U of M suspends campus classes, moving instruction online over COVID-19 fears

University of Minnesota leaders said Wednesday the system is suspending in-person instruction as a precaution against COVID-19.
John Hernandez | MPR News 2019

Updated 2:45 p.m.

University of Minnesota leaders said Wednesday the system is suspending in-person instruction across the five campuses and moving to online instruction as a precaution against COVID-19.

Among its moves, the U said it will extend spring break on the Duluth, Rochester, and Twin Cities campuses until March 18, when students will resume classes through online or alternative instruction.

Following that break, as well as spring break on the Crookston and Morris campuses scheduled for next week March 16-20, all students on all campuses will be taught virtually through at least Wednesday, April 1, the university said in a statement.

The suspension of in-person instruction also includes field experiences and clinicals. For classes that cannot be taught online, the instructor will contact students with further information.

The Minnesota State system, which includes the state’s two-year colleges and its seven regional universities, said Wednesday that its leaders have not yet decided on whether to move classes online but are in ongoing discussions with university presidents and faculty.

Outside of the classroom changes, the University of Minnesota system campuses will continue normal operations for now, including residence halls, dining services, and other student services. Officials say there are no known cases of COVID-19 in the U system.

The moves come on the same day the University of Wisconsin Madison announced its campus would suspend spring semester face-to-face instruction, effective March 23.

Michigan State University, another Big 10 school, also said it was canceling all in-person classes immediately through April 20 and would shift to online, noting a probable coronavirus case with links to the university.