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Johnson C. Smith University goes into distance learning mode
Online classes response to COVID-19
 
Published Saturday, April 4, 2020 12:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | TROY HULL
Johnson C. Smith University President Clarence Armbrister.

COVID-19 has pushed colleges into postponement mode.


From commencement to classes and campus housing, the spring semester looks remarkably different than it did a year ago. The impact has been felt across the nation. Johnson C. Smith University President Clarence Armbrister shared a video message to speak to the situation.


Online instruction began for JCSU students on March 30, which is how the university, like many others, intend to conclude the spring semester.


“Thank you for your understanding and your patience during these uncertain times as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic,” Armbrister said. “Thank you for your flexibility and passion. We have heard you. Please note that all decisions are being made with you in mind, because you are my highest priority.”


Armbrister also thanked faculty and staff, as well as alumni for their aid.


“Coronavirus is impacting our daily lives,” Armbrister said. “Information regarding COVID-19, the university’s actions and response to the virus, and resources you may use are posted on our website.”


“I urge everyone to do your part by practicing handwashing and social distancing to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” Armbrister said.


“I hope each of you will be safe and well as we face the days ahead,” Armbrister said. “We are a family. We care about each other, and we care for each other. Thank you, and continue to hold high the Gold and Blue.”


Smith postponed its commencement due to the spread of the pandemic. They shared in a statement, “unfortunately due to COVID-19 the university has had to make the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 commencement ceremonies. We will be celebrating our seniors’ accomplishments. However, we do not at this time know when that celebration will take place.”


Instructors are forced to get creative with classes. Some have taken to video platforms like Zoom, as well as using social media to meet students where they are on platforms they use on a daily basis. For instance, Professor Jemayne King, who teaches Sole Food: Digestible Sneaker Culture, intends to use Instagram live to speak with his students.
“I’m treating it like a virtual office hour visit,” King said.


The university also addressed seniors in the March 30 announcement about resuming classes by encouraging them to celebrate what they have accomplished. They also acknowledged the way the pandemic has changed the experience for the senior class.


“To our seniors, we understand this has been an especially hard experience for you. We know there are moments, great and small, during senior year that allow for celebration and reflection on your time as a Golden Bull, and you will miss some of those moments,” read the university statement.


Sports are a significant part of the college campus. They too have come to a halt. The university addressed this by saying: “We haven’t forgotten about our student-athletes. You thrive on competition in sports, the thrill of exciting fans and the camaraderie of being with your teammates. Many of you had your seasons cancelled, and we understand your disappointment.”


Football coach Kermit Blount told The Post it was tough to see spring ball come to an end early, but the wellbeing of the group takes precedence.


“This is a very unfortunate virus that’s going around,” he said. “But at the same time, you know we had to do the right thing and cancelling spring football practice and all the spring sports. …It’s unfortunate for us we won’t get a chance to hit the field and talk a little football and practice and have a chance to be around these young men, but you know it was something that had to be done.”

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Posted on April 4, 2020
 

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