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.
Publish date:


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. 

Next Up

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on Thanksgiving Day 2020?

Most services will not be running on Thursday and unlike most years, many stores will be closed, too.


How a turkey's brush with celebrity in Bloomington came to a tragic end

DNR: if you care about wild animals, stop feeding them

TCF Bank Stadium

Saturday's Gophers/Badgers football game canceled due to COVID-19 issues

The Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe will not take place for the first time since 1906.

coronavirus, Iowa

MN health officials don't think downside of COVID-19 peak has arrived

We could be in a trough between a series of waves, Jan Malcolm said.

covid-19, coronavirus

Wisconsin reports record 104 deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday

That's roughly 10% of the total in the nation in a 24-hour period.


Husband and wife sentenced for fraud scheme through their drywall firm

The Annandale pair bilked an insurance company out of more than $300,000.


4 pedestrians suffer life-threatening injuries after being struck by vehicle

Two vehicles crashed into a car that was on the side of the road after striking a deer.

Marcus Carr

Gophers season preview: New lineup, deeper bench, more questions

Mathew Goldstein takes a deep dive into the murky waters of the college hoops season.


Photos: ViV!R, Minneapolis' new Mexican cafe and shop, is now open

The team behind the acclaimed Popol Vuh have opened the cafe in the same space.


At Wiscoy Township's sole precinct, election judges ditched masks

Voter and Wiscoy resident Kaitlyn O'Connor took a photo of the judges after asking them to wear masks, she said


University of Minnesota

U of M suspends all in-person classes due to coronavirus

It includes campuses in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Crookston, Morris and Duluth.

University of minnesota sign

Coronavirus: Most U of M classes will be online this fall

Approximately 60% of courses will be available through online and remote instruction.

University of Minnesota

U of M will continue online classes into the summer

All instruction was initially moved online March 11 to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

University of minnesota sign

U of M-Crookston imposes 9 p.m. student curfew to limit COVID-19 spread

It's designed to limit groups congregating at off-campus bars and parties.

University of minnesota sign

University of Minnesota plans to resume in-person classes this fall

Campuses will transition to online learning after Thanksgiving.

coronavirus, pandemic, masks

Coronavirus: Pandemic perspectives from U of M expert, Mayo doctor

A Mayo doctor says 80% of people who get the virus won't even know they have it.

Image from iOS (7)

Coronavirus concerns mean no free food samples at stores

Stores in the Twin Cities are doing what they can to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.

University of minnesota sign

Big crowds at U of M 'Superblock' spark COVID-19 concerns

The U says it's reviewing video of the incident, but students say the university isn't doing enough to protect students.