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GSU’s hybrid fall plan emphasizes online learning

Wednesday, July 8, 2020
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Grambling State University students will begin a shortened fall semester next month under a hybrid class structure in which most courses can be taken entirely online, the university announced late Monday.

GSU transitioned all classes to online formats and cleared campus in March in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Now it will begin a phased return of personnel on July 13 to prepare for the fall semester, which will start on August 10 and run through November 25.

Other than professional nursing clinicals and other specialized classes that must take place face to face, all other instruction will be offered online, with professors having the option to offer optional in-person classes at their discretion.

“Our students will have the choice between learning remotely or returning to campus while taking hybrid courses,” Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Connie Walton said.

Instructors will decide whether their students would benefit from optional class sessions in person that would be limited in attendance based on current CDC and Louisiana reopening guidelines. Either way, online instruction will be offered for students staying home.

GSU usually returns from Thanksgiving break to finish its fall semester, but this year the shortened session will end before the holiday.

Temperature scans will take place at each building entrance on campus, and masks must be worn in all buildings and offices, except private bedrooms in residence halls.

Access to campus will be limited to faculty, staff, students and a limited number of approved visitors.

As employees return to campus next week, they will have their temperatures checked each morning before reporting to their respective workspaces.

“Many students need to return to campus for a variety of reasons,” said Gourjoine M. Wade, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students. “It’s our responsibility to make sure they have the option to live in safe spaces where they can focus on learning.”

Eligible students in need of laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots or other support for hybrid learning will be able to apply for assistance once these resources become available.

No changes have yet been made regarding fall sports, homecoming or other events.

While heavily online, since GSU’s fall semester is officially a hybrid style, the university’s media relations department said Tiger students will not fall under the new ruling from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that international students attending U.S. colleges operating entirely online this fall cannot remain in the country unless they transfer schools.

GSU’s announcement notes that if the current surge of COVID-19 infections increases in the coming weeks, the fall semester plan may have to be adjusted.

“We’ve been monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and meeting regularly to consider all aspects of student, faculty and staff needs,” GSU President Rick Gallot said. “Even though every feasible campus adjustment has been made to help everyone stay safe, with the recent surge in cases, it’s clear that we must remain flexible in our fall planning.”