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Ohio State suspends in-person classes through March 30 over coronavirus concerns

The university will switch to virtual instruction and has suspended all university-sponsored international travel through at least April 20, the school said Tuesday.
Ohio State University

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State University announced Tuesday it is suspending in-person classes and switching to virtual instruction through at least the end of the month due to coronavirus concerns, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

All university-sponsored international travel has also been suspended until at least April 20, the Dispatch reports. Ohio State had previously canceled travel to certain countries listed under travel restrictions by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Dispatch reported that other Ohio universities and colleges said they are having ongoing discussions about coronavirus and precautions, but classes are continuing as scheduled at Miami University, while Ohio University remains on spring break.

Ohio State's decision comes after reports surfaced that the first confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state. There are three people who have tested positive, the Dispatch says.

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“We are being proactive in an effort to prevent illness and continue the important work of the university,” President Michael V. Drake said in an email to the campus community late Monday night, according to the Dispatch report. “I understand that our policy guidelines will cause measurable disruption, but the risk of not acting outweighs the inconvenience of these temporary measures. The safety of our campus community is always our top priority.”

Face-to-face lectures, discussion sections, seminars and other classroom setting instruction will be suspended through at least March 30, the university said. 

Officials are also preparing plans for telecommuting for faculty and staff.

There are no campus-associated cases of the virus, Drake said in the email.

Ohio State is currently on spring break. While completing classes virtually, students may choose to return to their permanent place of residence or return to campus, where “appropriate social distancing and enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures will be actively encouraged,” Drake’s email said.

Additionally, no new, non-essential events will be scheduled on campus through April 20, Drake’s email said.