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CMU switches to online classes in wake of coronavirus pandemic


Central Michigan University is suspending all face-to-face classes, moving all courses to online beginning right after spring break until March 20.

The shift was announced on the "CMU updates on coronavirus" page on the university website at 1:00  p.m. on Wednesday, March 11.

"The campus will remain open, and business operations will continue with appropriate measures to protect the health of the university community," President Bob Davies said in the email announcement. 

"This means students should not return to campus following spring break," the page reads. "All face-to-face classes at our main campus in Mount Pleasant — and at all of CMU’s satellite campuses throughout the U.S. with the exception of those on military bases — will move to an online format. A decision regarding classes for the following week will be made by Thursday, March 19, at 4 p.m."

The email from Davies states that residence halls will remain closed for everyone but international students and student athletes.

"However, the East Community (Celani, Emmons, Fabiano, Herrig, Saxe and Woldt Halls), Graduate Housing, Northwest Apartments and Kewadin Village, will remain open for students already on campus," Davies said in the email. "Limited food service will be provided; more information about food service can be found on this website."

Students who need to retrieve essential items from their dorm rooms can go to their Residence Hall Director’s office on Sunday, March 15, or Monday, March 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to gain access to their rooms.

"All CMU-sponsored events or gatherings of more than 50 people are canceled through March 31 — this includes registered student organizations," Davies said in the email. "Athletic events will follow NCAA and Mid-American Conference (MAC) guidelines."

The email states that no new events will be scheduled on campus through March 31. 

In addition, CMU has canceled all university-sponsored domestic travel through March 31.

The Charles V. Park Library and the Counseling Center will remain open. The Student Activity Center is closed.

"The choice to move face-to-face classes online and cancel campus events was not an easy one, but we felt it was prudent to exercise an abundance of caution in the interest of our community’s health and well-being," Davies said in a tweet. "We will continue to monitor the developing situation."

Michigan State University was the first university in Michigan to shift to online classes after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced two cases of COVID-19 in the state at a news conference around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 10.

There is one case in Wayne County and another in Oakland County. The Wayne County patient had a history of domestic travel, while the Oakland County patient had a history of international travel, Michigan officials announced. 

"It's crucial that Michiganders continue to take preventative measures," Whitmer said. The governor declared a state of emergency in Michigan to help assist local governments with preventative measures, she said. 

CMU's decision to switch to all online classes follows the cancellation of many of the universities study abroad trips.

CMU spring break study abroad trips were canceled and students abroad in Italy and China were ordered to leave. Of the 153 students who planned on studying abroad during the Spring 2020 semester, only 59 students were still abroad as of March 6, according to Dianne Desalvo, director of the study abroad office.

Out of the 12 scheduled Alternative Spring Breaks, two were rerouted and four canceled due to caution surrounding the virus, Symantha Misale, assistant director of Alternative Breaks, said.

The study abroad office and Alternative Breaks committee are continuing to monitor their students and the spread of the virus. 

The university has created a page on their website dedicated to updates and information entitled "CMU updates on coronavirus."

"CMU has an emergency preparedness team consisting of leaders from across our campus who are meeting regularly to review information from outside experts to assess how the virus may affect our campus," the page reads.

This is a developing story. Check back with CM Life for updates.