JMU transitions to online learning due to spike in COVID-19 cases; On-campus residents expected to return home by Sept. 7

Posted at 7:52 PM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 19:57:47-04

James Madison University announced that they will make a temporary transition to online classes in response to the growing number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the university's student population in a short period of time.

JMU released a statement announcing the changes Tuesday afternoon.

The university says in the days since students have been back on campus, they observed troubling public health trends. The university says they are concerned about capacity in the number of isolation and quarantine spaces they can provide.

According to the JMU COVID-19 dashboard, since July 1 there have been a total of 513 active COVID-19 cases and 15 recovered cases.

Monday had the highest reported cases with 120 student-self reported COVID-19 cases and 18 students tested positive at the University Health Center.

After consulting with the Virginia Department of Health, JMU decided they will transition to primarily online learning, with some hybrid instruction for accreditation and licensure requirements, graduate research, and specialized upper-class courses requiring equipment and space, through the month of September.

Courses currently offered online will continue to be online without any break in instruction.

Classes will take place as scheduled for the remainder of this week unless students are otherwise notified by their faculty.

In-person classes will transition online no later than Sept. 7.

On-campus residents will also be asked to return home by Sept. 7 unless they seek an exemption to stay.

Over the next month, university officials will monitor health trends and will update the campus community by Sept. 25 regarding the possibility of returning to in-person instruction on or after October 5.

The university will remain open for on-campus amenities, such as dining, health and wellness services.

JMU says decisions about refunds have not yet been made, but we will communicate with students and families as soon as possible on that topic.

Students have been advised to quarantine are asked to stay in Harrisonburg to finish out their prescribed time.

Additionally, as a precaution, students should plan to quarantine for two weeks upon arriving at their destination.

Stay with News 3 for updates.