BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (CBS) — Indiana University announced Sunday that it is extending its spring break and moving to remote teaching for the rest of the spring 2020 semester.
The university announced last week that students on all IU campuses will be only taught remotely for two weeks, from March 23 to April 5. But that window has now been extended.
“This is a rapidly changing public health situation, and it is now clear we need to go beyond the actions we have already taken. In less than one week since my first message to you on March 10, the World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and the U.S. government has declared a national state of emergency. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb had earlier already declared a public health state of emergency. The number of confirmed cases across the U.S. and in Indiana is growing each day. As of my writing this, the total number in the U.S. is over 3,000 and rising rapidly,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie wrote.
There have been no confirmed coronavirus cases on any Indiana University campus. But that could change with the greater availability of test kits in the future, the university said.
“We had hoped our intermediate steps would be sufficient, but it is now clear that IU must take the set of actions as outlined below to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. I know how deeply disappointing these changes will be for our entire community, and especially for our students. All of us regret deeply that we have to take these actions,” McRobbie wrote. “Yet they are absolutely necessary, and we are asking all individuals to make deep sacrifices for the good of those in our community who are most vulnerable to the threat of infection.”
Thus, IU is suspending face-to-face classes and moving to virtual learning for the rest of the spring semester, and classes will not resume until March 30 with an extended spring break, the university said.
Students with clinical or field work component will receive further instruction as to how their programs will be addressed.
Meanwhile, most on-campus hosing will close on March 20. Students are expected to return to their permanent residences, though dispensations will be made for those who cannot.
Spring break has been extended from March 14 to March 29 – so that students have more travel flexibility given the stress on domestic and international travel systems.
The main IU campus is in Bloomington, Indiana. There is also an IU Northwest campus in Gary with a student body of about 3,500.
There are also campuses in Indianapolis (IUPUI), Columbus (IUPUC), Richmond (IU East), Fort Wayne, Kokomo, South Bend, and New Albany (IU Southeast).