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This week, Austin Peay State University successfully transitioned to a fully online learning environment, which was part of our original plan, but we are continuing to track COVID-19 cases within our community. As of today, we have 10 students and eight staff members testing positive for the new coronavirus.

Even though we’ve moved to a remote environment, we must keep our campus and our community safe. No matter where you are, wear a mask, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more and practice good hygiene by washing your hands. Losing a loved one is a deeply traumatic experience, so please go the extra mile to prevent the additional loss of friends and family to this pandemic.

Final exams begin next week, and I wish everyone luck in finishing their courses during this difficult time. For our graduating students, I know many of you were disappointed to learn we will not have in-person commencement ceremonies on Dec. 11-12. I also was saddened by this news because I wanted to help honor your significant achievements. We made this difficult decision after talking with local and state health experts, who painted a scary picture of how the pandemic is affecting our state and country. We also have a number of staff members in quarantine, which means we were unable to staff the event in a way that ensured we could carry out a safe ceremony.

Our commencement committee has worked hard to develop virtual commencement celebrations, and we will share that information with you tomorrow. In January, they will also investigate whether it is feasible to host an in-person ceremony sometime during the spring semester. We want to celebrate your hard work, and we’ll continue looking for ways to honor your achievements.

Also, as a reminder, we have transitioned to fully online instruction for the remainder of the fall semester, but in the spring 2020 semester, we’ll offer face-to-face, hi-flex hybrid and online courses. We will actually offer 25% more face-to-face classes in spring for students who prefer a more traditional classroom experience. If you haven’t registered yet for the spring, please contact your advisor immediately.

I discussed a few other topics during my social media town hall yesterday. If you missed that event, you can watch it below.

Town Hall with Interim President Dannelle Whiteside

Thank you again for all your work this semester. I appreciate everyone working so hard during these challenging times.

Dannelle Whiteside

Interim President