St. Clairsville, OH (March 11, 2020) —Belmont College is monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation carefully and is taking proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty and staff in accordance with the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Governor Mike DeWine’s Office.
Belmont College will be extending spring break by one week and will transition classes to online/remote learning on March 23, 2020.
According to Belmont College President Dr. Paul Gasparro, “As the health and safety of our campus community is our highest priority, Belmont is taking additional steps. We have an academic plan in place based on Governor DeWine’s recommendation and we are transitioning face-to-face classes to online/remote learning. Courses and labs which cannot be moved online will have alternative plans. While we recognize that these steps are necessary, we also understand the importance of the exchange of ideas that occur in our classrooms every day. We are disrupting this process only in an effort to keep our community safe.”
“It is important for our college community to know that while the CDC considers this to be a serious public health concern, based on current information, the immediate health risk to the general public is considered low at this time,” said Gasparro. “It is best to practice healthy habits including frequent hand washing, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding contact with those who are ill.”
Moreover, according to Governor DeWine’s recommendation, social distancing will be most effective at helping to control the spread of COVID-19. “Social distancing will help reduce the gathering of large groups of people together to slow the spread of the virus,” Gasparro said.
Belmont College is well-positioned for online/remote learning thanks to the College’s BEConnected Initiative. Through the college-wide program, Belmont provides use of an iPad to every student, faculty, and staff member for integration into each facet of student life from enrollment to graduation. Additionally, with the Canvas Learning Management System, Belmont is able to transition most courses to an online remote learning platform.
“As long as students and faculty have internet access, they have anytime, anywhere access to all course content and materials,” Gasparro said. “Being a mobile friendly platform, Canvas pairs perfectly with the BEConnected initiative.”
“Ohio’s community colleges understand the vital importance of protecting public health and the well-being of our students, faculty, staff and the communities we serve,” said Jack Hershey, President & CEO Ohio Association of Community Colleges. “We stand ready to support Gov. DeWine in his effort to slow the potential spread of the coronavirus in our state. Recognizing our unique locations and student populations, the presidents of the 23 community colleges in Ohio are putting plans into place to facilitate online instruction, scale back events, eliminate all non-essential travel, and reduce the number of students gathering on the campuses of Ohio’s community colleges.”
Belmont College will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed with the health and safety of the college community being their first priority.
No known members of the Belmont College community or surrounding areas have tested positive for COVID-19 at this time.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the coronavirus, please contact the Ohio Department of Health’s call center at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634). The call center is staffed with licensed nurses and infectious disease experts who are available seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
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Students: Check your email for important course information.