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


Which course are going to be taught in person or by alternative delivery methods?

Current guidance from the State of Minnesota says that all courses which can be offered via alternative delivery methods must be delivered that way, and we are only allowed to offer in-person courses where alternate delivery methods aren’t possible (hands-on labs, etc.). Alternate delivery methods include online or hybrid methods and are determined by each professor individually. It is  recommended that you reach out to your professors for an idea of what they are planning.

How can I tell which classes will be delivered online?

This information can be found in the online courses schedule and e-Services. Information for all classes should be entered by Friday, June 19. Use the View/Modify Schedule option in e-Services to examine your classes.

What can I expect for alternative course delivery?

Alternate delivery methods include online or hybrid methods. 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 does hybrid mean for course delivery?

Hybrid means a class will have both in-person and online portions.

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.

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.

Will the academic calendar vary from what was previously published?

At this time, the academic calendar is not subject to change.

Are there online-only options for students who are high-risk?

Yes, there are courses that are completely online or labeled as “HyFlex,” which does not require in-person participation. Students can check the delivery methods of their courses in e-Services.

How will music classes be delivered?

The music staff and faculty are working hard to create a safe, workable plan that allows students to meet in person when possible. Plans are in place to meet in larger spaces and use transparent, physical barriers to allow for social distancing.

Will professors be on campus to help students with homework?

While some professors will be on campus, others will be working remotely. Students are encouraged to reach out to professors if they are in need of help.

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