Guidelines for Students Beginning Distance Education on March 23

March 16, 2020

Dear Methodist University Students,

On Friday, Methodist University announced that we were suspending in-person instruction beginning Monday, March 16, and that all current, in-person classes are moving to distance learning formats, beginning March 23.

For you, this means than any scheduled classes you have (excluding classes that are already fully online), will not meet at all this week, March 16-21. Our faculty are using this week to prepare your coursework for the rest of the semester in Blackboard or other distance learning formats. Classes will resume in those distance formats on March 23, 2020. Your instructors will be communicating with you by email or via Blackboard this week to ensure that you know what to expect, how class information will be shared, and how you will complete assignments, including final exams and final projects. Be sure to check your MU email on a regular basis because many of your faculty members will be communicating with you via email.

We assure you that you will be able to complete all of your coursework and course requirements via distance learning through the end of the semester, whether you chose to leave campus or to stay on campus. Seniors in their final semester will be able to complete the courses they are taking and if, at the end of the semester, they have fulfilled all graduation requirements, they will graduate, and we will confer their degrees. This is true for students who remain on campus and for students who choose to leave.

Methodist University remains open to students, with access to services and facilities, like residence halls, dining services, the library and computer labs. Students will be able to make appointments with advisors and faculty, in-person or virtually, if they have questions or concerns about their coursework and to plan for next semester.

However, we are not giving students blanket advice on whether they should stay on campus or go home because we cannot anticipate the needs of each individual student or their campus, home, or travel situations. Given that situations at home vary so much from one student to the next, we are advising students to talk with parents and trusted acquaintances to decide for themselves what seems to be the safest course of action.

We are keeping the residence halls, the cafeteria, and other facilities open to serve students who decide to remain. We strongly urge that those students who remain on campus practice careful social distancing and other preventative measures, as described by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

We cannot guarantee that anyone will be completely safe from the virus, whether they stay at Methodist University or go home, but experts advise that the preventative measures such as “social distancing,” frequent hand washing, and avoiding touching one’s face reduce the risk of virus transmission.

The CDC defines “congregate settings and social distancing” as follows:

  • Congregate settings are crowded public places where close contact with others may occur, such as shopping centers, movie theaters, stadiums.
  • Social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.

Students, faculty, and staff using the cafeteria and other campus facilities are expected to follow social distancing and other preventative guidelines closely. We will be sharing additional information in support of students who chose to stay on campus throughout the weeks to come.

We appreciate the uncertainty we are all facing as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis and the anxiety this may cause as you plan for the rest of your semester. We are here to support your progress and completion of your coursework this semester. If you have questions, please talk to a faculty or staff member you trust. We cannot tell you that we know the right answers, but a conversation with someone you trust can help you sort out your own thinking in difficult times like this.

Sincerely,

Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D., President
William H. Walker, Ed.D. Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students