Coronavirus pushes Bay Path, Elms to online education – MassLive.com

Posted: March 19, 2020 at 1:50 pm


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Bay Path University and Elms College announced on Wednesday that their classes and instruction will be done online for the remainder of the semester, though Elms president Harry Dumay left open the possibility of reviewing the situation in upcoming weeks if an opportunity presents itself.

Bay Paths commitment was final. President Carol Leary said the transition caused by the coronavirus outbreak demands university staff and students to rise to the challenge of continuing their quality education by different means.

"Theres one point Id like to especially underscore: this is not a time for any of us to shy away from the work at hand. While we may not be conducting every aspect of our normal duties, this may give us a chance to work on projects that have been back-burnered, Leary wrote.

Working remotely will present opportunities to function in new, collaborative ways. You may even be asked to assist another area where additional resources are in demand. Embrace and learn from these opportunities.

The Longmeadow university initially set a tentative target date of April 5 to resume traditional classes, but that was dropped.

Similarly, Dumay said Elms, located in Chicopee, would go online for the remainder of the semester. He said if conditions drastically improve in the next few weeks, campus leadership may revisit the decision and could transition classes back to campus after ample notification to faculty, students and staff.

While that remains possible, it looks highly unlikely.

The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff are our highest priorities. As this unprecedented crisis and state of emergency continues to unfold, campus leadership has determined that the best course of action to ensure the safety of Elms College constituents and the wider community will be to move all classes completely online for the rest of the spring semester. This change is for all programs and all locations, Dumay said.

At Bay Path, commencement is scheduled for May 17, and with university officials aware that state and federal guidelines for large gathering are currently extended through April, no change in the graduation schedule has yet been made. That could change, depending on the situation and developments, Leary indicated since, as she said, the coronavirus situation is changing hour by hour.

Leary said a final decision on commencement will be made by April 8, giving families and students adequate planning time. The Elms announcement did not address commencement.

Leary is one of three local university presidents who are retiring, and whose final academic year at their institutions is being tested by the COVID-19 outbreak. Westfield State president Ramon Torrecilha and Western New England president Anthony Caprio are also retiring.

In a message to students and staff, Leary emphasized that the challenge of the crisis does not detract from Bay Paths determination to provide quality education and services.

"We are being called upon more than at any other time in our history to work creatively, boldly, and with each other in mind. Lets show the world just how brightly the Bay Path community can shine,'' Leary said.

Some employees will work remotely, but others will be required on campus. A remote-working model is being put into place to cover procedures through Tuesday, April 7.

"We will, to the best of our abilities, keep all of our operations functioning ... "business continuity for the sake of our institution and especially for our students, is critical,'' Leary wrote.

Residential students will be contacted about the procedure for retrieving their belongings. Where applicable, students will receive a credit on their student account, based on the number of room and board days that are cancelled. A refund check will be issued prior to the end of the semester.

At Elms College, all academic, athletic, and co-curricular on-campus events have been cancelled for the rest of the academic year. Students who have off-campus educational activities, including nursing clinicals, student teaching, social work field placement, CSD practicum, internships, etc., will receive specific updates from their dean or division chair.

Students with campus employment as a graduate assistant or a student employee, are asked to contact their supervisor for further guidelines and instructions.

Residence halls will remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Students who have been allowed to remain on campus due to exceptional circumstances will continue to do so. Resident students will be expected to move out by April 1.

The college will transition most non-essential staff members to work remotely, with select staff members on campus. Access to the library will be made available to the Elms College community in a limited way.

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Coronavirus pushes Bay Path, Elms to online education - MassLive.com

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March 19th, 2020 at 1:50 pm

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