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Syracuse University moving all classes online due to coronavirus concerns

Tom Magnarelli

Syracuse University will suspend residential instruction from this Friday until at least March 30 and move to online classes, over concerns from the coronavirus that continues to spread across New York, the university announced Tuesday.

Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation Mike Haynie said Tuesday after consultation with local health officials, medical professionals, and campus officials, the university will suspend on campus classes for the rest of the month. 

"Ultimately, we believe this is the right and prudent decision on behalf of our students, but also our faculty and staff and the central New York community. It's the right thing to do from a public health perspective," Haynie said. 

Classes will continue as scheduled for the rest of this week. Students are on spring break next week, which Haynie said contributed to the decision to cancel on campus classes. 

"Almost 60% of our student population at the undergraduate level, if they return home, will return home to locations like downstate New York, California, China, Florida, and New Jersey. The idea of then returning immediately from spring break and the potential risk that could pose to this community, we made this decision out of an abundance of caution," Haynie saud.

Students who have nowhere to go during spring break are welcome to stay on campus. But students who leave will not be able to return. The university is expected to remain open for business until further notice. 

Classes are expected to resume online later this month. Students are being asked to take anything with them in order to continue their classes in an online setting. 

The university is also implementing on campus social distancing protocols. Any event where expected attendance is expected to exceed 50 people will be postponed, canceled or conducted online. The university has not yet said how that will affect athletic events. 

"Given the rapid spread of coronavirus across New York state, the fluidity of the situation, and the uncertainty and concern the virus is causing in our community, we believe this decision is prudent and necessary," Haynie said.

Jason has served as WRVO's news director in some capacity since August 2017. As news director, Jason produces hourly newscasts, and helps direct local news coverage and special programming. Before that, Jason hosted Morning Edition on WRVO from 2009-2019. Jason came to WRVO in January of 2008 as a producer/reporter. Before that, he spent two years as an anchor/reporter at WSYR Radio in Syracuse.