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Coronavirus update: UD cancels classes, moves to online courses

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

The University of Delaware is canceling classes until further notice and starting online courses, after the positive test for coronavirus in a man "connected to" the university.

UD President Dennis Assanis sent this message to the university community today, March 11:

As you may be aware, the World Health Organization today declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to be a global pandemic. I want to assure you that the University of Delaware has been closely monitoring this situation since January, and we are taking steps to maintain the health and safety of our community. I know this can be a challenging time for all of you, and I want to update you on the latest news.

We received confirmation today from the Delaware Division of Public Health that one person connected to University of Delaware has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is receiving appropriate medical care in a quarantined environment. Our thoughts are with the individual, as well as with family members and colleagues at this anxious time.

The University continues to work closely with the Delaware Division of Public Health to track students, faculty and staff who were in contact with the individual who tested positive for coronavirus. Members of our community who may have been exposed to this individual will be contacted and will be monitored for COVID-19. If you have not been directly contacted by the Division of Public Health, you have not had close enough contact to be at risk. Anyone displaying symptoms should seek immediate medical care and refrain from travel. Anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 is asked to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. This protocol will be in place for any future cases that may arise.

Online courses until further notice

Out of an abundance of caution and care for our community, we have made the decision to transition our instruction to online learning for the rest of the semester, or until further notice. In order to prepare for this move, we are suspending classes for two days — Thursday and Friday of this week.

In addition, in order to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus, Spring Break will be moved up in the calendar and now begin on Saturday, March 14. Classes are scheduled to resume via online format on Monday, March 23, and will continue as such until further notice. Students have the option of remaining in the residence halls during this time. Residence halls will remain open, and Dining Services will provide meals as needed. Students who choose to leave campus for the break should take whatever personal and academic materials they might need to complete the semester online. The University will continue to monitor this evolving situation and communicate additional decisions in the coming days.

Coronavirus is spread through close personal contact, so it is important for all members of the UD community to maintain a healthy social distance from others. Limit your exposure to large gatherings, practice good personal hygiene and stay home if you feel sick.

The University has taken and announced several actions recently, including:

Travel — University-sponsored travel to all international locations is prohibited through the end of the spring semester. The University strongly discourages personal international travel, and members of our community are asked to register all travel plans with the University’s Office of Risk Management on this form.

University events — The University is evaluating events to determine whether they should be canceled, postponed or, when possible, offered virtually in line with key criteria. Please check the UD Events calendar for up-to-date information on cancellations.

Updates will be posted to the University’s coronavirus website, udel.edu/coronavirus, which includes FAQs covering common topics. Additional questions may be emailed to coronavirus@udel.edu. The COVID-19 Call Center at UD, available at 302-831-1188, will remain open until 8 p.m. today; normal hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

For faculty and staff

Please note, the University will remain open this week and through Spring Break. Faculty and staff should continue to report to work, as long as they feel healthy. The University will need the assistance of all healthy faculty and staff to maintain operations. Members of at-risk populations — older adults or those with long-term health issues — should communicate with their supervisors for guidance. Over the next four days, the University will continue to evaluate the need for essential personnel to report to their unit, while others may work remotely. Further communication will be forthcoming.

Faculty may continue to conduct research in their laboratories and may come to their classrooms to record lectures and presentations through UD Capture. More information for faculty about course continuity is available here.

Again, I know this is an anxious time for all of us, and I thank you for your ongoing patience, flexibility and dedicated attention to the health of our community. Please know that we will do everything we can to return UD to its normal rhythm of campus activity as soon as possible so that we can be a healthy and productive academic community that is making a difference in the world.