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Petition and student concerns discussed at on-line press conference

VSU’s spring semester will continue as originally planned, despite the transition to on-line classes caused by the coronavirus, according to Dr. Rodney Carr, vice president for student success.

Dr. Carr made the announcement and discussed related issues at an on-line press conference Monday afternoon.

“We have not made any plans to extend the semester at all,” he said. “It looks like as soon as we get started back on Monday, we’re going to be gong the rest of the semester term 100% online and we plan on ending the term at the same time it would have normally ended.”

Online classes will resume on March 30. Dr. Carr said that there is no need for students to panic as the university has set fourth resources and plans to accommodate for anything that gets in the way of a student’s success in an online class.

“In a time  when (students) try to and want to panic, our goal now is to just say we’re all in this together,” he said. “We’re going to make sure that  everybody can be successful and we’re going to do everything that we possibly can to ensure that.”

In regards to the petition that was made early Sunday evening by students, Dr.Carr said that there is no way for all students to receive an ‘A’ letter grade for all spring classes.

“Our accredited agency, the Governor’s Association for Colleges and Schools will not allow us to do just a blank everybody gets an A. I think even our students would sit there and say they want their grades earned so that’s truly what we do,” Dr. Carr said.  “I think the petition is one of those things where (students) are reaching out and saying it’s an uncertain time and they’re leaning on us and putting all responsibility on us to help meet their educational needs. I think VSU is ready to meet that responsibility.”

Although students won’t be receiving an ‘A’ letter grade during this time of change, Dr. Carr said there are several resources that have been set in place to help students successfully complete an online class.

Odum Library is one of the resources that is currently open for students by card swipe from 10a.m. to 7p.m. While Odum Library is still open there are strict guidelines set in place by the CDC that are being followed such as being 6 feet apart from others and staying in groups of 10.

Dr. Carr also said another resource that will help students with online classes that will start on March 30 is academic coaches.

“We still wanted to not just be an interaction with a computer screen, but still, we truly believe that the connection to our faculty is important and so we’re going to continue to build on those,”  he said. “If a student continues to have problems, then they need to be reaching out to us through the academic coach that they’re going to get and then we’re gong to start rallying all the services we have around that to be successful.”

Dr. Carr confirmed that as of right now there are 259 academic coaches signed up to help students. Each coach will be assigned 20 to 25 students to help.

Online tutoring is now available directly through Blazeview and Dr. Carr said that his team is currently working to find the best way to do facetime tutoring.

“We already have an online tutoring platform but now we’re also adding facetime to that,” he said. “We’re adding collaborations throughout different types of software whether it be Loom or zoom or Microsoft teams. All of those things are out there to where we can interact face to face with our students and still continue the tutoring as well.”

New information regarding student refunds will be sent out by Tuesday.

Dr. Carr said that he will continue to update students and staff of anymore updates.

“We are an entire university that is committed to our students and we all know that this is going to be a hard transition to make and it’s a little scary for a lot of folks but we’re going to be working diligently each and every day as long as we have to, to make sure that it’s going to be successful for our students,” Dr. Carr said.

Written by Lenah Allen, Campus Life Editor. Photo courtesy of Bethany Davis, graphic designer.



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