School of Mines taking all classes, exams virtual after Thanksgiving break

Move deemed best way to allow learning to continue


There will be no need for Colorado School of Mines students who headed home before Thanksgiving to return to campus until after the school’s winter break.

In a letter sent to students and staff on Oct. 16, Mines leaders announced that all classes and exams for the remainder of the semester would be transitioned to remote learning.

However, the Golden campus will remain open with research permitted to continue under rules designed to limit COVID-19 transmission risks that were implemented early in the semester.

“We received a strong signal from students that being able to stay, work and study together was a high priority — even higher than having in-class instruction for the last few class meetings,” the leaders wrote in the Oct. 16 letter. “We also heard concerns from our community over the potential for increased COVID-19 occurrence, and know that because of that concern, some prefer a remote option for teaching and learning after the Thanksgiving holiday.”

The letter also noted that “there are fewer on-campus than we would like for students to work together in teams in safely-spaced settings.”

According to the letter, the move to remote learning will allow Mines to repurpose classrooms as safe study and work spaces for the remainder of the semester. That will allow the school to expand its capacity to support student’s priority to be able stay work and study together.

In addition to allowing students to remain home for the remainder of the semester if they choose, the move will allow faculty to focus on one mode of instruction (virtual) as they prepare students for their final exams.

Per the Mines website, student services, residence halls and dining establishments will also remain open and operational, although some adjustments may occur based on demand. All students remaining on campus will continue required COVID-19 testing. Those living off-campus can also be tested for free on-campus.

The letter also stated that Mines was planning to hold a hybrid fall commencement ceremony on Dec. 17 and 18 that would include both virtual and in-person components.

However, the letter also stated the school is working with local health departments on this and no further announcements have been made, leaving it unclear if the school will continue with in-person components following Jefferson County’s move to Level Red on the state COVID-19 dial.

According to the Mines website, the school is currently planning to begin the spring 2021 semester as normal on Jan. 12 and working to increase the percentage of classes with in-person experiences (about 70% during the fall semester), with a focus on upper division courses.



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