Faculty from the University of Minnesota-Duluth's Swenson College of Science and Engineering, the largest college on campus, are considering putting all class online as they feel administrators aren't prepared to deal with the ongoing pandemic.

Our media partners at WDIO-TV are reporting that department heads sent a letter to Chancellor Lendley Black on Monday which included a list of requests that they say must be implemented before they would feel comfortable conducting in-person learning.

"Please work with us to reduce the anxiety around the fall semester by addressing these issues," the letter read. "Some of our departments are considering transitioning all remaining classes fully online and emailing students about why we need to do this, but we know this would be highly divisive if done at a department level. We would much prefer to work with you and your team."

The full list of requests includes:

  • Consistent communication (emails run through deans before being sent to faculty)
  • Make an online option clear for students
  • A campus testing site for all in the UMD community
  • Daily updates on positive cases
  • Notification if a student in their class tests positive
  • Clear guidance on online course transition in case of illness
  • A sunset plan (what triggers a pullback)

Swenson College of Science and Engineering faculty have requested these changes be implemented before August 31, when classes are scheduled to resume.

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As it stands now, 79% of undergraduate students will have at least one class that includes in-person instruction.

The university is on record saying their facilities management teams are stepping up regular housekeeping practices with "frequent cleaning and sanitization of door handles, railings, and elevator panels."


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