The COVID-19 pandemic is having widespread impacts. MN State Colleges and Universities leadership has been in close communication with the MN Department of Health and state leaders in responding to the evolving situation. The Chancellor has made a number of decisions at the system level that are designed to minimize or slow the spread of the virus with the goal of supporting the health and well-being of our faculty, staff, and students. Of course, there is a great deal of uncertainty about how the illness will unfold in our community and it is very stressful time for all of us. Please know that the Pandemic Planning Team is carefully monitoring the recommendations of health professionals, and the decisions made by the system. We will be providing regular updates by email and on the website.
It is critically important that you take care of your health and do not come to campus if you are ill. We are monitoring the health of our community and would appreciate it if you would report any COVID-19 exposure, symptoms, or diagnosis using this web form (https://www.metrostate.edu/COVID). Reporting via the form is voluntary. However, if you are ill please notify your faculty instructors.
This is going to be a long email with a number of details that are important for you. I’ve organized the information under headings to make it easier to navigate. Please read to the end to ensure that you have full information.
Suspension of Course Instruction through Saturday, March 21 and Resumption of Instruction
Chancellor Malhotra has suspended all classes at Metropolitan State University through Saturday, March 21. This suspension includes all face-to-face, hybrid, online, and independent study courses offerings and there will be no meetings of those course types next week.
The suspension does not cover internships, practica, student teaching, or clinicals at external sites. Students, you can report to those sites next week as long as the external site allows you to do so.
When instruction resumes on Monday, March 23 we will be providing all instruction in a modified way that emphasizes remote instruction. All instruction will continue in this modified, remote mode for the rest of the spring semester.
Modified and Remote Instruction
Starting Monday, March 23 all courses will be offered using instruction methods that will allow course completion remotely or, in very limited situations, with modified class sessions that allow social distancing. The following are options for providing remote instruction:
- Correspondence education via email;
- Synchronous Zoom class meetings;
- Lecture recordings using VoiceThread;
- Online learning via Brightspace D2L; or
- Some combination of the four.
In very limited situations, like for labs and studio learning experiences that depend on particular equipment for learning, I will consider approving modified course sessions that will support social distancing in those specialized spaces.
Faculty Planning and Preparations for Remote Instruction
Faculty members will work next week to develop plans for remote instruction. You will be contacted by your faculty members by the end of Friday, March 20 with information about how your courses will proceed when they resume on Monday, March 23.
Modifying Course Content and Activities
This spring term will have 14 weeks of instruction, compared to the normal 15 weeks. Faculty are being asked to review the learning outcomes for the course and make modifications to the course content to accommodate this change. Faculty may also need to modify planned activities to adapt to remote instruction. Please understand that your courses will likely deviate from the syllabus that you’ve received. We will not extend the spring semester beyond Monday, May 4.
Remote Instruction Support for Students
I will send a separate Email next week with the training opportunities for you that will support remote instruction. In particular, we will provide training materials for accessing Brightspace D2L, Zoom, and other online learning tools.
External Learning Sites
Students will be allowed to continue their internships, practica, student teaching, clinical hours, and other experiential learning at external sites as long as the external sites allow them to attend. We know that many programs have minimum hours and/or competency- based assessments for these experiences. MN State and Metropolitan State University administrators are working to gather information from licensing boards and accreditation organizations to understand the impacts on students.
Student support services will be offered either in-person or via remote formats. We are developing plans for the library and computer labs at Midway, MEC, and LECJEC to remain open to support students who may have limited computer and/or internet access. More details will be available next week.
Metropolitan State University is coordinating all communication through the Pandemic Planning Team to ensure that information that is communicated is accurate and consistent. Please monitor your email and the website, https://www.metrostate.edu/notices/covid-19 for updated information.
Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. This account is monitored continuously and, while you may not receive an answer individually, all students will receive updates with answers to the questions so you are all well-informed.