University of Oregon President Michael Schill provided an update Wednesday afternoon on the school’s plans to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Schill wrote that they will not have any in-person final exams for the current winter term. They are also encouraging people not to travel during spring break.
For spring term beginning March 30, UO will deliver all classes remotely for the first three weeks. Schill said they will continue to assess the situation, and provide further information about the rest of the term no later than April 10.
A student petition asking the University of Oregon to close its campus to prevent coronavirus from spreading has also received over 4,300 signatures.
UO junior Kyle Volner said he started the petition about a week ago because he has seen panic around campus. He asked the UO to switch to online classes for a few weeks so they are able to thoroughly clean the school.
“People are worried about their parents and giving it to the people that they’re going home to on spring break,” said Volner. “Or the people that they’re around that are older. And because it has that two week incubation time, it becomes a bigger worry because you can give it to them, not even knowing that you have it.”
Volner also criticized the university’s initial response to the virus. He said if we wait too long, it could be too late to stop the spread.
“The university’s like, ‘Oh, we’re fine, we haven’t gotten it here,’” said Volner. “And then other people are saying, ‘Well, we’ll deal with it when it gets here.’ Well, you’re already too late if it gets here because people are already passing it around even if they don’t know they have it.”
He also said practicing alternative ways of teaching would allow the university to have a plan in case there is an even dire threat in the future.
“You could have some type of other disaster that happens later,” said Volner. “Are we prepared for that? Some people think that this isn’t as big of a deal. [But] are we prepared if something else were to happen?”
The UO will have winter finals online, as well as online classes from at least March 15-April 10. The school will continue to follow recommendations from the Oregon Health Authority.