With the nation continuing to experience spikes in COVID-19 and scientists predicting a new surge due to cold weather, West Chester University is taking extra precautions to protect the community from a forecasted second wave of the virus by continuing remote and some hybrid – meaning both remote and in-person – academic instruction through the spring semester.
As course selection and preparation for the next semester will soon begin, the university is announcing its intentions so students and their families can plan accordingly. WCU President Christopher Fiorentino made the announcement by releasing the above video and an e-mail message to the WCU community.
“There is not enough information on the availability of rapid testing or a vaccine on a sufficient scale for us to be confident enough to announce and plan for a spring semester that includes a return to in-person instruction,” he said. “Continuing remote instruction through spring 2021 will ensure that WCU students will be able to earn credits for academic degrees in an uninterrupted manner.”
The university will continue to provide COVID-19 relief credits to both in-state and out-of-state students, full-time and part-time, for spring 2021 that will lower the total combined costs of tuition and fees.
Much like the fall, spring 2021 instruction will be delivered via Zoom Conferencing, Skype, e-mail, and a variety of other remote modes of course delivery as determined by WCU faculty. Some courses will continue to be offered in a hybrid format to assist students with clinical placements, student teaching, performance obligations, internship sites, and similar academic responsibilities.
“Universities across the State System are exploring a range of options to deliver quality public higher education and to do so in a way that emphasizes the health and safety of every member of the community: students, faculty, staff, administration, and so on,” said State System Chancellor Dan Greenstein. “It’s important just like with the Fall 2020 semester that West Chester and the other System universities have the space they need to choose how to safely continue education opportunities so students can pursue their degrees during this pandemic.”
The following series of new strategies and tools will continue to help WCU students meet academic requirements:
- Technology lending program, including laptops, webcams, and mobile hotspots for students without access to Broadband Internet
- Enhanced remote student support through the university’s Student Success Coordinators and Student Success Coaches
- Online training modules focused on assisting students with the transition from in-person classes to remote learning
- Student support services conducted via remote delivery, including additional tutoring and supplemental instruction for specific courses
- Home access for students via key software providers
- Increased advising outreach by faculty to support student success
- Remote delivery of library services, including the mailing of library materials to students’ homes
The university is extending its promise to current undergraduate students through the spring semester. Undergraduate students taking 12 credits in the spring will be able to take an additional six credits in any of the three summer 2021 sessions without being charged tuition. Similarly, undergraduate students taking 15 credits in the spring will be able to take an additional three credits any of the three summer 2021 sessions without being charged tuition.
Once again, on-campus housing will welcome a small group of students for the spring semester, and enhanced health practices will continue to be implemented in the residential facilities. Priority will be given to Promise Program students, proven hardship cases, and academic placements (i.e., clinical, student teaching, internship, performance, and similar academic requirements).
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