UPDATE: Purdue, IU suspend in-person classes for at least part of spring semester

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Students walk past the newly-completed Metz Bicentennial Grand Carillon in the Cox Arboretum during the first day of spring semester classes at Indiana University Bloomington on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (Image courtesy of Indiana University)

Indiana University and Purdue University announced Tuesday that they would suspend in-person classes after their upcoming spring breaks out of concern for the novel coronavirus spreading across the globe.

Neither school has identified any COVID-19 cases on campus.

IU told students and faculty that it planned to suspend in-person classes at all of its campuses for the two weeks following spring break, which runs from March 15 to March 22. Students will receive instruction remotely from March 23 to April 5, and then are expected to return to their campuses on April 6.

Purdue University told its professors to move their courses to online or alternative delivery before March 23. An email from Purdue President Mitch Daniels and Provost Jay Akridge said the change would “continue as long as in-person instruction seems inadvisable (potentially through the end of the semester).”

Purdue’s spring break begins March 16 and runs through March 21. “To be clear, the campus will remain open after spring break,” the email said. “However, starting March 23, students must take their courses online.”

A letter to the IU community from President Michael A. McRobbie said the school made the decision to help protect students from the spread of COVID-19, the potentially deadly respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. “Alongside our extensive prevention efforts that are already being carried out, it is now necessary to take further urgent, proactive steps to help keep the IU community safe,” McRobbie wrote in the letter.

The IU campuses will not be officially closed during the two weeks after spring break, but some services might be limited.

“Students are encouraged to travel home, if possible, during this time period. For this two weeks, course work will continue via virtual online teaching,” McRobbie wrote.

McRobbie said that no known cases of COVID-19 has been identified on any IU campus. However, two IU students have self-reported presumptively positive tests for COVID-19 after being in a CDC-designated Level 3 country while studying abroad.

They are receiving care at their home cities, and neither has returned to an IU campus, McRobbie said.

Meanwhile, six cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Indiana since Friday, including two on Tuesday morning in Adams and Boone counties. Since Friday morning, the number of U.S. cases has grown from 236 to more than 800 on Tuesday afternoon.

Globally, there are about 118,000 confirmed cases, about two-thirds of which are in China. The virus is believed to have originated in the Wuhan province.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 4,262 people are believed to have died due to the disease.

McRobbie also said that all university-affiliated travel outside of Indiana is suspended through April 5. The status of athletic events will depend on conference governing bodies and public health officials.

Purdue officials said students in the school’s residence halls have the option of choosing whether to return to campus or not after spring break.

And the school said it is suspending all university-sponsored events, including those hosted by registered student organizations, that involve external visitors effective. The school said gatherings of 50 or more attendees should be postponed or canceled.

“Where possible, organizers can explore ways of conducting the event through live streaming or other technologies,” the school said.

{“We recognize that these actions will be disruptive and create challenges for many of you, as well as have financial implications for the university,” the email from Daniels said, “but the health and safety of our community is our focus at this extraordinary time.”

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One thought on “UPDATE: Purdue, IU suspend in-person classes for at least part of spring semester

  1. sumimasen deshita for the cross-post but it’s perhaps more relevant here than where I originally posted it:
    Harvard is going a bit further….
    “Harvard Moves Classes Online, Asks Students Not to Return After Spring Break In Response to Coronavirus”
    The move follows both similar decisions at other Ivy League universities in recent days and rapid changes on campus.