Spring semester to be mostly remote

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Slippery Rock University has announced it will keep the number of in-person courses for the spring semester at the same level they had for the fall.

In an email sent out to university stakeholders Thursday morning, SRU President William Behre said the upcoming semester will have approximately the same ratio as the current semester, with roughly 80% of courses being conducted online.

Behre said that the key factor of the decision was the overlapping of the current pandemic and the upcoming flu season. He said the dual spread of the two viruses and increased campus activity would overwhelm the university.

Even with a decision being made now, the university will continue to look at all the data and if information presents itself that suggests the university could increase in-person activity, they would consider it, Behre said.

“Those decisions will be dependent on the status of the science surrounding the pandemic as well as our ability to pivot successfully,” Behre said.

Behre said he was proud of the work of staff, faculty and students to do their part with the continued measures of social distancing and mask use to help keep SRUs COVID-19 infection numbers low. As of Thursday morning, SRU reported 12 new confirmed cases for the week of Oct. 1-7, with 134 total cases since Aug. 20.

Adding to the praise, Behre said it was time for all SRU community members to “double down” on their efforts to keep infection rates low.

The announcement comes just over two weeks prior to the opening of winter and spring semester registration, which opens Oct. 26.

Chief Enrollment Management Officer Amanda Yale said students will receive detailed instructions Friday about the upcoming registration. That same day, the master class schedule will be released showing which classes will be online and multi-modal.

What the decision for a majority remote semester come spring means for commencement is not clear. Associate Executive Director for Communication and Public Affairs Robert King said considering the pandemic is a fluid situation, it would be too early to decide about the event.

SRU announced last month that it would hold its winter commencement ceremony virtually Dec. 10.

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Joe is a senior communication major with concentrations in converged journalism and digital media production. This is his second year with The Rocket and first as the news editor. With a penchant for asking tough questions, his byline can be found on more than 100 articles for The Rocket including many breaking news and investigative pieces. During the hours he’s not wearing the hat of student journalist, he spends his time as a husband, father and dog owner in Slippery Rock.

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