MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Rhodes College has announced a suspension of all in-person classes in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Classes are cancelled March 16-20 and all in-person classes will now be delivered through remote learning.
"This was probably the most personally painful decision I’ve ever had to make as a leader and as a college president because it impacts so many of us,” said Rhodes College President Marjorie Hass.
Remote learning is scheduled to begin on Monday, March 23 in order to give faculty and students time to prepare for the new phase of the semester. All academic requirements will be met remotely.
Officials say this remote learning format will allow the small classes and one-on-one attention that is a hallmark of a Rhodes education. Faculty will determine the best instructional methods for their classes and will use a variety of platforms and resources to meet their teaching goals.
Issues involving internships and other special learning situations will be handled individually. Rhodes says students who remain in Memphis have the option of continuing their internships with the permission of their host sites.
Students who are able to do so must move out of on-campus housing no later than Wednesday, March 18 by 5:00 p.m. Rhodes will be refunding a portion of the cost of room and board for students who leave campus.
Students with compelling need, like international students, students without reliable internet access, or students without a home or safe home, may request to remain on campus during this time via a waiver request.
All in-person public lectures and gatherings are cancelled for the remainder of the semester. Events that can be delivered remotely may continue.
Hass said one major reason for the decision is the difficulty of handling the situation of anyone on campus contracting COVID-19.
"How would we respond and what kinds of requirements would be placed on Rhodes in terms of segregating students, separating them, putting students in isolation,” said Hass.
The pandemic is becoming all too real for students like J.D. Deming.
"The gravity of it is really hitting me now,” said Deming.
Intercollegiate athletic competition on campus is also cancelled through the end of the season, effective Wednesday.
"I’m really sad for all of my friends who have senior shows, exhibitions coming up that they won’t be able to finish. My heart is broken for the mock trial team,” said Deming.
Deming is on that nationally recognized mock trial team that may or may not be able to compete. He doesn't know yet.
Academic advising, counseling services, career advising, and many other student services will be available remotely.
Students with work study jobs should expect to hear from the office of financial aid shortly.
President Hass says the campus will not be closed and there are no plans to close it.
Faculty and staff will have access to their offices and labs.
It is important to note, no one at Rhodes has been diagnosed with the coronavirus.