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Coronavirus forces NCAA to hold tournament without fans, FSU to move classes online

FSU education affected by Covid-19, with a chance of athletics being affected as well.

Florida State Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

Please note Tomahawk Nation will not offer any medical advice or travel advice, and does not intend to do so. Always consult local authorities, your local and state health department, the CDC or medical professionals for consultations on how to behave in these matters.

UPDATE:

The NCAA Tournament will be held without fans in attendance, Shams Charania reports.

***

UPDATE 3:00 PM, March 11, 2020, full statement from FSU:

University Remains Open For Business, In-Person Classes Resume April 6

Florida State University has proactively monitored and responded to daily developments as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread in Florida and across the United States.

Administrators campus-wide have met every day for several weeks to assess and carry out protocols and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Florida Department of Health and other medical authorities.

Our highest priority remains the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. Therefore, we will shift to online instruction for all courses on March 23 for a period of at least two weeks.

FSU has a robust emergency plan in place and is fully prepared to provide instruction online or by other methods. We are taking this action proactively to protect not only our campus community but the larger community as well.

Important Dates:

March 14

Residence halls will close at noon to visitors and for those residents who depart for spring break. Residents who stay may remain in the halls.

March 23 – April 5

Classes will be held via remote instruction.

April 4

Residence halls are anticipated to reopen at noon to visitors and those residents who traveled for spring break.

April 6

Face-to-face classes are anticipated to resume.

Campus Operations:

Beginning at the end of the academic day on Friday, March 20, and through at least April 4, Florida State University will move from face-to-face instruction to online instruction and other alternative methods.

During the two-week period of online instruction following spring break, the university will remain generally open for normal business operations.

Students are encouraged to leave campus for spring break and the two-week period after.

Students who leave campus should take with them any devices, textbooks and other materials they will need to continue their coursework remotely.

They should take any personal effects, valuables or other items they might need for an extended period of time away from campus.

Students who choose to remain in our residence halls on campus during spring break and during the period of online instruction will not be allowed to travel away from Tallahassee and come back to their residence hall.

Campus services will remain open and operational with limited or reduced services for students during the two-week online instruction period, such as dining, library services and counseling.

Official guidelines around special events will be forthcoming.

The university will continue to implement CDC-recommended social distancing on campus.

Units that have invited an external speaker or external groups to campus between March 30 and April 6 should postpone, cancel or virtually conduct those events.

The university will provide guidance on athletic events and competitions based on coordination with the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA.

Despite changes to the delivery of academic content and our residential status, Florida State University remains open and fully operational.

University Administrators and Emergency Management officials will continue to take measures to protect the health and safety of our community.

Faculty and Staff will play an important role in helping transition coursework to online content and continuing the operations of the institution. As such, faculty and staff who are well are expected to report to work as normal in their regularly assigned work locations.

We have asked all employees who have duties that can be performed elsewhere to begin preparing for remote work. Those preparations should continue; however, we do not anticipate any immediate change to schedules and work locations at this time.

OPS employees should continue to work if work is available. Absent the availability of work, OPS may extend work hours upon return to normal operations to mitigate any hours missed during this period.

During the next few weeks the Office of Human Resources, in consultation with University Administration and Emergency Management, will continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 and communicate any future adjustments impacting the workplace.

Guidance for faculty and staff regarding working from home and other policies will be provided soon.

Florida State will continue to closely monitor and evaluate information and guidance provided by state and federal agencies as we go forward. As you know, this is a rapidly changing, dynamic situation, and we appreciate your patience as we make some difficult decisions.

Please check back on our website fsu.edu/coronavirus by April 5 to get the latest information in case we must change our plan.

Above all, practice good handwashing hygiene and other healthy habits not only for your own safety but the health and safety of others.

Across the world, the 2019-2020 outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting corporations, governments, and travelers - universities are no exception. Florida State University is no exception, and FSU has announced they will be suspending on campus classes and converting courses to online versions for at least two weeks following spring break.

Other schools in Florida are beginning their preparations for COVID-19 as well. The University of Florida is moving the remainder of Spring 2020 coursework to online, in attempts to minimize large gatherings of students. Universities throughout Florida have canceled study abroad programs, and warnings have been issued against traveling to affected areas, most notably China, South Korea, and Italy.

Tomahawk Nation covers primarily athletics, and coronavirus is affecting sports outings as well. While sports can seem trivial in the face of a global pandemic such as COVID-19, the nature of large gatherings surrounding athletics as potential conduits for contagions are important to note. USC and UCLA have both already made the decision to have athletic events occur with limited audiences, while the Ivy League cancelled its conference tournament entirely.

The ACC Basketball tournament will continue on, although access to athletes in locker rooms is being restricted. The ACC released a statement:

“After consultation with local and state health authorities, including the Governor and his medical staff, the Atlantic Coast Conference will hold its men’s basketball tournament as scheduled this week at the Greensboro Coliseum,” the ACC said in a statement. “As was outlined by the Governor during his press conference, high-risk individuals are discouraged from attending mass gatherings.

”We will continue to take precautionary measures and follow the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, the league and the Greensboro Coliseum are taking additional proactive measures to provide a safe and clean environment for its institutions and fans.”

The NCAA basketball tournament, Florida State baseball, and the fate of other sporting events are to be determined. Soccer leagues around Europe are canceling and/or postponing matches, and many leagues will play games behind close doors.