The University of Montevallo announced Friday that they would have an early spring break starting on Monday, March 16, and would transition from in-person classes to an online format starting on March 30. This came after the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported Friday morning by the Alabama Department of Public Health. 

“Due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, and out of concern for the safety of our campus community the University of Montevallo will extend its spring break earlier than scheduled,” said UM President Dr. John Stewart in an email to campus on Friday, March 13. 

Faculty will report to work as normal during the week of March 16. 

The University recommend that all students living in on-campus housing should move essential items such as books, electronic devices and items necessary for completing classwork with them by 5 p.m. on Monday, March 16 and asks students to refrain from returning to campus until in-person classes are resumed. 

UM will then transition to distance education methods on March 30 through Friday April 10, and a decision will be made regarding whether or not this will continue past that date the week of April 6.  

These changes to UM’s core teaching methods come as other universities across the country have chosen to limit in-person instructional methods. 

UM’s Office of Student Life had already announced that as of March 16 any student organization events that included more than 100 students were cancelled until April 5. This included both Greek Weekend and the Big Event which had been scheduled to take place during that period of time. 

Efforts have been taken throughout the week by UM to assess the University’s ability to transition current course offerings to an online format. 

“These decisions are based on current best practices from the CDC and public health officials regarding social distancing as a prevention strategy for disease transmission,” stated Stewart. “This remains a fluid situation and UM will continue to monitor it closely.” 

Earlier on Friday, Alabama’s State Health Officer, Scott Harris advised citizens to practice social distancing and stated that this combined with proper hygiene measures were the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Dozens of other universities have already resorted to online only instruction in an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

This is an ongoing story that The Alabamian will continue to report on. You can contact us at alabamian@montevallo.edu.