SCAD going online-only, canceling commencement ceremonies in response to coronavirus

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) announced Thursday that all spring quarter classes will be offered online only to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This applies to Savannah, Atlanta and Lacoste campuses.

In addition, spring commencement ceremonies have been canceled at all locations.

SCAD Senior Cassidy Haynes is glad this was her last semester. She said she’s not upset about the cancellation of her graduation ceremony, but feels for her other classmates.

“I heard a lot of people complaining,” said Haynes. “A lot of people have invited their family members down here and they plan, you know, parties and celebrations around it,” she said. “So to not have the commencement ceremony, to not walk for college, that could be really disappointing I think that would really hurt some feelings.”

Students were notified via email that their spring classes would transition online and upcoming commencement ceremonies are canceled.

Officials said the threat of the coronavirus it too large and they aren’t taking any chances.

“The hallways are dead silent like my teacher when he got the news he almost ran out of the classroom,” said Haynes. “He did not say anything and when he came back he was like okay class everyone calm down.”

The news hit Madelyn Fanella hard. She’s a budding freshman with a passion for filmmaking. She thinks the decision will hurt the quality of her education.

“I really wanted to be here for my spring quarter because I am taking my first film class and I wanted to experience that hands-on learning instead of online,” said Fanella.

Thousands of students live in campus housing and SCAD officials said they have the option to stay, but if they go they have to be out by March 27th.

“Students will not be required to return to SCAD from spring break and will be released from their housing contracts; however, SCAD residence halls will remain open for those students who choose to remain in campus housing this spring,” a statement from the university reads.

“It’s cheaper to go home than stay here in the dorms since I won’t have access to the art buildings and the professors since everything’s closed,” said Fanella.

The university says for students at all locations, the spring quarter will be condensed in order to end on the original date, Thursday, May 28.

Haynes admitted that the decision was hasty but think officials made the right call.

“I think the lives and health of the students especially those who are immunocompromised take precedent over whether or not you get to walk or whether or not you get to finish your degree at the time you want,” said Haynes.

The university intends to resume regular operations for the summer quarter.

Spring activities like the Sidewalk Arts Festival, Family and Alumni Weekend and intercollegiate athletics have also been canceled.

SCAD has campuses in Savannah, Atlanta and Hong Kong with study abroad opportunities in Lacoste, France and other locations.

Students in Hong Kong have already been taking classes online and study abroad programs were suspended.

The university’s building there closed in January and will remain closed until the end of the Spring quarter.

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