Lock Haven University is moving to fully remote instruction starting Wednesday because of a rise in COVID-19 cases, the university announced Tuesday. The suspension of in-person classes will be in effect until Sept. 21, with the hope that it will curb further spread of the virus.
The university had set a 5% positivity rate for its voluntary testing program as a threshold to reevaluate whether on-campus learning is safe. The announcement said that, as of Tuesday morning, the rate was 4.9%, triggering the suspension.
As of Wednesday morning, the university had conducted 891 tests in total and has 43 positives, yielding a 4.82% positivity rate.
The university had been testing symptomatic students at the campus health center. And asymptomatic students and employees were offered testing with a 48-hour turnaround time.
Students were given the option to return home or remain on campus during this time. The university said it’s facilitating isolation and quarantine for students who tested positive or may have been in contact with those who did.
Lock Haven University President Robert Pignatello said the fall semester is “in jeopardy.”
“This situation should demonstrate to everyone the insidious nature of COVID-19, its infectivity, and the critical nature of individual personal responsibility,” Pignatello said in the announcement. “We have determined that off campus gatherings in confined areas where social distancing and mask wearing were not practiced is the culprit here.”
Lock Haven University’s classes were being held mostly online already. It announced in late July that 85% of classes would be remote. At that time, university President Pignatello said bringing back its 3,500 students, faculty and staff was “too risky.”
The university said students and employees will have reentry tests before the two-week suspension of in-person classes ends.