Wright State University is canceling all in-person classes for the rest of their spring semester as a preventative measure to combat the current coronavirus pandemic.
Known as COVID-19, the outbreak has led to states across America closing schools and restricting large gatherings, causing sporting events and television shows to either happen without audiences or be canceled altogether. Across Ohio, all K-12 schools have shut down. Many of the state colleges, including Ohio State University, Miami University and Sinclair Community College, in addition to Wright State, have suspended all face-to-face classes, opting to move all instruction to an online format.
In an email sent to students on March 10, Sue Edwards, president of Wright State, explained that these classes were to be canceled for the rest of the week and that the change was necessary to avoid spreading the disease.
“I understand that the changes that we have to impose will cause measurable disruption, but, according to public health officials, the risk of not acting outweighs the inconvenience of these temporary measures,” the email read. “The safety of our campus community is always our number one priority. Your cooperation and collaboration will help us navigate this rapidly changing matter, and I thank you for your patience and understanding.”
According to Edwards at the time, online instruction for classes at Wright State would begin the following Monday, March 16.
“Faculty members should use the rest of the week to prepare their courses for remote delivery starting next week,” Edwards explained. The format was supposed to remain in place until March 30, when in-person classes were to resume on campus.
However, another email was sent by Interim Provost Douglas Leaman on Friday, and it confirmed that Wright State’s courses would remain online for longer than anticipated due to health concerns.
“This is in line with nearly every other state institution and will provide clarity on expectations going forward through the final six weeks of the spring semester,” Leaman stated in his email.
Both Edwards and Leaman recommended to students at the university that they should avoid direct interaction with their peers and professors.
“We strongly recommend that every attempt be made to avoid any face-to-face interaction or meetings of any kind,” Leaman wrote. “Some exceptions may be necessary, and in those rare instances, students will be contacted by their instructor.”
All meetings for students and group gatherings that are not necessary are currently prohibited by the university for the time being. However, the university’s library is remaining open, along with most of the campus’ dining areas.
In addition, Wright State is keeping their student housing open as of Friday, according to Leaman. “Students may choose whether to continue to live on campus or move out. We also have a number of students who rely on the services provided by Residence Life and Housing and we want to continue to be supportive of those students.”
He ended the message by assuring students that they would continue to get a quality education and that the university would keep everyone updated.
“Wright State is committed to ensuring continuity of curriculum, even if delivered in alternate ways. Please continue to progress in your coursework and communicate with your instructors and program directions as to how any changes in content might affect your requirements.”
Edwards sent out a final email Friday evening, thanking students and faculty for their cooperation and determination in dealing with the outbreak while offering encouraging words to them.
“We will get through this together and come out stronger for the experience,” she wrote.