Marquette Fall 2020 - Distance Learning Option

Marquette Fall 2020 - Distance Learning Option

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Marquette University has been planning for a return to campus in the Fall of 2020. So far, the University has not provided a hybrid instruction or a complete online instruction option for students who do not feel comfortable on campus, even though the current regional health guidelines (1) prohibit such a return to in-person classes (2). Over 100 faculty members - including two of Marquette's own outbreak experts - have also petitioned the University to switch to the online format, in an open letter (3).

(1) Health Department Prohibits Reopening
(2) Health Department Guidelines
(3) Marquette Faculty Petition University for Distance Learning Arrangements

While keeping students and families waiting, Marquette has provided redundant communications, repeatedly stating their intention to follow the Health Department guidelines, yet has shared no decisive verdict, aside from “preparing” and “planning”. This does little for students being able to organize their lives. Other universities acted quickly - announcing plans for remote instruction based on current conditions rather than optimistic immaterial hypotheticals that go against city guidelines. Some universities' plans even allow first year students to return to campus, addressing Marquette’s concerns about parents threatening to send their children to other universities and the preservation of the freshman experience. Unlike the students of these other colleges, however, Marquette students are still not able to finalize housing and travel arrangements or finalize their schedules among other things.

Now, Marquette is petitioning the Milwaukee Health Department to accommodate their preferences, asking them to change their wording, rather than announcing a decision based on the current recommendations. Official recommendations which are based on the actual rising number of cases in the area rather than one private institution’s interests.

The University promised another update on July 27th and today shared a feeble admission of uncertainty concerning the still in development reopening plan. Do students not deserve more? More than insubstantial progress reports that keep them waiting longer? Today’s update promised “a decision”- no mention of how binding it will be - during the first week of August. That gives students only two weeks to make and unmake arrangements. The University has attempted to provide as much information as possible about the plan to return to campus, yet has shared virtually nothing about the online plan. In light of the current Health Department recommendations, students should have access to a distance learning option for the Fall 2020 semester.