COVID-19 affects student life, academics

After the announcement of a campus closure, students, faculty and staff have switched to online learning and operational platforms for the remainder of the semester. Along with this, students are currently in the process of moving out of housing facilities and communal spaces if they have not already done so unless other accommodations have been made due to the inability to currently travel home or leave campus.

Students started block six courses on March 23 online, the date having previously been set for the academic calendar last year. Faculty shifted agendas and coursework to Canvas over spring break along with implementing the use of Google Hangouts video conferencing and other programs.

“Block six starting when it did after spring break really was a bit of good fortune as it gave our staff a few days to rethink online delivery needs for our courses. Even so, all credit to our faculty who reacted so efficiently to this unexpected need,” said Roger Doerr, chair of the Board of Trustees and on the acting presidential transition committee.

With classes moving to online platforms, professors of some courses requiring lab or studio equipment or in-person working time were required to adapt or cancel courses due to the nature of each class. Class cancelations did not affect any seniors planning to graduate this May.

“All classes were reviewed prior to the start of the course and classes were given a substitution course or have been canceled for Block six….Faculty with lab courses utilized some available software. Adaptations were also made in studio courses. Some worked for teaching online and some did not, we made those adjustments to the schedule,” said Barbara Sunderman, vice president for academic affairs.

During this transition where usual learning aid resources may not be available, a revision was made to allow students to take courses with Pass/D/F grading as long as these courses were not for their major and were approved by their advisor. The deadline to request for Pass/D/F grading for a course is today at 5 p.m. CST. Studio 200 and Perkins Library have also shifted their operations online with students being able to set up virtual meetings and help sessions and can be contacted 
for further needs.

Information regarding the return of course materials, book rentals, and iPads if necessary will be sent when a date and plans are decided.

On March 24, Student Experience sent an email to students regarding moving out processes. While a date was not noted for students to have this process completed by, an announcement was made that student’s fob-access to buildings would be turned off today and that students should contact the Student Engagement Team for further needs.

“The Student Engagement Team has been working with all students to support them as they transition away from Hastings College. We have worked through a variety of different situations related to timing as well as “home” locations….Specifically related to our international students, we have worked with them individually to decide if it is possible for them to return to their home country. In most cases, we have been able to support them and their travel home, however, a handful of students are staying on campus,” said Susan Meeske, executive vice president of enrollment and student experience.

At this time, all campus events have been postponed or canceled, with some still being decided upon. In an email announcement from Sunderman on March 30, information regarding commencement will potentially be sent out by April 17 but may possibly take form virtually or take place in the upcoming summer or fall. No information has been announced regarding Honors Convocation. Registration for summer and fall classes was also moved.