Home Campus Ohio U cancels in-person classes until late March amid in-state coronavirus outbreak

Ohio U cancels in-person classes until late March amid in-state coronavirus outbreak

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Ohio University formally suspended in-person classes late Tuesday afternoon and moved all instruction online until March 30 at the earliest for fear of a coronavirus outbreak, according to an email from President Duane Nellis.

Nellis encouraged students who left for Ohio U’s spring break to stay home and not return to campus. Students who live in residence halls are instructed not to return to campus until after break, unless they receive authorization from Housing and Residence Life. The university, however, will remain open.

Students who need to immediately return to campus to retrieve essentials from their residence halls must also be authorized by Housing and Residence Life beforehand, Nellis wrote.

Ohio U Human Resources is developing a plan for university faculty to telecommunicate and will create information about how to report cases of the coronavirus. Information about employee-leave management and associated workplace issues will be available from University Human Resources in the coming days, Nellis wrote.

The university postponed all events with the exception of athletics because the university must coordinate with the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to move sporting events.

Ohio U also moved to cancel all university sponsored travel, but it will make exceptions on a case-by-case basis. The university last week canceled all inbound travel from countries with level 2 and 3 travel warnings assigned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No coronavirus cases have been reported on Ohio U’s Athens campus or any regional campuses as of Tuesday, and the risk of virus transmission on campus is believed to be low, according to a university statement.

Ohio U’s decision to suspend in-person classes came the same day Gov. Mike DeWine urged public universities in a tweet to move toward canceling in-person classes in favor of online learning, to cancel or postpone university-sponsored travel, to eliminate international travel and to screen students returning from international travel or cruise ships.

The governor also recommended banning spectators from sporting events and concerts, and he further recommended temporarily barring visitors at state prisons, Cleveland.com reported.

Several other public and private universities in the state, including Ohio State University, Kent State University and The University of Toledo also announced Tuesday they will halt in-person classes and instead require online instruction until at least the end of March.

DeWine declared a state of emergency in Ohio on Monday after announcing at a news conference that three Ohioans from the Cuyahoga County suburbs tested positive for coronavirus.

Two of those infected are a married couple who recently traveled on a cruise ship on the Nile River in Africa, according to Cleveland.com. The other is a man who recently returned home from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington D.C., the publication reported.

Cleveland city officials announced all three are over 50 years old, Cleveland.com reported.

Eric Boll contributed to this report.

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