Spring Semester 2021 Video UpdateOctober 7, 2020
Dear WCU Community,
The fall semester is now in full swing amidst unprecedented times and we continue to adjust to our day-to-day reality while maintaining a strong commitment to student success. I know that our world’s present conditions have not made things easy as many of you juggle school, work, and increased family responsibilities. Know that all of us at WCU stand with you. I firmly believe that our resilience will make us stronger and wiser when we finally emerge from this historic pandemic. Until then, our continued perseverance is essential for the health and safety of all those in our community.
As we prepared in the summer for the fall semester, we must prepare now for the spring semester, which will soon commence with course registration and academic planning. Exacerbated by spikes in many states and the onset of the seasonal flu, the latest scientific forecasts are predicting that the pandemic will continue to be unyielding through the winter and spring months. Additionally, 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. Accordingly, remote learning with some hybrid classes (meaning both in-person and remote) will continue through the spring semester. Students who had in-person experiences this fall should expect that those and similar classes will be offered in a hybrid format of both remote and in-person instruction. Continuing remote instruction through spring 2021 will ensure that WCU students will be able to earn credits for academic degrees in an uninterrupted manner.
As was the case with the fall registration process, a revised spring schedule with all details, including instructional mode, will be released on October 19th and will reflect a majority of classes that will be available solely by remote instruction. Before that date, students will be able to review their spring registration appointments and review which courses will be available for the spring semester on October 7th. The final schedule indicating the instructional mode (either remote or hybrid) of each course, however, will not be released until October 19th. Please work to arrange advising appointments with your advisor now, so we can finalize schedules before the beginning of the Thanksgiving Break.
We are extending our 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.
Please know that we will also 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 cost of tuition and fees.
To support students, the following tools and strategies that were added in the fall will stay in effect:
- Technology lending program, including laptops, webcams, and mobile hotspots for students without access to Broadband Internet
- Enhanced remote student support through our 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.
A full operating schedule of when in-person services will be available in each building will be posted on the University’s homepage. Sykes Student Union, the Campus Recreation Center, FHG Library, and several other buildings will remain open for use and active social distancing will continue to be in place.
Once again, on-campus housing will welcome 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 (i.e. clinical, student teaching, internship, performance, and similar academic requirements). Further information will be forthcoming to on-campus students with current completed lease or occupancy agreements.
My leadership team and I will be hosting Town Hall Meetings for WCU students and their families. Additionally, we will also host separate faculty and staff meetings. Please look for date and time announcements in about a week.
This is not the spring semester that any of us anticipated or desired. We must, however, remain flexible and work together to take care of one another. Know that we are here to answer your questions and to provide support in whatever way that we can. For additional information, please see our website for updated Frequently Asked Questions:
This is a hurdle that our Rams will overcome together.
Christopher Fiorentino, Ph.D.