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EWU to start spring semester online as normally scheduled

Eastern Washington University joined Washington State University in moving classes online for the rest of the year.

PULLMAN, Wash. — Eastern Washington University has announced it will begin its spring semester as scheduled on March 30 with online-only courses.

The announcement comes after Governor Jay Inslee announced on Friday that all public and private K-12 schools in Washington will be closed from March 17 to April 27 as a coronavirus precaution. He also directed higher education institutions to seize in-person instruction. 

Other EWU functions will stay open, including dining halls, financial aid, the child care center, student housing and the main library.

Several universities in the Inland Northwest are canceling in-person classes amid the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state. 

EWU leaders had previously announced that all classes able to be moved online will do so for the rest of the academic year.

In an email sent to students, university leaders said "all academic operations, to the fullest extent, will be moved online through the remainder of the current academic year." Classes and labs that can't be moved online will be limited to 25 people or less.

EWU is also discussing the fate of university events later this spring, including graduation, the email said. University travel has also been restricted.

Beginning Monday, March 23, Washington State University will not have classes in person. WSU leaders wrote on its website that the shift to online courses allows for increased social distancing as COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus, spreads in Washington state.

The university’s five physical campuses and other locations across the state will remain open during this period to provide for continued business operations. Residential, dining and healthcare facilities will remain open on the Pullman campus.

Employees with report to work as normal, WSU said on its website. They should consult the Human Resource Services COVID-19 FAQ page if they have questions regarding leave and work options should they need to stay off campus due to illness or because they are at an elevated risk for COVID-19.

WSU wrote that supervisors will coordinate with employees who request to work from an alternate location to determine if operations allow for telework or other arrangements.

RELATED: Gov. Inslee bans events of 250 people or more in 3 counties amid virus outbreak

Though the decision extends across WSU, each campus or other location may have specific situations that determine details of implementation.

Each campus will receive a follow-up email by the end of Wednesday, WSU wrote on its website.

Twenty-nine people have died among at least 366 people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Washington state, which has the most reported cases in the United States.

RELATED: Real-time updates: 24 coronavirus deaths among 267 cases in Washington

RELATED: World Health Organization declares COVID-19 outbreak is now a pandemic

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