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Northern Arizona University to move classes online amid coronavirus concerns

Arizona State University and University of Arizona also moved classes online in response to the coronavirus.

PHOENIX — Northern Arizona University has announced that it will move all classes online for the rest of the spring semester due to coronavirus concerns, officials said.

"Given the rapidly changing environment around COVID19, NAU now anticipates remaining in an online education delivery mode for the remainder of the spring semester," a statement reads on NAU's Facebook page

According to the school, NAU's mountain campus will remain open, including housing, computer labs, food service, health services, research labs and more. 

Arizona's third public university will still continue classes through the end of the week, an announcement that came on the same day that Arizona State University and University of Arizona canceled in-person classes for at least two weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

In a letter, Northern Arizona University President Rita Hartung Cheng said Wednesday that university officials are "addressing the outbreak in a proactive and comprehensive manner." 

"We expect our faculty to hold classes and our students to attend classes and complete coursework through the remainder of this week. We will communicate if there is a need to adjust operations," part of the statement read. 

"As a result of recommendations from our COVID-19 task force, we have canceled several large campus events this week, as well as some student trips scheduled for spring break. Please do not cancel programs or events without conferring with academic or executive leadership. We are creating protocols and procedures that will allow us to review events that are scheduled after spring break in order to make appropriate decisions," the statement continued. 

"This is a highly fluid situation, and while there is no imminent threat to current operations, I would like to compliment our campus community for the extensive work taking place to ensure we provide essential services, including shifting course delivery to digital modalities after spring break, should the need arise."

For Arizona State University, all in-person classes are going online for two weeks wherever possible starting Monday. University of Arizona is temporarily moving from in-person classes to online courses until at least April 6.

Both announcements came after Gov. Doug Ducey declared a public health emergency in response to the coronavirus outbreak. 

When the university first announced it was moving classes online, nine people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Arizona. The school said at first that classes would remain online for at least two weeks.

NAU canceled in-person classes through the rest of the semester on Monday, after 18 coronavirus cases were announced in Arizona. None of those cases are at NAU, in Flagstaff or in Coconino County. 

COVID-19 is believed to be primarily spread through coughs or sneezes. 

It may be possible for the virus to spread by touching a surface or object with the virus and then a person touching their mouth, nose or eyes, but this is not thought to be the main method of spread, the CDC says. 

You should consult your doctor if you traveled to an area currently affected by COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing. 

There is no vaccine for the coronavirus, so the best way to prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases is to:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

You can text FACTS to 602-444-1212 to receive more information on the coronavirus and to ask questions.

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