Classes expected to stay online all semester

Classes+expected+to+stay+online+all+semester

Graphic by Logan Raschke

Analicia Haynes and Corryn Brock

Eastern is extending spring break by one week and transitioning all classes to D2L for the remainder of the semester.

Public Information Coordinator Josh Reinhart said at this point, the plan is to continue online learning for the rest of the semester, but if that changes the university will let faculty and students know.

A decision regarding whether or not students will be required to meet during regularly scheduled class times is forthcoming, he said.

Also, a decision regarding spring graduation has not been determined as of Thursday night.

The university, however, will remain open from March 23 until the end of the semester.

That means all computer labs, Booth Library, residence halls, dining centers, the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union, buildings, etc. will remain open.

Reinhart said because of the circumstances and since it is new territory for everyone, Eastern President David Glassman and Eastern Provost Jay Gatrell are not ready to make comments publicly. He said everyone is working around the clock to develop more information to share while making decisions constantly.

However, he said they will most likely be able to meet with The Daily Eastern News sometime Friday.

What happened?

As a result of the safety concerns sparked by COVID-19, or coronavirus, Glassman sent a statement via email Thursday afternoon that explained the decision to extend break and move classes online.

In the email, he said the university understands that many questions remain unanswered and asked for patience as it adapts to the challenges it has been faced with.

He also asked that the campus community look for emails to update them on any changes to the current plan.

With the many changes coming to the instructional methods at Eastern, instructors will be contacting their classes via email during the week of March 23.

Faculty will be returning on March 23 to learn more about the options with educating students in their courses.

With the many changes coming to the instructional methods at Eastern, instructors will be contacting their classes via email during the week of March 23.

Faculty will be returning on March 23 to learn more about the options with educating students in their courses.

Once classes resume students will not have face-to-face instruction and will have the choice to continue their studies on campus or from a remote location.

Students who are learning outside of the classroom in internships, clinical or student teaching off campus will need to continue that part of their education unless something is changed with the host.

Upcoming study abroad programs and international internships have been canceled and all university-sponsored, non-essential travel was suspended on March 12.

The university is discouraging any unnecessary travel and are urging students to use good judgement when making decisions on personal domestic travel.

Those who choose to travel outside of the country will need to follow the university updated policy requiring them to self-isolate before returning to campus if they are returning from a country with a Level 3 or higher federal health warning.

Now what?

Reinhart said the email indicated that not all questions are answered yet. 

“What we’re working on right now is developing information that will answer some of those more specific questions that I’m sure students, faculty and staff might have,” he said.

He said the university is also updating a webpage that has information regarding the virus and how it is affecting Eastern.

Reinhart said regarding faculty and how the university is working with them through the transition online, there are people in place helping with the adjustment.

He said there is training that is taking place, and Information Technology Services along with the Faculty Development and Innovation Center are involved with the transition online.

Moving forward he said everyone should continue to check their email and Eastern’s website frequently.

“Eastern is likely experiencing the same challenges as other universities and we are working our way through them,” he said. “Through the actions being taken… and our decisions are being driven by (safety concerns) we are wanting to make sure everyone is as safe as possible.”

The university has set up an informational email account, which is [email protected], where students, faculty and staff with any questions can send those inquiries to.

As they are being sent in, Reinhart said those questions are being shared internally and used as a tool to help find an answer.

Analicia Haynes and Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].