West Chester University cancels in-person instruction amid coronavirus concerns

WEST CHESTER, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Officials with West Chester University said Tuesday they will suspend face-to-face classroom instruction out of an abundance of caution amid the ongoing response to combat the coronavirus.

In a letter to students, parents, faculty and staff, the university said it will "move to alternate modes of instruction" for the remainder of the spring semester.

"Out of an abundance of concern for the continued good health of our community, the university has made the decision to move to alternate modes of instruction for the remainder of the spring semester. To expedite, faculty will use the next two weeks to prepare their courses for remote delivery and remote advising and registering for the summer and fall terms. As such, in-person, face-to-face instruction will not occur on campus and these courses will resume by alternate means on March 30," West Chester University President Christopher Fiorentino said in a statement.

Current online courses will not be affected and will run as scheduled beginning on March 16.

School officials said the university does not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 and is continuing to proactively manage the health of the WCU community.

"I can tell you we anguished over this. We didn't take this decision lightly. Over 400 students were going overseas somewhere. As we contemplated this group coming back to campus and the way COVID-19 has been ramping up, we felt our campus community was at pretty high risk," said Fiorentino.

Officials said residence halls and South Campus apartments will not be open and the Office of Residence Life will be in contact with each student.

Large public events and public gatherings will be canceled, including West Chester University's 37th Annual Presidential Scholarship Community Gala, officials said.

There is a bit of good news for some. Fiorentino says athletics will continue.

"As of now, the NCAA has not given us any other direction, so we are proceeding with the competitions," said Fiorentino.
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