SRU, neighboring universities modify instruction due to coronavirus

SRU extends spring break for two weeks, prepares faculty for online instruction

Published by The Rocket, Date: March 10, 2020

This story is no longer being updated as of March 12 at 4 p.m. For the most up-to-date information, please read our coverage on SRU’s spring break extension and the status of 14 schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education

UPDATE (MARCH 12, 12:04 p.m.) – Mansfield suspends face-to-face instruction one week, will transition to online classes 

Mansfield University has become the final university in the PASSHE to alter its educational instruction due to COVID-19.

In an online statement from Mansfield President Charles E. Patterson Thursday, the university announced it was suspending face-to-face instruction for one week to prepare for a transition to online instruction.

All courses, except for online which will continue as scheduled, will resume on Monday, March 23 in an online format.

The statement said the university was not closing but using the week of March 16 to prepare for the shift to online learning.

Mansfield students will have the choice to either stay in their residence halls or move out and return to their homes. The opportunity of a choice comes from Mansfield realizing that no two students have the same situation.

However, students who stay on campus will likely be consolidated to one or two dorms, using appropriate social spacing measures.

Campus resources for students choosing to remain on campus will remain available.

On-campus events that are attended by, or coordinated with, external visitors will he evaluated at a case-by-case basis, and PSAC Athletic events will continue with enhanced precaution.

Internships, clinicals, field experiences and student teaching assignments will continue as expected, barring a suspension of the host organization.

UPDATE (MARCH 12, 11:32 p.m.) – Indiana (Pa.) suspends face-to-face instruction until March 23 

Indiana University (Pa.) announced Thursday through an email from IUP President Michael A. Driscoll to students that all face-to-face instruction has been suspended until March 23.

The statement stressed that IUP’s campus is not closing as faculty and staff will report to campus to continue efforts to restructure classes and events to fit recommended health guidelines.

The decision comes in order to allow time for faculty to alter courses to minimize the risk of disease transmission while still meeting educational objectives.

All on-campus through April 19 that are expected to draw more 75 people will be canceled, restructured or postponed.

IUP asked students to not return to campus or the residence halls until March 21 or 22.

IUP will continue to monitor the situation.

UPDATE (MARCH 12, 11:25 p.m.) – Clarion suspends face-to-face instruction indefinitely 

Clarion University announced Thursday morning that face-to-face instruction has been suspended until further notice, according  to an online statement from Clarion President Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson.

The statement said that classes will continue online or in an alternative setting, based on what each individual faculty or staff member decides.

Students have been given the choice to either stay on campus or return to their homes to complete coursework, and the university urges students to make the best decision for their individual situations.

All campus offices and services will remain open, which includes student housing, library services and other student services.

While all university events have been cancelled, a statement in regard to athletics will be released later.

UPDATE (MARCH 11, 8:05 p.m.) – Cheyney extends spring break by one week, California modifies schedule

Cheyney University administration extended its spring break by one week. The university anticipates that on-campus classes will resume as normal on March 23.

Students should report back by March 23 unless notified otherwise.

“Next week, we will determine whether courses will be conducted in-person or remotely for the rest of the semester,” Cheyney’s online statement reads. “Should circumstances warrant that courses be taught remotely, we will notify the Cheyney community.  Until that point, we are operating under the assumption that classes will be taught in-person.  All current online courses will continue as normal and will resume on March 23.”

Cheyney faculty and staff are to report on March 16.

California University has extended its spring break for on-campus students until March 27.

Online classes will continue as scheduled on March 16 and beginning March 30, and all on-campus classes will resume through online and distance learning.

The current anticipated return to on-campus classes in April 13.

UPDATE (MARCH 11, 7:00 p.m.) – Mansfield decides to proceed as normal

Mansfield University has decided to proceed with business as usual, citing an early spring break and a rural campus, in regard to the threat of COVID-19, the university announced Wednesday in an online statement.

Mansfield is preparing for the possibility of moving classes online and has begun planning for such a change with its Academic Affairs leadership and faculty union.

All university-sponsored travel for faculty, staff and students, excluding athletics, has been cancelled. The university is encouraging faculty, staff and students to stay in the community on weekends.

Mansfield will assess all on-campus events internal to the campus population to ensure the health and well-being of all on campus. These events include student-run clubs, organizations, intramural sports and non-credit experiences.

