Shippensburg University will extend its spring break an additional week in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the country.
Classes will resume as normal on March 23, according to an email to the campus community from SU President Laurie Carter. However, the university is actively monitoring the situation and further changes may occur.
Students must obtain permission from the university to return to on-campus housing before March 22 at 1 p.m. for their cards to work. To request permission to return to campus early, students need to fill out this form. Students who need access to technology in the residence halls may provide that as a reason to return to campus, according to ship.edu. Students also may request temporary access to pick up any necessary items that are currently in their residence hall.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a disaster declaration related to the coronavirus on March 6. As of 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, there are 13 presumptive positive cases and two confirmed cases. Impacted counties include Bucks, Delaware, Monroe, Montgomery, Philadelphia and Wayne, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Carter’s email says the university will use the extra week to provide additional training to faculty should the need to move classes online arise.
Kim Garris, SU’s vice president of external relations and communications, said graduation will not be impacted.
At this time, the university is not aware of any members of the campus community being diagnosed with or exposed to the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, according to ship.edu.
Garris said the university is following guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health. SU will continue to provide updates online at ship.edu/coronavirus/.
SU has set up a toll-free phone line for questions related to the extended spring break. The number is 866-435-7268, extension 1742.
The Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School and the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center remain open. Campus visits and tours are suspended during the extended break. As of right now, the March 21 open house is still scheduled, according to Megan Silverstrim, media relations manager for SU.
According to the email, all SU athletic events will continue to be held in accordance with NCAA and PSAC guidelines. SU will review upcoming events on a case-by-case basis to determine if cancellations are warranted.
“Ship is a welcoming and hospitable campus, but if the need arises, we may be required to cancel events as part of a social distancing effort to limit community spread. We are confident that proceeding with an abundance of caution is in the best interest of all,” Carter said in her email.
SU’s decision follows other PASSHE schools that have made adjustments to their academic schedules. SU’s plan is consistent with East Stroudsburg University and Bloomsburg University; both are extending their spring breaks a week, with classes to resume March 23.
West Chester University announced Tuesday it will hold all of its classes online for the rest of the semester. Millersville University announced earlier today it has cancelled classes March 21-27, after which all classes will move online. Edinboro University extended its spring break until March 23, after which courses will resume online until April 6, when university officials hope to have students return to campus. Kutztown University suspended classes through March 21.
Click on the image below for the letter from Carter: