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SU Cancels On Campus Classes Until March 30 Over Virus Concerns, Moving to Online Classes

WAER File Photo

Syracuse University announced Tuesday it will cancel all classes on campus after this Friday over concerns of the coronavirus and the Covid-19 disease it can cause.  The decision would remain in effect at least until March 30th.

Many students will be heading to spring break soon, which begins this coming weekend.  Vice Chancellor Mike Haynie says part of the decision was in consideration of the risk of students going home for spring break, then coming back to campus. 

“About 60% of our undergraduate student population are from Northern New Jersey, Downstate (New York), Massachusetts, Florida, Southern California.  These are all places where there is  … community spread of the virus right now.”

Students were further instructed to take textbooks, computers and other materials on break with them to continue coursework from home.  Haynie added there have been no decisions about athletic events.  The Syracuse University Men’s Basketball team is in North Carolina for an ACC tournament game Wednesday.  Campus facilities will stay open and staff will remain on campus for students who don’t leave.  

" We acknowledge even over spring break that there are students who have nowhere to go and they're welcome to say here at Syracuse University.  However, the idea of transitioning to online education, inherent in that idea is that students will not be returnnig to our dormitories who leave, upon the conclusion of spring break."

The announcement comes on top of recommendations to cancel unnecessary travel, bring students in certain study abroad programs home, and the cancellation of conferences and guest speakers that would bring large groups of people together.


Governor Cuomo continues to try and temper fears about the virus that causes Covid 19 and its spread.  In his daily briefing he reported the state total of cases reached 179, 31 of them newly reported, with most in the New Rochelle area.  Cuomo adds only 14 cases resulted in hospitalizations, with most recovering at home.  State health officials remain most concerned about the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, which explains why Washington State has experienced more deaths, while New York has had none. 

(Source: Chancellor Kent Syverud)

Specifically, the actions we are announcing today are as follows:

  • Beginning at the end of the academic day on Friday, March 13, and through at least March 30, Syracuse University will transition from residential to online instruction and/or other alternative (non-residential) modalities.
  • While residential instruction will be suspended as of the end of the academic day on Friday, March 13, the University will otherwise remain open for normal business operations until further notice.
  • Students will be encouraged to depart campus this week for spring break, as soon as their academic schedule (i.e. planned exams, labs, etc.) permits. Students leaving campus will be instructed:
    • to take with them any devices, textbooks and other critical materials to be able to continue their coursework remotely; and
    • to bring with them any personal effects, valuables or other items they may need for a potential extended period of time away from campus.
  • We acknowledge that some students may be required to remain on campus during the period residential instruction is suspended; therefore, campus student and auxiliary services will remain open and in operation (with limited or reduced services) during spring break and throughout the period residential instruction is suspended.
  • Effective immediately, the University will implement on-campus social distancing protocols:
    • Schools, colleges and units will cancel, postpone or conduct virtually any planned event where attendance will exceed 50 individuals. Residential classes of 50 or more are an exception through the end of the academic day on Friday, March 13.
    • Schools, colleges and units with plans to host an external speaker or external groups on campus between March 10 and March 30 should cancel, postpone or virtually conduct those events.
  • Guidance for appropriate work-from-home and other policy accommodations for staff will be forthcoming.
  • Guidance for athletic events and competitions will be forthcoming, based on policy coordination with the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA.

In anticipation of transitioning classes online, Information Technology Services created a Rapid Online Course Development Guide, which was shared with all faculty earlier this week. This guide will support faculty in transitioning their instruction online while engaging students in distance learning modalities that meet course learning objectives. The Rapid Online Course Development Guide is part of a larger toolkit of Academic Continuity Resources under development by the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, Information Technology Services, and the Center for Online and Digital Learning. To access these tools, please visit

We will continue to closely monitor and evaluate information and guidance provided by state and federal agencies in order to inform future decisions concerning residential instruction and on-campus activities. Please visit regularly as we will continue to update it with information and news.

This story has been updated with copy corrections.