DATE: September 30, 2020
TO: NMSU-Las Cruces campus students and employees
FROM: John Floros, President
SUBJECT: Classes after Thanksgiving Break
Beginning Nov. 30, following the Thanksgiving holiday, and running through the duration of the fall 2020 semester, all courses at NMSU’s main campus, including those which had previously been delivered face-to-face or through a hybrid model, will be delivered 100 percent online. Additionally, due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will not be an in-person ceremony for the Fall 2020 Commencement. Our branch campuses in Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Grants and the Doña Ana Community College will announce their plans soon.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, we have seen evidence that the number of COVID-19 cases increase following holidays and other events where we traditionally gather with friends, families, and neighbors. This trend is particularly relevant as we head toward our upcoming Thanksgiving holiday break.
Earlier this month, we surveyed our students, faculty, and staff regarding whether to switch completely to a 100 percent online course delivery following the Thanksgiving Break. We received more than 6,600 responses. Overall, more than 70 percent of faculty and staff who responded preferred 100 percent online course delivery. Student responses were about 60 percent in favor of this same model. Nearly half of the comments received mentioned concerns about elevated risk of viral transmission associated with travel and holiday celebrations.
This decision means that if students go home to see their loved ones for Thanksgiving, they will not have to return to campus for the remainder of the fall semester. Even with this change, our university will remain open and will provide important services such as housing, dining, and other necessary services for our students. Research efforts will continue under existing safety plans. Because classes will still be in session for the last two weeks of the semester, offices that serve students will need to be open and staffed.
Importantly, we will return to campus for courses once again in the spring semester. Please look for additional communications regarding our plans for the spring semester and commencement in the coming weeks. Thank you to all of our faculty and staff for your cooperation, planning, and assistance to our students during the past several months.