Class/Commencement Questions


Will commencement be held?

It is with deep regret that I inform you that spring commencements will not be held as scheduled on May 8 for either Bemidji State University or Northwest Technical College. This includes the official ceremonies and all related commencement activities, such as the pre-commencement brunch.

I recognize that this news will come as a tremendous disappointment, not only to those of you who may be graduating, but to your families and friends who have been waiting to share this moment with you. As we respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, I assure you that Chancellor Malhotra and the Minnesota State system have made this decision with the highest regard for your health and safety as their absolute priority.

I apologize to you for needing to make this announcement in the midst of the other uncertainty surrounding our spring semester. Our response to the COVID-19 outbreak is constantly evolving and being driven by factors that are often outside of our ability to control. We are following guidance from the Minnesota State system, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to the best of our abilities.

Our top priorities at this time are to help ensure your health, safety and wellbeing, and to do everything in our power to help you finish your spring courses through alternative delivery methods. Your faculty and academic administrators at both BSU and NTC are working tirelessly, around the clock, to ensure that you are able to successfully complete the semester.

When the current national emergency situation has been lifted and conditions allow us to turn some attention toward commencement, we will be reaching out for suggestions from you, our graduating students, about potential venues and options for the event. BSU and NTC administrators will also be collaborating with your respective Student Senates on ideas for recognizing graduates. If you have ideas you would like to share, please visit our Commencement website and use the “I have an idea” form —

Together, we are truly facing unprecedented times with a global pandemic that is affecting the lives of our friends, family and communities. During this time, it is crucial that we remain communicative and supportive of one another. We will continue to keep you updated, and know that we always value your feedback, questions and ideas.


Faith C. Hensrud, Ed.D.
Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College


When do classes start again?

On Sunday, March 15, the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities announced that as a result of changing conditions, it has extended the suspension of instructional activity for BSU and NTC until Sunday, March 30. This is an extension of one week from the previous announcement

What if I currently have an online course?

Your faculty have been directed to not close courses, and you are free to continue your coursework. Your faculty cannot grade your work or give you any deadlines for the next two weeks, but you are free to continue working if you wish.

Will there be ANY in person classes for the rest of this semester?

There will be no courses delivered via face-to-face instruction when classes resume at BSU on Monday, March 30. Some limited individual learning opportunities may remain face-to-face in nature, and all faculty who will be conducting individual instruction will be communicating this information to their students.

What can I expect for alternative course delivery?

In determining the appropriate alternative course delivery approach for each course, academic leaders work with their faculty members to explore the options below, listed in priority order:

  1. Migrate the course to an online format within D2LBrightspace.
  2. If option 1 is unviable, migrate the course to an alternative synchronous format such as Zoom or other conferencing technologies.
  3. If option 2 is unviable, migrate the course to an asynchronous format, using email correspondence or other forms of non-synchronous technology or communication.
  4. If the full course cannot be delivered in one of the above manners and must retain a face-to-face component, the course must be adapted to reduce contact time, ensure social distancing, and reduce personal interactions and/or contact time.
    • Strategies for this adaptation include, but are not limited to:
      1. Moving non-applied components of the course to one of the formats enumerated above
      2. Reducing hours in the lab/classroom
      3. Implementing special safety and separation precautions (i.e., minimum of 6 feet buffer zones, etc.)
      4. Splitting of sections into smaller groups
      5. Expansion of lab availability, staggering students across time
What about finals?

Assessment and Final Examinations

  • Course assessments and final examinations must be adapted to the new method of instruction.
  • Face-to-face assessments and final examinations should only be used for those limited courses that cannot be fully delivered in a non-classroom format.
What is happening with fall registration?

Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College are moving all registration dates for fall semester back one week. The process was supposed to start this Friday (March 23); it will now begin Monday, March 30.

The Office of Records and Registration is working on a listing of the new dates. That will be distributed to you as soon as possible.

What if you expect to be absent?

If you expect to be absent from BSU for a significant period of time, please contact the office of Travis Greene, associate VP for student life & success, at (218) 755-2075, and notify them of your absence.

How does the suspension of classes affect student workers?

Student workers are to report to work if they are able, but like our employees can be given the choice of completing their work remotely if possible. Please communicate with student workers in your offices as soon as possible.

What does this mean for my non-credit instruction, internships, practica or clinicals?
  • Students can continue to attend internships, practica, and clinical experiences if and when the learning occurs off-campus (assuming the hosting organizations remain open), and when our faculty are not directly involved in the instruction.  (For example, student teaching placements continue even when a college or university is on spring break and students are supervised on a day-to-day basis by a cooperating teacher).
  • Faculty who have students in those types of placements communicate directly with those affected students to discuss continuing that educational experience, which again rests on whether the hosting organization is open.

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