Slippery Rock University leaders appreciate how the campus community has cooperated with the COVID-19 response, but they’ve decided to continue with online classes next semester.

“While I’m grateful to everyone for being mindful of our current situation, now is not the time to let our guard down. This is the time we should double down on our efforts to keep our campus and community as COVID-free as possible,” SRU President Dr. William Behre wrote in a letter posted on the school’s website in early October.

At the end of the spring 2020 semester, classes were held online, which continued with the current semester.

Also, the winter commencement ceremony set for Dec. 12 will be conducted virtually, and it is for all 2020 graduates from spring, summer and fall sessions.

Anyone can visit and click on the “COVID-19” link at the top of the homepage to learn more about preventative measures and current cases.

Twelve students and three faculty or staff members were confirmed positive between Oct. 26 and Nov. 1, according to the SRU website.

Since Aug. 20, a total of 196 students and five faculty or staff members tested positive for the virus.

Between Oct. 26 and Nov. 1, 22 students and five employees were in quarantine, which means they were in close contact with someone who has the virus or someone who is sick and waiting for test results.

Since Aug. 20, 31 students and no employees were put in isolation, which is meant for those who have the virus or those who are sick and waiting for results.

Behre also said that like the fall semester, about 20 percent of the spring classes will be held in-person.

The SRU website keeps a running list of which buildings on campus are open or closed, and whether it’s necessary for temperatures to be taken before entry.

Behre added that COVID-19 will be overlapping with flu season, which will complicate things and further burden the healthcare system.

That played into the university’s decision to continue with distance learning.

If things change for the better, school leaders will look at how best to proceed with expanded in-person activities in the spring.

“However, those decisions will be dependent on the status of the science surrounding the pandemic as well as our ability to pivot successfully,” Behre wrote.

He’s confident that the campus community will meet the demands that lie ahead.

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