By Renée K. Gadoua | Contributing writer
Le Moyne College, the Syracuse Diocese’s only Catholic College, announced today that it is extending spring break for at least a week because of the coronavirus. The college’s 1,500 students were to return to campus on Sunday, March 15, after a weeklong break.
College officials are considering moving to online instruction beginning March 23. Students who need to be on campus must get permission from Residence Life, according to an announcement from the college. “We will evaluate each petition individually,” said Joe Della Posta, college spokesman. Exceptions may include international students or students traveling for spring break and returning to Syracuse with no way to get home, he said.
“We recognize that this change is a major disruption to the semester and is no doubt unsettling for some,” Le Moyne’s president, Linda LeMura, said in a news release. “Please understand that the overriding reason behind this decision is to do everything we can to preserve the health and safety of all members of the Le Moyne community and all the communities we serve.”
The next two weeks will “serve as a transition period” for the faculty to prepare to use technology to teach courses online should the college do so. Many Le Moyne courses are already taught online or as a hybrid (part online and in person), so many faculty already use the technology, Della Posta said.
At least 10 of 27 Jesuit institutions in the United States have announced this week they will move classes online at least temporarily, according to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Several Jesuit colleges have suspended programs abroad. Le Moyne College called back one student who was in a Level 3 country, defined as one with widespread, ongoing transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control.