MTSO’s Response to the Novel Coronavirus
MTSO is addressing concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19 in the following ways.
Online classes continue through the end of summer
No classes will meet face-to-face between now and the end of the Summer Term. Our faculty and educational-technology staff have been working diligently to facilitate this transition.
Field education and clinical pastoral education are being handled contextually.
Fall plans take shape
Beginning with the Fall Semester, we will offer MTSO Campus Extend: a learning experience gathered across physical and virtual space. Classes will use a “hyflex” educational model that blends into one class, in real time, campus-based students (meeting in person) with videoconferencing students (connecting remotely), augmented with additional asynchronous work throughout the week.
Community-life experiences such as chapel and special events will also take place within the Campus Extend format. Opportunities for us to interact informally and safely will be offered and encouraged.
We will provide technological and instructional support for all students and faculty. Campus spaces will be redesigned for lower-occupancy rooms, with reconfigured furniture and traffic patterns to facilitate social distancing. In some classes, professors will be physically present. In others, they will teach remotely.
Classes will begin as previously scheduled on Aug. 24. However, rather than a fall break in October, there will be a two-week break at Thanksgiving, with finals taking place Dec. 7-11 as originally planned. This means less travel on and off campus during the term and no interaction in physical space after Nov. 18.
We intend to share more about MTSO Campus Extend, including processes and policies for students’ selection of preferred modality, by June 15.
Chapel continues online
The MTSO community met for Tuesday chapel via video stream during the latter part of the Spring Semester. Here are links to archived services:
- March 24: Dean Valerie Bridgeman preaching
- March 31: Dean Valerie Bridgeman preaching
- April 14: Rev. TaNikka Sheppard preaching
- April 21: Dr. Tim Van Meter preaching
- May 5: Kyle Brooks and the class that attended February's Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference
- Closing Convocation and Awards Ceremony
- June 3: Community gathering for prayer and reflection
The library facility is closed
Dickhaut Library is not available for on-site research or checking out books.
Library staff can still provide full text of electronic articles or ebook chapters. Library staff can also scan print articles and book chapters to be sent to students as PDF documents. Staffers are working on ways of providing reserve readings as needed. OhioLINK shipments of requested materials to the campus ceased as of March 19.
Commencement took place online May 23
In consultation with members of the class of 2020, we held a virtual commencement online at the time and date originally set aside for the ceremony. Members of the class of 2020 also will be invited to return and be honored at the on-campus commencement ceremony in May of 2021.
Follow this link to view archived video of the ceremony, including a virtual academic procession and individual recognition of every graduate.
Printed programs have been delivered to graduating seniors. If you wish to follow along, visit our commencement info page for an electronic copy.
Campus services are affected
The MTSO mailroom will have limited hours, from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Also, mail will not be distributed to offices or other parts of campus. If you have ordered things to be delivered to campus, you will need to pick them up when the mailroom is open.
The dining hall will not serve meals while classes are being taught entirely online, and Dewire Residence Hall will be closed to overnight guests.
Events are postponed
Mindful of the need for social distancing, we are choosing to host no events or gatherings on campus through the end of the Spring Semester. We are exploring options for offering events at different dates or virtually when possible. Some events have already been rescheduled.
Staff members are working remotely
All staff members will work from home to the extent that is possible, effective immediately. Those who need to be on campus will coordinate on-campus activity with others to avoid contact.
Social distancing and healthy hygiene are musts
During any time you need to spend in campus facilities, you should stay at least 6 feet away from any other person – or, preferably, in a different room altogether. Each of us has a responsibility to practice social distancing and follow other guidelines for slowing the spread of germs. Here are specific recommendations from the CDC.
Travel is restricted
All school-sponsored international travel is suspended, effective immediately. This includes new travel as well as any currently booked trips between now and the end of May. That date could change as new information becomes available.
School-sponsored air travel in the United States must be approved by the president.
We join health experts in discouraging personal travel. If you or a member of your household has traveled internationally since Feb. 25, please consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list of countries where sustained transmission of the virus has been known to occur. If you or a member of your household have visited any of the countries on the CDC list, you are asked to do two things:
- Report your trip to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Stay home for 14 days following you or your household member’s return to ensure that you don't risk spreading the disease.
Communication will continue
As conditions evolve, we will continue to evaluate our situation and pursue the best options for fulfilling our educational mission in new and different ways. It is vital that members of the MTSO community monitor their mtso.edu email accounts for updates. We also will post updated information on this web page.