How 8 Metro St. Louis Universities Are Responding To Coronavirus Fears | St. Louis Public Radio

How 8 Metro St. Louis Universities Are Responding To Coronavirus Fears

12 hours ago

Updated at 8 p.m. March 12 with Missouri University of Science and Technology plans

There are no known cases of COVID-19 on college campuses in the St. Louis region, but many university admistrators are taking precautions by suspending in-person instruction and transitioning to online teaching platforms for varying periods of time.

Here's how the insitutions are responding.

Harris-Stowe State University

On Wednesday afternoon, Harris-Stowe State University announced that spring break would be extended until March 23. A letter to the campus community reads in part:

"The University will be using the week to put new policies in place as preventative measures to protect our university community, thoroughly sanitize the campus, and plan for a possible shift to online-only classes in the event of a closure." 

Lindenwood University

Lindenwood University will switch entirely to virtual classes from March 13 to 29 for all class sessions at all locations. "Residential students, who are on spring break through March 15, are strongly encouraged not to return to campus if possible," reads an online statement.

Maryville University

Maryville University made its announcement Tuesday:

“On Monday, March 16, all on-campus classes will resume their spring semester in a virtual format for the following two weeks during which the university will be assessing the evolving COVID-19 situation.”  

St. Louis University

After first suspending in-person instruction for the week of March 15, St. Louis University officials on Thursday announced the university would move all courses online "until at least April 30, 2020. All formerly in-person courses will transition to remote delivery starting Monday, March 23, giving faculty members the next week to plan for instructional continuity."

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Chancellor Randy Pembrook announced that the university is extending spring break for one week. Until March 23, all in-person instruction and on-campus learning is suspended.

“Given the concern for spread of the virus through contact and the need for greater social distance, we have been developing plans for continued operations and instruction,” Pembrook said in a message. “Ensuring the safety and well-being of students, staff and faculty is paramount. We will use this period to monitor the situation and plan for additional contingencies.”

University of Missouri-St. Louis

The University of Missouri-St. Louis informed faculty, staff and students of its plans on Thursday, announcing the suspension of all in-person classes on March 13.

"Classes will be delivered remotely the week of March 16-20. Existing online classes will continue as planned. We will continue to assess our instructional delivery and communicate plans for classes following spring break. During this time, the university will remain open and continue to operate under normal conditions."

Washington University

Washington University will extend its spring break for a week in order to prepare for online instruction, which will begin on online platforms starting March 23. 

In a letter to students, faculty and staff, Wash U Chancellor Andrew D. Martin said:

"Beginning March 23, there will be no in-person courses taught in the classroom or any other setting until at least April 30, 2020. All classes, including those traditionally held in studios and laboratory settings, will be conducted online."

Webster University

In a statement, the Webster University said:

"Webster University will move all classes at non-military U.S. locations throughout the U.S. and at the Vienna, Austria campus to an online environment, through Friday, April 3. Courses in Athens, Greece, are also moving online until Thursday, March 26, and the staff in Athens will continue to work on the campus but at reduced staffing levels. Webster’s locations in China have been operating remotely since the beginning of the Spring 2020 term in January."

Meanwhile, at Mizzou

On Wednesday afternoon, the University of Missouri-Columbia made this announcement:

"In-person classes will be suspended beginning at 5 p.m. today, March 11 through Sunday, March 15. During that time, faculty are instructed to put in place their plans to deliver instruction remotely. Existing online classes will continue as originally scheduled. During the week of March 16-20, classes will be held remotely. Following spring break, we plan to resume in-person classes on Monday, March 30. The University will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected."

This decision comes after a group of at least two dozen MU students and faculty from the School of Journalism attended a conference in New Orleans that was also attended by someone who has tested presumptively positive for COVID-19. University officials said there are no reported cases on campus at this time.

And in Rolla

Missouri University of Science and Technology announced it will move all instruction online as of March 18. The university expects to return to in-person classroom instruction by mid-April. 

Students will continue their studies remotely. Those who stay in residence halls should expect “a reduced campus experience with limited opportunities for interaction and reduced campus services,” according to Missouri S&T.

The university also put limits on all on-campus events involving more than 50 people scheduled through April 30.

There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Rolla or associated with Missouri S&T.

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Follow Holly Edgell on Twitter: @hollyedgell

Follow Andrea Henderson on Twitter: @drebjournalist

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