Cheyney University begins in-person instruction despite opposition from faculty leaders

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Monday, August 10, 2020
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BACK TO SCHOOL: Students returning for day one of their fall semester at Cheney University are the first to tell you, things are a bit different now.

CHEYNEY, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Students returning for day one of their fall semester at Cheney University are the first to tell you, things are a bit different now.

"We still have to go by guidelines, we still have to stay six feet, you know use hand sanitizer," said freshman Sybria Devaux.

Especially for freshman, now adjusting to life on the Cheney, Pennsylvania campus in the midst of the pandemic.

"You see we are wearing masks a lot and we're not doing a lot in the classrooms because of COVID-19," said student Channen Coffee.

These are just some of the reasons why some faculty members believe learning should have resumed all remote learning, instead of asking students and faculty to come back at all.

"I'm happy that they've taken a number of important and critical measures, but it is clear that they have not done enough," said faculty senate chair doctor Ivan Turnipseed.

Turnipseed said he feels some of his colleagues were forced to come back, despite already being in a position to teach remotely as they did in the early days of the pandemic.

The university told Action News a few faculty members did ask to teach remotely, and that those requests were approved following their certification to do so.

However, the university says, "While some faculty pursued the certification, there was not a sufficient number of certifications to consider moving all instruction to online."

Turnipseend, who will be teaching remotely, says it's all semantics.

"Faculty aren't asking to be certified to teach online, they aren't even saying that teaching online in certain cases is ideal. What we're saying is that there is an emergency, people are in fact dying."

One family we spoke with says they are aware of the risks, but feel coming back is the right call.

"I'm okay with them being up on campus," said parent Kim Massey.

"I'm confident that we will be okay," added her son, Isiah.

For some students, it may not be the college experience of yesteryear, but it's better than none at all.

"I'm just happy to be here, this is my dream school, I've always wanted to be here," said Coffee.

In their statement, the university did say if more instructors become certified it is possible remote learning will be reconsidered.

Roughly 620 students were enrolled last school year, according to university officials.

Those who are returning began moving-in last week on a staggered schedule to allow for social distancing.

The university's website details a lengthy description of what to expect on campus.