COVID-19 could impact start of fall semester, University says

Seton Hall University confirmed on Wednesday that the Fall 2020 semester could see a delayed start as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and is exploring different options to commence with learning in the midst of the pandemic, though did not elaborate on if those options included online learning.  

“The rapidly changing nature of this situation could impact the actual fall start date and adjustments to the academic calendar may occur depending on the course of the COVID-19 virus,” University spokesperson Laurie Pine said in a statement. “Due to the fluidity of the situation, we are preparing for a variety of options that will provide the best academic experience and enable students to finish finals before the Christmas holiday and Winter Break commences.”

An empty Arts and Sciences classroom. Seton Hall suspended classes on March 11. (Nicholas Kerr/News Editor)

The outbreak has already forced the University to commence with online learning through the spring semester as well as the first two summer sessions of classes. Currently, the third session of summer courses is still set to take place in person.

The news comes as colleges across the country have begun considering alternative options to in-person fall courses in response to the outbreak, which health officials have warned could last for the foreseeable future. 

“I would hope that by November we would have things under such control that we could have a real degree of normality. That’s my interest and my job as a public health person,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said in an April 11 appearance on MSNBC. 

Boston University, which also has canceled all in-person activity this summer on its main campus, outlined in a recovery plan released this week that it is taking into consideration “a later in-person return, perhaps in January 2021” if health officials deem it unsafe to open in the fall.

In a statement posted online, the Boston University clarified that it was still “planning to resume its on-campus, residential program in the Fall of 2020,” and that plans to possibly not return until 2021 were simply contingencies.

Nicholas Kerr can be reached at Find him on Twitter @NickKerr99.

Author: Nicholas Kerr

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