These are the Pittsburgh-area colleges taking extra coronavirus precautions

Pittsburgh-area colleges taking extra precautions amid spread of coronavirus

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Numerous universities in the Pittsburgh region -- and in nearby states -- are taking extra precautions amid the spread of the coronavirus.

Penn State University

Penn State officials announced Wednesday that all classes will move to online and students will not be allowed back to campus. Residence halls and campus dining facilities will not be reopened. For students who need to get items out of dorms, arrangements will be made. This affects all branch campuses as well.

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The announcement from Penn State President Eric Barron said students are strongly urged to return or remain at home. All on-campus student-sponsored events and activities will be postponed or canceled until April 6 at the earliest.

West Virginia University

The university will be suspending face-to-face classes from March 23 to 27 following spring break.

Beginning March 30, classes will be delivered remotely via online or other alternative learning options.

Classes already being conducted online will continue as scheduled on March 23.

There are currently no reported cases in West Virginia, according to a letter from the school.

Chatham University

Chatham University officials announced while there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Pittsburgh region, the school will be switching to virtual learning for the rest of the semester.

In addition to going online, school officials announced some other changes:

  • The cancellation of all campus events larger than 20 people until Friday, April 17, 2020.
  • Asking all departments and campus groups to suspend on-campus meetings for groups larger than 20 or more participants and/or shift to a virtual meeting whenever possible.
  • All University-sponsored and funded international travel and domestic airline travel for staff, faculty and students is suspended until April 17, 2020. Limited exceptions for essential travel may be granted by a departmental Vice-President.
  • The cancellation of the Chatham Abroad summer trips to Greece and Costa Rica.
  • Outdoor athletic events and travel to away games will continue unless guidance from the PAC, the NCAA or the individual school changes this.
  • Residence halls (both upper and lower campus) and dining services will remain open for students to continue to stay and live on campus during this period.

Classes will be cancelled starting Thursday through Monday to give staff time to prepare.

Clarion University

Classes at Clarion University will no longer be held face-to-face starting on Monday, March 16, the school announced.

According to a release from the school, how each class is delivered moving forwarded will be determined by the faculty member responsible for it.

Additionally, all university events are canceled until further notice. Information on athletics is being released separately.

Duquesne University

Duquesne University announced on March 11 that they have canceled classes on March 16 and March 17.

The university said classes will resume online March 18 through March 31. If it becomes necessary, they will continue online classes beyond March 31.

The university will remain open and it said employees should report to work as usual.

Meanwhile, 59 students from Duquesne University currently studying in Italy’s capital returned home, days after saying that trip would not be cancelled.

Also, a planned spring break trip that was scheduled to leave Saturday was cancelled.

Some parents and students said it was a controversial and potentially dangerous decision to send students and faculty abroad.

School officials said they understand the concerns and they are following CDC and health department protocol.

Robert Morris University

Robert Morris University is moving all of their classes online or through other alternative instructional methods through April 27.

To give faculty time to prepare, classes have been canceled March 12 through 13

It has also adopted a social distancing policy, saying that attendance at all scheduled events should be limited to no more than 25 people.

The university also canceled all study abroad trips for the remainder of the spring semester, including ones scheduled for May, according to an email sent to students, faculty and staff.

The university said last week they are canceling the trips “given the rising number of nations that have experienced outbreaks and the speed with which governments are imposing travel restrictions.”

No suspected cases have been reported at RMU or in the Pittsburgh area.

What Robert Morris University did before and during a big basketball tournament game to make sure the public was safe -- tonight on 11 at 11.

The university said all students who were scheduled to go on the trips are being contacted about refunds and earning credits through other courses.

“We are sorry for the disappointment and inconvenience this decision has caused," it said in the email.

It also said students that are already abroad have been contacted and asked to take precautionary measures and that students planning on study summer abroad programs will be contacted on case-to-case basis.

The university said its following the current guidance by the the Allegheny County Health Department, American College Health Association, and the CDC.

University officials also said they took every measure to make sure the public was safe and healthy during the Northeast Conference Tournament Championship on March 10.

Carnegie Mellon University

Officials with Carnegie Mellon University announced they are moving to remote instruction and online courses. Beginning next week and until further notice, all CMU graduate and undergrad programs will suspend in-person classes. All classes are canceled at the Pittsburgh campus for Monday and Tuesday to allow staff and students to prepare. Campus officials said people should prepare to have online courses through the end of the semester.

