the Fall semester, the Hubbard School remained committed to delivering a world-class education and learning environment for students. We have invested heavily in purchasing individual software licenses, audio, and video recording kits so that every student enrolled in our laboratory and skills classes have the richest possible in-person, blended, and distanced curricular experiences. While I know that our faculty and staff were looking forward to seeing a robust student presence in Murphy Hall, we take heart in knowing that students will be able to have the equipment and software they need to use remotely all term. We have pivoted to offering the vast majority of classes in remote and online forms, with a limited number of essential lab classes offered in a hybrid modality for advanced students to receive training on equipment. Alums who may recall fondly turning in cameras or sharing audio equipment on a team will recognize how fortunate Hubbard School students will be this year to have the advantage of full-term equipment checkout, despite the difficulties of remote learning.

I am grateful to our excellent staff and Hubbard School faculty who also have dedicated a great deal of time and energy over the summer to advise me on protocol to guide our students working off-site and in the community. Our sunrise plan for community-engaged learning has been approved by the University, and we will continue to have students working throughout the Twin Cities in accordance and compliance with the latest directives and guidelines from the Governor, Center for Disease Control, Minnesota Department of Health, and the University (please see the U’s Safe U website for the latest information and protocol).
We hope to offer a variety of innovative programs for our students and the broader community. Our mentor program will continue remotely, and I encourage industry professionals across the country (or anywhere in the world) to consider volunteering to support students online and across distance. The Fall 2020 Silha Lecture will feature Special Counsel to FRONTLINE, Dale Cohen, on legal issues and ethical standards related to documentary film. We also plan to offer faculty, staff, and students at all levels access to a “Modern Connections” professional development series organized by Hubbard Fellow and The Coven Co-Founder Alex West Steinman. Finally, stay tuned for details on our Minnesota Journalism Center events featuring leading industry professionals commenting on the ways that COVID-19 and issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion are influencing their businesses and nonprofit work. 

We continue to develop our sunrise plans around research, teaching, and service so that we can pivot to Murphy Hall as conditions allow. The shifting nature of the Minnesota Department of Health’s guidance for universities and realities of keeping student, faculty, and staff safety and health at top of mind will require that we react nimbly to navigate whatever circumstances and directives we are given from university and state authorities. Your continued support, flexibility, and patience is critical to the work that we do. We will continue to monitor the pandemic situation carefully and will update you on activities in Murphy Hall.

All the best,

Elisia Cohen, Ph.D.
Director and Professor

Building Health and Safety Procedures  

Murphy Hall

Masks must be worn at all times while in the building. 


  • Murphy Hall will remain locked and restricted to U Card access. The card-key access system also provides a log of building entry. 
  • IMPORTANT - If you happen to arrive with another person, do NOT hold the door to enter the building together. Each person must enter separately and swipe your cards.


  • Whenever possible, keep to the right side of the hallway to avoid close contact with passersby. If there is already someone coming in the opposite direction, you should try to wait in an adjacent hallway or room. Hallways should be used for transit between spaces only. Do not congregate or stop to talk with others, even when maintaining 6 feet.


  • Walk at least 8 steps behind any person in front of you.
  • Keep to the right side of the stairwell to avoid close contact with passersby. If there is already someone coming in the opposite direction, you should try to wait at the floor landings to avoid close contact.
Classrooms and Computer Labs

All classroom capacities have been reduced to allow for 6-feet physical distancing, in line with the Office of Classroom Management’s guidelines. The room capacity will be posted on the door, and some seating may be marked or pre-set to indicate 6-feet social distancing. All classrooms and the computer lab will be cleaned once per day Monday-Friday. Sanitization supplies will be available in every classroom for use throughout the day as needed.  

