Pittsburg State University announced intentions for face-to-face classes, open residence halls, and a resumption of student life — although likely with differences — this fall. To that end, three working groups have been formed to determine a path forward.
“There are still many unknowns,” said PSU President Steve Scott. “Campus won’t be the same, but not all of the differences are defined. What we can say with certainty now is that health and safety remain our top priority.”
Scott said that since shelter-in-place orders began, the university’s commitment to students and the community to provide transformational experiences and live up to its principle, “by doing, learn,” has been at the forefront of the minds of members of the PSU Critical Response Management Team and Presidents Council. Those leaders have met virtually since early March to chart a path in the areas of online instruction, virtual ceremonies, virtual orientation for incoming freshman, and more.
Bringing faculty, staff, and students back together this fall will require additional careful planning, close communication with public health officials, and well-coordinated decision-making across campus, he noted.
The three working groups tasked with guidance in those areas are:
• Academics, chaired by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Howard Smith. This group will explore and make recommendations for safely resuming face-to-face instruction for the fall semester, including consideration of course schedules, the academic calendar, curricular design, and classroom, lab, library, and office safety.
• Student Life, chaired by Vice President for Student Life Steve Erwin. This group will explore and make recommendations for safely returning students to university housing and access to student life resources and activities.
• Budget and Finance, chaired by Chief Financial Officer Doug Ball. This group will explore and make recommendations to address the financial impact of returning to campus this fall as well as responding to the overall impact of the virus on University finances, including tuition and fee discounts, revenue opportunities, options for budget reductions, and more.
The membership in these groups is broad to ensure representation of all interests in every area of the university.
“We know we can’t eliminate all risk, but we can anticipate challenges and mitigate as much as possible to ensure we have options,” Scott said.
At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 6, Scott and Smith will host their second town hall on KRPS 89.9 FM in which they’ll discuss in depth what’s being called the Pitt State Together planning process. They’ll take questions in advance and live during the broadcast at firstname.lastname@example.org.