Three Days After Announcement of Spring Break Extension, Where Are We?
By Benjamin Pontz, Editor-in-Chief
Three days after the college announced it would extend spring break by a week and begin to prepare contingencies if classes cannot resume in person due to the threat of a spreading coronavirus, no decision about what will happen on March 23, when classes are scheduled to resume, has been announced. Sources familiar with internal deliberations say that no decision has yet been made.
According to a memo that circulated among some college administrators not participating in the highest level of deliberations, options on the table include resuming in-person classes while banning large gatherings, temporarily moving to remote instruction, and moving to remote instruction for the remainder of the semester. While it is not known when the college will make a decision about the plan moving forward, college spokesperson Jamie Yates said Wednesday night that the college is aware of the sense of urgency that students feel.
To Student Senate President Patrick McKenna ’20, that sense of urgency is heightened by a lack of communication from the college.
“I understand that the College is dealing with a set of circumstances that is continuously evolving and while I appreciate their sense efforts I believe the overwhelming sense among students is that we need to know what is going on,” McKenna said. “Or, at the very least send more frequent updates because no one feels that communication from the College has been adequate in the middle of this global pandemic.”
Meanwhile, members of the faculty have begun preparations to teach courses remotely, and training sessions are planned every afternoon next week to acquaint faculty with Zoom, Screencast-O-Matic, and Moodle.
“I have to say I’ve been impressed with the faculty response: folks are understanding of the extraordinary circumstances we’re in, those with experience have been chipping in to help those with less and even the most computer-phobic faculty have been enthusiastic despite the difficult and time consuming process ahead,” Director of Educational Technology Eric Remy said Thursday evening.
Faculty members have also been attending online trainings and scouring Twitter and other internet sources as they look to adapt their classes in the event of online instruction, which four faculty members said Thursday seems increasingly likely based on the communications they have received from the college and their conversations with academic administrators.
Students abroad have had mixed reactions and responses to the president’s announcement Wednesday night that he would be banning all travel from Europe, which the administration later clarified applied only to people that are not U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or their immediate family members. Students also criticized the lack of immediate response from college administrators as other institutions recalled their students, and at least three global study programs — in Copenhagen, Geneva, and Jerusalem — have canceled the rest of the semester abroad and are sending students home. The Gettysburgian is aware of two other students who decided to leave their respective locations on their own volition or at their parents’ urging within the past 24 hours.
Late Thursday night, the Center for Global Education did send a message to students studying abroad in Europe. They were told to come home.
Recap of The Gettysburgian’s Coronavirus Coverage
- Bookmark this page to read new articles as they appear
- What We Know, What We Don’t Know: Gettysburg’s Response to the Coronavirus (Updated continuously. Last Update: March 12 at 4:00 p.m.)
- Students Studying in Europe Told to Come Home (March 12)
- Centennial Conference Suspends All Spring Athletic Activity (March 12)
- With New Travel Restrictions Imminent, Students Abroad Scramble (March 12)
- Students Await More News As Spring Break is Extended (March 11)
- College Rolls Out Web Page Detailing Strategies for ‘Academic Continuity’ As Colleges Nationwide Cancel In-Person Classes Amid Coronavirus (March 10)
- College Will Extend Spring Break by One Week (March 10)
- College Implements New Travel Protocols, Students Abroad Feel Inconvenienced, Though Not Alarmed, by the Coronavirus (March 8)
- College Cancels Spring Break Trips As Coronavirus Spreads (March 6)
- With New Travel Warning, Students Studying Abroad in Italy Must Either Sign New Waiver or Return Home (February 29)
Assistant News Editor Katie Oglesby contributed to this report.
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