ASHLAND -- Ashland University has expanded upon yesterday's announcement to cancel classes beginning next Monday.
In a letter issued Wednesday afternoon, AU president Carlos Campo outlines what students, employees and community members need to know about the University's efforts to limit the spread of the novel Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) over the coming weeks.
"In light of Gov. Mike DeWine’s recommendation that higher education institutions transition to online instruction for the near future and in keeping with the advice of public health officials, we have determined that face-to-face instruction, on-campus living and large gatherings on our campuses pose significant health risks to our community," Campo said.
Ashland University will suspend all face-to-face classroom instruction as of Monday, March 16, which was supposed to be the first day of classes following spring break. Those classes will move to an online format beginning Wednesday, March 18. Normal face-to-face instruction is targeted to resume on March 30.
Students currently enrolled in labs, clinical experiences, studios, internships and student teaching should expect to receive specific instructions from their respective academic programs.
Courses normally offered through an online format will continue as scheduled. Academic support and tutoring services remain available via online format.
Additionally, all residential students are strongly encouraged to stay home or return to their permanent address until further notice. International students, students without permanent residence or those with other special cases should complete the Special Housing Request Form. Residence halls will remain open for students who need to retrieve essential items, such as books, computers and medications.)
Students with questions are asked to contact Residence Life at (419) 289-5303 or email@example.com.
Those who do return to campus will have limited meal services available and will only be offered for students who must remain on campus. Mail service and the Student Health Center will remain open, too.
Any students remaining on campus are strongly encouraged to practice social distancing.
For employees, university offices will remain open. All employees are expected to report for work as normal unless otherwise notified. A guide to workplace policies related to COVID-19 is available at www.ashland.edu/COVID-19.
Non-essential University-related travel, both foreign and domestic, has been cancelled until further notice. Essential travel requests must be pre-approved by a supervisor.
And as for the community, University facilities will be closed to the public, including the Recreation Center, Library, Accent Room, Eagles’ Nest, Coburn Art Gallery until further notice.
"The safety of individual students and our campus community is our top priority. Your cooperation and collaboration will help to ensure an appropriate response across Ashland University as we deal with this rapidly changing pandemic," Campo said.
Ashland University is one of many colleges across Ohio that has moved classes to an online format.
According to a press release issued yesterday, a group of Ashland University students may have interacted with someone who tested positive for the novel Coronavirus 19.
The students attended the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland from Feb. 26 to 29 and returned to the AU campus the following week before leaving for spring break. It was later discovered that a person attending that same conference has tested positive for Coronavirus, the press release stated.
Those 18 students are no longer on campus and are self-quarantined and self-reporting information like their body temperature to the Ashland County Health Department twice daily, according to the health department.
Prior to this past Tuesday, Ashland University had canceled two University-sponsored trips. The University’s spring break trip for 12 students going to Florence, Italy and a student tour planned for South Korea, which would have left in late February were both cancelled. Additionally, an AU student studying in Florence was recalled, in keeping with University policy to not allow University-sponsored travel in countries with a level three alert or higher.
Information, updates and resources from AU are available and will be regularly updated at www.ashland.edu/COVID-19.
"We ask for your patience, cooperation and understanding as we navigate the days ahead. Your health and safety is a top priority, and we will continue to keep you updated as we move together through this challenging period," Campo said.