DePaul, Columbia and Flashpoint plan for Fall 2020


Chicago’s DePaul, Flashpoint and Columbia College are preparing for fall. Here’s what they are doing to keep their students safe, as they guide them toward their careers.

Between online classes, the evolving COVID-19 regulations, and increased challenges on set from budget constraints and social distancing, the production process has changed.     

In an industry where people spend most of their time in close proximity, how the next generation will learn and gain on set experience is a new challenge. Of course, there are concerns; not just from faculty and staff, but from students as well. 

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“My biggest concern with returning to school on-site would simply be that it is not the right time for it, yet,” states DePaul Alumni and Masters student, Will Schneider. “I would love to get back into the classroom and get back on set as much as anyone else, but without a vaccine and with new cases still popping up everyday, I’m just not sure we’re ready yet.”

According to their website, DePaul plans to use their largest classrooms to uphold social distance guidelines, some with Zoom-enabled classrooms.  Courses, which are to begin September 9, 2020, will be offered as either on campus, online, or hybrid.  To learn more about their updated guidelines, VISIT HERE for the Depaul newsline .

As of September 28, 2020, Flashpoint Chicago will offer 4 variations of classes: On Ground for classes requiring hands-on equipment or facility use, Hybrid and Multi-Platform Delivery (MPD) which mix on ground and online, and exclusively online courses. They will do Curbside Checkout for gear in the fall, sanitizing everything between uses. All their information is available HERE on the Flashpoint website.

Columbia College, set to start classes September 8, 2020,  is also adjusting their programs and building new routines with daily pre-checks before students enter, and adjustments being made in resident halls.  Following guidelines from the CDC, they plan to reopen this fall, with staff either working from home or in staggered shifts. Columbia College encourages students to continue to develop working collaborations, which could result in production “pods.”  They will also provide extracurricular activities that give insight on how to best interact in both the physical and virtual worlds. For more info VISIT HERE.

“We recognize that some instruction needs a hands-on component, which is why we are offering courses with some or all face-to-face instruction,” said Eric Scholl, Interim Chair, Cinema and Television Arts; Columbia College Chicago. “What we are doing in production classes in particular is no different from what the industry is doing: finding creative ways to create and deliver content in a safe and responsible manner. While the pandemic poses challenges, it also prepares students to be flexible, and find and develop creative processes that will be useful to them even after life goes back to “normal.”

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Katharin Mraz is a contributing writer for Reel Chicago and Reel 360Email her at