Warner Pacific University Plans for Fall 2020

July 17, 2020

Warner Pacific University Plans for Fall 2020

Over the past five months, Warner Pacific’s administration, faculty, staff, and student leaders have been carefully planning for the start of the academic semester. Guided by our mission and vision and our commitment to serve our students, while prioritizing the health of students and employees of the University and local communities, we have developed a plan to resume on-campus programs and operations and our face-to-face classes and continue to support our online cohorts.

We have reviewed a variety of scenarios for the Fall 2020 semester, including the flexibility to adjust as needed based on external conditions and trends in the pandemic. Our approach is informed by Federal and State guidelines for higher education. We have also incorporated valuable insight gained from the successful transition to remote learning in the Spring semester. University policies and procedure have been developed and implemented in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and respond to potential infections among our community members. Again, we want you to know that the health and safety of our students and employees is our very highest priority.

We write to share with you the plans for Fall across several areas of the University, including the academic calendar, course instruction, and health and safety practices we are implanting to help keep our campus and community safe. We are building a campus-wide culture incorporating shared responsibility for public health. The success of our plans and the safety of our community during this season depend on each of us taking actions to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Thank you for your involvement in the “thought exchange” sent out via email on July 15. Your insight and questions have been helpful in finalizing our plans. We will continue to provide additional details regarding instruction, athletics, campus life, support services, and other aspects of university life via email and the WPU website over the next few weeks.

Academic Calendar

The University currently plans to hold in-person classes with some courses offered in hybrid and online formats for students that are registered for face-to-face instruction and we will continue to provide excellent instruction to students registered in online cohorts. This approach allows us to bring back as many members of our community as possible for the new academic year, while adhering to public health guidance around social distancing and other measures designed in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Important Dates & Information for Traditional Students

  • Registration for Fall is best completed by August 10th to ensure textbook arrival prior to the start of class. Students who register after August 10th may have textbook delays. If you previously met with your advisor and have an approved course plan, please login to MyWP to complete your registration. If you do not have an approved course plan, please contact your advisor. It is not too late to register, check out this brief video: https://vimeo.com/40302010936d3b71a1
  • Welcome Weekend activities for new traditional first-year and transfer students are scheduled for August 21-23, 2020.
  • International students traveling or returning to Portland may need to arrive earlier than usual to provide for time to quarantine. We encourage flexibility in travel arrangements and timing to account for these potential requirements. We will provide updates if quarantine requirements change between now and the start of the semester.
  • Final exams for the Fall semester are scheduled for December 7-10, 2020.

Important Dates & Information for Professional and Graduate Studies (PGS) Students:

  • Cohorts are scheduled to begin Fall classes as early as August 3, 2020 and will continue to start through November depending on the Module and program.
  • Warner Pacific University’s summer and PGS classes that begin before August 24, 2020 will remain online, but all classes scheduled to be face-to-face after that date will follow the meeting schedule posted through MyWP.
  • PGS students enrolled in cohort programs are automatically enrolled in the courses for your cohort. Should you need to add a course, be sure to do it a minimum of three weeks before the course begins. Contact your advisor for assistance.
  • New PGS students will receive information from advising regarding cohort orientation. Orientations for the Fall semester will happen within a few days of the start of your cohort.

Because the evolving situation with the pandemic means there are inherent uncertainties, Warner Pacific University will make adjustments to the academic calendar or mode of instruction based on guidance from Local, State, or Federal agencies.

Instruction

Warner Pacific University’s summer or PGS classes that begin before August 24th will remain online, but all classes scheduled to be face-to-face after that date will follow the meeting schedule posted through MyWP.

Faculty and staff have been working intensively over the summer to reconfigure rooms, establish new policies, and redesign many courses to implement best practices for teaching and learning under current circumstances.

