Sacred Heart, UNH to Move to Online Class Format Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Universities are suspending in-person classes amid concerns about COVID-19.

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Sacred Heart University in Fairfield and the University of New Haven are changing over to online classes amid concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

In an announcement Monday, Sacred Heart said that while there are no known or suspected cases on campus, they are taking steps to move to an online format starting Wednesday, March 11 through March 29. There will be exceptions for clinical placements and labs as long as they can be considered safe, the notice said.

The school is also canceling all major campus events through March 29. There will also be no international business travel and no nonessential business travel, except in cases approved by the senior leadership team.

Residence halls, dining halls and offices will remain open during this time period. The school plans to increase the cleaning schedule throughout campus.

“We are taking these measures in the interest of the health of our community. We believe this is the best way to mitigate the risk of an outbreak on campus,” the notice read.

The University of New Haven has suspended all in-person classes and exams through the end of the week leading up to the school's spring break. In-person classes are also canceled on March 23 and 24. Faculty members have been asked to find alternative ways to teach and give their exams.

Residence halls will close at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Students who need extra time to make travel plans must leave by noon on Wednesday. Those with special circumstances should contact the Office of Residential Life.

Non-essential employees are being told to work from home beginning Wednesday, and all scheduled events, including athletics, are canceled as of 6 p.m. Monday through March 24. They are also canceling any university-sponsored travel.

"Based on current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and recommendations, I believe suspending classes at this time is the most prudent step to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure the safety and well-being of the entire University community," President Steven H. Kaplan wrote in the announcement.

There is one presumptive coronavirus case in Connecticut - a man from Wilton who is being treated at Danbury Hospital. Two New York residents who work in Connecticut have also tested positive for the virus.

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