Penn State Classes To Stay Online For Rest Of Semester As COVID-19 Spreads

Mar 18, 2020

A view of the nearly empty mall on Penn State's University Park campus in March 2020. The university announced March 18, 2020, there would be no in-person classes for the rest of the semester.
Credit Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State announced today that it will not return to normal, in-person classes this semester, instead keeping the entire semester online.

The move comes in response to the coronavirus and efforts to slow the increasing number of cases of COVID-19. The decision means that spring commencement ceremonies are being postponed.

In its announcement, Penn State says more information will be coming about on-campus jobs, room and board refunds and research projects.

“We also know that this is causing significant distress for many in our Penn State family, for a variety of reasons. Please know, while we are not together physically, we are here to support you virtually in any way we can,” President Eric Barron said in a news release. “The administration, faculty and staff are doing everything we can to manage disruptions to your learning, teaching, working and living arrangements as much as possible, given these extraordinary circumstances. And there are services and various support mechanisms in place or in development.”  

The announcement says the move is “for all classes through at least the spring semester.”

The university had previously decided to suspend in-person classes and move to remote learning for three weeks. That began this week and was slated to last until at least April 6. 

Students will take exams remotely too. Students who live on-campus will have to follow a schedule to return to their dorms to collect their things.

“The University will also work with local authorities, landlords, and student leaders, where we can, to develop strategies to minimize the impact of students returning to our communities to retrieve personal belongings,” said Barron. “We encourage all students to be patient as they await further guidance and support.”

According to the state Department of Health, there are 133 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania as of March 18.

This story is developing. Check back for more details.