March 19, 2020 - COVID-19 Update
Message from the President, March 19, 2020
Dear Members of the Muskingum Community:
I am so grateful for the exceptional response of our campus community as we have moved all of our classes to an off-campus learning environment. This has been a challenging process as the situation changes daily but it has been inspiring to see students, faculty and staff roll up their sleeves and continue to find effective ways to keep our educational mission moving forward.
Our senior leadership team has been meeting regularly as we monitor the rapidly changing landscape and develop plans to best serve our students and the campus as a whole. While there are no known cases of COVID-19 on campus at this time, cases of the virus are being identified in Ohio and multiple restrictions on meetings, events, and services have been announced at the state and federal level.
Based on these developments and in consultation with our Board of Trustees, I have made the following very difficult decision:
All classes will continue to be held via online/distance learning instruction through the end of spring semester.
There are many implications of this decision:
We will work with every student who was planning to graduate in May 2020 to complete their graduation requirements. See the message below from Provost Evangelista for more details. While undergraduate and graduate commencements will not be held on campus in May, we are currently considering ways to celebrate the accomplishments of the amazing class of 2020.
Fall registration is moving forward as scheduled. Students should contact their advisor or the Registrar’s Office at 740-826-8164 if they have any questions or concerns. In addition, classes are being offered in our May Term and More Summer Program. Call Bonnie Callahan at 740-826-8471 for information about summer online learning opportunities.
While the University will continue basic business operations, employees will begin to work remotely as roles and essential tasks permit. Supervisors will be communicating specific instructions for specific roles. Access to University buildings will be limited to current students and employees.
Students who are unable to return to their primary residence at this time will still be able to reside on campus and services will continue to be provided to these students.
Arrangements will be made for students who moved off campus to return to campus to gather their belongings. Students will receive a communication from the Residence Life Office shortly with more information. We ask that students do not return to campus until they have received instructions from Residence Life.
Our dining services will continue to provide take-out food services to students and employees at Patton Dining Hall. All other dining areas are closed.
Student support services continue to be offered electronically and when appropriate, face to face. Academic support, technology support, counseling, pastoral care, and opportunities to engage with one another virtually are available to all of our students. Please contact email@example.com if you have any questions or concerns.
In accordance with Governor DeWine’s recommendation, faculty, staff, students, and all other visitors to campus are asked to take their temperature and to avoid coming to campus if they are exhibiting an elevated temperature or any other symptoms of COVID-19.
The Muskingum community has responded with grace and grit to this challenging situation and we will continue to do so. We are committed to providing an excellent educational experience for all of our students and will continue to work together to make this happen.
With ongoing prayers for the health and safety of the Muskingum community, our nation, and the world,
President Sue Hasseler
Message from the Provost
You have now all received the message that Muskingum University is moving to extend online instruction through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. This was a difficult decision, as it means changing to a new way of learning and interacting, but the decision was made to ensure that every member of the Muskingum Community is safe and healthy. You may have a number of questions and concerns as we move ahead, and I want to make sure you are informed regarding next steps.
Blackboard is Now Your Classroom!
Every student must log into Blackboard as the virtual classroom. You cannot wait until later in the semester to get going, as your instructors are moving ahead with assignments that you need to complete on schedule. Some tips for surviving online instruction:
- You must log into Blackboard on a regular basis, preferably every day.
- Since you are not in classes, you will need to plan for equivalent time to read materials, review PowerPoints, view videos and other instructional tools. Being a full-time student is a full-time job. Plan for a 40-hour academic workweek.
- Check the Student Online Toolbox in Blackboard on a regular basis, as you will find additional tips and resources posted there.
We Want You to Succeed!
- All of our regular campus support offices are open with staff ready to provide help. This includes the Counseling Center, Wellness Center, Student Affairs Offices, Academic Supports through the Provost’s Office, Library, and Career Center. You can reach these offices through the email links on the Muskingum website, or by calling the office numbers. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure to guide you to the right place.
- If you can come to campus, you may still meet with faculty and staff members in their offices if they are working on campus. Please do not come to campus if you are not feeling well.
- Computer labs continue to be open in the Library and Boyd 204 for any students who are able to come to campus to study.
- If you are struggling with a class and believe that withdrawing from the class is the best option, you should first discuss your progress with the instructor and with your advisor. We have extended the deadline for withdrawal from undergraduate courses to Monday, April 20, 2020 to allow extra time to adjust to the online learning environment.
- Many students are already registered for Fall 2020 – kudos to each of you.
- If you have not already met with your academic advisor, contact them by phone or mail to set up your advising appointment. You will still need to have your academic advisor remove the advising hold once they have approved your fall course schedule.
A Note for Graduating Seniors
- You will still be able to complete all graduation requirements so that you can earn your diploma on time.
- The faculty members in every program have developed ways to complete senior level coursework. You should be in regular contact with your faculty regarding how you will do this in your major.
- If you have not already done so, you must submit your application for graduation through MuskieLink.
- Review your degree audit in Student Planning in MuskieLink to check that you have met all graduation requirements. Then set up an appointment with your advisor to review this together if you have not already done so.
- While undergraduate commencement will not be held on campus in May, we will have a way to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduating students. We will keep you updated as we develop these plans.
Residence Life Considerations
- If you were living on campus, be on the lookout for a message from the Residence Life Office with instructions for when you will be able to come to campus to pack up your belongings.
- The University is finalizing calculations for crediting students for room and board while not on campus. Prorating for these credits may differ depending on circumstances and may take various forms. Students will receive individual communications about their accounts in the near future.
Muskingum University will continue to provide a wonderful educational experience for everyone, even though it is not what we thought in January. Stay tuned to Blackboard, email and Muskie Social Media to find out what is happening and to keep connected!
With best wishes for health and success in the online weeks to come,
Dr. Nancy Evangelista, Provost
Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more details.