Health

College administrators around the region are weighing their options as the novel coronavirus pandemic makes the lectures, events and dormitories of campus life potential means of transmission of the highly infectious virus. Several schools are opting for distance learning and suspending in-person classes.  

The Ohio Valley ReSource and its partner stations will update this story as more information about area colleges and universities becomes available. 

Kentucky

Administrators at Berea College in Kentucky opted to cease instructional activities at the end of the week. In a statement on the school’s website President Lyle Roelofs said that after careful analysis the school has concluded “that it will not be possible to adequately assure student and employee safety in the circumstance of a case of COVID-19 occurring on campus.”

The University of Louisville announced Wednesday that it is extending spring break through March 17. Starting Wednesday, March 18, all classes will be delivered remotely.

The University of Kentucky announced Wednesday that it will remain open, but instruction will continue through online or other alternatives from March 23 through the end of the semester.

Bellarmine University announced Wednesday that face-to-face classes and activities are suspended from Thursday, March 12, until Wednesday, March 18, when courses will resume online or electronically. The administration anticipates students returning to classrooms on April 1, but that is subject to change.

Western Kentucky University announced Wednesday it will extend spring break through March 22. Beginning March 23, WKU will transition away from face-to-face classrooms. In-person classes are suspended through the end of the semester.

Wednesday evening Murray State University announced that following the school’s spring break next week instruction will be done through online or alternative delivery methods, but not through face-to-face instruction, from Monday March 23. In-person classes are suspended through the end of the semester.

On Wednesday Eastern Kentucky University announced that students should not return after spring break. Beginning Monday, March 23, all courses will be delivered remotely, either online or through other established alternative learning options. In-person classes are suspended through the end of the semester.

On Wednesday Spalding University announced that effective Monday, March 16, the university will move all face-to-face classes online. Face-to-face classes are scheduled to resume on April 6, 2020 but this date is subject to change.

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary canceled on-campus classes for Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13. Effective Monday, March 16, all course instruction for the remainder of the spring semester will be delivered completely online.

Ohio

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency Monday after confirming three cases of the virus in Cuyahoga County. DeWine recommended all Ohio universities suspend in-person classes and move to online instruction.

Late Tuesday Ohio University announced it is suspending in-person instruction on all campuses and locations. Late Friday the school announced that the suspension of in-person instruction will extend through the end of the spring semester for all campuses and locations.

An announcement on the university’s alert page indicated that classes will resume online following the previously announced extended spring break on March 23. Students were asked to wait on information from the university regarding a timeline to move out of dorms, according to the announcement. The school has also postponed commencement ceremonies.

University President Duane Nellis said in an email Tuesday that university officials understand “the disruptive nature of these measures but believe it is essential to safeguard the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff while continuing to fulfill our educational mission.”

Elsewhere in Ohio, other colleges and universities were taking similar measures Tuesday. 

The Ohio State University announced that it will suspend face-to-face instruction in lectures, discussion sections, other classroom settings and move to virtual instruction through at least Monday, March 30.

Kent State University announced “we will cease face-to-face classes through April 12. Remote instruction will begin March 16.”

Xavier University announced that beginning Monday March 16 it will move to a remote learning format for all courses.

The University of Cincinnati will suspend face-to-face instruction and move to remote instruction at the end of the week. Face-to-face instruction will resume Monday, April 13, 2020.

Miami University of Ohio announced that beginning March 11 its campuses are suspending all face-to-face instruction. Courses will be delivered by remote instruction through at least April 12.

West Virginia

Tuesday night West Virginia University President Gordon Gee announced that the school will suspend classes the week of March 23-27, following spring break. Beginning Monday, March 30, classes will be delivered remotely.

“The heart of the university experience is the exchange of ideas that occur in our classrooms and on our campuses every day,” Gee said in a statement. “We are disrupting this process only in an effort to keep our WVU community safe.”

On Wednesday Marshall University announced a plan to shift to distance learning. Marshall will suspend in-person classes from March 16 – 20. After the school’s spring break the following week, all instruction will be delivered in a manner other than face-to-face classroom settings.

On Wednesday Fairmont State University extended spring break through March 20 for those classes that meet in person. Those courses already taught via a hybrid of in-person and distance learning will transition to online-only beginning Monday, March 16. All face-to-face classes are suspended through Friday April 24 and all courses will be delivered digitally beginning March 23, 2020.

Shepherd University extended spring break for a second week (March 23 through 27) for students but delayed any decision on suspending face-to-face instruction.

Michelle Rotuno-Johnson and Aaron Payne at ReSource member station WOUB contributed to this report.

Clarification: Material added Friday, March 13, regarding Fairmont State in W.Va. includes additional information on the schedule for hybrid classes.

Jeff Young is the Managing Editor of The Ohio Valley ReSource.