Wilberforce University furloughs some workers, but will remain open with online classes

Wilberforce University has joined other colleges and universities across the country in temporarily suspending on-campus operations and going to an online learning model while the coronavirus outbreak unfolds.

The move has resulted in the need to furlough some staff and personnel, school officials said.

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Elfred Anthony Pinkard the university’s 22nd president, told the Dayton Daily News Thursday that Wilberforce, like other institutions of higher learning across the country are following orders to cut back on operations during the COVID-19 crisis.

Pinkard said Wilberforce will continue to be guided by the most available information regarding the coronavirus from the various officials including Gov. Mike DeWine, federal, state, and local public health organizations in order to make the best decisions to protect the health and well-being of the Wilberforce University community.

“Given the latest developments in the state of Ohio with the closing of more public spaces and the mandate to practice social distancing, we have made the decision to further restrict the on-campus operations of the university,” he said.

Several staff and personnel workers were told notifed that there would be a cutback on operations and were furloughed temporarily, but the president was quick to point out that the school is not closing.

“Wilberforce University is not closing. Wilberforce University, like every other responsible institution of higher education in the nation, has gone to on-line instruction for the remainder of our academic year and per the order of the governor of the State of Ohio has reduced on-campus operations in response to the coronavirus global pandemic,” Pinkard told this news organization.

The head of the Wilberforce Faculty Association, Richard Deering, said on Thursday that faculty members are continuing to teach students in an online capacity.

“The faculty is all working from home,” he said, regarding the professors and adjuncts. “We have about 75 total, including the regular faculty, full-time adjuncts and the regular adjuncts. After spring break we had about one week on campus and a little bit of training and then we moved off campus.”

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He added that the online at-a-distance learning would last throughout the end of the spring semester.

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