Penn State cancels in-person classes due to coronavirus concerns

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — Penn State University announced Wednesday the cancellation of in-person classes due to coronavirus concerns.

Students will do their classes online starting March 16, 2020, according to the university.

Students are strongly discouraged from returning to campus after Spring Break.

The University plans to resume in-person classes on Monday, April 6, 2020.

You can view the message to the University community below:

Dear Penn State Community:  

As you know, communities around the globe are facing unprecedented challenges as coronavirus continues to spread. It remains our goal to take the necessary, active steps to confront this public health threat and manage our risks.

In light of this situation, and in the best interests of the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and our local communities, Penn State has decided to move to remote learning for all classes beginning Monday, March 16, through Friday, April 3, with a plan to resume in-person classes on Monday, April 6, at the earliest. For faculty and staff, the University will remain open, however, there are additional details below regarding specifics.

  • The continuity of class delivery is critical to the success of our students. All in-person classes, seminars, and labs will be delivered remotely for students at every campus location. The College of Medicine will soon announce consistent protocols that reflect the unique mission of that unit and its relationship with the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Health. Penn College will also announce separate guidance for its community.
  • During this three-week period following spring break, undergraduate and graduate students at all campus locations are strongly discouraged from returning to campus, off-campus locations, and group dwellings (e.g., apartments and fraternities), and should return to, or remain at, home during this time period.
  • For international students who are already on campus, and students who must return to campus due to extenuating and/or compelling circumstances, we will work with you on an individual basis to make special visit or housing arrangements. Students should contact their campus Housing office, and contact information is available at: hfs.psu.edu/campuses.
  • Please also be aware that residence halls and campus dining facilities will not be reopened for normal operation during this remote-learning period (beyond the facilities that are already in use). For students who need to retrieve belongings, arrangements for temporary access can be made. Students should contact their campus Housing office, and contact information is available at: hfs.psu.edu/campuses.
  • For those students who do not have access to a computer and/or the internet from home or from alternate locations, we will assist you in getting access from computer labs at campus locations. Please contact the IT Director at your campus or the IT Service Desk at University Park to determine computer lab availability or for more information about those arrangements and the available locations.
  • All on-campus student-sponsored events and activities, such as student organization meetings, will be postponed/canceled until April 6, at the earliest. Please reach out to Student Affairs with further questions. This direction is applicable to all other locations, including gatherings at off-campus locations.
  • All non-essential events should be canceled, rescheduled or offered virtually through April 6, regardless of the size of the event. No new non-essential events should be scheduled. For essential events that are expected to have more than 50 attendees, approval must be sought from Provost Nick Jones.

You can view the full University release by clicking here.

Penn State Athletics also announced sporting events will take place without fans.

UPDATED —

Graduate student Terri Frasca has been working at school on her master’s thesis during spring break. She got an email and text alert wednesday from penn state, saying remote instruction will be in effect from march 16 to april 3rd.

“it is a little bit scary.”

She thinks it had to be done for the safety of everyone.

“I thought it was the responsible thing to do”, Terri Frasca, Graduate Student, at Penn State, said. Campuses are really dense with people. I don’t know if State College has the resources to be testing a bunch of people or even treating anyone who has caught COVID-19.

Executive Vice President and Provost, Nicholas Jones, says over the last month Penn State’s had a coronavirus task force, working on how to best keep the university safe.
The group decided that now is the right time to cancel in-person classes.

“The fact that it is Spring Break this week and many of our students are away from campus and a good proportion of those students are at or coming through their homes on their way back, it seemed to be an important time for us to make this decision,” Jones, said.

All non-essential events will be canceled or rescheduled.
Penn State says their decision is out of an abundance of caution.

Provost Jones, says once it gets closer to Monday, April 6th, the day Penn State hopes to resume in person classes, the task force will decide whether it’s safe to resume it’s normal activities.

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