Learning, working at CSU in the time of COVID-19

Learning, working at CSU in the time of COVID-19 Image
Learning, working at CSU in the time of COVID-19 April 2, 2020

Life for many of us, it seems, changed almost in the blink of an eye as the coronavirus quickly spread throughout the country. CSU’s response to COVID-19 was rapid and is closely following the CDC and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s advice.

Wow! Who would have believed we would be in this situation? Fortunately, we are all in this together so we are not alone. CSU’s response to COVID-19 was rapid and is closely following the CDC and Governor DeWine’s advice.

Under the leadership of President Harlan Sands, CSU closed campus operations and quickly moved to remote learning, while faculty and staff were moved off-site.

Spring break, which fortunately kept classes out of session starting March 9th, was extended an additional week as faculty began preparing class materials for remote learning. Those living in residence halls were moved out via a careful and thoughtful process. . And before too long, members of our campus community were quickly learning the ins-and-outs of Zoom conferencing, Microsoft Teams, lecturing through Panopto, and conducting synchronous video classrooms through Blackboard Collaborate. For a school that prides itself on tenacity and determination, the last three weeks have been shining examples of what makes Cleveland State special.

In addition to classes, services to students are being delivered online as well. The Michael Schwartz Library continues to offer research guides, ebooks, and a variety of resources through their website, which is continuously maintained by CSU librarians. Tutoring and academic success coaches offer guidance via Zoom conferences. And, Information Services and Technology has been hard at work ensuring faculty and staff have continued access to campus networks and digital assets.

The transition to online learning has not been easy, but our faculty, staff, and students have risen to the challenge. So too have our community partners. Hours after the announcement of our campus closure, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland donated 300 gently-used laptops for students in need. Alumni and friends have also provided critical, targeted student support through the Lift Up Vikes! Resource Center. The center assists students with a variety of basic needs including housing and food, in an effort to keep them safe, healthy, and engaged as learners. (To learn more about Lift Up Vikes! or to make a contribution, visit www.supportcsu.org/lift-up-vikes.)

So much has changed in the last three weeks. Beyond physical distancing, our students, faculty and staff are quickly finding new ways to learn and work from their living rooms, kitchens, and spare bedrooms.  CSU Vikings have adapted on-the-fly! Our physical campus is adapting too. Normally bustling with spring activity, Euclid and Chester Avenues are quiet but for the random car, truck or bus passing through. Events on campus, including spring commencement, have been postponed or cancelled, and doors to all buildings remain locked.

Like our faculty and staff, the administration has maintained frequent and informed communication with our entire community through regular emails with updates and links to resources (access to the daily emails can be found here: www.csuohio.edu/coronavirus-update) and President Sands has been conducting weekly Facebook Live events  (Visit www.facebook.com/clevelandstateuniversity to watch previous town halls). The live events provide the President with the opportunity to update students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni on remote learning and student support services. Followers can post questions and have the President answer them in real-time.

The last several weeks have been unfamiliar for all of us. We’re learning in brand new ways and we’re learning much more about ourselves and each other. The physical distancing, intended to keep us apart, has, in a strange way, brought us closer together. It’s doubtful that any of us will forget the last few weeks or the challenges and obstacles waiting for us down the road, but we will experience them, and adapt and rise to them, together. Please know that our Alumni Affairs staff is here during this time. If you’d like to interact with us directly, please contact us at alumassoc@csuohio.edu.