Students will take classes for the rest of the semester and final exams online.
University President Thomas LeBlanc said Monday that officials will extend the suspension of in-person classes and are working on a plan to allow students to return to their residence halls to retrieve their belongings “sometime after April 5,” according to a release. He added that university-wide and school Commencement ceremonies will not be held in person this year as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has discouraged gatherings of more than 50 people.
“I had hoped I would not need to update you this soon and certainly not with this information,” LeBlanc said in the release. “However, as I am sure you have seen, the number of COVID-19 cases nationally and in the D.C. region is rising. Our public health experts have advised us that they expect this trend to continue, and limiting our contact with others is now more critical than ever to fight the spread of the virus.”
LeBlanc said in the announcement that students whose coursework requires clinical training or on-campus laboratory research should speak to the appropriate department or office to determine if those activities can be conducted remotely. All on-campus events are canceled for the remainder of the semester, the release states.
He added that he knows the University community still has many unanswered questions, and officials are working to share additional information “as soon as possible.”
Officials previously suspended in-person classes from March 23 through April 5 as part of an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 and announced plans to close residence halls on March 20. Students who fail to comply could face a fine of up to $2,500, receive disciplinary probation and lose housing re-selection priority for the upcoming year.
“Thousands” of students applied to remain on campus using one of six exceptions in the few days after the announcement, causing officials to move up the deadline to apply. Officials did not say whether students who were approved to remain on campus following spring break will be allowed to remain in residence halls.
Administrators have banned on-campus gatherings of more than 100 people and are requiring most employees to telework beginning Monday. Gatherings of more than 250 people are banned throughout the District.
“I truly appreciate each of you for your understanding and – despite our distance – for your continued close care and support for one another,” LeBlanc said. “Our resources are always here for you. Although we are now spread across many cities, states and countries, we are still united as a University community.”