Area universities push back in-person classes, start dates because of COVID

Colleges and universities in the region have delayed starting the spring semester because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some colleges are starting the semester online and then transitioning to in-person or hybrid classes after a few weeks, like the University of Dayton and Wright State. College officials said they are doing this to give students time to isolate after being around others during the holidays.

Wright State University

Wright State University will continue its hybrid model that combines in-person, remote and flexible instruction in the spring semester. About 70% of the instruction will be remote. Wright State has not canceled spring break.

Wright State will begin the spring semester today as planned, said university spokesman Seth Bauguess.

“Out of an abundance of caution, for the first two weeks of the semester, nearly, but not all in-person instruction will be delivered remotely as a precaution following the holiday surge in community spread that we are experiencing in our region and across the state,” he said.

Wright State continues to encourage everyone to wear masks and social distance while in the classroom and on campus.

University of Dayton

At UD, the majority of undergraduate spring semester classes will start remotely on Jan. 19. If conditions permit, UD’s plan is to begin in-person classes on Feb. 1.

Students in classes with required in-person components will be notified individually.

Before getting to UD’s campus, students are encouraged to quarantine for two weeks. All undergraduate students must sign up for a time and date to check in, similar to the way UD did in the fall. Students will get to campus between Jan. 15 and 31. Between 500 and 600 students will get checked in on a day.

All undergrad and graduate students will be tested when they get to campus, according to instructions from the university.

ExploreUD to start spring semester online, in-person components to resume Feb. 1

Students who test positive will be required to return home if they live closer than 400 miles. Students who test negative will be allowed to go to their residences immediately. This plan is subject to change until Jan. 15, the university said.

Since August, UD has had about 1,500 student cases of coronavirus.

University President Eric Spina previously told this newspaper UD will continue random surveillance testing like they did in the fall, especially early in the semester, but it will be a higher number of students and results will come in faster because of improved tests.

Greene County schools

Students at Cedarville University will begin in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan. 19. They can move into their residence halls on Jan. 17 starting at 8 a.m.

Central State University is giving students the option for in-person, online or hybrid classes. Classes will start virtually on Jan. 19. In-person classes won’t start until Jan. 25, said Zillah Fluker, vice-president of institutional advancement.

Students have been told to take a COVID test within a week before returning to campus. Students will also be tested when they get to campus.

“Central State University had less than two percent cases last semester and we were able to safely quarantine and isolate individuals accordingly. Our medical staff, student affairs and facilities team will continue to collaborate to diligently maintain our campus health and safety as we navigate this global pandemic,” Fluker said in an emailed statement.

Wilberforce will start classes on Feb. 1. Normally, classes would start right after the New Year.

Wilberforce students have been given the option to stay at home and continue learning virtually or return to campus. On campus, classes will be held in a hybrid fashion. Classes were all online in the fall.

Students must make an appointment online to move in. They must get tested for coronavirus if they want to move onto campus.

“We are committed to support our students whether they select in-class or virtual learning. Our message to our students is, ‘we will not allow COVID-19 to derail your academic goals and we are here to support the continuation of your academic journey,’” said Wilberforce President Elfred Anthony Pinkard.

Virtual workshops are being held this week to prepare instructors for the beginning of the semester, Pinkard said.

ExploreWright State to continue hybrid instructions in spring

Miami University

Miami University ended its fall semester earlier than normal, with classes done Nov. 20, instead of Dec. 7 as in 2019.

Miami’s spring semester is now scheduled to start Jan. 25 rather than last year’s start date of Jan. 13, according to the school’s latest updated calendar. Students will have the option for face-to-face, hybrid and online classes. Miami cancelled spring break and instead will have “reading days.”

About 4,000 fewer students than usual lived on the Oxford campus this fall, with thousands of students deciding to take remote classes from their family homes in Ohio, other states and internationally.

Most colleges say their plans are subject to change as the pandemic landscape changes.

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