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Siena College extends spring break through March 20 over coronavirus concerns

Siena College extends spring break through March 20 over coronavirus concerns

College suspends week of class in latest move to prevent spread of coronavirus
Siena College extends spring break through March 20 over coronavirus concerns
Photographer: File photo

Siena College on Wednesday extended its spring break an extra week, leaving students out of school through at least March 20, one of the the latest coronavirus-related closures in the region.

Students are currently on their spring break and the college reported that no students, staff or faculty have reported symptoms of the virus, but the college is joining the ranks of most private colleges in the area and many others around the country in extending breaks or suspending in-person classes. 

The college asked students to remain away from campus, but said offices will remain open and some students will have access to campus as needed. The college said its current plan is to reopen campus March 22 with classes resuming March 23.

"We took this initiative because New York is one of the most highly impacted states in this ongoing health crisis, and because this virus is spreakin so rapidly and the full extent of its severity remains unknown," Margaret Madden, the college's interim president, said in a statement.

The college has also limited gatherings on campuses to fewer than 50 people, barred spectators from attending home sporting events and are canceling all public events planned on campus through March 29.

In a message to the Siena campus community, the college also suggested it was taking steps to prepare for a campus closure that may have to extend past the extra week of break and foroces classes online. 

Also: SUNY schools to move to online learning March 19 amid coronavirus threat

"Faculty, in the meantime, are formulating contingency plans that will allow the college to move all courses online should circumstances warrant," according to a message the college sent to students.

Siena is only the latest college to make such a decision. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Tuesday announced its plans to suspend all in-person instruction from March 16 through at least March 30. Skidmore College suspended classes and the return of students to campus through at least March 22.

Phil Wajda, a spokesperson for Union College, on Wednesday said the college planned to finish out its winter term, which ends with finals next week, but was still finalizing decisions about plans for the spring term, which is scheduled to begin March 30. He said a decision about plans for the start of spring term would be announced by Thursday. 

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