COVID-19, Higher Ed, News

Duke, Elon University move classes online as UNC system develops options

Responding to the  COVID-19 pandemic, Elon University announced Wednesday it will move instruction online for two weeks when students return from Spring Break on March 23.

The move follows Duke University’s Tuesday announcement that all on-campus classes would be suspended until further notice, with Spring Break extended to March 22 and instruction resuming remotely on March 23.

“Although the decision to alter classes was difficult as it will impact Elon’s residential learning environment for a few weeks, we are confident these measures will help to protect all members of our community,” said Elon University President Connie Book in a message to the Elon community Wednesday. “We are announcing this decision now to give faculty and students time to plan for the transition and achieve their academic goals. This decision will bring many questions and we will be working to answer those in the days ahead. We know this will be a stressful shift for our community and will be in touch frequently as further information is developed.”

The UNC System, as of Wednesday afternoon, had not made any announcement about the suspension of classes.

In a statement this week, UNC-Chapel Hill said the campus is developing its ability to deliver courses remotely.

“As it relates to instruction, we are developing the capacity to continue course delivery remotely, should that be necessary,” the statement said. “Several campus units and academic leaders, together with members of the campus information technology community, have put together a collection of resources that should help faculty and instructors prepare. We have an interdisciplinary team working on this and they will continue to develop our remote instruction strategy and update the site as new information and capabilities become available.”

The university has restricted travel and is requiring students to self-report travel over Spring Break, which ends March 16.

Students and faculty returning from Level 2 and Level 3 countries — as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — are expected to self-report and self-quarantine. Students who fail to do so will not be given excused absences and could be subject to action from the Office of Student Conduct, Guskiewicz said in an update e-mail last week.

Though there are as yet no confirmed cases in the UNC system, the system office is working with individual campuses as they formulate their responses.


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