Vincennes University makes adjustments during COVID-19 pandemic

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FARMERSBURG, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Earlier this year, Vinncennes University made the decision to close and transition to remote learning like many other schools across the country.

Chuck Johnson, president of Vincennes University, said the biggest challenge was making all the necessary adjustments in a short amount of time.

“The biggest one was moving classes into a remote environment, virtual environment, making as many classes as we could online,” he said. “The second thing was to make the decision to close our residence halls and have students move back home. Those were two tough decisions that we had to make fairly quickly as the news about the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading.”

The sudden closure included expediting building renovation projects and cancelling major university events, such as spring graduation ceremonies.

The university president said the decision to cancel commencement required a lot of thought.

“It’s a special time for all of us. So, we’re working on a virtual commencement activity and probably some opportunity for students to come at a later date for some face to face activity. But it’s really hard not to be able to recognize them in a traditional way this spring,” Johnson said.

The university received $4.8 million through the CARES Act to provide relief to students and fund university operations.

Johnson said half of the government funding will go directly to student aid.

“That is to give them resources to manage the transitions that they’re going through. Then half of the money is going to help with the operational costs of adjustments to COVID-19. So we’re looking at making some investments probably this summer to help us prepare for the potential that we may go back online in the fall.”

Although this isn’t the way that Vincennes University is used to conducting business, Johnson said he’s happy to see the campus community come together during such an unprecedented time.

“It’s not the same experience, it’s not exactly what we had hoped to be,  but folks seem to be finding ways to make it work and so far things seem to be working fairly well,” he said.

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