Our instructional approach to the challenges and restrictions posed by COVID-19 is best characterized as a hybrid/flexible model, in which we are using in-person opportunities to the fullest extent possible while also using technology and remote learning to deliver instruction when and where it is best. Unless restricted by Local, State, or Federal mandates, some courses will continue fully face-to-face, a few online, and many in a mix of both formats (hybrid). For registered students, there changes are already reflected on their schedules and in MyWP.

In addition, we recognize that while many students and instructors alike would prefer to be face-to-face wherever possible, there will be many circumstances out of our control. That is why the faculty have worked diligently over the summer to redesign many of their course to accommodate students (or instructors) who might need to continue the course remotely while the rest of the class meets in person. To that end, we will ask any student of faculty member who must complete a course remotely because of COVID-19 related concerns to make a formal request to do so. More information will follow about the process for making such a request.

Some of the main principles of teaching and learning in this environment are clarity of expectations; multiple ways of learning and demonstrating competency; and regular, accessible communication. We have also acquired technology to broadcast courses live as well as record them for future reference. In addition to training faculty on new technology and course design, we will also be working with students to ensure they have adequate access to technology and can effectively use the tools required for their courses. Warner Pacific is at a particular advantage compared to many institutions in this time when small classes and distancing are required. The size of our student population and the campus spaces available, make us well-suited to respond to and weather these challenges together, in order to provide a safe environment for teaching and learning. We are grateful for all of the extra work and effort from staff and faculty to be prepared for what will surely be a memorable year.

Health and Safety

The success of all our planning for the coming academic year is dependent on each member of the campus community consistently taking steps to keep themselves and our entire community healthy and safe.

A great deal of work has also occurred to address logistical challenges (including technology considerations, spatial configurations, and conduct and safety protocols) prior to the start of the academic year to promote a safe return. In accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols, as issues byt eh State of Oregon and Multnomah County, we are:

  • Reducing the capacity of classrooms to maintain safe air flows
  • Installing air filtration systems in areas with limited air circulation
  • Ensuring minimum 6 feet distance between people
  • Working from home when possible and feasible for University operations
  • Requiring employees and students to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces and outside when distancing is not possible, unless they have a qualifying exception
  • Performing daily self-checks for symptoms and requiring symptomatic employees and students to stay home
  • Requiring regular hand washing and providing access to hand sanitizer
  • Frequently disinfecting desks, workstations, and high-contact surfaces
  • Ensuring every student has 24/7 access to virtual health and counseling visits through Knights.care

COVID-19 will continue to be a factor in our lives and we expect all students and employees to adhere to all of the guidelines provided below. We will ask every person to uphold a new commitment, the “Knights Pledge” to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Specifically, every person on campus must adhere to these requirements:

  • Face Coverings: Everyone (Faculty, Staff, Students, and Visitors) will be expected/required to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in University buildings, and on the campus grounds when others are present.
  • Physical Distancing: Campus workspaces, classrooms, and study spaces are being reconfigured to provide 6 feet distance between people, and while on campus, everyone is expected to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others when possible.
  • Hygiene: Regularly washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer when washing hands is not possible.
  • Self-Monitoring & Reporting Health Concerns: Anyone coming to campus must self-monitor for COVID-19 related symptoms and stay home if they have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 or have had any symptoms over the past 10 days, including: cough, runny or stuffy nose, shortness of breath, chills, body aches, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Checking your temperature on a regular basis will assist you in determining potential illness. Anyone with symptoms should not go to their University destination (class, office, etc.) and should consult a healthcare provider. Students should inform their faculty, students living in campus housing should report their illness to residence life, and employees should inform their supervisor.

The health and safety requirements that have been developed are intended to minimize spread of COVD-19. These steps and a shared commitment to maintaining public health makes our return to campus this fall possible. While this pandemic is altering the way we navigate life together, the Warner Pacific University community has long demonstrated a spirit of commitment and collaboration to each other that allows us to achieve our academic goals. We are asking that you dedicate yourself to that same commitment this year as we pursue education while combating COVID-19 together.