Ball State Provost updates university's COVID-19 response plan

<p>Provost Susana Rivera-Mills speaks at the summer commencement ceremony July 20, 2019, at Worthen Arena. In an email addressed to Ball State's faculty, Rivera-Mills explained the majority of in-person classes will be moved to an online platform. <strong>Rohith Rao, DN</strong></p>

Provost Susana Rivera-Mills speaks at the summer commencement ceremony July 20, 2019, at Worthen Arena. In an email addressed to Ball State's faculty, Rivera-Mills explained the majority of in-person classes will be moved to an online platform. Rohith Rao, DN

A Twitter thread sent out around 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon discussed an adjusted plan moving forward following President Geoffrey Mearns’ announcement Wednesday night regarding the suspension of all in-person classes for the duration of the spring semester.

Susana Rivera-Mills, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs, in a letter addressed to faculty members, which a university spokesperson said was sent at 9 a.m. Thursday morning then shared to the Ball State website, explained the majority of in-person classes will be moved to an online platform with larger classes being the priority, but the smaller classes with more “hands-on learning” could need more time to transition.

READ MORE: Ball State responds to COVID-19 concerns

Exceptions could be granted for classes that need to meet in person, but permission for those exemptions need to be approved by the appropriate college dean and Rivera-Mills. A university spokesperson said those classes would most likely include fine arts instruction. 

Rivera-Mills said instructors would need to provide “clear justification as to why they cannot transition to an alternative modality.”

Absent an exemption, class transition to online instruction is set for March 23.

“It is vital that we pay attention to and meet all U.S. Department of Education and accreditation requirements as we make this transition,” Rivera-Mills said. “I encourage academic departments to work with their college deans on program-specific licensing and accreditation issues.”

Additionally, she advised all faculty members should consult their department chairs to discuss alternative ways of teaching. While the process of transitioning classes “may feel unfamiliar and even frustrating,” faculty members should make use of all available resources. 

“At this time, we are not directing students to leave our campus, and University services and offices will remain open. A separate message will be going out to parents and families of students at Burris Laboratory School and the Indiana Academy,” Rivera-Mills said.

Currently, university officials are not aware of any confirmed cases of the virus on campus. However, if a case of COVID-19 was to be confirmed on campus, she said, that would come from “the Indiana State Department of Health and/or Health Center staff will notify anyone who may be affected.”

Contact Charles Melton with comments at cwmelton@bsu.edu or on Twitter @Cmelton144.  

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