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Drury University is among local schools extending spring break.
SBJ file photo
Drury University is among local schools extending spring break.

College closures mount due to coronavirus

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Springfield-area colleges are ramping up closures following a presumptive positive case of the coronavirus in Greene County.

College of the Ozarks, Drury University, Evangel University and Ozarks Technical Community College are extending their March 16-20 spring breaks by one week in response to the respiratory virus.

Missouri State University canceled classes today, starting its spring break early. Greenwood Laboratory School, on MSU’s campus, also closed early. Both schools, as well as Baptist Bible College, plan to resume classes March 23. MSU officials said the school will make a decision to cancel classes or move them online by March 19.

Southwest Baptist University announced yesterday it will move seated courses online March 23-27, the week following spring break.

College officials have asked students to take books and computers home with them on break to prepare for online classes. Many also have canceled campus events and athletic games through the end of the month. All of the local colleges also have restricted travel.

In addition to extending spring break, OTC will shift seated courses online starting March 30, with the exception of labs and technical classes, according to the college’s website.

Evangel officials say while undergraduate and James River College classes are delayed until March 30, adult online, graduate and seminary classes will resume March 23, according to its website.

In K-12 education, Springfield Public Schools announced this morning it has no plans for closure. District officials cited direction from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

“We continue to work closely with Springfield Public Schools to monitor the situation and will provide additional guidance, as needed,” said Clay Goddard, director of the Health Department, in a news release. “We do not advise K-12 institutions to close at this time. By remaining open, SPS continues to meet the academic and wellness needs of its 25,000 students.”

District officials said a closure would create a rapid need for childcare, as well as affect the nearly 53% of SPS students who qualify for free- and reduced-price meals.

The district and area colleges are following preventive measures to reduce the spread of the disease, which includes increased cleaning of schools and encouraging students to stay home and seek treatment if they develop flu-like symptoms.

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