Listen to Ariana


Kent State University

March 16, 2020

Dear Students,

I never thought I would begin a message with a reference to Ariana Grande, but here goes:

Ariana Grande Quote “i keep hearing from a surprising amount of people statements like 'this isn’t a big deal' / 'we’ll be fine' … 'we still have to go about our lives' and it’s really blowing my mind.   i understand if that is how u felt weeks ago. but please read about what’s going on. please don’t turn a blind eye.   it is incredibly dangerous and selfish to take this situation that lightly. the 'we will be fine because we’re young' mindset is putting people who aren’t young and/or healthy in a lot of danger. you sound stupid and privileged and you ned to care more about others. like now."

What she said.

The fast-breaking events, news, and findings of the past few days have proven the seriousness of COVID-19. With the virus in our midst, young people like you are experiencing fewer health problems than people my age and older. But what we are discovering is that people can be asymptomatic and spread the virus to others without even knowing it.

So, my first plea to you today is to practice all of the recommended healthy habits of the kind listed on the Kent State coronavirus website. In other words, the current pandemic is serious, and it is unwise for you to treat it as an extended spring break, or a series of snow days. Staying at home and avoiding groups is crucial to mitigating the spread of the virus. I thank you in advance for following best practices, and no doubt your parents and older relatives will thank you for doing so as well. You’ve got this, and we know you will rise to the occasion!

Secondly, school is in session. Let me repeat this school is in session. Remote instruction began today and will continue through the rest of the semester. With the exception of next week’s spring break (see my advice above) you are “attending” class and will be responsible for completing assignments, quizzes, examinations and other graded assignments. You’ve got this, and we know you will rise to the occasion!

Kent State University is one of the country’s largest providers of online coursework. In our experience the students who struggle with remote instruction are the ones who do not attend lectures given online, who do not participate in mandatory chats and other online activities, and who, instead, erroneously convince themselves that they will catch up on matters at a later time. Continue to “attend” your courses on a regular schedule and keep up with all assignments. These are “real” courses that will generate “real” grades that will impact your future. You’ve got this, and we know you will rise to the occasion!

To help you navigate your new terrain, here’s a Top Ten List of Remote Learning Best Practices:

  1. Commit the same amount of time on your course as you would if it were offered face-to-face.
  2. If your instructor is holding live videoconferencing (synchronous) class sessions, these will be held at your scheduled class time.
  3. Create a regular study space (with few distractions) to help you stay organized.
  4. Log in to your course on a daily basis and establish a routine for checking your email.
  5. Be an active participant in the learning process—ask questions and create virtual study groups.
  6. Map out key assignments and due dates in advance.
  7. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professor for help.
  8. Stay organized. Save all files for the course in the same folder.
  9. If you have technical problems, contact TechHelp by either submitting a Support Ticket or get help via LiveChat with support staff. You can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 330-672-HELP. You may also email
  10. Recognize this will be different, and please know that we are here to help you.

I don’t want to come across as your angry uncle in this message. In fact, I have nothing but admiration for how the vast majority of you have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. I feel badly that our second-semester seniors will end their careers at Kent State in this fashion, but I am also proud of all of us for making it possible for you to finish coursework in a meaningful fashion, and in a manner that allows graduating seniors to graduate, and all others to remain on track for graduation.

In short, thank you for your patience. Thank you for taking your studies seriously as we move to remote instruction. And because Flashes Take Care of Flashes, thank you for taking care of each other.


Todd Diacon