Coronavirus update: University of Delaware plans online graduation celebration

It’s not a replacement for graduation, but UDel grads will be honored Saturday with an online video presentation called Blue Hen Celebration.

University of Delaware campus

Hullihen Hall at University of Delaware's campus in Newark. (University of Delaware)

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As of Thursday afternoon, Delaware has reported 9,171 cases of the coronavirus, up 75 since yesterday. There have been 345 related deaths, an increase of just one over Wednesday. The number of coronavirus patients being treated in Delaware hospitals is at 192, down four since yesterday.

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University of Delaware plans online graduation celebration

It’s not a replacement for graduation, but UD grads will be honored Saturday with an online video presentation called Blue Hen Celebration at 11 a.m. School officials have not yet announced a plan for an actual graduation ceremony. UD President Dennis Assanis said he expects to have an update on rescheduling an in-person ceremony later in 2020, “if public health conditions allow.”

“The Blue Hen Celebration isn’t meant to replace Commencement, but we still wanted to take a moment at the end of the academic year to recognize and celebrate all of the amazing accomplishments of the Class of 2020,” said Beth Brand, vice president and university secretary.

The online celebration will feature some members of the Class of 2020 and appearances from prominent alumni, school leaders and other special guests.

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Delaware parks reopen campgrounds June 1

On June 1, Delaware campgrounds will reopen for the first time since they were shut down under Gov. John Carney’s emergency order on March 24. That reopening includes campsites, cabins, cottages and yurts inside parks statewide.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control says professional cleaners will sanitize cabins and cottages in between guests so state park staff can focus on cleaning common park areas like bathrooms.

Some park facilities will remain closed including nature centers and playgrounds.

Camping reservations through May 31 were refunded. Guests with reservations through June 15 will be able to cancel and get a full refund through the state’s liberal cancellation policy.

Grant helps Del. Tech transition to online learning

Students at Delaware Technical Community College will get laptops and teachers will get training at a virtual boot camp with $300,000 in grant funding from JP Morgan Chase.

Del Tech has shifted teaching to online, but has found some students have difficulty connecting to their classes because of a lack of access to technology.

Nearly 40 Del. Tech faculty will attend a two-week professional development session with the College’s Center for Creative Instruction and Technology to learn how to develop online master courses to improve learning and engagement.

“This grant will help our faculty to deliver the high-quality education that our students expect and deserve. And it will allow us to provide our students and alumni with enhanced access to career and employment resources,” said Delaware Tech President Dr. Mark T. Brainard. “We know this award will have far-reaching benefits for our state.”.

The money will also fund a virtual career fair for students and alumni to find work in a challenging job market with record-high unemployment rates. The job fair will have an emphasis on work in healthcare and education fields. Alumni who are unemployed will also be able to get career counseling and job placement services through the grant.

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