DePauw suspends in-person classes

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 ~ Updated 1:17 PM
Courtesy photo

In response to the threat of COVID-19, DePauw University will suspend in-person classes following the end of the day on Friday, March 13.

University officials announced the decision Wednesday evening, citing the designation earlier in the day of the new coronavirus as a global pandemic.

“It is increasingly clear that we need to take further action to protect the health of our campus and Greencastle community,” stated a letter signed by vice presidents Dave Berque, Alan Hill and Bob Leonard and Kathy Vrabek, who chairs the board of trustees.

“Although there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 on DePauw’s campus or in Greencastle, the number of cases in Indiana, the U.S. and across the globe continues to rise. Though unpredictable, the virus is known to be highly infectious and recommendations to slow transmission such as social distancing are challenging to achieve on our residential campus.

The first and most notable of the responses is the suspension of in-person class meetings beginning March 16 as well as the departure of students from campus housing.

There will be no class -- online or otherwise -- the week of March 16-20 in order to provide faculty and staff with time to prepare for a transition to e-learning alternatives and students to make plans for the remainder of the spring term.

Spring break will take place as scheduled, March 23-27. Beginning March 30, the university will transition to e-learning for the remainder of the spring term.

Students are expected to depart campus housing as soon as they are able, but no later than March 20, 2020. Students may petition to stay on campus to complete e-learning.

International students, those without reliable internet access at or near their homes, those who cannot return home for other reasons or other extenuating circumstances are among the reasons students might successfully petition.

A decision regarding May term will be forthcoming.

Additionally, all university-sponsored events remain canceled until further notice, except for athletics, which will continue until March 20 under a “no fan” policy.

Beginning March 21, all sports practices and competition are canceled for the remainder of the 2020 spring season.

Commencement remains scheduled for May 17 and Alumni Reunion Weekend for June 11-14. However, updates on both events will be provided closer to their dates.

University-sponsored travel has also been canceled, except in certain circumstances.

View 7 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • *

    Did DePauw take the same precautions for SARS, MERS, and H1N1?

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Thu, Mar 12, 2020, at 8:31 AM
  • DP, SARS approximately 8000 cases worldwide with 800 deaths during outbreak

    H1N1 18,000 deaths since 2009

    Mers 4500 deaths during outbreak

    Coronavirus 3 months (not contained) approximately 124000 cases with 4500 deaths

    Maybe it’s the timing and severity.

    -- Posted by kbmom on Thu, Mar 12, 2020, at 10:16 AM
  • *

    kbmom - that doesn't answer my question... did they take the same precautions? Its a simple yes or no question in which I do not know the answer, which is why I asked.

    Maybe it is the timing and severity.

    Maybe it is jumping on the hysteria bandwagon.

    Maybe they have protocols for such things and a particular threshold has been reached.

    Any which way, it doesn't affect me and isn't going bother me.

    This is their decision to make.

    I was simply wondering.

    DePauw is a fairly closed campus (unlike IU or Purdue), and while there is international travel over Winter Term it just seems strange to wait until now to make such a move.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Thu, Mar 12, 2020, at 12:55 PM
  • *

    As found at it seems that the threshold was the WHO declaring COVID-19 a "pandemic". (As compared to "global health emergency" that was declared by WHO on 1/30/20.)

    Remember kids: Wash your hands. Don't lick doorknobs.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Thu, Mar 12, 2020, at 1:55 PM
  • *

    kbmom - Not trying to start an argument but here are the numbers I could find for comparison (US only):

    H1N1* (pandemic): 60.8 million cases. 12,469 deaths. (.02% mortality)

    SARS (pandemic): 29 cases. 0 deaths. (0% mortality)

    MERS (non-pandemic): 401 cases. 93 deaths (23% mortality)

    COVID-19 (pandemic): 1215 cases. 36 deaths. (2% mortality)

    SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 are all corona virus. SARS and MERS have largely gone away but may still circulate in the US.

    *H1N1 numbers are from the 2009-10 time period. This virus is still widely circulated in the US.

    So could very well be the transmission/mortality rates that cause an "over-abundance of caution".

    It's still early so the COVID-19 numbers will change, likely cases increase and mortality decreases.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Thu, Mar 12, 2020, at 2:38 PM
  • *

    This just in:

    Lebanon schools are closed tomorrow (Friday 13th) to prepare for two weeks of e-learning to precede Spring Break.

    No cases of COVID-19 reported.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Thu, Mar 12, 2020, at 2:44 PM
  • DP, I didn’t dig so deep checking facts. Thank you for the research.

    -- Posted by kbmom on Thu, Mar 12, 2020, at 4:06 PM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: