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Novel Coronavirus and COVID-19

May 29 – WCSU plans for an on-campus opening in the fall

Dear WCSU Students and Families,

Western Connecticut State University will welcome all students back to campus on August 24 with a balanced mix of online and on-campus experiences for our classes, clubs, and other student activities. We will be prepared for online-only if needed but anticipate an active on-campus environment this fall.

For students planning to live on campus, we are opening our residence halls. We will send you a separate notification about room assignments, required testing protocols, and other details. Watch your WCSU email for next steps.

In preparation for a combination of online and on-campus programming we are carefully building our course and activity schedules.  This will allow us to create a vibrant campus environment, while following social-distancing guidelines. Here are some of the changes you can expect in the fall:

  1. We are developing course schedules that include four different kinds of courses.
    • Face-to-face classes will only meet on campus. Faculty will use our online course system to supplement in-class work.
    • Hybrid courses will include a combination of online and on-campus meetings. The on-campus meeting times will be listed on every student’s schedule.
    • Online Asynchronous: This is an online course that allows students to log in anytime during the day to access course materials and complete assignments. Homework and exams will have defined due dates, as is typical for on-ground learning.
    • Online Synchronous: This is an online course that meets at specific times. Faculty will be using conference meeting tools to delivery lectures, work with groups of students, or conduct seminars. Homework and exams will have defined due dates, as is typical for on-ground learning.
  2. We revised our First Year (FY) courses to include instruction about online learning and the kind of study habits necessary to thrive in a blended learning environment.
  3. We have moved our advising, tutoring, and academic coaching to online meeting environments so students can interact directly with our staff and get support at home, as well as in the residence halls, as needed.
  4. We are creating opportunities for student engagement (clubs, student government, and events) that are well-supported in online environments and that favor live interaction. These will complement our usual on-campus activities so that all students will have the opportunity to take part in our co-curricular experiences.

To maintain an environment that is as protective as possible, we will move to a fully online format starting at Thanksgiving and through final exams. Given this, once students leave for Thanksgiving, they will not return to campus until the start of the spring semester. This will allow everyone to go home to their families for the holiday without worrying about testing for COVID-19 to re-enter the residence halls.

In the next few weeks, the fall course schedules will be complete, and students will be able to see how the course types have been assigned. When you review your fall schedule, please know that we are aware that being on-campus may not be safe for some students. If that is the case, please speak with your advisor about opportunities for online-only courses. We may not be able to accommodate every major, but we will do our best.

While we are preparing for as much on-campus interaction as possible, we are also ready to pivot to online if conditions warrant it. The health and safety of our community remain our top priority.

No matter what the coming year looks like, we want you to know that we are still focused on creating the best possible environment for student learning and student success. We are working hard to meet everyone’s needs and we cannot wait to see you in Danbury this August.

Have a safe and healthy summer,

Dr. John B. Clark

President

Western Connecticut State University