Nationwide Surge in COVID-19 Prompts WCU to Adapt to New Reality: Remote Instruction for Fall 2020

Ken Knickerbocker
By
Image via West Chester University.

As the U.S. surpasses three million cases of  COVID-19 and reports 60,000-plus new cases in a single day, West Chester University President Christopher Fiorentino released a video and e-mail message today announcing that WCU will adapt to the new reality by continuing remote instruction for the Fall 2020 semester.

Instruction will be delivered via Zoom Conferencing, Skype, e-mail, and a variety of other alternative modes of course delivery as determined by WCU faculty. A few courses will be offered in a hybrid format (both in-person and remote) to assist students with clinical placements, student teaching, performance obligations, internship sites, and similar academic responsibilities. The Fall 2020 semester will begin on time on Aug. 24.

In a video released to the WCU community, WCU President Christopher Fiorentino said, “In mid-June, WCU announced plans to bring all students back to campus for Fall 2020 for some mixture of face-to-face and online instruction. At that time, it was hoped that colleges would be able to safely reopen in the Fall. Today, the U.S. surpasses three million cases of the coronavirus and nearly 60,000 new cases were reported just this Tuesday, July 7. With the latest national data showing a disturbing spike and spread in coronavirus infections around the country, we cannot ignore the potential danger of bringing thousands of students back to campus for face-to-face instruction amidst the virus’ dramatic resurgence … Continuing remote instruction for Fall 2020 will ensure that our students’ educations will be uninterrupted as they earn credits required for academic degrees, while faculty and staff will continue to be accessible (remotely) and highly committed to student success.”

To help students excel despite the sweeping effects of COVID-19, the university has developed a series of new strategies and tools to help WCU students meet academic requirements:

  • A technology lending program features laptops, webcams, and mobile hotspots for students without access to Broadband Internet.
  • Remote student support has been enhanced through the university’s Student Success Coordinators and Student Success Coaches.
  • Online training modules have been created that focus on assisting students with the transition from in-person classes to remote learning.
  • All student support services have been transitioned to remote delivery, including additional tutoring and supplemental instruction for specific courses.
  • Partnerships have been established with key software providers to ensure home access for students.
  • Increased advising outreach by faculty will support student success.
  • The university’s library services have been shifted from mostly in-person support to remote delivery, including the mailing of library materials to students’ homes.

Additionally, to support the university’s goal of all undergraduate students completing at least 30 credits per academic year in pursuit of finishing in four years, WCU has announced that for the Fall 2020 semester, eligible WCU undergraduate students will now be able to take advantage of six “free” Fall credits during the upcoming 2020-2021 Winter or Summer sessions. As full tuition costs are the same for 12 to 18 credits in WCU’s Fall and Spring semesters, undergraduate students taking 12 credits in the Fall will now be able to take an additional six credits in the Winter or Summer session without being charged tuition. Similarly, undergraduate students taking 15 credits in the Fall will now be able to take an additional three credits in the Winter or Summer session without being charged tuition.

Fiorentino’s e-mail to WCU students, faculty, and staff can be read in its entirety here.

FAQs can be found here.

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