University President Fr. Mark Poorman announced Thursday morning that the school would be suspending all face-to-face classes starting March 16. There will be no classes Monday, March 16 or Tuesday, March 17 to allow faculty time to prepare for online instruction. Starting March 18, all courses will be held online until further notice.
“Throughout our University's decision-making process, we have considered guidance from public health authorities, members of our Health & Counseling Center team, and best practices in higher education,” Poorman said. “We have endeavored to make decisions that are data-informed and consistent with our mission.”
Poorman outlined what the transition to online learning means for students, room and board, faculty and staff, travel and on campus events.
Student Room and Board
Students are encouraged to return to their permanent addresses. Poorman acknowledged that returning home might be difficult for some students so residence halls will remain open and on-campus dining will be available.
The university will remain open and operate under a normal schedule. More information regarding flexible work options will come from Vice President for Human Resources Sandy Chung.
Large University Events
Following Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s orders, all events of over 250 people will be canceled. This includes Founders’ Day, Weekend on The Bluff, Rock The Bluff, the student-athlete awards dinner and the Hawaiian Luau.
Attendance at on-campus athletic events will be restricted to student-athletes, officials, essential staff and credentialed media.
According to Poorman, at this time, there are not plans to cancel commencement in May.
Smaller events like lectures and club meetings will be postponed until further notice. Some smaller events may be allowed to occur with advance written approval from the provost and/or a university vice president.
All university-sponsored and/or reimbursed travel will be canceled or postponed for now, unless the provost and/or a university vice president grants a written exception. However, this does not apply to people currently abroad and traveling back to the U.S.
“These are difficult times, and I invite you to join me in praying for all who have been impacted around the world by the COVID-19 outbreak,” Poorman said. “I also ask that you join me in praying for our University of Portland community and for all who labor in support of the safety and well-being of our Pilot students, faculty, and staff. I am confident that through action, resilience, and God’s grace, we will emerge from these present challenges.”
Maddie Pfeifer is the News and Managing Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at email@example.com.