Northern Arizona University and Coconino Community College have announced closures of their Flagstaff campuses, with classes shifting to online on Monday, March 23, after the end of spring break.
Both institutions attributed the decision to health and safety concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19.
Starting March 23, NAU will transition to online instruction for at least two weeks. Campus will remain open and operational, including university housing, food and health services and research labs. Employees will report to work as usual. The status of planned on-campus events is still being determined.
All NAU students and faculty in programs in other countries have been asked to immediately return to the United States. Non-essential university-sponsored international and domestic travel outside of Arizona has been suspended and all faculty-led study abroad programs through May have been canceled.
"As communicated yesterday, the outbreak of COVID-19 is fluid and continues to warrant the attention and flexibility of each of us as we work together to keep our students, faculty, staff, and communities safe and healthy," NAU president Rita Cheng said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "As students prepare for spring break, we are implementing a number of measures to ensure we continue to deliver the high-quality education our students need to keep them on track for graduation, as well as focus on the health and safety of our NAU community."
CCC students will not attend class in person for the week of March 23-27, but participate in “alternative learning methods” that are currently being developed by faculty.
Events for the week are being canceled and additional decisions on event cancellations will be made Monday, March 23. The CCC District Governing Board will meet as scheduled that day at 4 p.m. with an abbreviated agenda.
“Those of us at Coconino Community College believe this to be the best decision with the information we have at this time,” CCC President Colleen Smith said in a media release.
All college staff will report to work and have been asked to practice social distancing.
Students at both institutions have been asked to reconsider travel plans. In a message to campus Wednesday, NAU President Rita Cheng asked students to consider staying in Flagstaff or on campus for spring break.
The schools will continue to work with local and state partners on future decisions related to COVID-19.
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