FARGO — North Dakota State University will continue to offer a mix of in-person and online classes after Thanksgiving, taking a different direction than Moorhead colleges that plan to conduct virtual learning only for the rest of the semester.
NDSU announced Friday, Nov. 13, that it will not modify its operations or educational delivery amid the coronavirus pandemic. President Dean Bresciani said updates to campus policy and the school’s ventilation system “give us confidence that we do not need to make changes.”
“Nevertheless, we are cognizant that the infection rates in our state and community continue to increase dramatically,” he said in a statement. “It is incredibly important to continue to limit interactions, limit travel, wear masks and get tested.”
NDSU has not signaled any changes for next semester, either. Concordia College and Minnesota State University Moorhead will offer a mix of online and in-person classes in the spring, just as they did in the fall.
However, both Concordia and MSUM announced plans earlier this year to switch to online classes starting after Thanksgiving and lasting through finals week.
“The high COVID-19 case rates in Minnesota and North Dakota, combined with the likelihood that students will be traveling to and from communities with high infection rates, puts not only our campus community but also the surrounding communities at risk,” MSUM President Anne Blackhurst said in a late October statement.
NDSU encouraged its students to stay in Fargo for Thanksgiving but hasn’t prohibited them from going home. Those who go home will be asked to get tested when they return.
"Please remember, even if you feel fine, you may be pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic, and you could be responsible for getting others sick," Bresciani said. "Nobody wants to be responsible for that."
In response to professors' questions about why NDSU didn’t ask students to return home and stay there, Provost Margaret Fitzgerald said in-person education works better for some classes, such as labs. Asking everyone to go online would make it difficult for some students and professors, she said.
“That’s why it is a complicated issue to make a blanket statement,” Fitzgerald said during a Nov. 9 faculty senate meeting.
Fitzgerald was unavailable for an interview this week.