In-Person Classes Suspended Due To Coronavirus Threat

Editor’s Note: This story will be continually updated as news develops. This story is up to date as of Wednesday, March 18 at 12:30 p.m. Updates will be clearly denoted.  

by PETER JANNY and GABRIELLA DEPINHO, Sports & Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief

On the evening of Monday, March 9, the Manhattan College community received an email from college officials about plans to move classes online starting on Wednesday, March 11, through the week of March 23 in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The announcement came after several other universities and colleges made the same decision. 

The email, sent at 7:44 p.m., that announced the cancellation of Tuesday’s classes and the decision for online classes came hours after other universities and colleges in New York City and New Jersey made similar decisions. As news broke about nearby schools suspending in-person classes, Manhattan students anxiously awaited a decision from their own administration. 

Iona College decided to start spring break early by canceling classes for the rest of this week, while Columbia University and Fordham University decided to start online classes this week. Manhattan College now joins Fordham and Columbia in immediately beginning to host online classes. 

The email sent out to students to announce this decision opened with, “Out of an abundance of caution and in light of recent developments related to coronavirus (COVID-19), all classes are suspended for Tuesday, March 10 and will resume online on Wednesday, March 11. Students and faculty should use Tuesday to make sure they are equipped to move to online learning beginning March 11, including having hardware, software, printed materials, bandwidth, and all other resources necessary for success.”

Some students left campus after receiving the Monday night and other students have scrambled to arrange plans to leave campus. The email encouraged students to leave campus as soon as possible, but informed students that if needed, they could stay on campus through Friday, March 13, at 8 p.m. 

Students will have spring break as it was regularly scheduled, but will not return to campus after the week off. 

“All classes will continue to meet online during the week of March 23, after our scheduled undergraduate spring break. A decision will be made during that week as to whether we will resume face-to-face classes during the week of March 30,” the email stated. 

Although students will be allowed to return to campus at the conclusion of spring break, the school recommends students stay at home during the period of online classes. 

The email also stated, “Students are encouraged to stay home during the week of March 23, but will be allowed to return to the residence halls on the evening of Sunday, March 22. If a resident opts to return to the residence halls during the week of March 23, Residence Life requests those residents to notify our office through the MyHousing Portal by Friday, March 20.”

During this time, the college is standing by their initial request for students to choose against traveling, especially to places abroad.

“Effective immediately, College-sponsored student domestic AND international travel will be suspended until further notice,” the same email states hours after the L.O.V.E Trip heading to Arizona for spring break was cancelled. “This is an update from the policy as of Friday, March 6, suspending all personal international travel for all students.” 

Amidst this uncertain time time, the college is reminding students to trust in the Lasallian values that are central to the school’s mission. 

“It abruptly reminds us of our profound connection to one another, as part of the human family,” the message states in its closing remarks. “As a Lasallian institution, let us draw upon the opportunity of this moment to renew our commitment to respect and care for each member of our campus community.”

On Monday, the Times reported that the number of coronavirus cases in New York state had swelled to 142, including 98 in Westchester County and 19 in New York City. With the outbreak getting worse in Spain, Manhattan students studying abroad there have been informed that they will need to return home. 

UPDATE AS OF MARCH 11, 9:00 p.m. 

In an email to the Manhattan College sent at 5:50 p.m., President O’Donnell reminded the Manhattan College community that as of today, with the exception of the ongoing MAAC tournament, “all Manhattan College non-conference athletic competitions and trips will be canceled until at least, Monday, March 23.” This decision cancels a trip for the women’s rowing team to Florida and a track and field trip to Boston.

Prior to this decision, Manhattan College athletics had already decided yesterday, March 10, to close home games at Gaelic Park and other venues from fans and spectators.

The email once again reiterated that the college has no confirmed cases of coronavirus among the campus community. However the email stated, “several individuals have self quarantined for monitoring per CDC guidelines” and the college expects that additional individuals will need to do so in the weeks ahead.

The email also shared some new preventative measures the college will be taking. Employees returning from international travel are required to remain home for 14 days to ensure they are symptom-free. During spring break, Sodexo will clean and sanitize all classrooms and common spaces. Office buildings will systematically be closed during the break to allow for Sodexo staff to access and sanitize spaces for coordinating cleaning.

UPDATE AS OF MARCH 12, 10:00 p.m. 

It was announced today that the ongoing MAAC tournament, as well as all upcoming MAAC athletic competitions, all practices and other related athletic activities have been canceled for the rest of the spring semester. This follows all of the spirit squads being sent home from the MAAC tournament.

At 6:00 p.m., President Brennan O’Donnell and Provost Bill Clyde hosted a town hall to address community questions and concerns. In the live town hall, they confirmed there are no suspected or confirmed cases at Manhattan College.  For more coverage on what was addressed in the town hall, follow this link.

UPDATE AS OF MARCH 18, 12:30 p.m.

Manhattan College has made the decision to move online for the remainder of the semester. For more coverage, please read this story