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Fordham University suspends campus classes over coronavirus


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New York City, N.Y., Mar 9, 2020 CNA.- Fordham University suspended in-person classes Monday afternoon, after an undergraduate student was tested for COVID-19. The Jesuit university in The Bronx announced that the suspension will continue through Tuesday, March 10, after which all classes will move to on-line instruction.

“Effective 1 p.m. today (Monday, March 9), we are taking the significant step of suspending face-to-face instruction on all Fordham’s New York-area campuses. Face-to-face classes are suspended for the remainder of Monday, March 9, and Tuesday, March 10,” says a letter published on Monday from Fordham President Fr. Joseph McShane, S.J.

Starting March 11, all classes will be taught online until further notice. Fordham’s spring recess, which was scheduled for March 14 through the 22nd, will continue as planned.

McShane wrote that the measures are “the best way to minimize the risk of spreading the virus throughout the campus community,” and that no Fordham students or anyone associated with the Fordham community has tested positive for the virus.

Fordham has three campuses in New York: the original campus, located in the Rose Hill neighborhood of The Bronx, its Lincoln Center campus in Manhattan, and a smaller, single-building campus in Westchester.

Undergraduate students who reside in campus housing are encouraged to return home as quickly as possible.

McShane said that, over the weekend, a commuter student who does not reside on campus began exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, and was tested for the illness. That student is currently “self-isolating at home,” and the results of the COVID-19 test have not yet been released.

“We will inform the campus community immediately if we learn that the lab result is positive for the COVID-19 virus,” said McShane. “If the student is in fact positive for the virus, following established protocols, the New York City Department of Health will work in concert with University Health Services to reach everyone with whom the student has been in contact, and University staff will also follow-up on this initial contact with each person.”

In addition to the suspension of classes, Fordham has canceled or postponed all university-sponsored travel, with some exceptions for athletic teams.

“We realize that these measures are disruptive, and possibly alarming. Let me assure you that we take them because we believe they are the best way to protect the health and wellbeing of the campus community,” said McShane. He added that he was “proud of the work ethic, dedication, and resiliency of the Fordham community.”

“I would especially like to thank the faculty for the generosity of heart and deep care for our students that they have shown in adjusting their teaching to accommodate our students’ needs. You and your loved ones are in my prayers today and every day,” said McShane.

The decision by Fordham was announced on the same day as other universities in the state implemented similar policies in response to the coronavirus outbreak. On Monday, both Princeton and Columbia universities said they are cancelling in-person classes and restricting on-campus meetings and university-sponsored travel.

On Saturday, New York governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state-wide emergency, with 12 confirmed cases in New York City as of March 7.

Per the Centers for Disease Control, there have been 423 cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with 19 deaths. The virus has been found in 34 states as well as the District of Columbia.

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