Penn State President Eric J. Barron has shared the following message with the University community, announcing a move to remote instruction starting March 16 in response to the global coronavirus outbreak.
President Barron’s message to the University community:
Dear Penn State Community:
As you know, communities around the globe are facing unprecedented challenges as coronavirus continues to spread. It remains our goal to take the necessary, active steps to confront this public health threat and manage our risks.
In light of this situation, and in the best interests of the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and our local communities, Penn State has decided to move to remote learning for all classes beginning Monday, March 16, through Friday, April 3, with a plan to resume in-person classes on Monday, April 6, at the earliest. For faculty and staff, the University will remain open, however there are additional details below regarding specifics.
While there are no known cases of coronavirus at University Park or Penn State’s campuses at this time, there are currently more than 1,000 cases throughout the United States, including in Pennsylvania, and we anticipate this figure will continue to grow. The best mechanism for prevention based on advice from experts is social distancing, and unfortunately that is very difficult in a university setting. We fully understand these changes will cause disruptions in your day-to-day lives; Penn State’s decision was made out of an abundance of caution and with your health and the well-being of our entire community in mind, and as Pennsylvania is currently under a state of emergency. Penn State has been following federal and state guidance, including from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
This action represents a significant interruption of normal business practice for our community, not only from a logistical standpoint, but also in the ways we embrace a sense of community, teach our classes, gather together, create new knowledge and share in our differences and similarities. However, we know that community infection is a primary mode of transmission and we need to do all we can to protect those around us, including those who may be more at risk or vulnerable to this virus. If there was ever a “We Are” moment, this is it. We need to come together in the full spirit of the phrase, support one another and stand up for what we believe: The importance of community.
We know that you will have specific questions and concerns about how this ongoing situation will impact learning, teaching, housing, and other factors in the coming weeks. I encourage you to bookmark and continue to visit psu.edu/virusinfo, for the latest updates and information, including an extensive FAQ. From this site you will be able to access critical information — specific for student needs online, and directions for faculty and staff.
Guidance on remote learning for students and faculty:
Information for faculty and staff:
We will continue to strive to answer your questions and communicate regularly with the University community in the coming hours, days and weeks, including guidance related to large gatherings. Stay tuned for more information about a virtual town hall, which will provide time for students, faculty, staff, parents and others to ask questions and hear from University leaders about this situation.
While you may not be with us here on campus, we would continue to reiterate that all in our community follow CDC guidance regarding the best ways to prevent illness — avoiding contact with those who are sick and practicing personal hygiene and social distancing. You may see additional messages on our social media channels on these topics and we encourage you to share these with those around you to promote health and well-being.
Thank you for your support and for being flexible given the circumstance our world is facing, and for working together to minimize the potential spread of the coronavirus within our community.
Events are unfolding rapidly, so please continue to watch for communications from Penn State, as the plans outlined above could change. For the latest updates and information, visit psu.edu/virusinfo. Students, if your questions are not answered at remotelearning.psu.edu or psu.edu/virusinfo/faqs, please reach out to COVID19StudentSupport@psu.edu.
Eric J. Barron