Coronavirus concerns rise as colleges, universities approach spring break

Local colleges and university staying prepared for COVID-19 outbreak

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As many Mid-South schools kick off spring break, some students are concerned for what happens next.

"Is it even safe to come back,” said University of Memphis senior Julien McGhee.

McGhee says it’s an uneasy feeling knowing a case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed here in Shelby County. It makes him think about all the students who may be traveling this spring break and heading back to the University of Memphis after March 15.

"Ain’t no telling how much further it’s going to spread so here we might need to know some more information before we get back,” said McGhee.

Shelby County coronavirus case is ‘no risk’ to the general public, officials say

Several colleges and universities nationwide, including Harvard, Columbia and Berkeley, have canceled in-person classes because of the coronavirus.

"It’s a great option to have. I don’t know if we’re necessarily at the point where that’s kind of where we need to go,” said Memphian Rudy Nasser.

WMC reached out to several mid-south schools, including Ole Miss, the University of Memphis and Rhodes College. We asked if there were any post-spring break procedures in place for students who have traveled.

Officials at LeMoyne Owen College emailed WMC this statement:

“In addition to communicating precautionary steps about COVID-19 to students, faculty and staff last week, we now are preparing for our Spring Break, March 16-20. We will be encouraging students to follow all CDC guidelines with regard to their intended travel. Our leadership team is currently exploring remote learning options for students should they become necessary. At this time, we want our LOC family to have a safe break by following all steps for precaution provided.”

Other university and college officials pointed us to school websites that provide the most updated coronavirus information but gave no specifics other than they’re following Centers for Disease Control guidelines when it comes to cleanliness, traveling and outreach.

The CDC has released a guide for institutions of higher education that says they should re-consider attendance and sick leave policies during this time and prepare for online courses rather than in-person classes.

For more information click on the links below:

University of Memphis: https://www.memphis.edu/health/coronavirus/index.php

Ole Miss: https://communications.olemiss.edu/coronavirus/

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