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Penn State Extends Remote Learning Through End of Semester, Postpones Spring Commencement

by on March 18, 2020 11:18 AM

Penn State has suspended in-person classes and extended remote instruction through the remainder of the spring semester because of the coronavirus pandemic, the university announced on Wednesday.

Spring commencement ceremonies also are postponed "while the University explores options for celebrating the achievements of our students," according to a news release. Exams also will be administered remotely.

Penn State had initially moved to online classes through April 3, but the extension comes as federal and state officials have advised avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people to halt the spread of the virus.

“Graduation is a significant milestone for our students and while it may not be the same as our traditional ceremony, we are committed to finding the best way possible to recognize the achievements of our graduates,” Penn State President Eric Barron said in a news release. “However, as the world works together to slow the spread of COVID-19, these decisions must be made with public health at the forefront along with the health and wellness of our students, faculty, staff, their families, and our local communities.” 

Penn State will soon announce a plan for students to move belongings out of residence halls. They will not be able to access their on-campus residence halls until they receive specific instructions and schedule for move-out so that social distancing can be maintained.

“The university will also work with local authorities, landlords, and student leaders, where we can, to develop strategies to minimize the impact of students returning to our communities to retrieve personal belongings, said Barron. “We encourage all students to be patient as they await further guidance and support.”

University leaders are working through questions about room and board refunds, on-campus jobs, internships, research projects and other issues, and more information will be forthcoming. They also say they will work with communities and local partners impacted by the decisions "to address our shared challenges and needs together."

Penn State students in need can apply for emergency assistance through the Student Care & Advocacy Emergency Fund. Those who wish to donate to the fund can go to

Pennsylvania had confirmed 96 cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania as of 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday. No cases have so far been reported in Centre County.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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