UNIVERSITIES EXTEND SPRING BREAK DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
Hardin-Simmons and Abilene Christian universities announded March 12 that spring break has been extended due to the threat of the coronavirus. Both universities were set to resume classes on Monday, March 16, but have extended the days off. Following are announcements from both universities:
A plan has been formulated for Hardin-Simmons University that would allow us to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community while helping to slow the spread of the Coronavirus known as COVID-19 and to ensure the continued education of our students. This plan is consistent with the plans that other universities are now implementing nationwide.
The plan includes the following and is effective immediately:
- Spring Break: Spring Break is extended to include Monday, March 16 to March 22 for students only. Faculty and staff will need to report to campus as normal. However, academic instruction will not begin until March 23 for all students both undergraduate and graduate. (Physician Assistant and Nursing students see the paragraph below.)
- For Students: We will transition to an online/remote learning mode on Monday, March 23. Course work will begin on March 23 and continue to April 13. We will hold all courses remotely in order to allow you to continue your courses this semester with as few disruptions as possible. Students will receive detailed information in a separate email on accessing your courses via online learning.
- For Physician Assistant and Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing Students: We plan to transition to an online/remote learning mode on Wednesday, March 18. After Spring Break and at least until April 13, we will hold all courses remotely in order to allow you to continue your courses this semester with as few disruptions as possible. Students will receive detailed information in a separate email on accessing your courses via online learning.
- Faculty: You will be hearing from your dean soon with more details about moving your classes online. The Office of Online Education is prepared to assist faculty with this transition. Faculty should report to campus on Monday, March 16th and be available for online training.
- Staff: For the time being, all staff should continue reporting to work as usual and take the recommended steps to prevent illness. Vice President approval is required to work from home and that will be approved on a case by case basis. We ask that staff who are feeling sick to please remain at home and follow normal protocols.
- On-Campus Housing, Dining and Activities: Residence halls and dining facilities, based on demand, will be open during the next three weeks; however, we ask students to determine whether their campus or permanent residence is safest. As students think about and make decisions on returning to campus, please consider the CDC’s criteria for people considered to be at higher risk, including older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions by clicking this link.
- Campus Events: All campus events through April 13 have been postponed or modified. You will receive additional information from your event’s sponsor in the near future.
- All persons: Anyone in the HSU community who develops a cough or fever, or is feeling ill, should remain at home and off-campus if possible. Please follow CDC and local health department protocols regarding self-isolation. Click here for: CDC information website or Texas Department of State Health Services site.
- Athletes: Students who are involved in Spring sports (Golf, Tennis, Baseball, Softball and Track) will be allowed to participate in practices and scheduled competitions. Coaches and Athletic Trainers will continue to exercise and encourage the preventative measures that can help reduce the risk of an infectious disease.
For student-athletes who are not in a traditional season sport, please refer to the On-Campus Housing, Dining and Activities paragraph above.
Fans are encouraged to watch the live stream broadcast of certain events or follow live stats through the HSU Athletics App.
We realize that this decision will create some disruption and disappointment. However, it is compelling that we take these steps in order to keep the risk of spreading relatively low and hopefully make it through the remainder of the semester without a confirmed case on campus. We feel that the spread of the virus is our #1 concern and these measures will hopefully do that before the first case arrives.
Numerous questions will rise as the events unfold. We are setting up a website with answers to frequently asked questions and will be sending out more detailed communications about various elements of this plan, which we will also post on the website. As this is an evolving situation, we will also provide updates if there are significant changes to the plan outlined in this email.
ABILENE CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY
ACU senior leadership is continually monitoring the rapidly changing global threat posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Information is being gathered regularly from a number of sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. State Department and the World Health Organization (WHO) as we consider what is best for the ACU community.
While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 locally or on campus, we are initiating the following actions:
- Spring Break is being extended March 16-20, 2020.
- Residence halls and dining operations will reopen March 14 to accommodate students who need those services.
- Online-only instruction on the main campus will take place March 23 through April 9. Additionally, our Emergency Response and Health Response teams have been meeting to formulate the university’s actions if COVID-19 were to become an issue on our residential campus.
- All university-sponsored travel – domestic and international – will be suspended through March 31 and evaluated thereafter.
- ACU Study Abroad groups are returning to the U.S.
- Intercollegiate athletics schedules and events will be determined in consultation with the NCAA. Other university events will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
- FAQs have been developed for ACU audiences.
COVID-19 is creating a fluid situation for communities throughout the United States, including universities. New information received this morning has prompted McMurry to extend Spring Break for our students for one week. The current plan is for McMurry to resume classes on Monday, March 23, 2020.
During the extended Spring Break, McMurry will continue to monitor COVID-19 and its impact on Abilene, Taylor County, and the state of Texas as we evaluate whether we will resume classroom and/or online instruction. The university’s priority is to ensure that we best serve the needs of our students.
FACULTY AND STAFF
Faculty and staff will report back on Monday, March 16, 2020, to support planning for the next steps to continue the education of our students. We will evaluate whether to transition to online or resume classroom instruction by Thursday, March 19, 2020. Plans will be updated at mcm.edu/coronavirus as well as emailed to students via their campus email.
- Residence halls remain open.
- Cleaning kits are available from Residence Life for students to checkout for cleaning of their personal room in the residence halls. Access to cleaning kits are available by calling your RA On-Duty:
- Food service will resume at 7:30 am on Monday, March 16, 2020, in the dining hall only to accommodate student needs.
Hours are as follows:
- Breakfast: 7:30 am – 10 am
- Lunch: 11 am to 2 pm
- Dinner: 4:30 pm to 7 pm
- Light snack service will be available between meals.
- Campus security continues normal operations.
- The University Clinic will resume normal hours on Monday, March 16, 2020. Hours available on Health Service web page.
The American Southwest Conference athletic directors will be meeting today at 3 pm to determine the next steps regarding conference play. McMurry’s non-conference baseball series against LeTourneau University has been canceled, and the team is returning to Abilene. No team events are scheduled until Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Open lines of communication are critical. This email is available to contact MIDTEAM with information or concerns.
During this extended Spring Break, we encourage students to continue to practice prevention and social distancing while they are away. We want you all to be safe and healthy.
Sandra S. Harper, PhD