Miami University will be conducting online classes through the end of spring semester, according to a university-wide email from University President Greg Crawford — making Miami the fourth public university in Ohio, following Kent State University, OSU and University of Toledo, to make the call amid growing concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The news comes just hours after the University of Cincinnati Health Center confirmed four cases of coronavirus in Butler County on Friday and hours before President Donald Trump officially declared a state of national emergency throughout the U.S.
“We have decided to complete the remainder of the semester through remote instruction,” Crawford wrote. “We are announcing this decision today, so that faculty will have the maximum amount of time possible to fully prepare to deliver the semester’s remaining course material remotely, and so that students and parents can plan accordingly as students depart campus.”
“For those students who leave by March 27, 2020, and do not return, there will be an appropriate refund of room and board, details will follow next week,” he wrote.
Although Crawford’s email did not explicitly state that students must move out of residence halls by March 27, an email sent to all students living in residence halls by their residence directors (RDs) confirmed the move-out date is mandatory.
“Given the most recent message from President Crawford, students who are able to return home for the remainder of the semester are expected to do so by Friday, March 27, 2020 at 7:00 pm,” RDs wrote.
According to the email, if any student cannot leave campus, there is an exemption form that can be filled out, and university employees will follow up with students on an individual basis.
If students have already left campus, they should not return to get their belongings. Building RDs will be in contact with residents in the coming days to share information about retrieving items left in the dorms.
“We don’t want students to return right away because of the health-risk,” Dean of Students Kimberly Moore told The Miami Student.
Students who live off-campus are free to make their own choices about whether or not they will stay in their Oxford residences or return home for the rest of the semester, she said.
As of right now, the university and campus are still open. Registration and advising for all students is still open and students can enroll in fall courses, Moore said. It’s unclear whether or not Miami will still hold commencement for the Class of 2020 in May. Miami is actively evaluating graduation plans and will inform the community when they have made a decision.
“You make decisions based on the information you have,” Moore said. “We can’t commit to any timelines right now.”