University making tentative plans to offer on-campus classes for fall semester

Marshall University has begun tentative plans to have in-person classes for the fall 2020 semester.

In an e-mail message to the university community this afternoon, Marshall President Jerome A. Gilbert said he knows everyone has questions about what the future may hold, but that, based on current models, he is optimistic things can return to a "new normal" for the fall semester. He emphasized that everyone will know much more in the coming weeks and months, as incidences of the virus hopefully continue to decline and communities start opening back up.

"We know our students and their families place great value on the personal approach we offer at Marshall, and we are working steadily toward safely and responsibly providing an on-campus academic experience for our students in the fall," he said. "Given the trends and projections available to us today, we believe that modifications to the fall semester—such as creative class scheduling and other social distancing strategies—can make that possible."

He went on to say the Provost Jaime R. Taylor and others in the Division of Academic Affairs are working with the academic deans and university health and safety experts to develop academic and student life plans for the fall.

He said, "We will be sharing more information as their plans are finalized, but I wanted you to know that at this time, we are committed to having as close to a normal fall semester for our students as we possibly can."

Gilbert added that university administrators also are starting to plan for a re-opening of campus offices, although he cautioned any resumption of full on-campus operations is likely still a few weeks away. He said the university’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Human Resources Services and Marshall Health’s chief medical officer are developing step-by-step processes for re-opening the offices. Once a comprehensive re-opening plan is finalized, Gilbert said it will be shared with all faculty and staff. Campus offices have been operating remotely since the week of March 23, with almost all employees telecommuting.

The president’s full e-mail is available at www.marshall.edu/coronavirus.