Officials advise CCAS faculty to prepare online classes amid concerns over COVID-19

Officials are encouraging Columbian College of Arts and Sciences faculty to prepare for the possibility of moving classes online amid concerns of COVID-19 reaching campus, according to an email obtained by The Hatchet.

CCAS interim Dean Paul Wahlbeck said in an email Wednesday that faculty should arrange plans to move classes online “should that become necessary.” The Instructional Core in Gelman Library is facilitating workshops to teach professors how to run classes through Blackboard, and the team is prepared to increase programming should in-person classes be canceled, the email states.

“As you are aware, the novel coronavirus has spread outside of China and the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has warned that outbreaks might occur in the United States,” the email states. “Although we have no information to indicate such an event is imminent in Washington, we need to be prepared.”

He added that some classes, like studio art and laboratory science, may be “difficult or even impossible” to run online. Departments should document those classes and decide whether to continue meeting if COVID-19 hits campus, Wahlbeck wrote.

Faculty members should also prepare to discuss their plans to continue instruction online with students in case the situation becomes necessary, the email states.

Officials canceled study abroad programs in China and Italy last month following reports of COVID-19 outbreaks in both countries. Officials are tracking advisories and other information related to the virus on a website launched Wednesday. 


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