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Eastern’s Response to COVID-19

Published on March 23, 2020

Eastern’s Response to COVID-19

COVID-19 may be the reason we are all at home these days, but it hasn’t kept the Eastern community from our core purpose of teaching and learning. Online courses started on Monday, March 23. “Overall, we are doing very well,” said Provost Bill Salka. Faculty are engaged in teaching, hardware and software issues are being resolved, and as always, faculty have been finding innovative ways to teach our students and help each other in the process.

  • Brendan Cunningham has created a video on how to use Office365 Teams:
  • Gail Gelburd suggests Google Hangouts as a way to create a temporary phone number that you can give students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Anne Dawson discovered you can access “Zoom” online. Here’s how from ITS: Go to bottom left corner of your desktop screen; click the Windows icon; Scroll down and find Microsoft End Point Manager; click Software Center; inside Software Center is a link to downloadable Apps; Zoom Desktop is one of them. 
  • For all your technology needs, visit

Key Actions

  • Courses are being taught online for the balance of the semester so that students completing their courses can earn their credits, and seniors completing their courses can graduate with their degree.
  • While the May 19 Commencement Exercises at the XL Center have been cancelled, the administration is reviewing alternative options and will announce those when plans are finalized.
  • Credits/refunds for room and board are being calculated by March 31 and will then be processed. Students are encouraged to use e-Refund through their student account to expedite payments.
  • Students are emptying their rooms and gathering their belongings from the residence halls based on a schedule that maximizes social distancing; this process will be done by April 5.
  • The campus is closed; no employee can be on campus without the prior written approval of their vice president.
  • For information and updates, visit:

Dungeons and Dragons

The New Media Studies program is finding ways to innovate during the online period of the semester so that students, faculty and even alumni stay connected. Professor Kristen Morgan has created a private Discord server that student worker Jenique Blair has used to create different channels. There students can chat, ask questions of faculty, share resources, play video games together, and participate in daily drawing challenges, phone film competitions, and even a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Says Morgan, “I'm hoping this will remain a way to stay connected even when we're back to meeting in person!”

Other faculty (students and staff as well!) are no doubt coming up with groundbreaking ideas for managing during these challenging times. We would love to hear about them. Email us at

Written by Ed Osborn