AU extends spring break due to coronavirus

Health and safety concerns caused by the coronavirus mean Augustana students will have an extra week of spring break.

While classes were originally scheduled to resume on Mar. 16, the start date has been pushed back to Mar. 23 as university administrators continue to monitor the evolving circumstances surrounding COVID-19, according to an email from university president Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

The email sent Wednesday evening said this will give the university the necessary time to transition for classroom to online instruction, if necessary.

“Augustana is aware of the impact this extension of spring break may have on our entire campus community,” the email said. “Please know that we are committed to providing support for students, faculty and staff as we continue our best efforts to manage the rapidly evolving situation surrounding the coronavirus disease.”

South Dakota has eight reported cases of COVID-19, with one case resulting in death. Three of those cases are in Minnehaha county, where Augustana’s campus is located. 27 people have tested negative for the virus and 11 cases are pending, according to the state’s health department website.

As of Mar. 11, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic. 938 cases of COVID-19 have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States, with 29 cases have resulted in death.

During this time, the university is encouraging students to remain at home. Housing will be available for students that need to return due to extenuating circumstances. Student athletes will also receive additional information from the athletics department and their coaches.

More details on the extended break will be provided from the university in the next 24 hours, according to the email.

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