President Thayne McCulloh sent out a statement Thursday outlining Gonzaga University's decision to delay the resumption of academic courses until March 23  and at the same time preparing for the possibility of moving classes online due to the continuing spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

This comes at a time of global responses to the virus and declaration of coronavirus as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

"Today, I have - In consultation with the Provost, Deans, Faculty President, Vice Presidents and the leadership of our Board of Trustees - decided to delay the resumption of our Spring semester courses by one week, until March 23, 2020," McCulloh said in the email. 

He emphasized this period of time will allow faculty to continue preparations to deliver coursework online and for staff to continue planning logistics dependent on the continuing changes around coronavirus. 

McCulloh has not yet made an absolute decision on whether classes will resume via technology and distance-delivery beginning on March 23.

"We are committed to making a decision on this as soon as practical, and will communicate it no later than mid-day Wednesday, March 18th," he said. 

Next week, all university events and activities planned on campus are canceled. 

"Students who have been living on campus this year but departed for Spring Break should not make plans to return to campus until further decisions about our capacity to support campus activities are made and communicated," McCulloh said.

Though students are advised to return to their permanent residence for the time being, McCulloh said that for students who are unable to return to an off-campus location, GU will continue to support them in campus housing and dining facilities. 

He concluded the email by reiterating the community must hold values of respect for every individual and care for the whole person during this stressful time. 

If anyone has questions regarding this decision and McCulloh's email, they can contact the Office of the President at (509) 313-7070. 

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Melina Benjamin is a news editor.

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