Area colleges adjust to coronavirus realities


Online only classes begin March 23

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — In the wake of the coronavirus, teaching institutions around the country are taking steps to teach classes remotely.

University of Oregon

On Wednesday, the University of Oregon announced all their classes will be taught remotely for 3 weeks beginning March 30 — the first day after their Spring Break ends.

Oregon State University

Oregon State University “will move to a higher level of response” beginning Saturday. Officials said campuses and OSU facilities will stay open, final exams for winter term will be done remotely when possible, and “maximum social distancing” will be used when remote teaching and testing isn’t possible.

Also, “non-essential OSU-sponsored travel” is suspended and all OSU employees will be encouraged to work remotely when “responsibilities and duties allow.”

Through at least April 30, OSU events of more than 50 people won’t be permitted if it’s not essential. Events with less than 50 people will use “maximum social distancing.”

Washington State University

Washington State University President Kirk Schulz announced Wednesday classes will be only taught online only after Spring Break. The directive affects its 5 campuses, including WSU Vancouver.

Starting March 23, everything will be taught online across the Washington State University system. The campus will remain open, including the library and computer labs.

During Spring Break, the faculty will have time to prepare for distance learning. Many professors already have online classes and during the week of March 23 they will report to work on campus.

The campus of Washington State University in Vancouver, March 11, 2020 (KOIN)

“We are hoping by doing distance learning for a period of time that it will slow the spread of COVID-19 and we can all get back to business,” said WSU Vancouver’s Brenda Alling.

Students, like WSU Vancouver senior Emily Shirron, were notified by email.

“I think we all kind of knew this moment was coming so we were able to prepare,” Shirron said.

There are no known cases of COVID-19 at Washington State’s Vancouver campus among students and staff. The faculty will discuss next week what they will do about upcoming events. Some have already been canceled because of low attendance.

Earlier in March Washington State University formally asked students who are studying abroad in Italy to return to the United States.

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Portland State University

Portland State University is following the guidance of the Oregon Health Authority and is not closing.

Most Spring Term classes will be taught remotely and will be re-assessed in mid-April. Campus offices will stay open. PSU officials will work with health officials regarding events and on-campus gatherings, but they urge “students, faculty and staff to use remote access and online formats for meetings and optional events.”

PSU is also looking at remote working where appropriate and they’ve suspended all non-essential university-related travel until further notice.

Multnomah University

Multnomah University in Portland extended their Spring Break by a week for students, which gives them time for faculty to prepare if they decide to teach remotely. But large gathering events with 100 or more people were canceled.

University of Portland

Thursday, the University of Portland announced all in-person classes will transition to online instruction beginning March 18. To get ready, there will be no classes for UP students on Monday-Tuesday, March 16-17.

UP also canceled or postpones all events and meetings that attract large crowds.

St. Mary’s Academy

The all-girls high school in Southwest Portland announced Wednesday it will move to Extended Digital Learning for the week of March 16-20.

As of now, there are no confirmed or presumptive cases of the coronavirus within the St. Mary’s community.  This decision was made in order to proactively prioritize the health of our students, families, faculty, and staff.  

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