Haskell Indian Nations University will resume classes on Jan. 18 as planned, but the first three weeks of classes will be entirely online amid record numbers of COVID-19 cases in Douglas County.
Students who are on campus may still use the library and other spaces to take classes, Tamarah Pfeiffer, president of the university, wrote in a memo to campus Monday that was first published by Haskell’s student news outlet, The Indian Leader.
“We are doing this to provide students enough time to arrange travel amid the airline cancellations and make arrangements for challenges that have risen due to COVID,” Pfeiffer wrote. “Haskell leadership will daily monitor the COVID-19 surge.”
The timeline will allow Haskell leaders to ensure that all classrooms and other academic spaces have the technology needed and that appropriate PPE is available for students, faculty and staff. Leadership will revisit in-person courses in the first week of February, according to the memo.
However, the university is also preparing a plan in the event that Haskell goes to 100% online courses.
“We want to ensure that this switch is well-coordinated and cohesive for students, faculty and staff,” Pfeiffer wrote.
Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health on Monday reported 310 new COVID-19 cases since Friday. The rolling 14-day average number of new cases per day rose to 214.64 — a 51% increase over Friday’s average — and test positivity sat at 19.3%, another record high.
Haskell has required all students and staff, including contractors and adjuncts, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“The pandemic can be challenging to us all. Please make sure to reach out to campus resources for your well-being and mental health support,” Pfeiffer wrote. “In the days ahead, please find time to rest and recharge as we head into the 2022 semester. We wish you safe travels as you return to campus.”
The University of Kansas announced Monday that campus would open for in-person classes as planned.