University of Minnesota suspends classes, WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic

Tiana Meador, Editor-in-Chief

On Wed. Mar. 11 President Joan Gabel notified students that the university has made its final move in keeping its students safe amid the COVID-19 crisis. As the World Health Organization (WHO) deemed the virus a pandemic early Wednesday, the university has officially decided to close its doors for all in-person lectures.

“We are suspending in-person instruction, including field experiences and clinicals, across our five campuses and are moving to online, or alternative, instruction. Students on the Morris and Crookston campuses will have in-person classes through this Friday, March 13,” wrote Gabel.

As a result, spring break is extended until Mar. 18 and classes will be instructed virtually until Apr. 1 at the earliest.

WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters, “We expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of affected countries climb even higher. WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we’re deeply concerned. Most by the alarming levels of spread and severity. And by the alarming levels of inaction.”

Despite the historic move protecting the community, critics already claim the closing of in-person lectures will negatively affect students who rely on labs, clinicals, and peer-to-peer communication. The university has not commented on how this will affect tuition.