Letter to the editor: Indecisive policy

To the editor:

The University of Kansas’ response to COVID-19 inspires no confidence and confuses the campus community and residents of Lawrence. The KU administration has delayed classes until March 23 and informed instructors that they should plan to move to an all online teaching format. Yet, this policy notes that students will return to campus on March 23 and no final decision concerning remote-only instruction would be made until March 28.

A delay of classes until March 23 will not prevent the spread of asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 among returning students between March 23 and 28. Moreover, because of this an outbreak on campus and in Lawrence may not even be visible by March 28 or may be far more severe than it appears. Just as importantly, this indecisive policy offers no clarity to instructors or students about what to expect for the reminder of the semester. Instructors are being burdened with moving classes online yet being told that such a decision is still pending. Students likewise do not know how they are going to finish the semester or what travel plans to make.

KU needs to follow the lead of other institutions around the country. The SUNY system (700,000 students and 90 campuses) has moved entirely online. Regionally, Missouri has moved online until the end of March. If KU intends to protect the health of its students, faculty, staff and community neighbors, it needs to commit to a specific policy. Indecision is unconscionable given the stakes of the situation.

Robert Schwaller,



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