March 22 Message to Students

Students,

The world changed during Spring Break. We quickly realized that the spread of COVID-19 would put you at particular risk living in close quarters on campus. We acted to make sure that you could quickly move to a place of safety, drastically lower your risk of infection, and allow our faculty to implement the academic continuity plan.

We know that conducting the last six weeks of the semester remotely is not what you (or we) prefer. Canceling the semester is not an option, especially for our seniors and those who are on financial aid and scholarships. Bringing you back right now is not an option, based on government directives. So tomorrow we will all embark on remote learning. Some of you are very nervous and anxious. If we pull together and help each other over the next six weeks, I truly believe that this will work out. I know that it is not optimal, but I also know that you are strong, capable, and resilient.

Our faculty and staff members have worked through Spring Break to prepare to help you to handle this. We have also worked on academic policy, to seek to make you more comfortable with moving into the online learning space without having to stress too much about grades. Please read through the digest below to see the changes and extra support we have put into place.

MHU Grading Policy Changes for Spring 2020 Semester

Our published grading policy has always allowed juniors and seniors some flexibility with grading. We will expand that flexibility for this semester to freshmen and sophomores as well.  A separate communication will be issued from the Registrar to assist you in understanding the flexibility we are adopting.  We have also extended the deadline for a student to request an S/U (satisfactory or unsatisfactory) grade in a course to April 7.

The S/U Policy will be changed (one semester only):
Each student (Freshman-Senior) may identify one course to be taken on an S/U basis during the Spring 2020 semester. This course would be in addition to certain courses designated by the departments that are graded on an S/U basis rather than on the traditional ABCDF scale. Students choosing this option should consult with their advisors regarding the implications of the S/U grade on athletic eligibility, financial aid, and potential graduate school applications.

The deadline for a student to withdraw from a class with grade of W is extended an additional week to April 7 (current deadline is March 31, extended from the original March 24 deadline). Additionally, the restriction requiring students to maintain 12 semester hours is lessened.

Registration

Registration for fall 2020 classes has been postponed until April 6.

How To Be Successful In Online Learning

Dr. Chris Cain, head of the newly formed Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning, has created a helpful video, which you may view at https://youtu.be/aMlv-serKek.

There are additional resources on mymhu, under this link: https://my.mhu.edu/course/view.php?id=157

Student Guide to Learning Remotely

Student Q&A document

Technology Assistance

The Help Desk will be providing extended support hours to students, faculty, and staff, beginning Saturday March 20 until further notice.

Support will be provided Saturday from 10am until 6pm; Sunday from 1pm until 9pm and Monday-Friday from 8am until 10pm.

Please call the Help Desk at (828) 689-1444 or email helpdesk@mhu.edu.

Please understand that many university personnel are volunteering to assist with this support and they are not experts. If they cannot provide an immediate solution, IT personnel will respond to resolve any issue. IT personnel will be covering each of the time periods and we will follow up on any email requests or voice messages as quickly as possible.

Any questions related to specific offices such as Registrar, Student Life, Business Office, etc., should be directed to those offices.

Counseling & Disability Services

The MHU Counseling Center sends well wishes to all MHU students during these challenging times. We would like for you to know that we are here to support you as you adjust to a new style of learning and possibly personal and financial difficulties. Both counseling and disability services will continue to be provided during your time away from campus. We will be holding regular office hours (see attached).  To access these services remotely, please follow these guidelines:

  • Contact the person with whom you wish to connect through email—we will make every effort to respond to your email within 24 business hours
    For counseling—Cassie Pavone, email counseling@mhu.edu
    For disability services—Judith Harris, email disabilityinfo@mhu.edu
  • If you are accessing these services for the first time—or it has been a while since you have—please complete and submit via email the Request for Consultation form. Please be sure to indicate good times you are available for a response from us.
  • You may call our offices (our office phones are forwarded to our cells) just be sure to leave a message with return call information. We will make every effort to return your call within 24 business hours.
  • MHU Counseling Center staff now has the capability for Zoom conferencing with students and will provide up to 30-minute consultations during regularly scheduled office hours. These sessions will need to be scheduled in advance just as face-to-face appointments have been made in the past.

Please be sure to look for stress and crisis management tips in your MHU Daily Announcements.

Financial Implications

We know as this unfolds that you and your family undoubtedly have questions about the financial implications of government and health agency directives which preclude our reopening in-seat classes, residence halls, and dining services.

This is a very complicated issue that impacts nearly every student’s financial package, discussions with sales tax agencies, and our relationship with our external dining vendor. We expect that by mid-week we will be able to project the rest of the semester with more certainty which will enable us to address this issue head-on. Matters of this magnitude also involve input from our board of trustees. We will move forward expeditiously to communicate certainty for you on this issue.

As this goes to you on Sunday, please know that my heart goes out to you as I know your performances, recitals, academic events, athletic contests, and everything that makes MHU special to us all have been temporarily taken away. Seniors, I want you to know that while I can’t say exactly when, we are going to have a spectacular graduation ceremony for you. Even if the ceremony has to be delayed beyond May 9, the conferring of degrees will not be delayed, so you will still be able to pursue your plans and dreams as much as possible given the conditions we face. God bless you, bear down like never before to be strong, take care of yourselves and your family.

Tony Floyd