PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Marietta College has joined a list of others in choosing to temporarily continue courses online because of coronavirus threats.
School officials say that students can continue online coursework from campus or from home when they return from spring break on March 15th.
The school has not indicated when it will return to normal operations.
The college says it has has a link on their website that will provide regular updates on school conditions.
WVU will temporarily suspend face-to-face classes from March 23-27th as it transitions to online and alternative class instruction, which will begin March 30 and will continue until further notice.
The university says this is a precautionary measure to protect the campus and community.
With three confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Ohio and more than a dozen still under investigation, Gov. Mike DeWine urged the state’s colleges and universities Tuesday to take action to prevent the spread of the virus.
Ohio State University and the University of Toledo have already postponed in-person classes in favor of online or remote learning. Ohio University in Athens says it will be doing the same. OU will provide online instruction from March 16th to March 30th. Face-to-face classes will resume March 30th.
The Athens City School District will be closed beginning Marth 16th and will reopen for face-to-face classes beginning March 30th.
Washington State Community College says it's going to keep monitoring the situation.
A spokesman for Marietta College said after DeWine’s announcement that no changes have been made to class schedules but that school officials are monitoring the situation closely and will provide an update if the situation changes.
In a post on Twitter, DeWine said the state’s colleges and universities should screen students returning form international travel or cruise ships; eliminate international travel; cancel/postpone university-sponsored travel and large meetings; and move toward online/remote learning.
As of 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, DeWine said three cases of the virus have been confirmed in the state, while 15 others are being investigated. Results were negative in 14 others cases, he said.
DeWine also asked nursing homes and religious institutions to curtail activities that could lead to the spread of the virus.
In addition, visitors to facilities operated by the state Department of Rehabilitation and Correction are being restricted “for the time being,” DeWine said on Twitter.
The governor stopped short of asking local school districts – those with students in kindergarten through 12th grade - to close because of the virus, but he said school leaders “should be prepared in they do close in the future.”
“Parents should also be prepared for the possibility of needing to stay home with their kids,” DeWine said.
In the meantime, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Education have published a list of recommendations that schools should follow.
Three key preventative measures include washing your hands; avoiding sneezing into the air or on your hands; and frequently cleaning surfaces.
With those recommendations in mind, Belpre City Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Greenley said the district is taking the following actions:
- placing in all bathrooms hand-washing steps and reminders to encourage students to wash their hands.
- requiring all students to wash their hands before they eat lunch, as well as after recess.
- ensuring that that light switches, door knobs and desk surfaces are disinfected at lunch time and at the end of the day.
- suspending any classroom or school-wide incentives for student perfect attendance to encourage families to keep their students home if they are showing any cold or flu like symptoms.
- increasing cleaning in common areas, water fountains and weight rooms.
- sanitizing school-bus seats daily.
You can view DeWine's Twitter feed by clicking on the link to the right of this article.