Coronavirus cancels SU Abroad; ACC sports suspended
Coronavirus prompts SU Abroad cancellations, ACC to suspend sports
The SU Abroad office officially suspended its programs in London and Strasbourg Thursday while the Atlantic Coast Conference announced all conference-sponsored athletic events won’t take place until further notice.
The Florence study abroad program was shut down one week ago due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Italy. SU students who were abroad are returning to the United States, but are not allowed back to campus at least until all students return on March 30.
The decision to suspend the London and Strasbourg programs was prompted by the White House’s announcement Wednesday night that travel between Europe and the United States is restricted.
Only hours after SU topped North Carolina in their opening game for the ACC men’s basketball tournament, conference officials canceled the remainder of tournament play.
Hours later, the ACC ceased all sports activities and issued the following statement:
“The Atlantic Coast Conference has suspended all athletic-related activities including all competition, formal and organized practice, recruiting and participation in NCAA championships until further notice. The decision was made following consultation with the league’s presidents and athletic directors to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19.”
In addition to the cancellation of the abroad programs, Vice Chancellor Michael Haynie sent out an update to the campus community Thursday afternoon clarifying SU’s plan for spring break and beyond. The email reiterated that students are permitted to remain on campus until March 30. However, those who choose to leave campus will not be permitted to return until March 30 at the earliest.
Some facilities will still operate including select dining halls, residences halls, libraries and fitness centers over spring break. Also, students who intend to remain on campus must declare their intentions with the Office of Student Living.
For students who do not intend to return at all, residence halls will be open through Sunday for family members and friends assisting students in moving out.
For students bringing visitors into residence halls during the break, non-residents will only be able to enter the dorms if they currently reside in a residence hall, not including south campus and if they have not traveled at any point during the break.
As the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic Wednesday, Syracuse University officials offered responses to a number of questions about the campus’ move to suspend in-person classes after March 13.
SU Vice Chancellor Michael Haynie said in a campus-wide announcement that students living on-campus housing can stay during and after spring break. If they leave, they will not be allowed to return to dorms until March 30 when in-person classes are scheduled to resume.
“This is to prevent potential transmission of the coronavirus by individuals who may have been exposed while traveling or at home,” Haynie said in the announcement.
Parents are permitted to come to campus and move their kids out of the residence halls if necessary. Also, SU is continuing to work on ways for students to complete the semester remotely online as well as a way for faculty to work from home.
Some classes at SU including those at the Law School have already started the transition to online learning. Also, in-person classes will be suspended at SU centers in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.
Hayne said SU will continue to monitor data from various health officials before making a decision on whether online-only classes will continue beyond March 30. SU has set up an official coronavirus website for updates.
SUNY and CUNY schools are moving to online-only classes starting March 19. On Tuesday, Cornell announced its suspension of in-person classes and will have its students complete the rest of the spring semester remotely.
As for sports, Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse will play a game against Rutgers in New Jersey with no spectators this Saturday.
As of 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, 1,110 cases have been reported in the United States along with 30 deaths. There are 212 cases and zero deaths reported in New York.
Syracuse University announced Tuesday that classes will be held online beginning after Spring Break. This new format will run from Monday, March 23, continuing until at least March 30.
Although classes will not be held on campus, the school will remain open “for normal business operations,” according to Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation Michael Haynie.
Residence halls will not reopen until after spring break on March 30 at the earliest.
“We are going to ask our students that as they leave for spring break, they think differently, potentially, about packing or going home for spring break,” Haynie said in a press conference. “They [should] take with them all of things they need to continue their academic studies.”
There was no further information provided by Haynie regarding the plans after March 30. It is unclear what criteria will need to be met in order to begin holding in-person classes again.
According to Haynie, the university has found that nearly 60% of the undergraduate student population reside in the areas of New York City, Southern California, China, Florida and Northern New Jersey. These regions are among the most affected by COVID-19.
As of Tuesday, there are still no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Central New York. The University’s main concern is students returning to campus from break with the virus.
“I would hope we do not have a student at Syracuse University, who would act in a way that is irresponsible and puts the health of others at risk,” Haynie said.
In addition to class cancelations, the university will cancel, postpone, or virtually host all scheduled events where attendance will exceed 50 people between after break and March 30.
When asked about plans for graduation, Haynie responded saying there are currently no back up plans for graduation this year, which was already moved onto the quad due to Dome renovations.
Students and faculty alike are worried about completing classes remotely.
“At first I was low-key kind of excited,” sophomore Jillian Miele said. “But now that it’s confirmed, all the seniors who I know and love here, I could never see them again and that really sucks.”
Jason Kohlbrenner, production operations supervisor and Newhouse adjunct professor teaches a technical course and is concerned that losing the hands-on nature of the class could be detrimental.
“I have one course that starts in April, so it may or may not be impacted,” Kohlbrenner said. “But if it is [impacted] it’s a hands-on technical course with camera equipment and software. I’ll have to move everything online but it will be more informational-based.”
Despite the difficulties, students understand the precautions taken by the university.
“The fact that people will be traveling throughout the world for and the United States for break,” junior Laura Cote said. “They definitely had to do it. Everything’s a little complicated but I think it’s best.”
Haynie stated that SU has been working diligently on a comprehensive plan since Chancellor Kent Syverud’s first correspondence regarding coronavirus on Feb. 27.
SU administrators made the decision regarding classes late Tuesday morning after a conference call between Haynie and school deans. Other institutions, including Fordham University, Sacred Heart University and Harvard University all announced the suspension of face-to-face classes in the past two days.
“Ultimately, we believe that this is the right and prudent decision on behalf of our students,” Haynie said.