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More universities taking measures to prevent spread of COVID-19

Wednesday, Pepperdine Univerity, in Malibu, Cali., became the first of the schools associated with Churches of Christ to announce they were sending students home, in response to concerns over COVID-19.

Related: Pepperdine moving classes online in response to COVID-19

Now, other universities are announcing changes to plans for student as they return from or leave for Spring Break.

Harding University, in Searcy, Ark., announced Thursday it will be moving all in-class work online until further notice.

Harding President Bruce McLarty released a letter stating, “Because of increasing concerns related to COVID-19 and in order to reduce risk of its spread, students of the University campus in Searcy are asked to remain at home or return to their homes instead of reporting back to campus following Spring Break.”

The university is currently on Spring Break. Students were expected to return Monday, March 16.

Rochester University, in Michigan, has announced beginning March 16, all classwork will be moved online. Residence halls will reopen; however, like Harding, officials are encouraging students to stay home, if possible.

In a statement, Rochester President Dr. Brian Stogner said, “Rochester University remains committed to keeping abreast of the most current and accurate information and acting to protect the safety and health of our entire community.”

Abilene Christian University officials said they are continuing to monitor the situation. For now, the university is extending Spring Break through March 20. Residence halls and dining operations will reopen during the extended break to accommodate students who need those services.

ACU officials said they will continue to monitor the situation and make any other changes as necessary.

As of March 12, the World Health Organization reports COVID-19 is officially in 118 countries. Globally, there have been more than 125,000 confirmed cases of the virus, resulting in 4,613 deaths.

WHO’s director announced earlier this week that the virus has now officially be characterized as a pandemic. He said the decision was made due to the speed and scale of transmission, and because they are concerned that some countries are not taking appropriate action to contain the virus. FULL STATEMENT

Thursday afternoon, Oklahoma Christian University and Heritage Christian University, in Alabama, announced a move to online learning.

OC said the move will, for now, just be through early April.

Heritage Christian students will finish the spring semester online.

The decisions are not being made in reaction to any cases of the virus on the campuses, rather officials said it’s “out of an abundance of caution.”

Other universities are continuing to monitor the situation, but have not announced any changes.

This is a developing story.

Filed under: Abilene Christian University ACU Churches of Christ corona virus Coronavirus COVID-19 Harding News pandemic Partners Pepperdine Rochester College spring break Top Stories World Health Organization

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