On Thursday, March 12, President Jim Johnsen announced that the University of Alaska system is extending spring break, moving most classes online, and canceling events amid the threat of coronavirus. UA is also asking students to leave on-campus dorms for the rest of the semester. All gatherings of more than 25 people held on the UAF Kuskokwim Campus are canceled or postponed through March 31. The Saturday Market scheduled for March 14 is also canceled.
Alaska’s public university system has more than 21,000 students across three main universities and several rural campuses. UA students have been on their week-long spring break since March 9, and were supposed to return next week. To give faculty time to prepare online classes, Johnsen extended spring break an extra week. Online classes will begin March 23.
UA is also asking students to leave on-campus dorms for the rest of the semester as a preventative measure. Students can request exceptions to move out later in the spring if they are unable to leave until then.
The university joins a host of other academic institutions that have cancelled or postponed in-person classes. That includes the University of Washington; Seattle University; the University of California, Berkeley; and the University of California, Los Angeles; as well as many Ivy League and East Coast schools.
Krysti Shallenberger contributed reporting.