As the instances of COVID-19 increase in the U.S., Pittsburg State University is modifying operations to minimize the impact, effective Monday, March 16.
“The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff are our top priority,” said President Steve Scott. “No cases have been reported in Pittsburg, but we fully understand the virus spreads easily through respiratory droplets so we’re taking steps to limit its presence among our campus population and put social distancing into practice.”
On Thursday, Gov. Kelly declared a state of emergency. Other Kansas Board of Regents institutions also are modifying operations.
At the end of the day, Pittsburg State will release students in face to face courses a week early for spring break. The move to alternative delivery methods for courses does not currently impact residence halls and dining hall services. However, while completing classes online, students may choose to return to their family residence.
Pittsburg State events planned for this weekend will be held. Starting Monday and until further notice, events are cancelled.
On Monday, faculty will begin work to redesign their face-to-face courses and move them to alternative teaching formats. There will be no schedule change to courses already taught online. Campus will remain open; Pittsburg State will not be closed and will maintain normal operations to ensure students are served remotely and progress toward a degree.
Faculty and staff will report to work unless they are sick, isolated due to potential COVID-19 exposure, or have chronic health conditions that put them at higher risk.
Courses will resume on schedule following spring break on Monday, March 30, via online or other alternative teaching methods, indefinitely. Face to face classes will resume when it becomes feasible to do so based on the status of COVID-19 and at the recommendation of public health officials. Axe Library will remain open to provide workspace for students who do not have internet access and computers.
The university’s Critical Response Management Team has been meeting and will continue to meet daily.
“This is a dynamic situation, so we will monitor and take action on a daily basis,” said Scott said.
The team will continue to monitor expert resources and follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Earlier this week
On Wednesday, the university suspended all university-led international travel for the remainder of the spring semester. On Thursday, that suspension extended to all domestic travel, including conferences, meetings, or any other university-related travel. Travel in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas is exempt from this suspension until further notice. All existing university-led travel for the summer, departing after May 15, will be reevaluated.
Pittsburg State’s online resource for COVID-19 is live at pittstate.edu/coronavirus. Resources and information will be added to this page as this public health challenge evolves. Administrators encourage students, staff, faculty, and the public to visit the site for updates.
PITTSBURG, Ks. — Pittsburg State University is one of the latest institutions taking action against coronavirus concerns.
Josiah Rexwinkle, Pre-Med Student, said, “I that think the university will take, you know, it’s correct procedures to make sure everybody’s ok.”
Pittsburg State University is suspending all university-led travel outside the Four States, but will still have in-person classes.
Pittsburg State University President Dr. Steven Scott said, “We certainly are watching what other institutions are doing and we’re also learning from their steps and how they communicate.”
Dr. Scott says they have a critical response team that is preparing for the long-term effects of the coronavirus.
“We’re now talking to our faculty about making sure they’re making preparations to teach in an alternative manner, not necessarily online but there might be some other ways we need to approach instruction so we’re certainly preparing for that possibility.”
Previously, all university-led international travel was suspended. Now, it’s being extended to all domestic travel.
“Each institution is located in different geographic areas, they’re located in areas that are different in terms of the amount of infection, or if there’s even infection of not. So we have to take all that into consideration and not be just influenced by the last decision that was made by the last institution.”
The university’s website now has coronavirus information with frequently asked questions, links to resources, and university communications.
“And I like it because it kind of keeps the students informed.”
Doctor Scott says he is focused on doing what’s right, not necessarily what is in the university’s policy–his top concern treating students and staff the right way and reducing the possibility of the virus spreading.