Several Changes to Campus Operations Announced in Response to Evolving COVID-19 Situation


Megan Parker

Additional information on actions taken by The University of Akron can be found online.

By Megan Parker, Editor-in-Chief

In response to estimates that cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) will peak in late April or early May, The University of Akron President Gary L. Miller announced several key decisions impacting campus operations.

These key decisions come only one week after
Ohio’s first confirmed cases of COVID-19 were announced by Gov. Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, director of health for the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

Although UA currently has no confirmed cases of COVID-19, President Miller said in the announcement that the evolving circumstances of the pandemic have created challenges that UA officials must take into account.

Online Instruction Only

Once classes resume on March 30, the remainder of the semester is set to be completed through online-only instruction for all students no matter their enrollment location.

“After learning from the Governor and Ohio’s Director of Health that the coronavirus peak is estimated for late April or early May, we do not believe a return to our campuses for face-to-face instruction for the remainder of the spring semester is prudent,” President Miller said.

Faculty are being asked to continue their preparations for online instruction through the end of the semester. Additionally, UA will be providing online delivery educational sessions virtually and in-person with limited occupancy.

Essential Services Only

To limit the number of employees working on campus in relation with Gov. DeWine’s suggestions of social distancing, campus operations will only include essential services.

According to President Miller’s announcement, these services include but are not limited to: admissions, financial aid, food pantry, information technology, health services, mail service, research, and ZipAssist.

A full list of essential services can be found
online, as well as additional guidelines for how other campus services will operate. A summary of campus services is also available through Zipmail.

“Anyone working in these areas should consult with their supervisor regarding who will remain working on campus and who can/should work remotely,” President Miller said. “All other employees should work with their supervisors to discuss remote working arrangements.”

Residence Halls

With limited exceptions, UA is closing all residence halls on campus.

“Students currently residing in the residence halls must make plans to leave campus by 11 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18,” President Miller said. “A prorated credit for housing and meal plans will be given.”

Additional details will be released from the Department of Residence Life and Housing. Housing will continue for students who are unable to leave until the end of the spring semester.

Students are encouraged to keep an eye on their UA email accounts for details on completing a Spring 2020 Stay Request form.

Spring 2020 Graduation Commencement

According to a Zipmail announcement sent out on March 17, the Spring Commencement ceremonies have been postponed. 

“Alternate dates have not yet been set,” the announcement said. “More details will be shared as soon as they are known.”

President Miller ensured that if the traditional commencement ceremony is not held, students who have “earned sufficient credit toward their respective degrees will still graduate.”