EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The University of Oregon announced Wednesday it will operate primarily virtual classrooms this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.
University President Michael Schill said Wednesday that first-year students will be welcome to live on the Eugene campus, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. But they, too, will do most classwork remotely.
“The decision to move to a predominantly remote and online form of instruction in the fall was not easy,” Schill said in a statement on the University website. “We know that the vast majority of our students are itching to get back into the classroom. Many of our faculty and staff members feel exactly the same way. However, due to a confluence of factors we need to pivot.”
University officials said in the spring they hoped to open the campus and resume something close to normal operations this fall. But an increase this summer of new virus cases in Oregon prompted administrators to back away from that plan.
Schill said the experience of major colleges elsewhere in the country, which opened briefly and then shut their campuses when students contracted the virus, also influenced his decision.
“All of us have watched other institutions abruptly shift gears over the last week or so, and I decided that the potential for disruption to our students and our campus community was just too high,” Schill said.
Incoming freshmen will be welcome to move on campus. The university will be “instituting a robust testing, contact tracing, and isolation and quarantine program in our residence halls,” Schill said.
The university hopes the stepped-up precautions will allow campus to resume more normal operations in the winter quarter.