Coronavirus prompts Indiana University to shift to remote classes

Published: Mar. 11, 2020 at 12:21 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Indiana University announced Tuesday all campuses across the state would see major changes amid the coronavirus outbreak, including in New Albany.

The official statement from Indiana University Southeast regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19) reads:

"Per the announcement today by Indiana University President, Michael A. McRobbie, following the IU spring break, March 15-22, the IU Southeast campus and all other IU campuses will be teaching all classes remotely by various distance-learning modalities. While completing classes remotely, students are strongly encouraged to stay in their permanent home, away from campus, unless they are prevented from returning home because of travel restrictions or they do not have access to the technology at home, such as reliable internet access, to complete their classes remotely.

The IU Southeast campus will remain open to faculty, staff and students including library services, lodging and dining services. Public meetings scheduled to take place on campus have been cancelled through April 5. Dr. Ray Wallace, IU Southeast’s Chancellor states, ‘IU’s first priority is to protect all members of the IU community. The measures announced today are based on the best information available to us and they follow the guidance and advice of federal health officials, state and local health and hospital officials and IU’s own internal resources.’ Additional information will be forthcoming."

​IUS Freshman Harlee Dorman told WAVE 3 News she didn't expect the announcement.

"At least they're giving us advanced warning, but still, it's all of a sudden," Dorman said. "You didn't think it's going to be in Indiana, and it is." ​

IUS also announced it is be suspending university-affiliated travel until April 5. ​

"This is confusing because I'm supposed to be going to Michigan for a student conference and I'm wondering, how am I going to get there?" Dorman said. "What's going on? Are plans still the same? What's changing?"

Similar questions were posed by some in Kentucky after Berea College announced it is closing its doors for the rest of the semester. ​

“The administration is not currently recommending that universities or colleges shut down,” Governor Andy Beshear, (D) Kentucky, said. “Whatever they can do through the internet, through teleclasses, we suggest that they strongly consider that.”

UofL, Bellarmine and Spalding all released statements saying they're monitoring the situation and working on contingency plans but have yet to implement any major changes to face-to-face classroom learning or cancel classes. ​

Purdue University stated, starting March 23, students must take their courses online.

Dorman, a strategic communications major at IUS, said remote learning is going to pose some challenges for her, but she's going to tough it out to finish the semester.

"My plans moving forward are to try to contact my teachers as much as possible because I'm going to have to if I'm going to pass this freshman year," she said. ​

In a coronavirus update Tuesday, UofL noted that researchers at the university are working on testing protocols and vaccine development.

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