  • The seats that are designated for students will be identified by FM with signs. 
  • All other seats in classrooms where students cannot sit will be labeled, “Do not use.”
  • OCM will post in all its classrooms with an updated layout that highlights the correct seating arrangement for 6-foot physical distancing.
  • Learning spaces will feature a poster campaign encouraging physical distancing, personal hygiene, symptom monitoring, and mask-wearing.
  • On a daily basis, Facilities Management (FM) will clean and sanitize the most frequently touched surfaces in learning environments and public spaces. 
  • All OCM learning spaces will be supplied with sanitizing wipes. They will be placed at all entrances to the room. Please be certain that students take them and use them when they enter the classroom.
  • It will be important that users of the room wipe down their surfaces prior to use.
  • Xs on the floor will be marked and seats will be identified by the School for 6-foot physical distancing in line with FM guidelines. 
Administrative Offices

Administrative offices will be limited to a one-person office occupancy if they are open. Only essential administrative services will be provided. All meetings will remain virtual and signs will be posted about how best to reach out to staff with needs. The Hubbard School has identified the following administrative needs and how they will be handled.

A virtual front office will be made available by Aug. 31, 2020.


Student Services & Advising

Undergraduate and graduate student services will be provided remotely. Students will be notified of this in a number of ways - town hall, email messaging, email signature, website, and a notice on the door. Each area will have a virtual office with posted hours on the website and at the virtual office “front door” so students know when and how to connect with services. Staff will also be available by email, phone, and appointment.

Undergraduate students can use the calendar for drop-in hours or send an email to get answers to questions about registration, major planning, minor declaration, student activities, jobs and internships and more. 

Those with graduate program questions, can contact graduate Student Services

Career Services

Virtual appointments and virtual drop-in hours are available. 

Hubbard Majors Info Hub

Check the Info Hub for all the updated information you might need. 

Technology Recommendations, Checkout and Troubleshooting

Minimum technology recommendations
  • For non-lab classes: macOS or Windows, Core i5 CPU, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD
  • For lab classes: macOS or Windows, Core i7 CPU, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD

Each student who needs an Adobe license on their computer can get one.

Microsoft office is free for students.

WiFi Coverage Map

Checkout Protocol

Multimedia check out work falls under the basic safety protocols outlined by the Sunrise Plan, Sunrise FAQ, and OVPR COVID-19 FAQ around mask use and cleaning. In addition to following the basics, when necessary:

  • Effort will be made to include the minimal number of staff necessary. Often this can be only one staff member. 
  • Total number of people included in a check-out session or equipment training will adhere to Minnesota group size guidelines in effect. Since most training takes place as part of course instruction, normal classroom procedures will be in effect. Any supplementary training will be one-on-one if needed and will follow strict masking and distance guidelines. Online resources in the form of print and video are being developed to address additional training needs. 
  • A minimum of three (3) days will occur between recording/equipment check out sessions wherein all equipment used will remain quarantined in a location that will not be accessed by anyone during those three days.

The Hubbard School has invested heavily to augment its equipment inventories for courses where audio or video recording packages are required. To facilitate instruction and student production scheduling needs (with emphasis on outdoor work as much as possible), and to minimize staff-student contact, all students in those courses will be issued appropriate equipment for the entire semester. That equipment will be distributed on a scheduled day early in the semester when those courses (Jour 3102, 3451, 4302, 4173) are meeting in person. Equipment will be due back at the end of the semester or during the first week of spring semester, subject to trends with the pandemic. Returns or checkouts outside of the scheduled day(s) will require special scheduling. (See equipment quarantine policy above).

Troubleshooting questions

If you have questions about equipment for Hubbard School courses, email with a description of the problem if instructors cannot identify the issue.



Library Information

The Sevareid Library in the basement of Murphy Hall is closed. It will be used as a method to control one-way traffic into the lab classrooms and keep people safe. 

Current plans are for four libraries to be open this fall: Walter, Wilson, Magrath and Health Sciences

  • Open for social distant study and UCard accessible
  • You can still find articles and request books.
  • Use the 'Get It' button to request books for pick up (or mail to offices, dorms, or homes)

Research Help

  • Reach out to the Hubbard School's University library liaison Cody Hennesy anytime - Zoom appointments, email, chat (
  • Peer Research Consultants available for online appointments 

For in-depth subject databases:

Hubbard School Community Engaged Learning Sunrise Plan

The Hubbard School trains students for professional work, and there are instances where the work cannot be conducted virtually or remotely. The School developed a plan to keep students safe while completing this work. The following PDF outlines the School's principles and plans.