VCU extends spring break, classes to be taught remotely amid coronavirus pandemic

Monroe Park's spring break will be extended a week due to the new coronavirus. Photo by Jon Mirador

Hannah Eason, News Editor

VCU Monroe Park will extend its spring break for an additional week due to “ongoing and expanding” threats from the new coronavirus, according to a university release.

When the semester resumes on March 23, classes will be taught remotely for the “foreseeable future.” Classrooms are expected to use digital tools such as Blackboard, videoconferencing and online programs. 

The release from VCU President Michael Rao, sent to students and staff on Wednesday, says details regarding on-campus housing, student services and dining plans are forthcoming.

COVID-19, which was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on Wednesday, is caused by a member of the coronavirus family similar to the SARS and MERS viral outbreaks. 

There are nine presumptive positive cases in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Most of them are in Northern Virginia with one confirmed case in Central Virginia. The VCU release states the person traveled internationally, returned home and is receiving treatment.

There are currently no confirmed cases connected to VCU or VCU Health.

All university events including more than 100 people have been canceled until April 15.

“For smaller events, please consider rescheduling or online alternatives when possible,” the release read, “and please take every necessary precaution to prevent the spread of infection.”

Larger events at the Siegel Center, like VCU Athletic and non-university events, are currently not under the same restriction, although the “discussion remains ongoing.”

Students are advised to return and stay home if possible, limiting personal travel. The release states professors will give students more detail on specific class instructions.

Monroe Park and MCV campuses will remain open. The release states employees should expect normal work hours but employees can discuss telework agreements with their supervisors if possible.

Clinical placements will continue as planned, and research facilities will remain open.

All university-sponsored out-of-state travel is suspended until further notice, including domestic and international flights. 

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for being mindful and respectful of others during this outbreak, which is not limited to any particular age group, geographic region, nationality, ethnicity or race,” Rao said in the release.

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