Robert Morris University cancels face to face classes and switches to online until April 27

Campus remains open, according to officials

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Photo Credit: (MGN Online)

John Blinn and Soundharjya Babu

UPDATE: March 13- 5:45 p.m.

According to an email from Robert Morris University, the Student Recreation and Fitness Center would re-open at noon on March 13.

The center will be working on a modified schedule. According to the email, the center will be open Monday – Friday: 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

During these hours, the center will implement several new social distancing policies. These policies are:

  • Internal staff will continue to perform additional cleaning of high touch surfaces.

  • Rec center staff will monitor our newly installed hand sanitizer dispensers during all rounds and informing supervisors immediately if they need attention.

  • All patrons will be required to wipe pieces of equipment before and after each use. Equipment should not be shared prior to wiping with disinfectant wipes.

  • Patrons will be asked to use every other piece of cardio and strength equipment during busy times in order to maintain six feet of separation between each other.

  • We will temporarily not be issuing athletic equipment and fitness accessories from our front desk. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own balls and accessories if they wish to use them.

The university will continue to monitors practices and guidelines along with other members of the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA). Campus administration will continue to provide further updates as they are made.

UPDATE: March 12- 7:30 p.m.

RMU’s counseling center will switch to teletherapy in light of recent coronavirus precautions.

Students enrolled in the counseling center have the option to participate in therapy via telephone or face-to-face video conferencing through Google Hangouts Meet.

According to an email to students enrolled in counseling center services, teletherapy will be the primary form of services, but walk-in crisis appointments are still available.

According to the website, there are certain limitations to teletherapy. As an alternative to on-ground services, students are reminded that it does not substitute face-to-face counseling, especially for individuals dealing with a crisis, acute psychosis or suicidal or homicidal thoughts.

The counseling center will provide local resources for students who are not interested or not eligible for the updated services but would still like to receive therapy. Students must meet several criteria for distance counseling:

  • Students must be clinically appropriate for this form of counseling
  • Must be currently enrolled at RMU
  • Must currently reside or be physically located in the state of Pennsylvania (due to licensing restrictions)

Students who received the email are asked to respond for further steps. Confidentiality will still be maintained and the attendance policy will stay the same.

Click here for more information on teletherapy services, requirements and emergency plans.

UPDATE: March 12- 6:00p.m.

As of 5:30 p.m. on March 12, RMU announced that the Student Recreation and Fitness Center will no longer be open. The center is set to close until further notice at 12:00 a.m. Thursday night.

The cancelation includes a temporary end to scheduled programs in the recreational facilities.

These programs include:

  • Intramural sports
  • Group exercise classes
  • Student organization events

According to an email on behalf RMU Campus Rec, the university is currently planning to continue to offer esports tournaments and leagues. Students should also expect links and resources that will provide details and tips on workouts that can be completed in residence halls or outside.

As of now, it is unclear whether or not the university will be closing any other locations.

“Obviously this is a fluid situation, and we have to continue to monitor the situation locally and nationally,” said Jonathan Potts, the vice president of marketing and public relations.

The change was made after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf discouraged state residents from attending public “recreational activities.” Wolf discouraged trips to public gyms, theaters and stores.

“Unfortunately the situation in our region is changing constantly, and we need to be able to adjust quickly. Our top priority is to keep the campus community, and our surrounding communities, safe and healthy. We are sorry for the further inconvenience this is causing,” said Potts.

Students are encouraged to reach out to [email protected] with any questions or concerns.

Be sure to check in with RMU Sentry Media for continued updates on the ongoing status of the university during the continuous coronavirus pandemic.

ORIGINAL STORY:

MOON TOWNSHIP – Robert Morris University will be canceling face to face classes until April 27 as a result of the continuous spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

In an email sent to students from the Office of the President, RMU announced that as of Monday, March 16, all classes will be conducted online or through alternative methods.

The university also added that classes would be canceled on Thursday, March 12, and Friday, March 13.

Students can expect to hear directly from the faculty and their instructors for further instructions based on their individual classes.

Currently, the campus is set to remain open. Dining facilities, residence halls, the University Library, the Student Recreation and Fitness Center, the Counseling Center and the UPMC [email protected] center will all remain available to students.

The university also adopted several safety policies regarding social distancing. These policies include:

  • Attendance at all scheduled events should be limited to no more than 25 people. We ask that you consider canceling smaller events if they are to be held in a confined space that does not allow for sufficient social distancing.
  • In planning events or deciding which events should continue, please take into consideration the age and health of expected attendees. Evidence thus far demonstrates that the Coronavirus is more harmful to older adults and those with pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Requests to hold events or other scheduled gatherings in excess of 25 guests must be approved by a member of the President’s Cabinet. Students should contact the Office of Student Life with any questions regarding events.
  • All non-essential university-related travel for faculty and staff, including domestic and international destinations, is suspended until further notice.

The university also modified the process for several events moving forward. These events include:

  • The women’s basketball NEC Tournament semifinal game scheduled for Thursday night at the UPMC Events Center. However, in accordance with the latest NCAA policy, there will be no spectators except essential staff and limited family attendance. That policy will be in place should we advance to the conference championship on Sunday.
  • Accepted Student Day scheduled for Saturday at the UPMC Events Center. The activities for that event can be managed in such a way to ensure sufficient social distancing in accordance with our new policy. The Enrollment Management team will contact all students, faculty, and staff scheduled to participate in that event with updated instructions and guidelines.

Currently, the UPMC Events Center is set to remain open to the public and will continue to host non-university events. These events will follow guidelines set by the OVG Facilities and the International Association of Venue Managers.

RMU encourages that anyone who has returned from an affected area should reach out to the [email protected] center at 412-397-6220. Staff members are available at this center from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

RMU stressed in the email that the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff is their main priority during this time.

“I realize this is an unprecedented step, and a decision that the university does not make lightly. I know that it may cause significant disruption, but rest assured we are acting out of an abundance of caution and with the highest regard to the health and safety of the entire campus community, as well as the welfare of our friends, families, and neighbors. I know that this is especially disappointing news to our graduating seniors, and I am sorry that it has become necessary,” said President Christopher Howard.

Students, faculty and staff are all reminded to practice good health habits.