What's next for Virginia colleges as students adapt to online learning

Many wonder if online learning will continue into following semesters
Posted at 6:13 AM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 06:13:52-04

With the rise of coronavirus numbers around the country – big decisions are continuing to be made to ensure the safety of everyone like colleges and universities canceling graduation ceremonies.

The Chancellor for Virginia’s Community Colleges Glenn DuBois, said that no commenment ceremonies will take place in May due to the coronavirus. The announcement is also in response to Governor Ralph Northam’s State of Emergency.

Chancellor DuBois says it’s difficult because “the very things that make commencement meaningful also makes them dangerous in this pandemic.”

But what’s really sad and unfortunate is some of the students who News 3 spoke with while this decision was still up in the air say they are first time generation students.

Tidewater Community College officials say the commencement committee will consider alternatives, such as rescheduling for the summer or holding a virtual commencement

DuBois said in a statement online that he commends staff for all that they're doing to offer classes remotely, to adjust performance-based courses to gather students in smaller groups, to find ways to counsel and advise beyond traditional face-to-face meetings, and continue offering computer lab and food pantry resources when possible.

"This is incredibly important work. Just look around this emergency – the first responders, the hospital nurses, the truck drivers keeping food and supplies coming to our stores, and so many more – our society depends on community college-trained people to function, especially in its darkest moments," the statment said further.

The statement suggests that there could be a nontraditional summer and fall semester, but that is to be determined.

Universities across the country have converted the rest of their Maymesters into online courses.

Old Dominion University says that, "While this may not be how you envisioned your learning experience at ODU this semester, we are fortunate to have faculty and staff who are prepared to deliver instruction in an alternative learning environment and to provide online academic support."

Information on the ODU website thoroughly explains how students are transitioning into online learning, preventing the spread of coronavirus, and any resource students may need to stay on track for the rest of the semester. However, no information has been released on whether or not students should expect to continue online learning into the upcoming semesters.

Students must be patient as school leaders determine that best course of action for the fate of their education and health.