HBCUs announce plans to combat the coronavirus
As spring break arrives, schools are moving to online classes and deciding whether to keep dorms open
The coronavirus outbreak is, of course, impacting historically black colleges and universities.
Public schools and universities across the nation are adjusting their schedules. While some schools have opted to keep their normal schedules until after spring break this month, several HBCUs have already taken some precautions against spreading the virus.
On Tuesday, Morgan State University in Baltimore became one of the first universities to cancel classes for the rest of the week and announced it would move to online classes following spring break and a two-week period afterward. Dorms will remain open during spring break. Bowie State University, in Bowie, Maryland, canceled classes Thursday and Friday and plans to transition to online classes following spring break next week until April 6. Students from Bowie were told not to plan to return to campus before April 6.
“Everyone – faculty, staff and administration – is pulling together to support our learning environment in a manner that will support the effort of our county, state and government at large. These are tough times, but we, as a society, will get through it,” said Bowie State vice president of athletics and recreation Clyde Doughty Jr.
Hampton University informed staff and students on Thursday that it was canceling in-person classes starting Friday, with remote instruction continuing until another assessment of student safety is made. Hampton is also requiring all, except international students, to leave campus by Sunday.
Howard University sent an email to students Wednesday addressing campus closures and travel precautions. It said classes would continue through Friday, which is the start of spring break for the university. Classes will be held online until April 6, when another assessment will be made regarding campus safety.
The Washington area, where Howard, Bowie State and Morgan State are located, had eight confirmed cases as of Thursday. Hampton, in the Tidewater area of Virginia, is in the vicinity of two cases among the 15 reported confirmed cases in the state.
“Although the university took a little long to announce transitioning online, I think they are doing a good job in keeping students in mind. Many other universities have completely closed campus, leaving students with nowhere to go. Howard keeping campus open allows students who can’t afford or are not able to leave a sense of security,” said Josyana Joshua, a senior journalism major from Westchester, New York.
In its email, Howard’s administration said it would be leaving dorms open and adjusting hours at libraries and student centers to accommodate students.
“The dormitories are going to remain open particularly for students for whom it would be financially difficult to travel back and forth and obviously for international students. We will also be going to continue to provide meal service with Sodexo, it’s just going to be a little bit modified,” said Howard provost Anthony K. Wutoh.
On Tuesday, Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania, announced it will cancel in-person classes for the rest of the semester. In another email on Thursday, Lincoln president Brenda A. Allen asked students to leave campus by Sunday at 6 p.m. Pennsylvania had 16 confirmed cases when the second announcement was made.
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference joined more than 15 conferences Thursday in canceling the remaining games in the men’s and women’s basketball tournament in Norfolk, Virginia. The league also is suspending all sports through the end of spring 2020. The Southwestern Athletic Conference canceled its basketball tournament in Birmingham, Alabama, and suspended regular-season competition for all sports until March 31.
The NCAA canceled the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments Thursday, in addition to all of the winter and spring sports championships this school year. It is up to individual schools and conferences whether to continue spring sports.
Some HBCUs and their plans to combat transmission of the coronavirus:
- Alabama A&M
- Alabama State
- Benedict College
- Clark Atlanta
- Clinton College
- Coppin State
- Delaware State
- Florida A&M
- Grambling State
- Harris-Stowe State
- Kentucky State
- Morehouse College
- North Carolina A&T
- Norfolk State
- Paul Quinn College
- Prairie View A&M
- South Carolina State
- Spelman College
- Wiley College
- Winston-Salem State
- Virginia State