Colorado State University temporarily moves classes online amid coronavirus outbreak
Update, March 16: CSU announced all classes will be online for the rest of the semester.
Original story: Colorado State University is temporarily moving all classes online amid the coronavirus outbreak.
In an email to the campus community Wednesday night, the university announced that it will extend spring break for students and faculty from March 14 to March 24, with all classes resuming online March 25.
All classes will remain online until at least April 10. University officials will re-evaluate and issue further guidance before that date, the campuswide message said.
Faculty and staff will follow up with students individually on accessibility issues, including online and computer access, internships, laboratory classes and other special circumstances, the email said.
All campus buildings will operate normally, the university said, including the CSU Health Network, residence halls, university apartments, dining halls, the Lory Student Center, student recreation center, University Center for the Arts, Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Diagnostic Lab, and all academic, business and service buildings.
The Morgan Library will remain open during normal business hours for campus community members only, and be closed to the public.
All university-sponsored travel — domestic and international — is suspended from March 23 through April 10. University officials will re-evaluate and issue new guidance prior to April 10.
All on- and off-campus university-sponsored events involving 20 or more people or targeting at-risk populations are suspended March 23 through April 10, at which point university officials will re-evaluate.
Guidance for employees who will be instructed to work remotely will also be released by the university soon, the campus-wide message said.
State health officials said, based on information they've received from these presumptive positive cases, they have reason to believe the state is seeing a limited community spread.
Community spread can mean a few things, according to state health officials:
- Limited person-to-person spread means a person in Colorado became infected from another person in Colorado.
- Limited community spread means there are cases or outbreaks in certain areas or communities but officials are not able to identify a source.
- Widespread community spread means there are many cases in many areas or communities where people are transmitting the virus to other people.
CSU had previously announced travel restrictions for university-sponsored travel for all international travel and nonessential domestic travel.
While summer study abroad programs have not yet been impacted, the university has cancelled all alternative spring break trips set for next week.
If a student, staff or faculty member were identified as someone exposed to the new coronavirus, state and local health officials would notify the university, CSU health center associate executive director Lori Lynn previously told the Coloradoan.
The university is not tracking personal travel by CSU students, faculty and staff.
CSU's announcement came after several Colorado colleges and universities announced their plans to move classes online in response to the spread of the new coronavirus.
The University of Colorado announced Wednesday morning that, while campuses in Boulder and Denver would remain open, all classes would move to online instruction for the remainder of the semester beginning March 16. Colorado College also announced plans to move all courses online for the rest of the semester on March 30, after an extended spring break. Metropolitan State University and Naropa University followed suit Wednesday afternoon.
Poudre, Thompson school districts take travel precautions
In an email sent to PSD families Tuesday, Superintendent Sandra Smyser said the decision was made "out of an abundance of caution and to limit the potential spreading of the COVID-19 virus."
Both district- and school-sponsored out-of-state trips were canceled, including professional development trips. There were 21 corresponding trips scheduled between March 10 and the end of April.
"PSD has a responsibility for the health and wellbeing of our students and staff," Smyser wrote. "I will work with staff and public health officials to re-evaluate the situation and share an update about May travel in early to mid-April."
Thompson School District, which borders PSD to the south, has canceled all district-sponsored trips for students and staff both internationally and to states that have declared a state of emergency.
On Wednesday, PSD sent a letter to the district community urging students to bring laptops and other learning materials home with them each day in the event of a school closure.
"To be clear: There are no plans for school closures, as of March 11," the letter stated. "PSD would confer with public health officials before implementing a closure and communicating that to staff and families. We just want to be prudent and think ahead, knowing this situation is evolving daily."
PSD also addressed individual spring break travel in its letter. "PSD cannot control if and where students and staff personally travel. Please know that PSD cannot test or quarantine students or staff for symptoms that appear to be related to COVID-19. Only public health agencies have that authority."
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Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated how long CSU's classes will be moved online. The story has been corrected.
Coloradoan reporter Brooklyn Dance contributed to this article.
Sady Swanson covers crime, courts, public safety and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support our work and local journalism with a digital subscription at Coloradoan.com/subscribe.