BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) The University of Vermont and Champlain College are joining a growing list of schools that have decided to switch to online-only classes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
It's quiet on the UVM campus this week as students and faculty enjoy spring break. But even after break, the walkways, classrooms and dorms will remain empty, after the university Wednesday told students not to come back.
"We were hearing a lot of concerns coming from families about students coming back here and we began to assess the situation where we have over 5,000 residence students and they were in areas where they might have been exposed. We were assessing that the risk for them coming back was getting greater," said UVM's Gary Derr.
UVM officials say in-person classes on Monday and Tuesday will be canceled and they will shift to "remote methods of learning" starting March 18. They say the changes do not apply to medical students and that detailed plans are still in the works for grad students. Also, they are encouraging all students to not return to residence halls after spring break unless they need to live on campus.
Details of the plan are still being worked out, but UVM says professors are not giving any pushback to the change and altering classes as needed. Students will not be given refunds on tuition, or room and board.
"Nothing will be changed at this point because we are planning to offer the full curriculum online. Students will receive the credits, grades as if they were here," Derr said.
UVM says they hope to have everything back to normal soon and they will be reassessing every day.
Officials say the Hoopcats basketball game on Saturday is still on and spectators are invited. If they win, it will be up to the NCAA to decide what happens next.
Champlain College also says it will be going online. Officials there say spring break will be extended for a week. Starting March 23, all Burlington campus courses will be conducted through remote instruction. They pan to revisit the policy in early April.
Middlebury College on Tuesday announced Tuesday that spring break would begin a week early and the campus will be closed down. Dartmouth College officials Tuesday also said they are preparing to offer classes online and will make a final decision about students returning to campus for spring-term in the coming days.
The Vermont Law School is closing campus Monday and moving classes online.
Meanwhile, Paul Smith's College in New York has extended spring break for a week. School leaders there are evaluating the possibility of shifting classes online.
And SUNY Plattsburgh is also stopping in-person classes after spring break.