Haskell Indian Nations University will conduct all classes online in the fall 2020 semester amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to an announcement from Haskell leadership Thursday.
Haskell used CARE Act funds to strengthen their online learning system, and will provide every class they would otherwise offer exclusively in an online format for the fall semester, Haskell president Ronald Graham said in the statement.
“Out of an abundance of caution for how a virus outbreak might impact our campus, our students, our faculty, and our staff — as well as the diverse communities to which they belong — we are committed to distance learning for the Fall 2020 semester,” Graham said in the statement.
Graham said Indian Country has been dramatically affected by the pandemic, and Haskell leadership wants to avoid a health crisis within their community, especially given their unique and exclusive mission to serve Native students.
The decision was made with the consideration of two main criteria: the safety of the community and the impact in-person classes could have on enrollment, given that some students could not attend in-person classes.
Faculty and staff at Haskell will spend the summer preparing to host all classes online in the coming semester, according to the announcement.
“As a result of the cautious, well-planned strategy, academic progress will be assured for all students, safety and health will be preserved among our Tribal community, and Haskell will continue to meet its mission to serve the needs to Indian Country,” Graham said.
Leadership from the University of Kansas released its plan for the fall semester on June 15, which includes in-person instruction that will end before Thanksgiving, with plans to conduct final exams remotely.
While there will be in-person instruction on campus, KU plans to implement a number of changes and safety precautions, including making schedule changes to avoid congestion on campus and eliminating the Labor Day holiday and fall breaks.
“Our goal is to welcome back as many students as we can while continuing to prioritize the health of our community,” KU leadership said in the announcement. “To do this, we must continue preparing a dynamic and flexible educational experience that accounts for the realities of life during and after a pandemic.”
KU continues to develop plans for the fall, spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said, but has not made major changes to the plan released June 15.
“All plans are subject to change based on the latest medical guidance and evolving circumstances,” Barcomb-Peterson said in an email to the Kansan.