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FHSU moves to online classrooms
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HAYS – Classes at Fort Hays State University will transition to online delivery only effective March 30 and employees will transition to remote operations with limited staff on-campus. The time frame is indefinite.

FHSU President Tisa Mason notified the campus – faculty, staff and students – by email March 12th of the initial move to online class instruction. The announcement for faculty and staff to transition to remote operations was made yesterday afternoon. The decision came after consultation with the university’s Critical Incident Policy Group and campus leaders in light of new guidance from the Kansas Board of Regents and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

“As the University’s policy, planning, and action moves forward,” she said, “we should continue to be grounded in our fundamental goal of safeguarding the health of our faculty, staff, and students, and we should continue to be guided by the recommendations provided by our public health officials.”

The university will also, she said, “strive to ensure completion and success for students.”

Fort Hays State, with its deep history and strength in online education, is uniquely able to meet the challenge of preparing on short notice a semester’s courses for online delivery. The FHSU is one of only a handful of institutions to earn certification from the United States Distance Learning Association.

That certification, which is based on a rigorous, 120-point quality review at all levels of distance education, recognizes FHSU’s commitment to following best industry practices for online education. For more than a decade, the majority of the university’s enrollment has been online.

President Mason’s email addressed key points of the nature of the challenge, including:

•  All in-person classes and events will transition to online, and classes that are already online will continue as scheduled. Adaptations for labs, clinicals and practicums will be addressed in their respective departments.

•  Refunds for room and board will be available. 

•  Students who are able to do so are asked to remain at home after the spring break.

•  The university will move to limited operations and services – residence hall accommodations and food services – will be available for students who are unable to return home.

•  The Kelly Center and Student Health will transition to providing service online. 

•  The NCAA and MIAA has canceled all spring sports.

•  Plans to transition university-sponsored events, major or minor, to online platforms when possible

Educational requirements that demand in-person attendance – clinicals, labs and practicums – are being addressed by their respective departments. The department of music will be conducting lessons via zoom, teacher education students are sharing online video story times to promote literacy, and many health care and science labs are being simulated online so that students can stay on track from degree completion. 

While faculty and staff are working remotely, many University events will transition to online experiences including the John Heinrich’s Scholarly and Creative Activities Day, the Olliff Family Educational Symposium, and department of art and design 2020 Student Honors Exhibition. 

“We will continue to deliver on the ethic of care that makes Fort Hays State so unique,” said Mason. “We are forming university care teams that will be following up with all students traditional on-campus and online, to provide comfort and information, while directing students to any needed support services.”

For campus updates regarding the move to online courses, the move to remote operations and student health advisories, visit http://fhsu.edu/covid-19-response.