For now, social distancing is the new normal. One way or another, Huntington University students will move forward as COVID-19 continues to disrupt nearly every aspect of their daily lives.

By Michael Lehman, Editor-in-Chief

Next week — finals week — will mark the end of a historic semester for Huntington University. Since spring break began on Friday, March 16, the HU community has witnessed the cancelation of prominent campus events and the implementation of new academic procedures and policies.

It has been a time of rapid change and transformation. Nevertheless, the campus has managed to continue operations amid an uncharted COVID-19 era.

Class periods and many student organizations have been convening regularly over Zoom. Faculty meetings and committee meetings have also made use of the web application as HU strategized how to respond to current events.

Graduation, which was originally scheduled for Saturday, May 16, is now slated to take place on Saturday, Aug. 15. Diplomas, however, will be mailed to graduating seniors shortly after the semester ends.

Forester Night, which is typically a campus-wide event held in Zurcher Auditorium, will be held virtually on Tuesday, May 5 at 7 p.m. via HU’s Facebook and YouTube. Hosted by 2018 alumnus Jonathon Kane, the live presentation will announce department awards, Forester of the Year and Professor of the Year.

Other end-of-the-year campus events have been canceled entirely. These include the DMA Forester Media Awards and the Senior Showcase. The events were scheduled for Friday, May 8, and Saturday, May 9, respectively.

Prominent April events like the Academic Research Forum and the Junior-Senior Dance were also canceled.

On Wednesday, April 15, HU faculty voted to implement an academic policy to accommodate students during this time. When students receive their grades on Wednesday, May 20, they will have the option to withdraw from any classes until Wednesday, May 27. This will grant them a grade of “W,” which will have no impact on their GPA status.

Students will also have until May 27 to request a “satisfactory/unsatisfactory” grading scale for most courses, including courses within their major. Doing so will also have no impact on their GPA status.

“It’s been amazing to me to watch the commitment of our faculty to delivering an excellent Huntington University experience to students during this disruption,” Luke Fetters, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, said in an email interview. “We’ll come out of it with an expanded pedagogical toolkit and a greater openness to what’s possible through virtual instruction.”