As a way to curb the spread of coronavirus among students, schools in China, Hong Kong, Australia, and Italy have shut down schools. On March 1, six public schools in the state of Washington announced they would be shutting down until further notice. With only 4 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state, a private Kentucky college has announced that it will be ending its academic year over coronavirus fears. Is the president of Berea College overreacting, or is he making the right decision?

The Lexington Herald Ledger reports – Berea College President Lyle Roelofs, announced Tuesday that the private college in Madison County will end the academic year Friday and send students home out of concern over the coronavirus.

“Concluding, after careful analysis, that it will not be possible to adequately assure student and employee safety in the circumstance of a case of COVID-19 occurring on campus, we have decided that the College will cease instructional activities as of the end of the day on this Friday, March 13,” Roelofs said in a letter to the college community.

Berea spokesman Tim Jordan said there were no cases reported on campus and the action was being taken “out of an abundance of caution.”

Kentucky officials provided an update Monday evening on the coronavirus and said the state now has six confirmed cases.

Gov. Andy Beshear said the first coronavirus patient in Harrison County was an employee at the local Walmart in Cynthiana. Beshear said the patient’s condition is improving.

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From Spectrum News– In addition to the end of the semester, students are being asked to move out of residence halls by Saturday, the 14th. If students are unable to return home, they can apply for campus housing. Students who continue to live on campus will be expected to fulfill their work responsibilities and may be required to do additional jobs. However, all students will continue to be paid for their campus positions through the end of the semester, even if they are off-campus and unable to work.

Faculty members are being asked to determine how they can end their courses by the end of the week.

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Even though classes are being canceled, college operations will continue and the Berea staff should continue with their job duties.

As a result of the cancellation there will be some immediate consequences:

    • Commencement is canceled or postponed until a date when a large gathering can be held safely.
    • Summer academic travel will be canceled
    • All student, faculty, and staff travel supported by the college will be curtailed through the end of the regular semester
    • Athletics contests scheduled through Thursday will take place, but the school is notifying USA South Conference they won’t be competing for the rest of the semester.

According to CBS News – There are now 173 coronavirus cases in New York state — 108 of them in Westchester County, which is home to New Rochelle. In total across the U.S. there were 791 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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