A bottle of hand sanitizer sits on a table as Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Health Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and Director of Elder Affairs Sandy Federico meet with the lunch crowd at the Hungry Hill Senior Center to discuss concerns over the Coronavirus. Utah universities, including Dixie State University, are moving all courses online in light of the outbreak. Photo courtesy of TNS.
The possibility that classes will be moved online after March 23 grows ever more realistic as universities around the state and the country make a similar call.
An official announcement regarding classes and study abroad trips should be released by Dixie State University at 9 a.m. on March 12.
President Richard “Biff” Williams sent out an email on March 9 to the DSU community informing of the assembly of a task force.
“The task force has been meeting for a couple of weeks now and they have been trying very hard to make sure everyone is aware of what’s going on,” said Jenny Callahan, study abroad program director.
There are a lot of departments that need to work together in order to make sure students don’t lose their scholarships, money or planned course credits for if this does happen, Callahan said. Students can expect it to take time to process this information.
“Other universities are going this route and we may need to go that direction as well,” Callahan said.
The University of Utah and Utah State University are two universities in Utah that are also considering transitioning to online classes.
USU has canceled all university-related travel beginning March 12 through April 8, as well as canceled university events through April 8.
Study Abroad trips and faculty and staff conferences, which were scheduled through July 31 are also in danger of being canceled.
The only trip that would not be affected by the cancellation is the Dominican Republican trip, since it is scheduled to leave in August.
Janice Hayden, instructor of the practice in geology and study abroad coordinator for Iceland, said, “There are people in Iceland with the coronavirus – the number is up to 70 people – and right there in the city where we would be spending most of our time is where they live.”
If you’re affected by the study abroad cancellation, please obtain receipts and documentation so you can get refunded without any issues, Callahan said.
“No matter what, we will continue; this is just a small setback,”Luis Arevalo, Director of Global Engagement
“It’s not just about catching the coronavirus, it’s about the trickle-down effect that’s happening,” Callahan said. “There’s a huge effect that the coronavirus is causing in flights, such as you being restricted to travel back and forth.”
DSU faculty are currently discussing the option to transfer study abroad trips for the students who will be here next year to next summer, Callahan said.
As of now, Callahan said the goal is still to have 100 students traveling abroad next year.
“No matter what, we will continue; this is just a small setback,” Arevalo said.
For more information about COVID-19, visit https://wellness.dixie.edu/coronavirus- information/.
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