West Chester University To Stay Remote Into Spring Semester

WEST CHESTER, PA — West Chester University officials announced today that spring semester classes will continue with remote instruction, a move they say is precautionary with a view to a predicted second wave of the coronavirus.

“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,” the university said in a media release Wednesday morning.

The university made the announcement this week in order to allow students and their families to plan as they soon being selecting their spring semester courses.

“Continuing remote instruction through spring 2021 will ensure that WCU students will be able to earn credits for academic degrees in an uninterrupted manner,” said West Chester University President Christopher Fiorentino.

“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 added.

The university said it 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, which will lower the total combined costs of tuition and fees.

Spring 2021 instruction will be delivered via Zoom Conferencing, Skype, email, and a variety of other remote modes of course delivery as determined by WCU faculty, much like it was delivered in fall. Some courses will continue to be offered in a hybrid format (both remote and in-person) 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 (state) system universities have the space they need to choose how to safely continue education opportunities so students can pursue their degrees during this pandemic,” said Greenstein.

West Chester University also issued a series of new strategies and tools to continue to help WCU students meet their academic requirements. They are:

  • 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 6 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 3 credits any of the three summer 2021 sessions without being charged tuition.

Once again, on-campus housing will accept 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, such as students in clinical, student teaching, internship, performance, and with other similar academic requirements.

A message to the WCU community, and link to the president’s video announcement can be found here. FAQs can be found here.

This article originally appeared on the West Chester Patch

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