Dean of Students, Rick Gatteau, standing on the fountain outside of the Administration Building addressing student protests. Interim President Michael Bernstein sent out an email to students and faculty on March 11 addressing plans for the spring semester. SARA RUBERG/THE STATESMAN

Stony Brook University officially announced that classes are moving online for the rest of the semester after spring break in a campus-wide email from Interim President Michael Bernstein on March 11.

The decision was made in an effort to contain the “community spread of COVID-19,” according to the email. Bernstein noted that campus will remain open, including residence halls.

“Moving to remote instruction was a decision that was not made lightly,” the email read. “We did so in order to curtail large group gatherings and reduce time spent in close proximity with one another in classrooms, lecture halls, dining facilities, and campus residences.”

In the email, students were instructed to “bring home valuables and indispensable items in the event that a sustained period will pass before they are able to easily retrieve them” for spring break.


University services including academic advising, dining services, residence hall accommodations, library services, recreation programming, athletics facility services, hospital and clinical services, will remain open, according to the email.

The email also noted that “academic, research and administrative operations will remain open, and faculty and staff are expected to work from their regular locations.”

Most events will be cancelled until at least March 31.

The university will wait for guidance from public health officials on when to resume classes on campus.


Earlier today and prior to the announcement, Stony Brook issued its first official coronavirus update since rumors started circulating that classes will be moved online in two campus-wide emails from Bernstein.

Neither email included any updates on what the school planned to do to contain the coronavirus. Bernstein said the university wanted to make “careful, prudent, and thoughtful choices” and called the choices going forward “complex.”

“This has taken us time — and it will take us a little longer still while following SUNY guidance and required timetables,” the second email read.

The update followed days of talk about classes being held online after spring break. The two emails, which were nearly identical and sent within twenty minutes of each other, did not confirm or deny this rumor.

New York state currently has 216 cases of COVID-19, according to a tweet sent out by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on March 11.


Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced in press conferences on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning that there are five additional cases in Suffolk County, bringing the total to six.

Students are advised to monitor their emails for updates and check the university’s FAQ page for more information.



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