John Carroll University having students learn remotely for rest of fall semester due to COVID-19

John Carroll University having students learn remotely for rest of fall semester due to COVID-19

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - John Carroll University announced on Friday that it will continue to have students learn remotely for the rest of the fall semester due to the coronavirus crisis.

The decision comes after the university started classes on Aug. 31 virtually without allowing any students to move onto campus.

President Dr. Michael D. Johnson made the following announcement regarding the university’s decision:

“As an institution, we have two priorities right now: protecting the physical and mental health, safety, and wellbeing of our community, and providing the best possible academic and student experience through the lens of our Jesuit Catholic mission. With these priorities squarely in focus, we have made the difficult, but prudent decision to maintain remote learning and off-campus living through the end of the fall semester. We care deeply about you and your overall experience, and bringing you back to on-campus living and learning at this time is simply not the right decision.

After extensive study and consideration, we made this decision based on predictive public health data about the way COVID-19 spreads within residential campuses and their surrounding communities, additional data gleaned from asymptomatic testing of our students, careful benchmarking of best practices and experiences at other universities, and the increase in cases in the State of Ohio among younger adults. Yesterday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that 35 percent of COVID-19 cases in Ohio during the last seven days were in the 18-22 age group, an alarming number. Collectively, this information gives us pause.”

The president described how the university’s decision was also impacted by the testing results:

On August 25, we began testing all residential students and student athletes during phase one of our asymptomatic student testing protocol. To date, we have received test results for 852 students, and while that testing is ongoing, it has so far revealed 26 positive cases in our community, including at least one “cluster” of cases among students living off campus.

Although our positivity rate of 3.02% is relatively low, it is categorically higher, by tenfold, than the base rates at campuses that have already opened up and are experiencing problems. Those same institutions -- many of which you have read about in the news -- have seen significant spikes in positivity rates within seven to ten days of being on campus, resulting in pivots to online learning, illness and isolation of infected students for several weeks, strict quarantining of entire campuses, students returning home, and undue stress on academic and institutional operations and resources.”

JCU said there will be no change in tuition regardless of the instructional method.

However, all room and board fees will be removed from students accounts at this time.

Those who already paid their fees in full will receive a refund the first week of the fall term.

The Blue Streaks’ conference has also postponed sports for the fall semester.

After announcing it has postponed all sports through Dec. 31 due to continued concerns amid the COVID-19 coronavirus back on July 24, the Ohio Athletic Conference revealed its plans for some of the affected sports to compete in the spring semester on Thursday.

Football, soccer, and women’s volleyball will have conference-only competition and will not exceed the NCAA 50% waiver so that all student-athletes will retain one of their four seasons of participation.

The start dates are slated for the weekend of March 12, 2021 and the seasons will conclude the weekend of April 16 with championship games in all three sports.

The OAC has not yet announced any rescheduled plans for cross country, golf, or tennis.

The start of the winter-season sports basketball, indoor track and field, swimming and diving, and wrestling will also be postponed until the new year, but no plans have been announced for those sports either.

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