On March 10, IU President Michael A. McRobbie announced that all IU campuses’ courses will be taught online for two weeks following spring break. This announcement followed suit with the more than 300 universities that have canceled or moved courses online since the COVID-19 outbreak.
Since then, a national state of emergency has been declared by President Trump and it has left many students and staff with questions regarding the rest of the semester. The editors at the Campus Citizen have collected answers to the confusion from interviews, announcements and other sources.
Jump to answers:
WHAT WILL HAPPEN FOLLOWING APRIL 5?
According to Chuck Carney, IU’s director of media relations and IU’s primary spokesperson, it’s not likely that campus would shut down entirely, an extension past April 5 of courses being taught online could be considered.
Along with this, according to an email sent to only faculty members, a dean from IUPUI said they believed it was very unlikely that face-to-face classes will resume on April 6 and will probably continue until the end of the school year. Regardless, we will know what is happening by the end of spring break.
WHY HAVEN’T CLASSES BEEN MOVED ONLINE FOR THE REST OF THE SEMESTER?
With Ball State suspending all in-person classes for the duration of the spring semester and Purdue deciding to continue online courses as long as “in-person instruction seems inadvisable,” despite that neither of those school’s counties has had a case of the virus.
Unlike Ball State and Purdue, IUPUI’s Marion County has had two cases and surrounding counties, such as Boone County, Hendricks County, Johnson County have had six positive cases in total.
Despite this, Carney said that IU would reconsider a lot of things if matters progress and further actions need to be taken. However, they hope to resume normal operations following spring break.
WHAT IF A CASE COMES TO AN IU CAMPUS AFTER THE TWO-WEEK PERIOD?
Although it would depend on how the situation presents itself, Carney said it would depend on the level of exposure to other students and how many cases. At this point, he said IU has contingencies in case that happens, but it is hard to say at this point.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO LABS? CLINICALS?
According to IUPUI’s twitter, they are looking into how to accommodate courses such as labs that require in-person activities. Along with that, Carney said that labs will have to be adjusted on a lab by lab basis.
“One of those things will just have to be worked out by the instructors for each of these individual classes,” Carney said. “And so it’s hard to say overall how we’ll handle that because it’ll be a lot of different ways when it comes right down to it, depending on what the course is.”
Regarding clinicals, the nursing school at IUPUI has informed students that clinicals will continue as scheduled, according to Joshua Moody, a nursing student at IUPUI.
Moody commented that although the school has been keeping students informed, he found the move interesting since the hospital is where those at risk for COVID-19, the sick and immunocompromised, are in the hospital.
WILL STUDENTS GET REFUNDS?
Although we do not have a specific answer regarding refunds in the case courses are moved online for the rest of the semester, Carney provided some insight on the possibility of refunds.
“I’d just say this is a constantly evolving situation and it would be hard to say what situation might come in which that would be necessary,” Carney said. “If we’ve learned anything so far, it’s that it’s very difficult to project “what if‘s”, so I’d be reluctant to guess what situation might warrant that right now. We’ll continue evaluating things as they develop.”
WHAT IF TEACHERS STRUGGLE WITH TECHNOLOGY?
According to Carney, they hope that teachers are familiar with the basics of Canvas and online teaching, however, keepteaching.iu.edu was developed in 2009 during the H1N1 outbreak and was designed to assist instructors if an outbreak led to online classes.
Any college or university can use the resources on the site, such as access to tools instructors can use, ideas for how to implement tools and the option for teachers to run a simulation on what actions to take during certain disruptions. They are also prepared to assist faculty who are struggling with the transition.
“So we hope that instructors who are not as well versed in online instruction, will take a look at that,” Carney said. “I think now, especially with the tools such as canvas, the online instruction is semi baked into a lot of our coursework. So we think that’ll probably be fairly natural for a lot of our instructors.”
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE GRADUATION CEREMONY?
