This is a developing story.
Buena Vista University (BVU) has joined the growing list of colleges and universities across the country extending spring breaks or transitioning to online classes in response to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
A campus wide email was sent just before 8 p.m local time on Thursday, March 12.
“In an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect our campus community and beyond, BVU will extend its current spring break for students by one week—through Sunday, March 29, 2020,” the email said. “Classes will resume Monday, March 30, 2020.” (The full announcement on BVU’s website can be found here.)
This news comes after major developments in the United States over the last 24 hours, including the suspension of the NBA and NHL regular seasons, cancellation of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments, closure of Disney theme parks in California and Florida, and more. Further action curtailing large gatherings of people is expected nationwide. (Live updates from the Washington Post can be found here.)
Additional action taken by the university today includes the suspension of all international and domestic university-sponsored travel, as well as all university-sponsored events hosted at BVU through Monday, April 13.
“I think it’s the right move because the situation is constantly changing,” said Josh Cole, BVU Student Senate President. “I think that it gives the school a buffer period to be able to continue to evaluate [the situation]. We just don’t know anything, really, about what’s going to happen.”
London Van Horbeck, a senior physics major, said she thinks the university’s decision makes sense, but raised concerns about the timing of the announcement, a day away from spring break.
“There’s going to be a lot of people with a lot of questions about their particular situation, or what they’re supposed to do for that time. I think it’s going to be very interesting to see how logistically things get handled.”
Students were advised to bring books and other supplies home “in preparation for the potential of online classes” in the announcement.
“Moving your class online is no small task, especially for classes that are not traditional online classes. There’s going to have to be some creative thinking there,“ said Cole, a resident of San Antonio, Texas, when away from BVU. “I think that the preparation for the chance of online classes is much more real to anyone who’s out of state, because the ramifications of not being prepared are so much bigger than if someone lives even four hours away.”
More details regarding day-to-day operations at BVU, campus dining hours, information for faculty and staff, athletics, campus visits, and links to helpful COVID-19 resources can be found here.
Allyssa Ertz contributed to this report.