By Brianne Ledda and Maya Brown
Update 03/09/20, 5:50 p.m.: This article has been updated with a comment from university officials.
Note: There has been no announcement from Stony Brook University cancelling or moving classes online for the remainder of this week.
Stony Brook University will be holding all classes online after spring break, effective March 23 until the end of the Spring 2020 semester, according to an email from Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Nicole Sampson.
Sampson sent faculty an email on Monday, March 9, asking them to complete a five minute survey on online learning capabilities.
“Distance education, however we approach it (online courses, courses delivered via email) must continue to consist of substantive communication between instructor and students, either individually or collectively, on a regular basis,” Sampson wrote in the email.
The survey, according to the email, is aimed at creating communication guidelines for instructors. Sampson added that further information will be communicated soon, and that campus leadership is working to secure a contract with Zoom, a video communications company, as soon as possible. The email also notes that Google Hangouts was activated.
A number of faculty have already moved their classes online for the remainder of this week.
Sociology Professor Nicholas Wilson sent an email to students about the shift on Monday afternoon. In the interest of safety, however, he announced that he would be moving classes online immediately rather than wait for March 23.
“This is an enormous logistical undertaking on my end, and I hope that you will bear with us,” he wrote in an email to students.
Other professors addressed students who might not have access to computers.
“Please let me know ASAP if you do not have reliable access to internet and/or a computer/laptop at home,” Caitlin Davies, a political science professor, wrote in an email to students. “If your only device is a phone then we need to come up with a solution.”
The announcement comes after the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Suffolk County on Sunday. There are now 142 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York, including 17 in Nassau County and 19 in New York City.
Hofstra University cancelled classes for this week after a student who had come into contact with a coronavirus patient at a recent conference reported flu-like symptoms. Columbia University is also suspending classes until Wednesday, after a community member was exposed to the virus. Remote instruction will continue after Wednesday until spring break.
Stony Brook University officials said in a statement that the university is “taking steps to plan for such an action if it should be necessary.”
“No official decision has been made,” officials said. “If anything should change we will let you know as soon as possible.”
Correction, 03/09/20, 5:50 p.m.: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that Sociology Professor Nicholas Wilson was cancelling classes immediately. It should have said that Wilson was moving classes online immediately, instead of waiting for March 23.
Correction, 03/10/20, 2:27 p.m.: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that a number of faculty have already cancelled classes for the remainder of this week. It should have said that a number of faculty have already moved their classes online for the remainder of this week.