Students are asked to remain away from campus. If they are unable to do so, there will be housing and dining accommodations available. Research labs and facilities will still be operational and open.

Earlier, school officials said cancelled trips include volunteer, community-oriented and leadership experiences. Their study abroad trips were not discussed in the announcement.

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Below is the full statement from the school:

"Effective immediately and until further notice, we are suspending all upcoming university-sponsored, non-academic, international travel for students. Some of the trips that are canceled include volunteer, community-oriented, and leadership experiences in various cross-cultural settings. This decision was made in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the coronavirus outbreak continues to be a rapidly changing situation.

We also strongly discourage our students from traveling abroad during spring break. We ask those with personal international travel plans to consider making alternative arrangements. This is a fluid situation that could impact your ability to return to campus in a timely manner.

Travel related to academic coursework or research will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis with the sponsoring or supervising faculty. This does not impact domestic travel at this time.

We know this decision is disappointing to many in our community who have been looking forward to their international travel experiences. This was a difficult decision and one that was not taken lightly. The health and safety of our university community is our top priority, and we feel that this is the most prudent action to take for the safety of those traveling and those remaining on campus.

If you have questions about the status of your trip, please contact your trip leaders or your advisor in the SLICE office or the Office of International Education.

Please know that the university is working with impacted students who are currently studying overseas. Students in study abroad programs in countries that are on the CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice are being supported by the Office of International Education, and we are working with them to identify alternative plans. Those who will return to Pittsburgh will self-isolate for 14 days before coming to campus. We are working with students studying in Level 1 and 2 countries to ensure that they are able to complete their semesters in a safe and healthy environment.

In an effort to reduce misinformation, we ask that you refer to CMU’s coronavirus website, which will continue to be updated with the latest official university information and guidance. A direct link to that information has also been added to the CMU homepage. The university will provide additional guidance for faculty and staff travel on Wednesday.

In this time of growing uncertainty, it is important for our community to come together and support each other. Please be vigilant about your own personal health and do your part in helping to keep our campus safe."

Additionally, Carnegie Mellon’s Silicon Valley campus moved to all online courses until further notice.

University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh is moving to online courses instead of in-person due to the spread of the coronavirus.

All spring break study abroad and spring break study away programs that required air travel in wake of the outbreak were also canceled.

Pitt announced on March 3 it is also requiring students who are studying abroad in France, Germany and Spain to return to the United States.

The full statement from the university is below:

"The health and safety of everyone in the University of Pittsburgh community is our top priority. For that reason, Pitt has decided to cancel all University-sponsored spring break study abroad and spring break study away programs that require air travel. In addition, we are taking a proactive approach in locations with an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, and thus are requiring students who are studying abroad in France, Germany and Spain to return to the United States. We ask that members of the Pitt community who return from those countries practice voluntary social distancing for a period of 14 days.

"These are not decisions the University takes lightly. We know that they will have numerous implications for the students and faculty whose travel plans will now change. However, especially in light of the CDC’s guidance, we are exercising caution and taking all reasonable precautions to protect our community.

“Pitt’s Study Abroad Office is in contact with affected students and faculty, and Jeff Whitehead is the point of contact for study abroad programming. In addition, Pitt Global Operations Support, and particularly Global Operations Support Manager Ian McLaughlin, is available to provide guidance.”

Point Park University

Point Park University is moving all classes online for the remainder of the spring semester. The following measures are being taken, according to a news release from the school:

  • The University will cancel in-person classes on Friday, March 13; Saturday, March 14; Monday, March 16; and Tuesday March 17. Classes will resume on Wednesday, March 18, with instruction delivered online or in alternative forms for the remainder of the spring semester. Faculty will receive further instructions and guidance from Provost John Pearson and his team later today. Students will receive information from their faculty. For those students involved in internship, cooperative education and student teaching, please adhere to schedules provided at your placement sites. A decision on commencement activities will be determined at a later date.
  • The residence halls will remain open to students. Students will also have access to dining services, libraries and campus facilities. The University will continue evaluating this situation as it develops in relation to University operations and facilities. Students should continue practicing all recommended social distancing and public health and hygiene measures the University and the CDC have recommended in all campus facilities.
  • Staff should adhere to the guidelines from the CDC on social distancing measures as well as hygiene steps to limit or prevent exposure and transmission of the virus. Further information will be provided to staff today by Lisa Stefanko, Vice President Human Resources.
  • Athletic events will follow the guidelines in accordance with the NAIA and the River States Conference. Student athletes will receive further guidance from Keith Paylo, Vice President of Student Affairs.
  • Decisions regarding outside events throughout the University and all scheduled performances at the Pittsburgh Playhouse will be reviewed daily and on a case-by-case basis. The University has been in communication with local arts organizations and will continue to follow best practices. The production of Pippin will continue as scheduled. Dean Steven Breese will meet with the cast and company of Pippin prior to the Thursday, March 12, performance to discuss future contingencies. All University and Playhouse events and performance schedules are subject to change.​

