WACO, Texas - Baylor University has announced classes will go online for the remainder of the spring semester.
In addition to classes going online, May commencement ceremonies will be postponed, but degrees will still be conferred for those who satisfy their academic requirements and spring graduates will be able to walk at an August ceremony.
In a letter to students, faculty, staff, and parents, university president Dr. Linda A. Livingstone said, "This difficult and unprecedented decision – one being faced by colleges and universities throughout the country – was made with the health, wellbeing, and safety of our students, faculty, and staff in mind."
Students are strongly encouraged not to return to campus or Waco, "as available activities and services are becoming more and more limited." Students who are home for the extended spring break are encouraged to remain at home and those who have returned, but have the ability to go home should "seriously consider doing so as soon as practicable."
Baylor will be restricting access to residence halls to a limited number of students through the end of the spring semester. Those who left the residence halls before spring break are asked not to return to retrieve belongings until there is a safe and orderly process to do so.
"We have limited access to many places on campus in order to meet social distancing requirements and to protect the health and safety of those who are still living and working on campus," Livingstone said in the letter. "Be assured we are keeping your rooms locked and your belongings safe."
The students who meet the following criteria will be allowed to return to the residence halls for the rest of the semester:
- Student's permanent residence is outside of the U.S. and they are unable to travel to their home country
- Student's academic department has deemed their internship, clinical or practicum will continue and requires their on-site presence and the student has accepted that arrangement
- Student has personal circumstances preventing them from going home, including but not limited to: being an independent student, being part of the foster care system, family does not have a permanent address, home community is quarantined, returning home is a health or safety threat to the student or those at home or insufficient internet and technology capabilities preventing student from accessing courses remotely
Only students who meet one or more of these criteria will be able to return to the residence halls this semester and Baylor will make an application form available in the days ahead, says the letter.
Dining options on campus will be significantly limited, primarily to grab-and-go options at one location, and recreational opportunities will be unavailable, including those in the McLane Student Life Center. The letter says there is also currently no specific plan or answers regarding the unused portions of on-campus housing or dining plans and there will not be for a couple of weeks.
University events, activities, conferences and large gatherings will be suspended through the end of the semester.