By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Linfield College to resume classes after spring break, but not in person

Linfield College will resume classes March 31, following spring break — but only online.

“We’re looking at the best ways for students to complete their education,” President Miles Davis said. “We want them to have the value of a Linfield education within the context of having no in-person classes.”

While nothing can fully replace Linfield’s residential learning model, in which students and professors work together closely, professors will supply lessons and support remotely while COVID-19 is a concern, he said.

“We have a very committed faculty and a very engaged student body,” he said.

But “we have to be flexible” to preserve Linfield’s mission of high-quality education.

Linfield had closed March 13, a week before the traditional start of spring break, so professors could prepare to deliver lessons via Zoom or other online methods. The plan was to resume classes online after the break until April 10.

Davis announced Wednesday that online learning would continue throughout the remainder of the semester.

Later in the day, Gov. Kate Brown prohibited in-person higher education classes through at least April 28, but Linfield’s online classes will continue through May.
Students will be able to live in campus residence halls and eat in the college dining hall, if they choose.

Davis ate with students in the dining hall Wednesday. He lives on campus, and likes to chat with students he sees at the college Starbucks and other locations.
While many students are still in the dorms, he said he’s not sure how many will stay. Initially, he expected about half to go home, but with the extension of online learning, he thinks the number will grow.

Some professors may send recorded lectures; others may hold group classes or use other methods. Art instructors, for instance, may encourage student creativity on their own.

“We’re allowing a great deal of latitude to the faculty” about how they present lessons, Davis said.

Some subjects are more adaptable to remote learning. But “how do you teach a chemistry lab online?” he mused.

Linfield will decide by April 10 whether it will hold commencement and nursing pinning ceremonies. College officials also will make decisions about refunds or credits for room and board later this spring.

Parts of the campus library remain open for students who need study space or access to technology. Users are asked to observe social distancing recommendations. The college health center is open, as is the campus mail service.

Administrators are reviewing which staff members can work from home, Davis said.

Linfield, which opened in 1858, has survived widespread crises before -- the 1918 flu pandemic, World Wars I and II, and the H1N1 scare, Davis said.

“This is a time of deep challenges, and the Linfield community’s resilient and determined character is shining through brightly,” Davis said. “We will continue to live up to our mission of learning, life, and community.”


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