Marshall announces plans for spring semester


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall University officials this week announced that due to public health concerns surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the university will continue to offer a combination of face-to-face, virtual and online classes for the spring semester.

Marshall President Jerome A. Gilbert informed the Marshall community of the decision in an e-mail message earlier this afternoon.

In the e-mail, Gilbert called the fall semester “remarkable” and said the entire university community could be proud of the obstacles it has overcome in meeting the challenges of the pandemic.

“And, we can look forward to the spring semester with high expectations,” he added. “Although the pandemic continues to make adjustments necessary, the success of the fall semester indicates we are on the right track.”

Classes for the spring 2021 term at Marshall will be offered in the following formats or some combination thereof:

– Face-to-Face, meaning a traditional classroom experience (although with reduced classroom occupancy and required face coverings);

– Virtual, meaning class sessions held live via the university’s learning management system Blackboard and peripheral software, with instructors broadcasting lectures and leading classroom discussions at the specified class meeting day and time. (Sessions may be recorded so students who do not have reliable access to broadband and/or other technical difficulties can watch the class at another time.); and

– Online, meaning with no live/real-time class meetings. Course assignments, notes, group chats and discussions are posted on Blackboard and can be accessed at the student’s convenience.

Freshmen, some graduate and most professional students can continue to expect some combination of face-to-face and virtual courses. The university plans to increase the number of in-person course sections specifically for freshman in the spring semester.

Sophomores, juniors and seniors can still expect mostly virtual courses; however, hands-on courses within a student’s major, including labs, clinicals and studio classes may be offered face-to-face, as determined by each academic program.

Gilbert said the decision to stay with the current instructional model will allow university officials to continue to monitor the pandemic in the region and to keep the density on Marshall’s campuses at a minimum. It also will give the university community the best chance to complete the spring semester safely, while providing a quality educational experience and flexibility for students.

So far this fall, the university has been successful at containing incidences of COVID-19 on its campuses, and has had a markedly lower rate of infection among its students and employees than is found in the region at large and across much of the country.

The university will continue to offer increased counseling, as well as tutoring and other academic support services, during the spring semester.

Information provided by Marshall University.