ALINA PANEK, Editor-in-Chief —
As announced in a video by Adam Weinberg, University President, through email delivered to the Denison community at 8:51 p.m., Denison will be extending the original period of remote learning to the end of the semester due to concerns from the spread of the coronavirus.
This week, the week of March 16, is spring break but majority of the campus packed their rooms and moved out instead of their original plan of relaxing.
Denison allowed a group of students to stay on campus after application to be travel exempt. International students and students who were from Washington were granted stay after the first round of application. Several students reported having to reapply to stay. The first round of students applying to stay were informed that they could stop by the financial aid office and be offered financial need grants based on eligibility.
In his email, Weinberg explained his reasoning behind the decision to close campus for the rest of the semester.
“The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve quickly and dramatically. A week ago, we believed reducing the density of people on campus would get us through the coming weeks,” Weinberg wrote in the email. “We held out hope we could return to in-person learning and finish out the semester on campus. However, with the continued spread of the virus and our expectation that more areas of operation may be restricted by government order, we do not believe returning to in-person learning this semester is possible. Further, we are increasingly concerned about being able to sustain adequate services for the students remaining on campus.”
Denison will join The Ohio State University, Oberlin College, Kenyon College in the increasing number of colleges transiting to remote learning.
“I know this is hard,” Weinberg ended his email. “This is not the ending to the academic year we had planned for. But our community rises in moments like these and I know this is the right decision to protect the health of our students, faculty, staff and broader Denison community.”
Ohio has been a national leader in enforcing preventative measures to contain and mitigate the impact of coronavirus. On March 9, after three people in the state tested positive, Governor Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency in Ohio. The next day, the governor asked higher education institutions to screen students who travelled internationally for the disease and to heavily consider a move to online learning. On March 12, he banned mass gatherings of over 100 people and announced that all K-12 schools would be closed for the next three weeks.
On March 15, Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has issued a Director’s Order that will close all bars and restaurants to in-house patrons, effective at 9:00 p.m. Restaurants with take-out and delivery options will still be able to operate those services, even as their dining rooms are temporarily closed.
Since then, all major domestic sports leagues—including the NCAA—have cancelled or postponed their games. On March 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also put forth a recommendation against gatherings of over 50 people for at least eight weeks. Those eight weeks will end on May 4, Denison’s original calendar for the last day of classes.
On March 12, in an update email to the student body from Weinberg, he updated in regard to events in the coming semester. As for graduation, he wrote, “We recognize this decision is especially trying for our senior students who are looking forward to graduation in May,” Weinberg said. “It is still too early to make any decisions regarding commencement at this time but we can commit to considering that we will hold a ceremony, even if it has to be scheduled for a later date.”