UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox announced Tuesday that all in-person classes on campus will be suspended until at least April 3 based on mounting concerns over potential coronavirus exposure, leaving teachers and students to interact via the internet or other remote means.
“As local, national and global public health recommendations shift to include mitigation of transmission, we are proactively taking steps that will help protect the community,” Wilcox said. “(Our) measures will allow us greater flexibility as we work to prevent … spread of COVID-19.”
Wilcox acknowledged that no student, faculty member or employee at UCR has been diagnosed with the China-born virus, but prevailing worries within the UC community prompted precautionary action.
According to the chancellor, instructors must prepare to conduct all classes online until April 3, possibly longer. He also advised students in campus housing that if they wish to return to their permanent residences for the next three weeks and continue their studies at home, they are welcome to do so.
“The provost’s office will continue working with the Academic Senate to provide additional guidance regarding online instruction and resources, as well as considerations for laboratory- and performance-based instruction,” Wilcox said.
He said most campus buildings will remain open despite the suspension of traditional classroom instruction, but amplified sanitization policies will be implemented for public health.
“Services may be limited as some employees may be allowed to work remotely,” the chancellor said.
UCR will not permit large gatherings of 150 people or more, and even gatherings of 15 or less attendees are discouraged under the new protocol. If a gathering is essential and cannot feasibly be moved to an electronic platform, it may be considered for a special dispensation, according Wilcox.
Athletic events will go ahead as planned — but they will have to be “fan-less,” with no general attendance permitted.
UCR officials noted that anyone displaying any flu-like symptoms or illness that could be viral should stay home and avoid contacts anywhere in the community.
Frequent handwashing, social distancing and basic hygiene were emphasized as good precautionary practices.
“We understand that implementing these changes with such limited notice will have broad impacts and will be challenging and disruptive for many of you, and we appreciate your patience and cooperation,” according to a UCR statement.
The campus has a web portal dedicated to COVID-19 updates: http://www.ehs.ucr.edu/coronavirus.