“At this point, it’s too early to make a call on commencement ceremonies. We’ll be considering that in the coming weeks,” Carney said.
WHAT DOES CHANCELLOR PAYDAR AND PRESIDENT MCROBBIE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE OUTBREAK?
Without an official statement from Paydar and the most recent response from McRobbie regarding logistics, many are left wondering what is on their minds.
“Chancellor Paydar has really emphasized the same points that it’s [the move to online classes] an important step to protect the health of students on our campus, in Indianapolis,” Carney said. “President McRobbie emphasized that this was really something that we’re set up to do…”
WHAT STEPS WERE TAKEN TO GET TO THIS DECISION?
“This was something that was considered as a possibility as the virus continued to spread quickly,” Carney said. “It was talked about more among the executive leadership group among all of the institutions that are part of IU. Finally, the president made the decision on behalf of all the campuses.”
WHAT STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO MAKE SURE IU CAMPUSES ARE CLEAN?
According to News at IU, there have been steps taken at IUPUI to increase cleanliness, such as increased sanitation of all customer non-food and food handled equipment, signage encouraging hand washing, increased disinfection of JagLine, and more.
Other campuses have also ramped up their cleaning regimes, with IU Bloomington increasing staff and increasing the amount of disinfection of “common touch” surfaces and bathrooms.
WHAT STUDENT SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE?
According to an e-mail by Eric A. Weldy, vice chancellor of student affairs, professors and the university are trying to provide support during a transition that will be difficult for some students.
For students who need help with technology tools and online courses, they recommend enrolling in Keep Learning at IU to be informed about online learning topics.
The University Library, computer labs and technology centers will remain open for those who cannot access WiFi or do not computer access from home.
Along with this, tutoring, mentoring, advising, and career development will continue to take place online alongside mental health services. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and The Coleman Hall clinic will remain open.
WHAT SHOULD I TAKE AWAY FROM THE RECENT ANNOUNCEMENT?
- To date, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases on any IU campus.
- All campus gyms, fitness centers, pools, child care and day care centers will be closed until April 5.
- The Big Ten canceled all competitions through the end of the semester and suspended all organized team activities until April 6.
- All IU study abroad programs scheduled before May 16 have been canceled. Future cancellations may occur.
- “Any student, faculty member, or staff member returning from a country subject to a CDC Level 3 warning must self-quarantine off campus for 14 days before returning to any IU campus.”
- Libraries, student technology centers, computer labs, and other academic spaces will remain open.
- Campus buses will continue operations.
- “Individual research labs, academic buildings, studios, and clinical facilities will continue operations per the local decisions at each campus.”
HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED BEFORE?
Although IU campuses have seen short class interruptions from the weather before, nothing to this extent has happened on an IU Campus in over 100 years.
“The closest corollary to this would be back in 1918 with the IU Bloomington campus, which closed for 10 days because of the Spanish flu, which raged through the country and killed many, many people,” Carney said. “That one is the only thing that really sort of compares to this.”
HERE’S EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- As of March 14, 89 people have been tested for COVID-19 and 15 people tested positive in Indiana. No one in Indiana has died from the virus.
- As of March 13, there are 1,629 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., with 41 deaths. There are still 1,362 cases under investigation. The numbers are still growing. Click here to view the CDC world map.
- One percent of Hoosiers may have contacted the virus, which equals to 60,000 people.
- There are still not enough tests in Indiana for those who may need it.
- The last virus to be named a Pandemic was H1NI in 2009.
- More than half of coronavirus patients globally have recovered.
- Indianapolis-area school districts closed due to COVID-19 include:
- Indianapolis Public Schools
- Beech Grove Schools
- Speedway Schools
- Wayne Township Schools
- Warren Township Schools
- Washington Township Schools
- Franklin Township Schools
- Decatur Township Schools
- Lawrence Township Schools
- Perry Township Schools
- Pike Township Schools
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