Eastern expects classes on campus in fall


JJ Bullock, Editor-in-Chief

Classes at Eastern are expected to return to face-to-face sessions in the fall, Eastern Provost Jay Gatrell told the Faculty Senate on Tuesday.

Gatrell’s declaration Tuesday comes with the assumption that things still could change in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has already pushed classes online-only for the spring and summer sessions, however. But Gatrell said as far as he was concerned, the expectation is that classes will be held on campus in the fall.

Eastern’s administration’s expectation that classes will return to face-to-face normalcy in the fall is based off of conversations Eastern officials have had with state health officials and also analysis of data, which indicates classes could be held safely on campus again in the fall if the COVID-19 outbreak curve begins to settle into a safe zone.

Gatrell also noted that nothing is set in stone yet as the coronavirus outbreak continues to develop, however.

The senate’s executive board met with Gatrell and Eastern President David Glassman last week to discuss Eastern’s visibility, enrollment deposits for the fall and other expectations moving forward in wake of the outbreak.

Deposits for the fall are down at Eastern, something believed to be a result of the outbreak. Executive board member Don Holly said he thinks people are “a little hesitant to pull the trigger” because of the virus.

However, universities across the country are all experiencing drops in deposits, Gatrell said. It is very much a national, not local problem right now, he said.

Deposits for the fall are down, but administration is still optimistic because RSVPs for Eastern’s virtual orientation day are up from past years. Eastern has also extended deadlines for potential students into July to make up for the impact of the coronavirus.

Gatrell said “uncertainty” is framing where Eastern is at right now, but he and other administrators feel good about where the university is at headed into the fall.

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]