LAS VEGAS – Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Chancellor Thom Reilly issued a new memorandum that will extend remote instruction at NSHE’s institutions through the end of the Spring semester and postpone in-person graduation ceremonies. However, degrees and certificates will still be conferred.
“Given the ever-changing environment following the spread of COVID-19 and consistent with Governor Sisolak’s current emergency directives on social distancing, all NSHE institutions will complete the spring semester through remote instruction,” the Chancellor said.
Reilly added, “We have made these extraordinary decisions in consultation with the Board of Regents leadership and institution presidents to ensure the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and campus communities.”
The memorandum allowed for limited case-by-case exceptions for courses in specific areas where remote learning is not feasible, such as healthcare clinicals, CTE labs, or practicums, provided they comply with the Governor’s directives.
Reilly said NSHE will revisit the need, if any, to continue remote-only instruction into the summer semester at a later time.
Holding in-person graduation ceremonies are not permitted under current emergency directives from the Governor, Reilly said.
“Due to the magnitude in scheduling and planning of commencement ceremonies, we don’t foresee a scenario where a traditional graduation could occur at the end of the 2020 Spring semester,” Reilly explained. “I have directed our institutions to begin developing alternative virtual or delayed ceremonies for later in the summer or fall.”
Reilly added that most importantly, degrees and certificates will still be conferred, allowing NSHE graduates to immediately enter the workforce, especially in the medical and health sciences sector where they are urgently needed. Alternative plans and dates for Spring 2020 graduation ceremonies for each institution will be presented for approval by the Board of Regents at the next Board meeting.
Board of Regents to Meet
The memorandum also announced a plan to hold a Board of Regents meeting in the coming weeks that will follow the new directive for public meetings from Gov. Sisolak.
The Board of Regents must meet to address some policy issues that will help NSHE’s more than 100,000 students deal with financial, educational, and logistical issues caused by the pandemic, said Board of Regents Chair Jason Geddes.
“The Board of Regents must review these important fiscal, educational, and logistical policies to protect our students from financial hardships caused by the pandemic and allow them to continue on their higher education journey,” Geddes said.
The Board of Regents will meet to discuss and possibly temporarily update policies regarding delinquent accounts and deferred payments.
The Regents will also discuss at the meeting whether to temporarily allow for traditional grading to be replaced with a pass or fail evaluation, address faculty compensation issues, and other issues allowing NSHE campuses to respond to the COVID pandemic.
The Board of Regents meeting time and its agenda will be announced at a later date.
The Nevada System of Higher Education, comprised of two doctoral-granting universities, a state college, four comprehensive community colleges and one environmental research institute, serves the educational and job training needs of Nevada. NSHE provides educational opportunities to more than 100,000 students and is governed by the Board of Regents.