By John N. Mitchell
PHILADELPHIA — Lincoln University has suspended all face-to-face classes for student instruction for the remainder of the spring semester, and Cheyney University has extended spring break as both schools take added measures to safeguard students and faculty from coronavirus (COVID-19).
Neither university has reported a case of COVID-19, which on Wednesday the World Health Organization classified as a global pandemic. The virus had swept into at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people. There are 1,000 cases in the U.S., and 32 people have died.
Lincoln, located in Chester County with a satellite campus in Philadelphia, cancelled classes on Wednesday with plans to resume them online beginning on Monday. At that time, according to a university spokesperson, Lincoln professors will determine how classes will be conducted moving forward.
Lincoln began emptying out its dormitories on Wednesday. The university will shut them down — for the remainder of the semester — by Sunday.
The university spokesperson said that university administrators have not decided what they will do for graduation, but added, “students that expected to graduate will not be impacted by this. They will graduate.”
Lincoln also withdrew from the upcoming Penn Relays.
Cheyney administrators currently plan to have faculty and staff return to the university, which straddles Chester and Delaware counties, on Monday. Students originally were supposed to return on Monday, but administrators extended spring break by a week, and students now are scheduled to return on March 23.
University President Aaron Walton administrators currently plan to have faculty resume face-to-face instruction on March 23.
“We have extended spring break with the intention to work with faculty on technology in the event that we might have to forgo face-to-face instruction,” Walton said. “That gives us a week to work with faculty just in case there are some extra measures that need to be taken.”
Walton said administrators will continue to monitor all the information coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state’s health department.
“We will take every precaution to make sure that there is a safe environment at Cheyney,” he said. “That is going to include everything from making sure that all common areas are taken care of and making sure that all food preparation options have been explored. This is something that we are all taking very, very seriously.”
John N. Mitchell is a reporter and columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.