Fall 2020 Continues Remote Learning
Dear WCU Community,
I hope all of you remain in good spirits. As many of you are aware, the latest national data is currently showing a significant spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks, and hot spots have spread to more than 40 states. Today, the U.S. surpasses three million cases of the coronavirus and reports more than 60,000 new cases in a single day. WCU cannot ignore the potential danger of bringing thousands back to campus. Accordingly, our plans for the fall semester must adjust to this new reality. My leadership team and I have made the decision to continue remote learning through the fall 2020 semester, with a few courses delivered in a hybrid format, meaning both in-person and remote, in order to assist those students with clinical placements, student teaching, performance obligations, internship sites, and similar academic responsibilities.
Continuing remote instruction for fall 2020 will ensure that our students’ educations will be uninterrupted as they earn credits required for academic degrees. Know that faculty and staff will continue to be accessible and highly committed to student success. In fact, we have added a number of enhancements to help students excel despite the effects of COVID 19. The following are among the tools and strategies that we have added to support students during this unprecedented time:
- We have implemented a technology lending program, including laptops, webcams, and mobile hotspots for students without access to Broadband Internet.
- We have enhanced remote student support through our Student Success Coordinators and Student Success Coaches.
- We have created online training modules focused on assisting students with the transition from in-person classes to remote learning.
- We have transitioned all student support services to remote delivery, including additional tutoring and supplemental instruction for specific courses.
- We have partnered with key software providers to ensure home access for students.
- We have increased advising outreach by faculty to support student success.
- We have shifted the University’s library services from mostly in-person support to remote delivery, including the mailing of library materials to students’ homes.
In addition, as Chester County is presently in a Green Phase, our public buildings will be open and will be limited to 50 percent capacity. This means that Sykes Student Union, the Campus Recreation Center, FHG Library, and several other buildings will be open for use and are currently being readied in ways that will foster and promote active social distancing.
To support the University’s goal of all undergraduate students completing at least 30 credits per academic year in pursuit of finishing in four years, for the Fall 2020 semester, eligible WCU undergraduate students will be able to take advantage of 6 “free” Fall credits during the upcoming 2020-2021 Winter or Summer sessions. As full tuition costs are the same for 12 to 18 credits in WCU’s Fall and Spring semesters, undergraduate students taking 12 credits in the Fall will be able to take an additional 6 credits in the Winter or Summer session without being charged tuition. Similarly, undergraduate students taking 15 credits in the Fall will now be able to take an additional 3 credits in the Winter or Summer session without being charged tuition.
More details on this will be forthcoming.
At the same time, we will also provide a wealth of out-of-class experiences, and plan to make our first-year and transfer students feel part of our community through opportunities that will enable them to transition seamlessly when in-person instruction resumes.
The revised fall schedule will reflect a majority of classes that will be available solely by remote instruction. A few courses will be delivered in a hybrid format, meaning both in-person and remote, to assist those with clinical placements, student teaching responsibilities, internship arrangements, performance obligations, and similar requirements.
As instruction for credit continues at WCU on a remote learning basis and will do so throughout the 2020 fall semester, many necessary services remain and are being carried-on as they would with face-to-face instruction. The University will make adjustments to dining, housing, and other student fees impacted by this shift to remote instruction. Details about specific adjustments will be posted next week.
West Chester University on-campus housing is developing detailed plans to welcome a limited population of students to our residential facilities with added precautions for the health and well-being of our students. Students with current completed lease or occupancy agreements are welcomed to apply; however, prioritization will be given to students who are in the following categories: Promise Program students, proven hardship cases, academic placements (i.e. student teachers, clinical placements, and internship sites), and potentially themed learning communities. Further information will be forthcoming to students with current completed lease or occupancy agreements.
We know that you have many questions and we want to help. Please see the link on our website to a series of Frequently Asked Questions WCU FAQ's. Also, on Thursday, July 16, from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm, my leadership team and I will host a Student Town Meeting for WCU students and their families. We will do whatever we can to help lessen the burden on students. Additionally, on Monday, July 13, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am, my leadership team and I will also host an Employee Meeting.
The University understands that students’ lives have been turned upside down by a relentless pandemic that continues to sweep across the globe. Our support for our WCU community will not waiver. We will continue to be here for all and will help students cross the finish line in whatever way we can.