University of Minnesota preparing for possibility of moving classes online in wake of coronavirus

More and more institutions are doing online classes to prevent transmission of the virus.
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1:30 P.M. WEDNESDAY UPDATE

All five University of Minnesota campuses have suspended all in-person classes. Full details here. 

Original story

The possibility of  the novel coronavirus causing disruptions to everyday life in Minnesota  prompted University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel to alert instructors to the chance of in-person classes being disallowed. 

Such a containment strategy is already in place at colleges and universities in parts of the country with more confirmed cases of COVID-19. The University of Washington, Stanford University and most recently, the University of Wisconsin-Madison (beginning March 23) have all moved to online learning in recent days. 

"The University continues to review information and prepare for contingencies around large events on and off campus, as well as a plan for any decision regarding online classes," Gabel wrote in her letter.

"While the Duluth, Rochester and Twin Cities campuses are on Spring Break this week, and in anticipation of the Crookston and Morris campus breaks next week, we encourage our faculty to begin preparing to move classroom instruction online, especially for courses where this can be implemented immediately."

Other schools to have already moved to online courses: 

  • Ohio State University
  • Duke University
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • Purdue University
  • Amherst College
  • Columbia University and Barnard College
  • Hofstra University
  • Princeton University
  • Seattle University
  • University of Southern California
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Harvard University

Additionally, the U of M is canceling all non-essential, university-funded travel to both domestic and international destinations beginning March 16. 

There are three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The first two patients, who live in Ramsey and Carver counties, respectively, are quarantined at home and recovering. The third patient, as of Tuesday, was hospitalized and in critical condition, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. 

Governor Tim Walz on Tuesday signed a bill that will pump $21 million into the state's COVID-19 defense strategies, allowing for increased disease investigation, monitoring the outbreak, public information, statewide response plans, and additional laboratory analysis.

The U of M has a Public Health Alerts page to reference the latest happenings and reaction to the coronavirus. 

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