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Virginia colleges, universities begin to move all classes online, urge students to go home

Due to coronavirus concerns, students at ODU, NSU, William & Mary, Virginia Tech, VCU, the University of Virginia and other schools will have to take classes online.

NORFOLK, Va. — Several Virginia colleges and universities are telling their students to return home and prepare to take classes exclusively online after nine cases of coronavirus were found in the Commonwealth.

Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, William & Mary, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University, and James Madison University announced Wednesday that they're moving all of their classes to the web. Students will take their courses online from home.

Hampton University, meanwhile said it has suspended all non-essential visitation to campus until further notice.

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Randolph-Macon College

Randolph-Macon decided Thursday to cancel classes through March 17, and then hold all classes online through March 27.

Their spring break picks up on March 30, the following Monday, and expect to resume in-person classes when students return on April 6.

The college asked students to head for their homes after class Thursday if possible, but at least by March 15. They are allowed to leave their belongings in their dorm rooms.

The college is offering waiver applications for students that would have a difficult time going home - like international, locally employed or ROTC students. If students would like to stay on campus, these waivers are due by March 14.

Randolph-Macon is not closing administrative offices but is limiting staff travel.

Thomas Nelson Community College

Thomas Nelson Community College announced Thursday it will be extending spring break through March 22, and will hold classes online for the rest of the spring semester. 

They are also canceling all events with an expected attendance of more than 100 people through May 9.

The college is asking students to check their e-mail inboxes regularly, since virtual lessons for hands-on workforce classes will need to be coordinated by individual teachers.

Thomas Nelson said it is keeping most university services open, and will be offering computer labs for students who need internet access.

Tidewater Community College

As of Thursday, March 12, the college is closed to students and the public effective immediately.

Classes are canceled on Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17. The college will be open while faculty and staff work to migrate TCC courses to remote formats. Classes will resume on Wednesday, March 18, using remote instruction methods. Online classes will continue as usual.

Remote instruction will continue through Wednesday, April 1. If a decision is made to extend remote instruction beyond April 1, students, faculty, and staff will be notified by Friday, March 27.

If you need services, you're asked to use online options or call 757-822-1122 for assistance.

Old Dominion University 

ODU's spring break will be extended for a week, President John Broderick announced Wednesday.  When classes resume on March 23, they will all be done online until at least Monday, April 6.  The school will monitor for any changes at that time.

Athletic events will continue, with restrictions. Only family members and essential staff will be permitted to attend indoor athletic events. A limited number of spectators will be allowed for outdoor athletic events. For more information, visit the ODU Athletics website.

The university has set up an online site with updates and an extensive FAQ on coronavirus.

Norfolk State University

NSU will also extend its spring break through March 22, 2020.  On the 22nd, residence halls will reopen to students.

Classes will be exclusively online beginning March 23 and last at least through April 6.

Students who do not have alternative housing accommodations during this extended period are asked to contact the Office of Housing and Residence Life at 757-823-8407 or housing@nsu.edu.

More information can be found at http://www.nsu.edu/coronavirus

William & Mary

President Katherine Rowe outlined that while the university will remain open, the following changes will be made:

  • Starting March 12 through April 3, interim policies for events and travel will be implemented. Over the next week, the university will move to online and remote modes of instruction.
  • All in-person classes are suspended. Classes will resume online starting Monday, March 23. Courses that are already online will continue as scheduled.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to return home or stay home. For those for whom this is not a realistic option, they can remain on campus as detailed on its website.
  • University travel and events are suspended, as detailed on its website.
  • Employees are expected to continue working during this period, observing proper health protocols and with modifications as needed and approved by supervisors.
  • University administration officials will continue to meet daily to evaluate the circumstances and decide no later than April 1 whether to continue these changes further.

William & Mary has set up a website for the most up-to-date information on the university's coronavirus response.

University of Virginia

UVA officials posted a notice on the school's website saying, "We will be moving our classes online. We will not be holding classes on Grounds for the foreseeable future, quite possibly through the end of the semester. We will reassess after April 5th at the earliest and periodically after that date."

Those courses will start on Thursday, March 19. 

Students are already on Spring Break, but the university has encouraged them to return home or remain home if they're already there.

The students who are still on the campus are being encouraged to return home by the weekend.

UVA has also canceled all university events with more than 100 people.

However, all university buildings and UVA Health will remain open. The staff will remain working as usual and the faculty will reportedly get further direction from their deans.

You can read more about this announcement here.

Virginia Tech

The school announced it will be transitioning to online and remote instruction for all undergraduate and graduate students at all Virginia Tech locations for the remainder of the spring semester. Spring Break will be extended to Sunday, March 22 and all classes will resume on March 23.

For undergraduate students, anyone with an individual concern related to the transition to online instruction should contact the Office of the Dean of Students at dean.students@vt.edu or 540-231-3787.

Regent University

Currently, there are no changes to Regent University's classes.

The administration alerted the campus about ten of their students going to a conference where an attendee tested positive for the coronavirus. The attendee wasn't a student and there's no evidence that the students came into contact with the attendee. However, the school is allowing some of the students, faculty and staff to self-isolate.

Another Regent faculty member and one other Regent student attended another conference where two attendees tested positive as well. There's also no evidence that the faculty member came in contact with the attendees. She returned to campus

School officials say they're proactively cleaning and sanitizing all facilities and that they're continuously monitoring COVID-19.

James Madison University

JMU President Jonathan Alger sent an email notice to students and staff announcing upcoming changes at the university.

The university will continue to offer services to students such as the Counseling Center and University Health Center, but no in-person classes will be held on the week of March 16. On March 23, most classes will moe to online-only until at least April 5.

The school will update on plans by March 27 on what students can expect after April 5.

The full statement is on JMU's Facebook page:

Dear Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff, James Madison University officials have been closely monitoring the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, partnering with the Virginia Department of Health and public health experts here on campus to adjust university operations at home and abroad.

Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU's Monroe Park Campus' spring break will be extended an extra week to cover March 16 - 20.  Students are strongly encouraged to return or stay home. For students who must remain on campus, information about on-campus housing is forthcoming.

When the semester resumes March 23, classes will be taught remotely for the foreseeable future. All university events that include more than 100 people are canceled until April 15.

More information is available on alert.vcu.edu.

George Mason University

GMU will extend its spring break for a week, and from there move to virtual instruction.

Spring break will be extended through March 20. When spring break ends, most classes will be conducted through virtual alternative instruction, from Monday, March 23 through Friday, April 3. Students will be contacted by their faculty with additional details about virtual learning. 

The university will continue to monitor and reevaluate the situation prior to April 3. If an extension of virtual learning is needed, the university will contact students with an update.

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