California University of Pennsylvania

Cal U announced on March 11 that is moving all in-person classes to online/distance learning on March 30 after spring break. Cal U anticipates resuming on-campus classes April 13, but University leadership will evaluate the public health situation before returning students and faculty to the classroom.

Although residence halls will reopen as scheduled on March 15, Cal U is strongly encouraging students to remain at home until on-campus classes resume.

The university said they’re doing this to minimize the spread of illness as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread.

Slippery Rock University

Slippery Rock University officials announced Wednesday that spring break would be extended by two weeks and classes would be moved to online instead of in-person due to the coronavirus. Campus offices will remain open.

Students should not return to campus until they have been advised to do so. Campus officials said additional instructions would be sent out by the end of March.

Slippery Rock University announced on Feb. 28 that all study abroad trips scheduled for spring break would be cancelled. Officials said those affected were notified about their options moving forward.

“Our international study abroad programs are designed to deliver immersive cultural learning experiences to our students. Given the current situation, it is our belief that the spread of the virus has negatively impacted our ability to meet that deliberate educational intent,” President William J. Behre said. “As of this writing, all faculty and staff program leaders and participating students were notified of this decision and we will work with all parties as to the adjustment of class credits and refund options.”

Edinboro University

Edinboro University officials said they were also extending spring break through March 16 due to coronavirus. Campus leaders said classes will then transition to online temporarily before being back to in-person by early April.

Westminster College

Westminster College officials said they are extending spring break and moving to online classes due to the virus.

"While no cases of COVID-19 have been identified on Westminster’s campus, the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff are our highest priority,” said Westminster College President Dr. Kathy Brittain Richardson. “Our campus task force members will continue to monitor this situation closely in the coming days.”

Clarion University

Clarion University officials announced there are no cases in or near their campus. The school is putting plans in place in case a local case pops up. As of Wednesday, there were no plans yet to close the campus or move to online classes.

Youngstown State University

President Jim Tressel announced several changes for YSU due to the coronavirus including extending spring break through March 22. Students are recommended to stay home and dining hours are changing.

Carlow University

Carlow University announced all classes will be moved online for the remainder of the spring semester.

Courses that were face-to-face have been postponed by one week, resuming March 23. The university said this will give faculty time to finalize plans for online and alternative delivery methods.

Students enrolled in online courses will resume classes as scheduled on March 16.

“At this point in time, the residence halls will remain open, and the regularly scheduled athletic events will continue following the guidelines of the NAIA,” the university said.

Butler County Community College

Butler County Community College has closed its main campus in Butler Township and all additional locations through at least March 15.

The precautionary measure was taken after it was learned that the spouse of an employee became ill following a trip where there are confirmed cases of coronavirus, the school said.

“At this time, there are no reported or confirmed cases of coronavirus on BC3’s main campus or at any BC3 location.

“BC3 since January has been taking precautionary measures and monitoring authoritative sources that include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

“The college on Wednesday contacted Butler Health System and county officials regarding appropriate next steps.

“As a precautionary measure, the college has canceled classes and all events scheduled on its main campus and at its additional locations through at least Sunday while college officials assess information and make an informed decision moving forward.“

Community College of Allegheny County

Community College of Allegheny County is suspending classes through March 17, and will resume classes on March 18 online.

“The college is committed to making decisions that are in the best interests of our students, faculty and staff as well as four our friends and neighbors living in the wider community,” CCAC President Quintin Bullock said.

Bethany College

Bethany College in West Virginia has announced that it will extend spring break through March 23 and resume with online classes at that point.

“The health and safety of the Bethany community has and always will be our highest priority, and it is that commitment that guides us now as we prepare to take some significant steps to safeguard all those in our care to slow the spread of COVID-19 across the nation,” Bethany President Tamara Nichols Rodenberg said.

Saint Vincent College

Officials with the Saint Vincent College Education Department announced students working toward their education certification are available to help with in-home tutoring while schools are closed due to the coronavirus.

Studying abroad risks? Pittsburgh area colleges respond to trips amid coronavirus concerns