Minot State prepares for Fall 2020 Beavers Restart

MINOT, N.D. – Preparation for the fall semester looks a little different on the Minot State campus this year.

In addition to normal summer maintenance and projects, the University is rearranging classrooms, installing new technology, fitting physical barriers in labs, clinics, and offices, and continuing to develop protocols for safety.

“Following the abrupt conversion of the spring semester to an online environment in March, we are excited to welcome our students back to Minot State for the fall semester and have been undertaking many measures throughout campus to prepare for their arrival next month,” said Minot State President Steven Shirley.

The Fall 2020 semester begins Aug. 24 with 4 p.m. classes, which will include a blend of face-to-face, HyFlex, and fully online formats with an emphasis on offering the face-to-face experience. Minot State plans for courses to run the entire scheduled fall semester, which ends on Dec. 18.

“One of Minot State’s strengths is its personalized approach to teaching and learning, and that is best accomplished in a face-to-face environment,” said Laurie Geller, vice president for academic affairs. “In addition, students have overwhelmingly indicated their preference for face-to-face instruction as well as other aspects of the on-campus experience.”

In following both federal and state recommendations and guidelines, Minot State is working to reduce risk for students, faculty, and staff while continuing to provide a high-quality education.

One way to meet that goal is by repurposing spaces such as Ann Nicole Nelson Hall and Aleshire Theatre into learning spaces for classes with large enrollment numbers.

Another option, HyFlex — or the Hybrid-Flexible format —has students attending either in person or online at the same time. In some cases, students will rotate between face-to-face and remote attendance to reduce classroom capacity. Ninety classrooms on campus are currently being equipped with the technology required to provide this opportunity.

To allow for 6-feet physical distancing and to meet the needs of students with accommodations resulting from ADA-covered health concerns, all faculty teaching face-to-face will also be prepared to offer their courses remotely for those students who cannot attend in person.

“Minot State is working to minimize risk so we can focus on student learning,” said Geller.

In conjunction with the North Dakota Department of Health, plans are being finalized to provide free testing opportunities for students, faculty, and staff members at or just prior to the start of the semester at a variety of locations across the state.

Beavers Restart includes adhering to 6-feet physical distancing, frequent handwashing, enhanced cleaning protocols, and self-monitoring before coming to campus. Dispensers of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes can be found throughout the University.

As the spread and effects of COVID-19 continues to be studied, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public, especially where physical distancing is difficult to maintain. The University will provide two reusable masks to each student, new and current, in a welcome bag.

Currently, Minot State strongly recommends but does not mandate mask usage across campus. A final decision about masks and face coverings will be made and communicated on or about Aug. 1. Until then, some areas on campus require masks, and all faculty, staff, students, and visitors should be prepared to wear a face covering if necessary. Anywhere on campus where a 6-feet distance cannot be maintained, masks must be worn.

As COVID-19 is ever-evolving, additional information about the Beavers Restart can be found at MinotStateU.edu/covid including strategies being implemented in Residence Life, the Academic Support Center, MSU Life, and Financial Aid.

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 07/17/20   

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