Southeastern University President Ingle: Why I decided to send our students home, switch to remote learning

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As the president of a private university, with the continual spread of the coronavirus, I anticipated how we would move forward to protect our campus body. Following President Donald Trump’s address earlier this week, I knew we would need to make the difficult decision of transitioning to remote-learning for a period of time.

At the end of this week, President Trump declared a national emergency in light of this pandemic. Now is the time for universities to consider all necessary precautions to secure the safety and health of their students.

As the coronavirus continues to spread in Florida, we decided to take all necessary measures to be responsive and, first and foremost, ensure the safety of our community.

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This past Friday, Southeastern University announced to our students that all face-to-face classes will transition to a remote-learning format.

We have chosen to close school on Monday, March 16, for students and faculty to prepare for this transition, which will take place from March 17 to April 13 until further notice.

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Many institutions of higher education, both private and state, are taking a similar approach. As they embark on this new strategy of education, many students may be concerned of the impact this will have on the remainder of their semester, including major events (such as graduation) and their individual academic success.

But, like many universities following a similar plan of action, for our campus this temporary shift to remote instruction will not change the academic calendar.

At Southeastern, our final exams, start and end dates for the semester, and our commitment to academic excellence will remain the same.

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Moving to a remote and virtual learning space, we are seeking to remain flexible and supportive of all of our students throughout this season. Similar to how other campuses are operating, faculty will continue to communicate directly with students as their classes progress forward, and remain on schedule.

Of course, these transitions to remote instruction require patience and cooperation. Both parents and students may be alarmed by these developments, but these steps of action are being taken as a precaution. All of this is in an effort to contribute to the decrease of the spread of the coronavirus.

Our teams continue to work diligently to accommodate this transition for our campus, and we are providing additional information as it becomes available. During this time, our administration, faculty and staff will continue to remain focused on their roles to see our students succeed.

While the coming weeks present a very different way of doing life together as a university, we believe this season will only strengthen us further.

It is easy to allow stressful situations to get the best of us, and these uncertain times surely present a unique way of approaching education.

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We trust, as I know many other state and private universities do as well, that we will make this transition to a new way of learning seamless and undisruptive, with every effort to ensure the academic success and health of our students.

At Southeastern University, we believe these difficult decisions have ultimately been made to best serve and support our students. After all, our sole purpose is to see them thrive.

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