Pilarz Warns University May Need to Pivot to Online Learning

 Pilarz Warns University May Need to Pivot to Online Learning

by Kelsey Wynn | Editor in Chief

SCRANTON – Father Scott Pilarz, S.J., President of the University, shared an update to the University’s pandemic response plan in a YouTube video via email on Sept. 8.

Pilarz addressed the Health and Safety email update sent Sept. 7, which indicated that positive student coronavirus cases have risen from 39 throughout the week of Aug. 24 to Aug 30, to 64 this week. According to the update, the number of students in quarantine are also up 420% from last week.

“From the start of the semester, we expected that we would have positive cases. We knew that,” Pilarz said. “Our hope then, and now, is that our case numbers would be manageable and that anyone impacted would be spared the more serious affects of COVID-19.”

Pilarz said that while the growth in case numbers is concerning, so far it is manageable due to cooperation on campus and throughout the community.

“Let me say that again. The level, so far, is manageable, which is a credit to our Student Life team, to our deans and faculty… It is also a credit to everyone, especially students and employees for following the necessary and important guidelines of our Royals Safe Together plan,” Pilarz said.

Despite this statement, Pilarz stressed that the University takes its response to the pandemic very seriously and is at a critical time in its response.

“If activity were to rise sharply from current levels during the course of this week, then we may need to pivot to online learning for all classes for two weeks to let things settle down,” Pilarz said.

While he hopes online learning will not be necessary, Pilarz assured parents that students will be allowed to remain on campus, in the event classes do go virtual.

Pilarz said the University will alert students if a pause will be initiated, and additional details will be provided at that time.

In closing his video address, Pilarz ended on a note of gratitude to the faculty, staff and students as St. Ignatius would demand, according to the University president.

“Thank you for embracing our plan so seriously, for dialing back your social activities in responsible ways and most importantly, for continuing to display the care and concern for each other that is the very hallmark of the Scranton community,” Pilarz said.