Colleges In Western Kansas Adjusting Spring Break Schedules To Combat Spread of COVID-19

Mar 13, 2020

Updated Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

GARDEN CITY, Kansas — As the number of new coronavirus cases rises in Kansas, several state universities have moved classes online and some have asked students living on campus to move out. Some community colleges in western Kansas are also considering making adjustments.  

Fort Hays State University announced Thursday that all classes will be taught online for the remainder of the spring semester beginning March 23. Spring break is scheduled for March 23 through March 29. 

“We are asking that students currently residing on campus return to their homes during spring break (bringing all personal belongings with you, including any textbooks and course material) and thereafter remain at home during this period of on-line delivery,” according to the statement.

Rachel Coleman, executive director of marketing and public relations at Seward County Community College in Liberal, said spring break will be extended for a week. Classes are set to resume on March 23.

Coleman said it is possible that classes will move online, but the college has not finalized any details.

“We have a lot of online course offerings already, but not everything is online,” she said. 

Coleman said not everyone is accustomed to working online. 

“We’re trying to balance caution with being realistic about what our students need,” she said.

As of Friday, Coleman said the community college is not closing its dorms. 

“We’re asking our students who are locally based or who can stay outside the dorm to do so,” she said.  “We have a lot of athletes and international students that would have nowhere to go, and so we're permitting the dorms to be open to them. But we're also advising them and requesting that they limit their travel on and off campus.”

Colby Community College announced Friday that spring break has been extended until March 27. After that, most classes will be taught online. Students are encouraged to move out of the college's dorms; however, students who cannot leave may stay, but should contact the school.  

Garden City Community College initally extended spring break from March 23 to March 29, but on March 18, based on new recommendations by the White House, Centers for Disease Control, and the state of Kansas, college officials announced that all academic instruction for the remainder of the spring semester will be delivered online.

As of Friday, Dodge City Community College had not announced any adjustments to its academic schedule, but said an announcement would be made by Wednesday, March 18. 

Corinne Boyer covers western Kansas for High Plains Public Radio and the Kansas News Service. You can follow her on Twitter @Corinne_boyer or email cboyer (at) hppr (dot) org.

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