Miami U. extending shutdown of all live classes through semester, grad ceremony in jeopardy

There will be no more live classes this semester at Miami University and the spring graduation ceremony may be in jeopardy, school officials said today.

The Butler County school, which has also has remote campuses in Middletown, Hamilton and West Chester Township besides its main Oxford campus, had already temporarily suspended live classroom instruction prior to today’s announcement.

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“The health and safety of our community remains our highest priority. The uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus is a challenge for us all, and we will work to provide certainty wherever possible,” Miami University President Gregory Crawford said in a statement.

“We have been closely evaluating the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and following the advice of the Governor and the Ohio Department of Health. The situation is rapidly evolving, and although there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus at Miami University, every action we take is to protect the health and safety of our university community,” said Crawford.

“Based on the daily reports from the Governor and Ohio’s Director of Health, who stated yesterday that the coronavirus peak is estimated for late April or early May, we do not believe a return to our campuses for face-to-face instruction by April 13 is possible.

“Therefore, we have decided to complete the remainder of the semester through remote instruction. We are announcing this decision today, so that faculty will have the maximum amount of time possible to fully prepare to deliver the semester’s remaining course material remotely, and so that students and parents can plan accordingly as students depart campus. For those students who leave by March 27, 2020, and do not return, there will be an appropriate refund of room and board, details will follow next week.

“We understand that departing for the entire semester is not possible for all students, and special arrangements will be made for them to remain on campus.

“Housing guidance for students and parents, along with additional information for faculty, and staff will be forthcoming before the end of the day,” Crawford said.

A decision to hold the school’s spring commencement on May 15 remains to be determined, he said.

“We will continue to evaluate the situation and when we have sufficient information, we will make a decision, which we will quickly share with all of you.”

Miami is Butler County’s largest university - with nearly 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students - and the county’s largest employer.

“We realize this is unprecedented, and we appreciate the efforts all have taken to quickly shift our method of curriculum delivery and respond to the many challenges created. This is a quickly evolving situation, and we will continue to provide important information and significant decisions as they are made,” said Crawford.

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