The University of Oregon will provide online classes for the entirety of spring term in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus, UO President Michael Schill said in a Thursday afternoon email to students.
Schill said that the decision was made to “prioritize the health and safety of our students, staff faculty, and the broader community” and to do “everything humanly and institutionally possible to further the education of our students and make it possible for them to graduate from the UO in a timely fashion.”
“Together, we can help slow the spread of COVID-19, maintain our students' path to on-time graduation, and support the UO's vital mission of teaching, research, and service,” Schill said.
Schill said that the university will not charge students for dining and dorms if they are not living on campus during spring term; however, he said that the university cannot discount tuition. During Tuesday’s board of trustees meeting, protestors demanded the university refund tuition for spring term and ASUO President Sabinna Pierre presented a petition with over 5,000 signatures that asked the board to lower tuition for spring term and to delay its action on guaranteed tuition.
Schill said in Thursday’s email that the costs of remote education are "just as high—if not higher—" than traditional teaching, but the university will “continue to employ faculty, graduate students, advisors, and other staff on the payroll to teach and support our students.”
The UO previously planned to host online classes for the first three weeks of spring term, but an executive order from Oregon Governor Kate Brown directed Oregon’s higher education institutions to provide remote learning until April 28. Oregon State University and Portland State University made the decision to do spring term all online Wednesday evening.
Dorms and campus dining options will remain open during spring term, Schill said, but added that “it will not be possible to maintain all of our normal operations given the restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 response, but we will prioritize services and operations that support students, faculty, and our core educational mission.”
Earlier this week, the UO closed its campuses across the state to the general public.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a developing story. Watch the Emerald’s coverage for the latest updates.