Two CT universities move classes online due to coronavirus
FAIRFIELD — Sacred Heart University is suspending classes for a day and preparing to move them all online starting Wednesday.
The university is also canceling all major events on campus through March 29.
The letter to staff, faculty and students announcing the changes comes just as the campus community returned Monday from spring break.
“While there are no known or suspected cases of coronavirus on campus, we are taking the following steps out of an abundance of caution in response to the rapidly changing global health situation,” the Coronavirus Planning Team at the university stated in a notice.
“The decision to move online was made today as a precaution because of the state of emergency in New York and seeing what is happening at other colleges in New York,” said Deborah Noack, a university spokeswoman.
Officials at the University of New Haven in West Haven announced Monday it would be canceling all in-person classes and exams through the remainder of the week, leading to the start of spring break on March 14. In-person classes at UNH have also been canceled on March 23 and 24 and students have been asked to leave the dorms by Wednesday.
“While there currently are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our campus, these decisions were made after learning that individuals on our campus may have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus after attending an out-of-state conference,” said Doug Whiting, a university spokesman.
The Connecticut colleges’ decision came just days after it was revealed that two employees at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., were under self-quarantine but had not tested positive for the virus. The university closed classes on campus as well.
Noack said SHU’s Coronavirus Planning team has been meeting for two weeks.
The university’s new online learning protocol will remain in effect through March 29.
SHU students are not being told to leave campus residence halls and can still use dining and recreation areas, they have been told. University offices will also remain open.
Sacred Heart has more than 3,000 students who live on campus and nearly 9,000 overall.
All major events on campus have been canceled — except sporting events.
“The situation remains fluid and we will continue to evaluate the situation and update the community,” SHU officials said.
The university has also canceled international business travel and nonessential business travel.