MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Miami-Dade, the University of Miami and Miami-Dade College are taking action to mitigate the potential risk of infection.
On Wednesday, university officials announced that effective Sunday, March 15th, through March 31st, all campus events or meetings with 50 or more attendees, including external events, are canceled. There are two exceptions, however. University athletics events will follow NCAA, ACC, and State of Florida guidelines. At this time no changes have been made to scheduled athletics events. Also, election polling on campus for the Florida primary will proceed on March 17th.
Commencement activities to be held May 7th, 8th, and 9th, will proceed as scheduled. Any changes to that schedule will be announced by April 15th.
While some universities have opted to go online for their course work, UM officials say classes will resume as scheduled on all university campuses on March 16th. However, they said they are preparing for the possibility of moving classes online, if necessary.
“We are working with deans and faculty members to prepare for the possibility of remote and virtual instruction for some (or possibly all) courses. As the spread of the virus is fast-changing, we will update the community with more definitive guidance as needed,” the university said in a statement.
Faculty members have been told to test the delivery of course materials via online learning platforms on Wednesday, March 18, and Thursday, March 19.
The university has also asked employees on the Coral Gables and Marine campuses (who are not part of the UHealth system) to work from home on Friday, March 13, as part of a practice test for staff to work remotely.
The university is prohibiting all international travel and domestic travel will now need the approval of a supervising dean or vice president.
Any member of the university community who traveled to or from China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, or Spain will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return. Students returning from these countries or areas must contact Student Health Service prior to coming to campus.
At Miami Dade College, classes will resume Monday, March 16th. As a precaution, the college is working on a plan to all faculty members up to speed should they have to teach online if the college is faced with campus and/or collegewide closure.
In the interest of safety, the college has decided to cancel all summer 2020 study abroad programs. All college-related student and employee travel, both domestically and internationally, have been canceled effective immediately.
Students and faculty are urged to check out the college’s website for the latest updates regarding health and safety precautions.
Florida International University is also suspending all study abroad programs through Summer 2020 and imposing restrictions on international travel.
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Both the University of Florida and Florida State University are also making changes.
UF Provost Joe Glover sent a memo to academic deans recommending instructors to move their courses from face-to-face to electronic effective immediately, wherever possible.
While it is not yet a requirement, “there is a strong probability that it will become a requirement before the end of the spring semester, and instructors are encouraged to transition now,” states the memo.
There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus at the university at this time.
Florida State University is also preparing a possible move to online classes after Spring Break.
FSU Provost Sally McRorie directed the university’s faculty and academic instructors to be ready to shift their courses from traditional campus-based, face-to-face classes to online and other alternate methods of delivery for the remainder of the semester following Spring Break if it becomes necessary.