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Remote instruction to begin March 23; labs expected to open April 6

On Monday afternoon, Pennsylvania College of Technology President Davie Jane Gilmour and Michael J. Reed, vice president for academic affairs/provost, updated students on the institution’s response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The text of their letter follows:

“At this time, and in accordance with current guidance from the Governor’s Office, Penn College is planning to begin remote instruction on Monday, March 23, until Monday, April 6.  From April 6 onward, we hope to offer instruction in our labs.

“Whenever possible, courses that can be conducted entirely remotely will be taught in that format for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, as it is anticipated that social-distancing recommendations from the health agencies will continue through the end of the academic year.

“Nevertheless, Penn College is a college of applied technology, renowned for its hands-on, experiential learning model, with in-person lab requirements for some programs that must be met. That is why we hope to offer instruction in our labs beginning April 6.

“Faculty members will contact students with more detailed information before remote instruction begins.

“We understand that remote instruction presents technological challenges both for students and faculty. Accordingly, we will provide separate online/chat resources for both groups with assistance provided by the college’s Information Technology Services staff.

“Additionally, we know that broadband resources vary across Pennsylvania and other states, and internet connectivity may present a challenge for some. Please check with the appropriate mobile and cable providers in your area; many are lifting data caps and opening access to their networks during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Residence Life will contact on-campus residents directly with information about housing.

“We also recognize that students and their families may have financial concerns, and we ask for your patience as we first work through building our education-delivery model, so that our students can preserve the ability to earn course credit. We are evaluating, but have not yet developed, policies for housing and dining reimbursements. More information will follow.

“We remain hopeful that we can offer commencement for our graduating students and their families, though the format of the ceremonies is still being explored.

“The COVID-19 situation in Pennsylvania and nationwide remains extremely fluid; we will continue to provide timely updates as conditions warrant.

“Please know that we are guided by a moral obligation to reduce the spread of the disease, an ethical obligation to provide the best possible educational outcomes for our students and their families, and a professional obligation to provide future workforce leaders to the Commonwealth and our industry partners.”

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