Students Begin Spring Semester Amidst Pandemic, Uncertain Future

Ashley Opina ® Staff Writer |
Photos by Mansoor Ahmad ® Photo Editor |

As students wrap up their winter break and head back to campus, many are curious as to how their Spring Semester at Minnesota State University, Mankato will look as COVID-19 continues to pose a prevalent problem in the United States, and more specifically, in Southern Minnesota. 

Luckily, Richard Davenport, president of MNSU, anticipated the future inquiries on the matter and released an announcement early last week about the University’s plans regarding the upcoming semester.

In his announcement, Davenport said that campus will be reopening and that the buildings available to students will be the academic buildings, the dining center, and the residence halls. This means that students living in the dorms will be allowed to continue doing so, and that in-person classes will be available during the Spring Semester as well.

In his words, Davenport said, “classes will be offered this semester through online, remote, FlexSync, and in-person delivery.”

Not much of the delivery methods of teaching and learning has changed from the semester prior, however, Davenport said that any class that offers FlexSync and in-person as a delivery method will be conducted remotely at the start of the new semester. 

Further information on FlexSync and in-person classes will be communicated to the students by their professors.

Towards the end of his announcement, Davenport reminded everyone that the pandemic is still among the public and in order to keep everyone on campus and in the Mankato area safe, it is important to keep your health and the health of those around you in mind.

Davenport recommended a 10 day lay-low period with reduced interactions with other people in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

He also advised everyone to get tested before or the following weeks after their return to campus.

“Consider downloading the Minnesota Department of Health’s free COVIDawareMN app,” said Davenport, “which will notify you if you’ve been near someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and anonymously notify anyone you’ve been near if you tested positive.”

Davenport’s recommendations only go so far as he mentioned that the severity of the pandemic continues to change, and with it, the university’s plans. 

He asks students to be flexible as the faculty at MNSU navigates their way through the new semester and assures everyone that he will remain in touch with further updates.

“Changes can be expected over the next several weeks,” said Davenport. “Please know that we will keep you posted as guidelines issued by the local public health officials evolve.”

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