Student-centered focus leads CU during pandemic


By Scott Halasz - shalasz@aimmediamidwest.com



CEDARVILLE — In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Cedarville University will finish semester classes either remote or online and will not hold formal graduation ceremonies.

In what was described as a heart-felt letter to the CU community on Friday, President Dr. Thomas White detailed those and myriad changes as the country continues to adjust to ever-changing conditions.

“My heart wants us to be back on campus,” White wrote. “I long to sing praises to God alongside you, celebrate with you at Elliv (a student-run event) and graduation, and shed a few tears with our seniors as they experience the joy and heartache of knowing their next chapter begins as their 1,000 days at Cedarville ends. For reasons that we may never understand, a rare and dangerous pandemic has derailed our plans.”

White said the university will not charge a graduation fee and hopes to hold a celebration in honor of the 2020 graduates at a later date. Diplomas will be mailed to graduates in May.

“These weeks have been painful,” White told the community. “We feel for our seniors who are missing moments that we cherish together, musicians who will miss that senior recital, athletes who will not have that final game to celebrate, and so many others who will miss special events that may never happen.”

The school also announced that all on-campus events through the spring semester are cancelled or moved to an online format.

Summer school classes currently remain scheduled but they may need to be offered online, White added. All summer global outreach trips have been cancelled or will be postponed to a future year.

White’s letter also addressed other coronavirus related changes.

— Residence halls are closing as soon as possible. All students should plan to clean and check out of their rooms by Saturday, May 2. CU is issuing a refund for the unused portion of room and board that will be credited to student accounts. It will be applied to any outstanding balance or will remain a credit for next semester.

— The school will not charge additional late fees nor interest on unpaid balances through the summer and will not place holds on registration for past-due balances.

— The International Student Services office will work with international students to facilitate their return home as soon as possible.

— CU will continue to stream live chapels on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through the remainder of spring semester.

— No student will lose their Cedarville academic or need-based scholarships for the 2020-21 school year as a result of poor academic performance this spring semester.

White also said that CU officials are monitoring distance learning closely and have extended the opportunity to withdraw from class through April 3.

Cedarville is also developing a pass/fail (credit/no credit) option similar to what Duke and MIT have provided for their students, the letter said.

“We want you to know that we will do everything we can to help you adjust to this semester of distance learning and to succeed in the pursuit of your degree program,” White said. “Do your best, work hard, and know that we will do all we can to help you succeed. We expect that you will demonstrate excellence in effort and integrity in your conduct. You need to pass these classes and learn the material to stay on track toward graduation, so I encourage you to work diligently toward that end. At the same time, we understand that this transition may be difficult on various learning styles.”

By Scott Halasz

shalasz@aimmediamidwest.com

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.