WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Officials with Midwestern State University announced Thursday that the university will transition to online-only classes following an extended spring break in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
MSU will add two days to its spring break, extending the holiday for students until Tuesday, March 24.
On Wednesday, March 25, MSU will add its name to a growing list of colleges and universities around the nation to take this preventative measure in response to the COVID-19 threat.
Texas, Texas Tech, St. Edwards, Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are among the universities taking similar precautions.
“It’s never a problem to be too cautious,” Sociology senior Bridget Reilly said.
It’s a step university, school districts and sports leagues are taking by canceling, suspending and changing the way things are done because of concern over the coronavirus.
“We have the option to come back to school on the 25th for housing, but we don’t have to come back, all of our classes are online,” MSU student Eric Queller said.
This means group projects and hands-on learning are at jeopardy.
Mass Communication senior Kristin Silva’s first reaction was ‘shock’.
“As a mass comm student, everything that I do is face-to-face, and it’s very hands-on work,” Silva said. “I have a lot of group projects, so we have to meet face-to-face and work on stuff together.”
However, MSU students like Silva and Reilly are also aware of the importance of staying ahead of the spread.
“With Harvard shutting down and going to online classes, I thought ‘well they’re a pretty big institution and probably the smaller institutions should follow if they think it’s as serious as it is,'” Reilly said.
“I don’t think the university made the wrong decision,” Silva said. “I think taking precautions against something like this where we don’t even have a vaccine for it is fair, but at the same time, this is like the flu—it’s just a different strain that we haven’t seen before.”
Amid this decision, university officials have also reassured students there’s not currently a direct cause for concern.
“One of the main things is there are no cases in Wichita Falls and it’s still a developing topic, and just to wash your hands is the main thing,” Queller said.
MSU officials assure that this is a preventative measure out of an abundance of caution, and there are currently no presumed positive cases of COVID-19 at the university.
It is unknown at this time if and when standard in-person classes will resume.
You can read the full release from Midwestern State University here.