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6:06 PM / Thursday September 24, 2020

20 Aug 2020

Drexel University announces cancellation of in-person classes

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August 20, 2020 Category: Coronavirus Posted by:

Drexel University canceled in-person instruction for undergraduates for the fall quarter, with university officials saying they changed their minds after watching the difficulties at other large universities that have brought students back to campus.

It closed housing and will conduct all undergraduate academic courses remotely, except for some clinical programs in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel said.

Some smaller private colleges in Pennsylvania, including Lafayette College and Dickinson College, and several state-owned universities have also made the decision to go remote this fall.

The changes Drexel and Pitt came a day after Carnegie Mellon University said its fall semester would begin online only for undergraduates.

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Pitt Provost Ann Cudd told the campus in an email that the schedule adjustment will allow students to start in-person classes at the same time after they complete a staged arrival and shelter-in-place procedures. About 29,000 students attend Pitt’s main campus.

Pitt had said earlier this summer that it will offer certain classes through both in-person and remote instruction. Carnegie Mellon University has said it will offer a hybrid model in which some classes will be conducted strictly online while others will be offered through both in-person and remote instruction.

Pitt initially reported low rates of infection based on early tests of students who arrived on campus.

At Drexel, President John Fry said it had exceeded the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s guidelines to reopen.

But, while local coronavirus conditions have improved recently, “we are seeing incredibly troubling trends,” Fry wrote on the university’s website. “There are reports of nationwide campus-based disease outbreaks and cases rising among college-age individuals. Such reports are on the rise exponentially and they greatly concern us.”

Drexel has a responsibility to everyone in the campus community and people living nearby, Fry said.

“What we see happening across the nation on university campuses — outbreaks coupled with high rates of quarantine and isolation — we do not want to happen here,” Fry wrote.

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