University of Providence to start fall semester online

The University of Providence is starting the fall semester online.

Fr. Oliver Doyle, university president, wrote on Aug. 4 that, “his decision saddens us. We were looking forward to reassembling as a campus community. We know many students will be disappointed and parents frustrated by the decision and the timing of the announcement.”

The university announced in June that the campus would open in late August with modifications to the school calendar so that students could return home for Thanksgiving and conclude the semester online.

“We also stated in June that we would continue to monitor the situation. Now, given the increased spread of the virus in Montana, civic leaders’ concern about Cascade County becoming a hot-spot, concerns expressed by healthcare experts over a second wave of the epidemic, and advice from our Risk and Compliance, we have decided not to resume on-campus education for our students in the fall. Instead, we will transfer to our virtual platform to begin the school year,” Doyle wrote.

The university will be rolling out plans in the coming weeks to enhance online delivery of education and inclusive experience to students, as well as a plan to provide more online community building events.

“In addition to modifying academic plans, we recognize that extracurricular activities will also be impacted. Nearly sixty percent of our student community are athletes. The postponement of games and championships until the spring semester, without doubt, adds further to their stress. However, all members of the University’s athletic leadership are ready to counsel and coach our athletes and prepare them, remotely, for the Spring semester competitions,” Doyle wrote. “We are mindful that the decision to offer online delivery of education may impact negatively student enrollment and retention, add financial stress, and reduce faculty, staff and student morale. Yet, we hope that it will be viewed as a sincere response to the changes in higher education caused by the pandemic and an expression of our commitment to help reduce the spread of the virus in our community.”