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Reporting on the state of education in your community and across the country.

Ohio Universities Suspending Face-To-Face Classes Amid Coronavirus Concerns

All four universities are canceling large gatherings during in-person class suspensions. [University of Akron]
A walkway on the University of Akron campus with a garden median and a cement "U A" symbol.

Updated: 6:06 p.m., Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

Multiple Northeast Ohio universities are suspending in-person classes due to growing concerns about the coronavirus.

Three people tested positive for the virus in Cuyahoga County this week.

The University of Akron, Kent State University, Case Western Reserve University and Baldwin Wallace, Cleveland State and John Carroll are the latest universities to shift to online and remote classes because of coronavirus.

Kent State University

Kent State paused face-to-face classes at 4:25 p.m. Tuesday, according to a press release, with remote classes set to begin March 16. Clinicals will continue for College of Podiatric Medicine and College of Nursing students, according to the school.

Residence halls and reduced dining options will remain open, the release said, but students are “strongly recommended to return to their homes” during the suspension. Kent State’s library will remain open and faculty will be able to use their offices, but meetings and campus events are suspended. All university-sponsored travel, both domestic and international, is canceled through April 13.

“We take all of these steps to ensure the health and safety of our campus community and to be proactive in an effort to prevent illness while continuing the academic mission of the university,” the release said.

The suspension of classes will last until April 12.

University of Akron

The University of Akron also suspended classes, effective as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to a press release. Students will have the rest of the week and all of next week off, followed by the already-scheduled spring break. Remote classes begin March 30.

Residence and dining halls will remain open, the release said.

“We recognize that these actions will cause disruption in planned routines and activities,” the release said. “However, this is an extraordinary situation requiring us to adapt and operate in novel ways.”

Employees and faculty are expected to come to their respective departments. But all university-sponsored international travel is canceled through at least May 31, the release said.

Akron is also canceling all on-campus events until at least April 20.

Case Western Reserve University

CWRU students are currently on spring break. According to a press release, the university is canceling class on March 16 and 17 to give professors time to prepare for online and remote classes. The university will shift to those classes beginning March 18.

Students are “encouraged to return to their homes” following spring break, CWRU said, though students will be permitted to access residence halls to retrieve belongings.

The university will provide meals, cleaning and maintenance for students who need to remain on campus, and adult residence staff will be present to provide some small group activities. Other campus operations, including research, will continue.

CWRU is suspending all sponsored international travel and sponsored domestic travel for those in healthcare programming. The university is discouraging non-essential domestic travel. On-campus meetings, gatherings and conferences with more than 25 people in attendance are also canceled.

The suspension of classes at CWRU is expected to last until April 6.

Baldwin Wallace University

Baldwin Wallace University students will get an extra week off for spring break as faculty and staff prepare for remote instruction beginning March 23. All university sponsored events have been canceled effective immediately through April 26.

According to an advisory on the university’s website, BW will remain operational including offices and labs. Faculty and staff will continue to work on campus and campus services will remain available to students, including residence halls, the library, health and counseling services and dining services.

BW is encouraging students living on campus to return home until in-person classes resume April 13. 

Cleveland State University

In a Wednesday advisory, Cleveland State University told its students and staff spring break is being extended through March 23. After that, all classes will go online through April 10.

CSU said it would set up a hotline for student and staff questions and concerns. It also would help meet the needs of students who don’t have access to a computer, cell phone or internet.

John Carroll University

John Carroll University also sent out an advisory announcing it had canceled in-person classes and large gatherings on campus that they are “an unacceptable risk to our community at this time.”

Oberlin College

Spring break will start two days early for Oberlin College students while the administration decides by March 25 whether to initiate online classes.

While on extended spring break, students will be asked to pack up non-essential items so residence halls can be cleaned, according to a press release from the school.

Oberlin also has canceled all college-sponsored international travel and non-essential, work-related domestic travel. Anyone traveling internationally for spring break will be quarantined off-campus for 14 days.

College athletic events will continue without spectators and large-scale campus events with more than 50 people expected will be canceled, held without an audience or live streamed.

If Oberlin decides to enact remote-learning policies, students will be encouraged to remain at home for an extended period of time. Residence and dining halls will remain open for those who need to stay on campus.