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Emergency Preparedness

Spelman College Changes Course, Moves to Virtual Instruction for All Students in the Fall

Just a few weeks after announcing a phased reopening plan for the fall semester that would have included both in-person and online instruction, Spelman College has made the decision to switch to an entirely online model. "Due to data points that indicate a worsening health crisis in the City of Atlanta and in Fulton County, in which Spelman and the Atlanta University Center are located, college officials decided the campus would not be able to sustain a residential campus and in-person instruction," the institution said in a news announcement.

Fellow Atlanta University Center Consortium members Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College have also chosen to move to virtual instruction.

In a letter to incoming first-year students, Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell wrote, "The health and safety of our students was the deciding factor in this difficult situation. Because of the worsening health crisis, we have reluctantly come to the realization that we can no longer safely sustain a residential campus and in-person instruction… I can imagine how disappointing this must be for some of you. For others, the change may bring a sense of relief, because, as much as our hearts want to be together, our heads must guide us in these uncertain times."

The college's Online Course Development Program is currently training nearly 200 faculty members, to help them "re-imagine and re-create their courses as engaging and effective virtual learning spaces." In addition, the Office of Student Life and Engagement, Chapel and Wellness Center are planning virtual activities to help keep students socially engaged from afar.

While Spelman is committed to offering the same quality of instruction and instructional support virtually as it does face-to-face, it is offering a 10 percent discount on tuition and an average of 40 percent discount on mandatory fees. "We acknowledge and understand that studying virtually may not be the desired experience and unfortunately, the change in your mode of study is forced, not chosen," the college explained in an FAQ for students.

For more information, visit the Spelman College site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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