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University of Alabama System moving classes online due to coronavirus

The University of Alabama System announced Thursday that its three campuses will be transitioning to online cases due to COVID-19.

The system published an updated interim emergency policy regarding the coronavirus.

“Based on recent developments, discussions with leadership on our campuses and with other institutions, and advice of the University of Alabama System Task Force, we are making immediate preparations to transition to online or alternate instruction for all academic courses to protect the health and safety of our communities. This policy will be re-evaluated on or before Monday, April 6, 2020,” the policy memo stated.

The details vary slightly among the campuses:

1. The University of Alabama (UA) and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) are scheduled for Spring Break next week (March 16-20). UA’s and UAB’s Spring Break will be extended through at least March 24. Each campus will notify students, faculty and staff when the semester will resume. The University of Alabama in Huntsville will begin the transition to online instruction Monday, March 16, and UAH’s Spring Break will remain the week of March 30-April 3.

2. Following Spring Break, UA System students should not return to campus and will continue their course work via distance learning subject to the following limited exceptions: (a) international or other students who do not have alternative accommodations; (b) students from areas without high-speed internet or other means of receiving remote instruction; and (c) students with exceptional hardships, or academic, employment, clinical or research requirements that should be reviewed by the respective campuses on a case-by-case basis. Arrangements will be made by the campuses to ensure any students remaining on campus have access to essential services.

3. The UA System’s restriction on ALL non-essential international and domestic travel remains in place. All non-essential University meetings, gatherings and events are cancelled. Faculty, staff and students abroad and in international affiliated programs sponsored by third parties should contact their program administrators for information and further guidance. These policies will be updated as circumstances require.

4. These policies will be updated as circumstances require.

The UA System has a website dedicated to the coronavirus here, where members of the community can get the latest updates from the system.

The City of Tuscaloosa on Thursday announced all events approved by the City or on City property are canceled through at least March 31.

As of Thursday at 5:00 p.m., there were no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Yellowhammer State. Samford University on Wednesday became the first university in Alabama to move all of its classes online; Auburn became the second on Thursday.

Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus via the Alabama Department of Health here and find related resources from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) here.

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Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn