The remainder of the spring semester at the numerous colleges and universities associated with Churches of Christ looks a little different these days, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I packed up my university life within a few hours and drove home with a lot of uncertainty and no goodbyes,” Harding University senior Hannah Wise said. “That part of my life would never have a satisfying end to it.”
Wise, a member of North Cherokee Church of Christ in Waleska, Ga., was one of thousands of seniors who were forced to leave their last semester early due to the COVID-19 outbreak across the nation.
“I packed up my university life within a few hours and drove home with a lot of uncertainty and no goodbyes”
In January, Pepperdine University in Malibu, Cali., another university associated with Churches of Christ, called off its Shanghai study abroad program in January due to the spread of the virus in China and sent students home, as The Christian Chronicle reported. Many other schools followed soon after, canceling international programs and trips because of COVID-19.
Since then, the respiratory virus has made its way to the U.S., spreading quickly through communities across the country.
Universities associated with Churches of Christ began taking action in early March, canceling in-person classes and all other activities, to reduce the chances that students on campus would become infected.
“When the anxiousness from the change slowed down and the decision to ask the students to not return for classes became permanent, I felt crushed,” Wise said.
It’s been a hard reality for students to accept. However, they understand this pandemic requires action by university officials.
“As difficult as this situation may appear, please recognize that it is unprecedented and we will face it together,” said York College provost Shane Mountjoy in a statement. “Please know that despite these changes to the semester, our characteristic personal attention and deep commitment to your success remain foremost in our minds. As we always do in difficult situations, we will work through this together as a campus community.”
Decisions on how most universities and colleges will handle graduation ceremonies are still pending.
Below is an overview of schools and their actions, by state.
Faulkner University, Montgomery
- Faulkner announced on March 20 that on-campus instruction was to continue to be delivered online through the end of the spring semester.
- Graduation has been rescheduled to August 8.
- There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the Faulkner community.
Crowley’s Ridge College, Paragould
- The college released a statement on March 21 announcing the transition of all courses to be transitioned to an online format.
- May commencement ceremonies are still scheduled to take place in early May, although CRC is actively monitoring the situation along with health authorities and medical professionals.
- There have been no confirmed cases of the disease in the CRC community.
Harding University, Searcy
- Harding canceled in-person classes on March 19, announcing online instruction for the remainder of the spring semester.
- May graduation ceremonies have been postponed until August, and intersession and summer courses are expected to start as planned.
- A Harding student was the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in White County, according to Harding’s newspaper, The Bison. The student lives off-campus, and has not been on campus since before spring break.
Pepperdine University, Malibu
- Pepperdine was one of the first to announce their decision on Wednesday, March 11 to move to online classes for the remainder of the semester due to the spread of COVID-19, as reported by The Christian Chronicle.
- Commencement ceremonies for the spring semester have been postponed.
- Twelve cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed within Pepperdine’s community, eight were participants of the London study abroad program who had returned home.
Florida College, Temple Terrace
- The college announced on March 23 that all in-person classes would resume on an online format for the remainder of the semester.
- Commencement ceremonies have been postponed until August 8.
- Florida College has not announced any confirmed cases of COVID-19 within their campus community.
Rochester University, Rochester Hills
- The university announced on March 19 that all classes will be conducted online through the remainder of the semester.
- Commencement ceremonies have been postponed and are expected to be held in late August, with a date to be announced later.
- Rochester has not announced any confirmed cases within their community.
York College, York
- On March 17, York announced the school would continue to deliver all courses in an online format through the end of the semester.
- Spring graduation ceremonies have been canceled.
- The college stated they have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on their campus.
Oklahoma Christian University, Oklahoma City
- The university released a statement on March 20 announcing the transition of all in-person classes to online instruction for the duration of the spring semester.
- OC has not announced a decision about commencement ceremonies.
- There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at OC’s campus.
Abilene Christian University, Abilene
- ACU announced on March 20 that all courses were to continue online for the remainder of the semester.
- Commencement ceremonies have been rescheduled for Aug. 7-8, although officials are actively monitoring the situation.
- ACU is unaware of any confirmed COVID-19 cases within their community.
Lubbock Christian University, Lubbock
- LCU announced March 26 that all in-person courses were to continue online for the remainder of the spring semester.
- May commencement ceremonies have been postponed, with a date to be determined.
- There have been no confirmed cases in the campus community.
Southwestern Christian College, Terrell
- The college announced on March 28 that all courses are to resume online for the remainder of the semester.
- Southwestern has not released information regarding spring commencement ceremonies.
- There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the college’s community.
Freed-Hardeman University, Henderson
- On March 17, the university announced all on-campus courses have been canceled and instruction will resume online for the remainder of the semester.
- The university has not released information regarding spring commencement ceremonies.
- Freed-Hardeman is unaware of any COVID-19 cases within their community.
Lipscomb University, Nashville
- On March 18, the university announced the decision to continue online instruction for the remainder of the semester.
- The school announced on April 2 the decision to move all summer courses online.
- Spring commencement ceremonies have been canceled and all May graduates have been invited to participate in the December graduation ceremonies.
- Lipscomb is unaware of any confirmed COVID-19 cases within their campus community.
Ohio Valley University, Vienna
- The university announced all courses will be conducted online for the remainder of the semester.
- Spring graduation ceremonies have been postponed to a later date.
- OVU has not announced any confirmed cases of COVID-19 within their community.