Temple University has suspended in-person teaching for the remainder of the semester beginning Monday in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the university announced Wednesday.
Students in university housing must vacate campus by no later than 5 p.m. on March 21. However, students who are unable to return home may request extensions to stay the rest of the semester. Temple also recommending anyone living in off-campus housing to return home, including students living in fraternity houses.
Staff will remain working as usual, though those with high-risk factors should discuss with their supervisors the possibility of working remotely, according to the announcement.
Temple is also suspending all university-affiliated international travel and discouraging university-affiliated and personal domestic travel to areas with sustained community transmission through the end of the semester. The university also urges groups to cancel any non-essential events.
The university is working on contingency plans for Commencement and will be sharing information with “as soon as possible,” according to the announcement.
The announcement comes two days after the university instructed professors and students to prepare for the possibility of moving to online classes, The Temple News reported. Several Philadelphia-area universities and Pennsylvania’s three other state-related universities have also announced they will suspend in-person teaching, The Temple News reported.
Philadelphia has one presumed positive case of COVID-19, a strain of the coronavirus, out of a total of 16 cases in Pennsylvania, The Temple News reported.
No one at the university has the virus, according to the university’s landing page for information on COVID-19.
“We have full faith in the resiliency of our students and the commitment of our faculty and staff. Temple Owls have never backed down in the face of a challenge, and this is no exception,” President Richard Englert wrote in Wednesday evening’s statement.
COVID-19 is a part of the coronavirus family, which causes respiratory tract diseases and illnesses. Symptoms of the virus include having a fever, coughing and having difficulty breathing, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The disease was first discovered in Wuhan, China, in late December 2019 and is believed to have started in a poultry and seafood market, the New York Times reported.
The CDC advises people with symptoms to contact a health care professional if they have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, live in an area or have recently traveled from an area with an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
To avoid the virus, do not touch your mouth, eyes or nose, avoid close contact with people who are sick and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with hot water, the CDC advises.