Dining hall access has been restricted to just faculty, staff and students.

UPDATE (MARCH 11, 6:15 p.m.) – Lock Haven suspends classes following spring break

Lock Haven University became the ninth university in the PASSHE to alter its instruction plans over the rest of the semester when the university put out a formal statement Wednesday evening.

Face-to-face instruction will be suspended following LHU’s spring break, and the week of March 16 will be used for faculty and staff to prepare for classes to resume online on March 23. The online instruction will continue until April 3, with face-to-face courses resuming on April 6 — which is subject to change.

“This is a pre-emptive action aimed at preventing the potential spread of what the World Health Organization has designated a global pandemic and federal officials warn will worsen across the country,” LHU President Robert Pignatello said in the statement. “So, early interventions like this, which are consistent with many campuses here in PA and elsewhere, matter.”

Students will be expected to live off-campus temporarily with the residence halls expected to house only a select number of students. Students needing to live on campus between March 16 and April 4 must provide a justified reason for staying.

All university-sponsored events, athletics excluded, will be cancelled until April 3 and visitors to the university will be limited.

All university offices will remain open but hours may be limited.

UPDATE (March 11, 3:00 p.m.) – Clarion monitors outbreak

Clarion University announced Wednesday afternoon that they are closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak while students are on spring break. 

Clarion students returned from spring break on Monday, March 9. The university is operating on a normal schedule as of March 10.

“While most of the PASSHE universities are on spring break this week, ours was last week, making our situation different. The location and size, as well as current conditions in the areas near campuses, dictate how each campus makes those decisions. At this point in time, conditions do not indicate a benefit to suspending our face-to-face instruction,” Clarion President Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson said in an email.

Pehrsson said the university will monitor Gov. Wolf’s coronavirus update with legislative leaders and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine and adjust plans if necessary.

UPDATE (March 11, 1:40 p.m.) – Slippery Rock extends spring break for two weeks

SRU is the eighth PASSHE school to modify its instruction. Spring break is extended for two weeks until March 30.

During the next two weeks, faculty will receive training on how to move their courses online. According to a document of frequently-asked questions attached to President William Behre’s email, on-campus classes will “probably not” resume after spring break.

For more information, see our breaking news post: “SRU extends spring break by two weeks, instruction to most likely move online.”

UPDATE (March 11, 12:45 p.m.) – Kutztown extends spring break

Kutztown University President Kenneth Hawkinson announced via a campus alert that classes will be suspended until March 23.

“Faculty should be available for student inquiries, and use the extra time to prepare to deliver courses online, should it be necessary to take further action beyond March 21,” Hawkinson said in an online statement.

Residence halls are closed until March 22 at 1 p.m. but will be available for students who need housing for internships for credit, clinicals and student teaching assignments.

Administrative offices will operate under their regular operating schedules.

Athletic events will continue as scheduled, and all campus events for next week will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

All university-sponsored travel is also cancelled until further notice.

UPDATE (March 11, 11:45 a.m.) – East Stroudsburg extends spring break

In an email sent to students at 11:19 a.m. Wednesday morning, East Stroudsburg University administration announced that spring break will be extended by one week.

“It is important to know that our campus is not closed,” ESU President Marcia Walsh said in an email to students. “Our plan to delay the return of students to campus through March 22 is intended to keep our students safe at home while giving our faculty time to convert face-to-face courses to distance education in the event that remote delivery of classes will be required in the week/weeks to follow.”

Residence halls will remain open to house a limited number of students, including student athletes, international students and those currently student teaching.

Events through March 22 are canceled. Future events will be evaluated as necessary.

The extension will allow for the launch of alternative teaching methods if necessary.

UPDATE (March 11, 11:00 a.m.) – Shippensburg extends spring break

Shippensburg University is the fifth to modify its operating schedule, extending its spring break by one week through March 23. During this extension, faculty members will receive training for online course delivery.

Students who need to access to campus are required to complete a form and will have access to the library, the recreation center and certain dining services. Students who can also request housing during this time through the form.

Athletic events will continue as scheduled, and officials will review events on a case-by-case basis as needed. Non-essential, university-sponsored travel is cancelled until further notice.

