DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – On Wednesday, more universities in North Carolina announced they are suspending some on-campus classes and moving instruction online due to novel coronavirus concerns.
The UNC System announced all of their institutions would be extending Spring Break for another week until March 22. In addition, most in-person instruction will be transitioned to a system of alternative course delivery that will begin on March 23. But officials added that some courses, such as labs, will still be held on campus.
UNC system officials added that their institutions will remain open and students can return back at any time.
North Carolina State University also issued a statement late Wednesday that said Spring Break will be extended and all in-person classes will transition to online and alternative course delivery, where possible, by March 23.
Elon University officials confirmed they will be suspending all on-campus classes until Monday, April 6, in response to the novel Coronavirus spread.
Duke University was the first higher education institution in the Triangle to announce their decision to suspend in-person classes and transition to online instruction.
Michael Schoenfeld, Duke University’s Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations, called this an unprecedented situation and said this was the best way to keep students safe.
“We are following the best advice that we and every other institution of higher education have gotten regarding social distancing and minimizing the opportunities for full exposure,” Schoenfeld said.
Schoenfeld said all 6,000 of their on-campus courses this spring semester will be moved online.
“This is a monumental task,” Schoenfeld said.
However, he said it’s a task the university is well prepared to take on.
Schoenfeld said students can expect these courses to be in the form of an online video lecture, a conference call, or an independent study.
“We will look for ways to continue an education experience that’s at the level of quality that Duke students expect,” Schoenfeld said.
Schoenfeld said Duke University has also canceled all large events and group visits.
He said crews will be disinfecting all of the buildings where traffic will be going through on campus.
Duke students who decided not to leave campus for Spring Break are allowed to stay on campus as long as they register with the Student Affairs office on campus.
Students at UNC-Chapel Hill told CBS 17 they were hoping the UNC System would decide to move in-person classes to online.
“The virus is kind of scary,” said Ariel Wang. “It’s better to take action, for now, not to wait until it actually spreads.”
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