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The Antelope

The Antelope

UNK to transition to remote classes

All student services are scheduled to remain open after classes transition online.


Chancellor Douglas Kristensen announced Thursday that UNK would move to online instruction as the coronavirus crisis develops. UNK continues to monitor the national situation and react to Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. 

Adaptability has been a key facet of the university’s response.

“The tremendous efforts that have been undertaken by faculty and staff to accommodate this unprecedented disruption to the academic calendar are evidence of the commitment that you all take to create an exceptional learning environment for our students,” Kristensen said. “Further, our students have shown resilience and professionalism in adapting to change.”

As the situation developed over the course of the week, these changes came rapidly. The original transition date of March 30 was pushed to March 18 following an informational conference with the Chancellor and cabinet on Zoom and a national address from President Trump that was paired with revamped CDC recommendations. 

UNK cited changing CDC recommendations as well as advice from local and state health officials in their decision to move the date forward in an email to students, faculty and staff Monday afternoon.

Campus-wide student support services will remain open throughout the remainder of this semester. This includes dining and residence halls, student health and counseling and the library, among other programs offered by the university.

Despite rumors of closings, Residence Life remains committed to providing student housing through the rest of the semester and into the summer as they announced via email Friday.  

“Students may choose to leave campus while completing courses through remote instruction, and we will accommodate those requests,” said Residence Life in their email announcement. “Residence Life will also work with students who may decide to return to campus later in the semester.”

Residence life further announced Tuesday that students who move out may seek partial refunds for their room and board.

Further considerations for student needs include rental laptops, which will be available for check out in the Calvin T. Ryan Library until the end of the semester for students in need. 

As the transition goes into effect only days ahead of Spring Break, UNK has released travel guidelines as well as restrictions on university-sponsored travel.

“The university encourages anyone with plans to travel outside of Nebraska or to affected areas to register their travel — personal or university-sponsored — starting March 10, 2020,” said the university in the preamble to its Coronavirus Travel Reporting Form. 

The university also noted that self-quarantine measures may be necessary.

“Upon completion of any travel, the faculty, staff or student may be required to self-quarantine for a period of up to 14 days based on current recommendations from the CDC, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the county health department,” said the university in a March 12 Travel Restrictions announcement received via email from Jon Watts. “If required to go into self-quarantine, the traveler must contact Student Health as appropriate for a wellness screening prior to returning to work or class. Failure to do so could result in disciplinary action.”

These guidelines are in effect until further notice. 

Meanwhile, student response to the decision to move coursework online has varied.

“I know a lot of students are upset, a lot of students are excited — I know students who are feeling both ways,” said Nicole Kent, UNK’s student regent. “It’s their senior year and they didn’t really know that their last week on campus would be next week. But I’ve also heard students upset that they have to be on campus next week when UNL and UNO don’t.”

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