Stony Brook University has instructed professors to prepare to offer online classes as soon as the week following spring break “in the light of the quickly evolving situation surrounding COVID-19.”
“At this time, preparation is for readiness purposes only,” an email sent to faculty and staff read. “Our guiding principle is to provide continuity of academic programming and maintain progress for student learning outcomes in the event that campus closure becomes necessary.”
Stony Brook’s email to faculty and staff included suggestions on how to shift classes online, including “distance learning” via Skype, Zoom or Webex with assignments submitted via Blackboard or email, independent study and experiential learning with simulated and virtual experiences.
Gov. Cuomo declared a state of emergency in New York on Saturday, March 7, and an additional 16 coronavirus cases were confirmed Sunday, raising the total of cases in New York State to 105. There are 82 cases in Westchester, 12 in New York City, five in Nassau County, two in Rockland County, two in Saratoga, one in Suffolk County and one in Ulster County.
Cuomo encouraged New Yorkers to work from home and avoid crowded places as much as possible in a press conference on Sunday.
Stony Brook University will also be offering faculty and staff training sessions on Blackboard and teaching online.
University deans will meet on Monday, March 9, to discuss strategies on preparing for online classes. Blackboard will hold a webinar on “Preparing to scale online teaching and learning during Coronavirus” on Tuesday, March 10.
Some professors have already sent out emails informing students that classes will be held remotely on March 9.
The School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) sent an email on March 8 warning faculty, staff and graduate students to prepare for the possibility that remaining lectures might need to be given via webinar or recording.
“If this change is definitely implemented, we will schedule an information session in 120 Endeavour, for late this coming week,” SoMAS Dean Paul Shepson wrote in the email. “At this time, we are only preparing ourselves for this eventuality. Further information and University-wide policy is likely to be forthcoming, soon, and regularly. Please stay tuned.”
Major universities such as Stanford and the University of Washington have already informed students that it was shutting down in-person classes and switching to online courses.