2020 Homecoming and Fall Sports Decision

2020 Homecoming and Fall Sports Decision

Dear Langston University Community:

The last few months have been among the most challenging we have faced, likely in our lifetimes. I am tremendously proud of our response to an unpredictable and evolving crisis of unprecedented scale. Our students, faculty, and staff showed true resilience. While the work we have done thus far to mitigate the risk to our community is important, we know the true work begins in creating a safe and sustainable environment in which our students, faculty, and staff can live and learn.

As leaders we must, to the best of our ability, work to protect those within our care. This requires thoughtful planning, risk analysis, and decision-making centered around the safety of our community. Many of you joined me for a live webinar this week in which additional details were shared concerning our return to campus this fall, plans for hybrid delivery of academic coursework, and our ongoing safety protocols. As a testament to how quickly and drastically circumstances can shift amidst this global pandemic, additional decisions have been made since Wednesday's address which will significantly impact the campus experience.

On-Campus Experience and Early Departure

The University will offer hybrid course delivery for all courses, where possible, for the Fall 2020 semester. The hybrid course design allows our faculty to move the majority of their coursework online and offer a more flexible model for our students. This strategy will also eliminate the Distance Learning Fee for courses utilizing the hybrid design, providing a further cost savings to our students.

We welcome students to our campuses for in-person instruction, which will be facilitated with adherence to social-distancing and enhanced cleaning protocols. On-campus instruction for the traditional Fall 2020 semester will commence on Monday, August 17th. In-person instruction will end on Friday, Nov. 20, prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. All students residing in residential housing must depart campus by Noon on Saturday, Nov. 21. The remaining two weeks of the semester, including final exams, will be delivered remotely through virtual instruction. This decision aligns with the strategy quickly emerging as best-practice among institutions of higher education to mitigate the risk of spread that may accompany holiday travel during Thanksgiving.

Fall Athletics and Auxiliary Activities

We have made the difficult decision that Langston University will not participate in collegiate athletics during the Fall 2020 season. This decision was made in consultation with the Sooner Athletic Conference and affects Langston University sports including football, volleyball, men's basketball, women's basketball, as well as track & field. This decision also means that the Langston University Cheer Team and Langston University Marching Pride will not perform this fall. We recognize the deep disappointment this will bring to our student athletes and Marching Pride members. The University will honor all athletic and band scholarship awards for the Fall 2020 semester finalized as of July 2, 2020, despite this cancellation.

Homecoming 2020

Out of an abundance of caution and to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, we have decided to cancel all in-person homecoming activities. This decision, though disappointing, was made in the best interest of our community to forgo an on-campus homecoming experience. While the Homecoming Committee will reconvene to carefully consider opportunities for virtual celebrations, none have been solidified at this time.

Commencement

As shared in the live webinar, our Commencement Committee identified Saturday, Nov. 21, as the date for our postponed ceremony celebrating the Class of 2020. We intend to hold a ceremony; however, we must be realistic about the pandemic. The Commencement Committee, which includes representatives from the Class of 2020, will reconvene and explore contingencies for a virtual experience in the event that holding an in-person ceremony is unsafe. We will make a decision and communicate the final details in October.

While we understand these announcements may be cause for disappointment, the decisions we make now concerning large gatherings and group activities are critical to ensuring the healthy and safe recovery of our community.

Please continue to monitor our COVID-19 Resource Page for more information. If you have questions or concerns, please send an email to luelt@langston.edu.

We are grateful for the continued understanding and support of our Langston University Community during these uncertain times.

Sincerely,

Kent J. Smith Jr., Ph.D.
President

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