Martin Luther College (MLC), New Ulm, Minn., has decided to extend its alternative/distance learning plans to the end of the 2019–20 school year.
According to Dr. Jeff Wiechman, MLC’s vice president for academics, this decision was made taking into account the directive made by the state of Minnesota last week that all Minnesota public school districts and charter schools will implement a distance learning period through May 4.
“Taking into consideration this directive; the COVID-19 ordinances of other states; and the safety of MLC students, faculty, and staff, the administrative council extended MLC’s alternative/distance learning plans to the end of the spring 2020 semester,” says Wiechman. “This is a responsible decision for the same reasons many states have put their movement restrictions and teaching/learning ordinances in place. And yet, I hate to see it happen.”
MLC students began distance learning on March 23, after a one-week extension of MLC’s spring break to allow professors time to prepare.
The administrative council will make an announcement about end-of-year commencement events in April.
The remaining three ministerial education schools—Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis.; Luther Preparatory School, Watertown, Wis.; and Michigan Lutheran Seminary, Saginaw, Mich.—also are teaching students through distance learning due to COVID-19 restrictions.
At this time, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary and Luther Preparatory School are planning for online learning through April 24. Michigan Lutheran Seminary’s current plan runs through April 14. The prayer is that students will be able to return to the campuses after those dates.
“We thank God for the resilience of faculty, students, and staff, as online classes were quickly established and new routines were put into place,” says Rev. Paul Prange, administrator for WELS Ministerial Education. “The blessing of stable financial situations at our schools is allowing them the flexibility to make sound decisions during this uncertain time.”