Colleges, universities work on plans for fall semester

Coronavirus

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Many colleges and universities are working to decide how to proceed with classes during the fall semester.

Some schools, including Cedarville University and Clark State Community College, have already released plans to bring students back to campus.

Since March, students across the Miami Valley have been taking their college courses online.

“It’s definitely a change for everyone involved,” said Danielle Vitale, who attends Wright State University.

According to Wright State officials, a decision will likely be made in June or July on how to proceed with the fall semester.

“Wright State is considering several scenarios for instruction next fall that prioritize the health and well-being of the Wright State community, as well as the academic progress of our students,” Wright State spokesperson Seth Bauguess said in a statement sent to 2 NEWS, adding that summer classes have already been moved online.

The University of Dayton and Sinclair Community College are also waiting to make a final decision this summer on when students may return to campus.

“While our strong preference is to resume residential education in the fall, we will abide by guidelines and protocols set by the state and local governments and public health officials to best ensure the health and safety of our campus community,” University of Dayton officials said in a statement, adding that multiple options are being considered.

“I would anticipate that throughout the summer, a series of decisions will be made, and they will impact areas like our conference center, they’ll impact areas like, of course, traditional classes,” said Adam Murka, vice president for advancement at Sinclair Community College.

Roughly 93 percent of Sinclair’s courses are now online, Murka said. The college also sent out a survey to students and faculty to better understand their concerns, he added.

If Sinclair’s campus reopens this fall, several safety measures would be in place, Murka said.

Those types of protocols are also in the works at Cedarville University, which has already set reopening dates in mid-August, which is when classes would normally resume.

“We are bringing them back fully with the intention that it’s going to be safe,” said Janice Supplee, vice president for marketing and communications at Cedarville University. “So if the situation were to change, obviously we’re going to look at that very carefully, along with our experts. But we do believe that we can put precautions in place.”

As she looks ahead to her junior year at Wright State, Danielle Vitale told 2 NEWS she wants to be back on campus – but only if the threat of COVID-19 is reduced.

“The uncertainty is kind of like, ‘Oh, how’s the rest of my time in college going to be?'” Vitale said. “But I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

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