UI will remain closed through the end of the semester and is canceling spring commencement

Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

The University of Iowa will remain closed through the rest of spring semester, according to a statement published on Wednesday. UI will offer online instruction for the rest of the semester, but “will close its market places and most of its residence halls and on-campus housing starting Thursday, March 19.”

The university is also canceling its spring commencement ceremony.

“Now that we have received word of community spread in Iowa and Johnson County in particular, the University of Iowa, in coordination with the Board of Regents and the state, is taking additional steps to help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19,” the statement said. “The situation has and likely will continue to change quickly, and we want to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep the Hawkeye community safe and healthy.”

Last week, the university announced its plan to switch to online classes for the first weeks following spring break due the COVID-19 emergency, but at that time said it would allow students to continue living in residence halls and keep the campus open “to serve those who rely on… library services, and recreation and athletics facilities.”

According to the new statement, UI will be closing most its facilities, including the library, the Iowa Memorial Union and Hancher Auditorium. Gov. Kim Reynolds’ declaration of emergency on Tuesday already required the closure of gyms and recreational facilities.

The Iowa Memorial Union on Wednesday, March 18, prior to closing. — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

The university is asking students to “not return to the residence halls until their designated time to move out. If a student is currently on campus for spring break, they should begin preparations to move out.” But UI did say it “will continue to accommodate students who cannot immediately return to their permanent residence.”

“Procedures for an orderly move-out and transition policies, including retrieving essential items, will be provided to housing residents via email by Thursday, March 19, and published on the University Housing & Dining website.”

Online classes will begin on Monday, March 30. “Students in courses with a clinical component or fieldwork will receive further information from the academic leaders in their programs about how these will be addressed,” the university said.

UI is also asking “all employees outside of UI Health Care to work remotely unless the critical function they provide must be completed on campus.”

The university will be posting updates related to closures on its coronavirus news page.

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