UPDATE (March 11, 10:25 a.m.) – Edinboro and Millersville modify schedules

Edinboro University is the third PASSHE school to announce a change in its operating schedule. Its spring break has been extended through the week of March 16 and classes will be online March 23-April 5, according to Edinboro President Guiyou Huang.

Face-to-face instruction is anticipated to resume on April 6. Online courses will resume as normal on March 16.

Students who need to stay on campus are required to complete a form and will have access to the library, dining hall, student center and health center. Students are also able to retrieve their belongings in their residence halls during select hours.

There will also be refunds for housing and dining plans on a prorated basis. These details will be shared at a later date.

All events through April 5 have been cancelled.

As of this time, there are no changes in operations for staff, according to the notice.

Millersville University administration also announced Wednesday morning that face-to-face instruction will be suspended after its spring break ends. 

Spring break will take place from March 14-20 and there will be no face-to-face classes from March 21-27, according to the announcement from Millersville University President Daniel Wubah.

“The University will reassess these interim measures on a weekly basis,” Wubah said in the online statement. “We are focused on ensuring our students finish the semester successfully with as little interruption as possible while safeguarding everyone’s health, safety and welfare.”

On March 30, instruction will resume via remote instruction. Students are not to report to campus during this time.

University staff are to report as usual, and office hours will be held via technology. Day-to-day administrative operations will continue.

Faculty will be prepared for remote advising for scheduling summer and fall classes.

Online courses will resume as normal after spring break and are not affected by the schedule changes.

UPDATE (March 10, 5:40 p.m.) – Bloomsburg extends spring break

Bloomsburg University announced Tuesday evening that spring break has been extended by one week. Classes are anticipated to resume March 23.

“Out of an abundance of concern for all members of the BU family, we are extending the spring break for our students by one week, with classes anticipated to resume on Monday, March 23,” the message stated. “During this extension, faculty will be provided training, both locally and remotely, specific to online course delivery methods. This will enable continuity of instruction if further delays of our students’ return to campus become warranted.”

UPDATE (March 10, 4:20 p.m.) – Kutztown monitors outbreak

Kutztown University announced Tuesday afternoon that they are closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak while students are on spring break. 

“The KU Emergency Management Team continues to closely monitor the new coronavirus in our region and beyond. The university is currently on spring break, and there are no reported cases of the new coronavirus on campus. There are no changes to the university operating schedule at this time,” the message stated.

Below is the message sent to West Chester University stakeholders, courtesy of a staff member of The Quad, WCU’s student news service.

“Please take notice of how students who rely on the university for housing aren’t being addressed in this email, such a[s] students who might experience homelessness or students who are studying internationally. Reimbursement for students who live on campus is not addressed either,” Kirsten Magas, a student at WCU, said in a Twitter message.

ORIGINAL POST (March 10, 4 p.m.)

As of Tuesday afternoon, West Chester University was the first school in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to modify its academic schedule due to the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. All classes at West Chester University will be held remotely for the rest of the semester.

Two universities in Ohio—The Ohio State University and Kent State University—have also announced plans to hold classes online via remote instruction as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the U.S.

The announcements come shortly after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency after three Ohio residents tested positive for COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, Slippery Rock University administration hasn’t made any decisions regarding the status of on-campus classes after students return from spring break.

“The University administration is having on-going discussions relative to that topic,” Robb King, SRU deputy chief communication and public affairs officer, said in an emailed statement. When a definitive answer is available, it will be circulated to all students, faculty and staff as well as media outlets, SRU social media accounts and the University website.”

David Wilmes, SRU chief student affairs officer, said university administration is correctly reviewing its contingency plans and will announce if any decisions are made.

“The University has multiple contingency plans in place to deal with a wide variety of emergency situations,” Wilmes said in an emailed statement. “We have been reviewing these plans closely while also communicating with the PA State System of Higher Education, the PA Health Department and others. At this time, we are having ongoing dialogues at the highest level on what our decisions will be. Further communication will come from the University if any decisions are made.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced another presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in a Montgomery County resident, bringing the statewide total to 12. These cases are contained to the eastern side of the state with eight cases in Montgomery County and one each case in Delaware, Monroe, Wayne and Philadelphia Counties.

If SRU doesn’t modify its schedule, classes will resume Monday, March 16. Residence halls for students will open Sunday, March 15 at 10 a.m.



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