Indiana State University moves to online-only instruction amid coronavirus concerns


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Indiana State University will move to online-only instruction Monday amid coronavirus concerns.

Spring break begins, which begins March 23, will be followed by two more weeks of online-only instruction, for a total of four weeks.

There are no known cases of COVID-19 at Indiana State University or Vigo County, University President Deborah Curtis said Thursday morning as she announced the move.

The campus will not be closed the next four weeks, including spring break. Campus offices and services will remain open during this period. 

In response to the news, some students are actually relieved to make the move to online courses.

Undergrad student at ISU, Corinne Greenberg, said she expected the university to make a move, but sooner.

“I was a little surprised that they waited so long, just since all the other schools have basically already decided to close, or move to online classes.”

Greenberg adds she lives off of campus, so the impact to her is less than some students, but her social life is going to take a hit.

University officials are encouraging students to do their online-only instruction away from campus as health experts have said social distancing reduces the likelihood of spreading the virus. 

Mark Alesia, Director of Communication for ISU, mentioned, the University is being proactive in their efforts.

Faculty members are being told not to cancel classes and students must fulfill their academic responsibilities. A Q&A for students is online.

Employees are expected to report for work unless on sick or vacation leave. Human Resources has posted a Q&A for employees.

“We need to do our part to help contain the virus,” Curtis said. “We understand this will create difficulties for many people, but the Sycamores are a family and we’ll work through this together.” 

Residence halls and dining service will continue while online-only classes are in session. Limited spring break housing is still available for current residents through the Residential Life portal.

On-campus university and student events are canceled, with rare exceptions. On-campus events scheduled by non-ISU organizations will be considered individually. No new events will be scheduled to occur during online-only instruction.

ISU is not allowing university-sponsored air travel to international and domestic destinations. University-sponsored travel by other means must be approved by the appropriate vice president. Campus officials strongly discourage such travel, or to large conferences or events. This does not include student travel home. Intercollegiate athletic competitions will follow NCAA and conference guidance. 

For spring break and other personal travel, the American College Health Association advised that “all travelers should thoroughly research their destinations.”

According to ISU facilities officials, they are taking extra, and advanced, measures to clean buildings, including residence halls and classrooms. Electrostatic disinfectant sprayers ensure thorough cleaning of high-traffic areas and bathrooms. Door knobs, push plate areas on doors, and handrails are receiving increased treatment with disinfectants. Facilities officials have adequate supplies for continuing such measures.

Curtis noted that the disruption, while significant, is temporary.

“In what we hope will be a short period of time,” she said, “everyone will return to ISU and our beautiful campus will have its usual energy.”

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