MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - There will be no more in-person classes at University of Minnesota for the rest of the semester, and graduation ceremonies have been cancelled, according to an update from U of M President Joan Gabel.
Classes were originally going to switch to online classes this week, with the hopes classes would return to traditional sessions in April. However, an email sent to students Monday announced that alternative instruction would continue the rest of the semester and requested that students do not return to campus if they have a safe alternative.
"We are experiencing unprecedented times," read the email from President Gabel. "Having closed campuses for weather in the past and developing responses for a million issues in between, I never anticipated that any of us would face a challenge like the one we are facing now with COVID-19."
The university will have room for students that are unable to return home, but those students may be moved into one central facility in order to minimize staff requirements. University officials are looking into possible refunds to students living in University-provided housing.
Events that include 50 or more people, including graduation ceremonies, will be cancelled. This comes after the White House announced people should avoid gatherings of 10 people. Students still will need to apply for graduation in the normal way.
Starting Tuesday, recreation centers and libraries systemwide will close and most buildings will go into "weekend mode," which means they will need to be accessed by U card or other form of secure access.
All employees are expected to work from home by Wednesday.
University of St. Thomas
The University of St. Thomas also announced Monday that all classes will remain online for the rest of the semester. University officials had originally hoped to return to in-person classes on April 14. Students are also encouraged to leave the residence halls by March 29. Students that cannot leave will be accommodated on campus, but may not be able to stay in their current room. The university extended its refund deadline for room and board.