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Colleges and Universities Education Features News

WilmU says fall classes will stay online, DSU delays its decision

Katie Tabeling

Photo by Paul Patton | Wilmington University™

WILMINGTONWilmington University will be holding the fall semester completely online, becoming the first among Delaware’s higher education institutions to decide against bringing students back on campus.

“Our exceptional faculty, dedicated staff and caring administration will continue to provide for you the same personalized programs you have always known at Wilmington University,” Wilmington U President LaVerne Harmon wrote in an email to students Monday night. “For everyone’s protection, it is best to adhere to guidelines imposed by the State of Delaware and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Meanwhile, Delaware State University delayed its official announcement for its plan for the Fall 2020 semester. But early plans offer a hybrid of online courses and in-person courses, with larger classes capped out at 40 students and mandating wearing masks.

“Across the globe, particularly in the last 7 to 10 days, we have seen a significant rise in COVID positive cases,” said Delaware State University President Dr. Tony Allen. “Delaware State is really setting some standard respect to how we are working with everything, in terms of working from home with our faculty and staff, enabling us to be more efficient and effective. I do not want to lose sight of those opportunities in how we handle the material, use our technology and communicate, because that’s what makes us a better university.”

Wilmington U moved all face-to-face classes online on March 16, just days after a University of Delaware professor was confirmed to be the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the state. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the university offered 1,340 online courses and afterwards that number swelled to 2,164 online courses.

The university is not looking at additional costs for continuing online courses, since the college was already prepared, according to Wilmington U Associate Vice President of University Relations Bill Swain. Last year, the university started to use online learning management system Canvas, which in theory allows any professor to be ready for online classes.

Harmon stressed uncertainties when it came to COVID-19, noting that Gov. John Carney recently announced delaying the state’s Phase Three economic reopening plan, which was scheduled for June 29, pointing to the steady rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

“No one knows if COVID-19 will continue to spread at its current pace,” Dr. Harmon said in a press statement. “The virus is still in its first phase, and there is growing concern that numbers will increase, or possibly result in a second wave.”

In addition, Wilmington U will postpone the commencement ceremony as “the safety of more than 10,000 people who attended these ceremonies could be compromised.” The new commencement date for the Spring class of 2020 is Oct. 25.

As for sports, the university is awaiting the decisions from the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference which is expected in mid- to late July.

–Katie Tabeling


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