Texas Lutheran University officials announced Thursday the extension of the school’s spring break an extra week followed by all classes moving to online instruction until at least the first week of April.

The move is a response to concerns about the novel coronavirus spreading the globe. In a written statement, University President Debbie Cottrell said the moves are out of an abundance of caution.

“While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the TLU campus or in the Seguin community, we are taking precautions to ensure the health and well-being of faculty, staff, students, and the Seguin community,” she wrote. “We believe we have a responsibility to institute proactive health and safety measures to decrease the spread and potential exposure of COVID-19 to vulnerable populations.”

Texas Lutheran’s spring break was scheduled from March 16-22. The additional week extends the break through March 29.

Faculty members are expected to convert courses to online classes during the extra week. Online classes will take place from March 30 through April 8, the president’s statement read.

TLU officials explained that classes are not canceled, but delayed for a week, allowing the faculty to convert their classes to an online format. 

University leadership will assess the situation before April 8 and determine and announce whether students may return to campus, the statement read.

“I want to assure everyone that the measures we discussed today were not made lightly, but we believe they are necessary at this time,” Cottrell said. “Because the situation is very fluid, we are committed to providing our campus community with daily updates going forward.”

University leaders discussed what campus and school activities would be affected by the changes. Some include cancellation of student activities, events and programming related to Student Activities/Student Life & Learning; cancellation of all high school and middle school group visits; and cancellation of TLU Preview, one of the university’s largest admissions visit programs, the statement read.

The university canceled a pair of international travel events scheduled for May, advised employees against traveling abroad and more.

Also, Cottrell revealed plans to allow for housing and dining for students unable to go home during the extended spring break or beyond. She also gave instructions for staff members.

“Students are discouraged from returning to campus during the period of online instruction; however, housing and dining will be available for students who are unable to leave campus,” Cottrell wrote. “The TLU campus remains open and staff will continue to come to work, unless you are sick. Any changes to services or staff needs will be assessed and determined on an ongoing basis.”

Additionally, the university temporarily halted it the community tax clinic until March 28. 

TLU wasn’t the only learning institution to reveal COVID-19-related plans.

Seguin ISD announced plans Wednesday to continue with its regularly scheduled classes Monday following a week off for spring break.

“Seguin ISD is aware that some colleges and universities plan to extend their spring breaks. At this time, Seguin ISD plans to resume classes on Monday, March 16,” read an update on the district’s website. “District staff continue to monitor the coronavirus situation closely, receiving updates from the Texas Department of State Health Services and local health authorities. If there are any changes, we will communicate with our Seguin ISD families and community through our regular communication outlets.”

Meanwhile, according to a Thursday afternoon post on the Seguin ISD Facebook page, district maintenance staff continued to clean and disinfect schools and facilities during the break. The post said that district officials would provide further updates as they received them.

For additional information about TLU’s response to the virus, visit the university’s webpage at tlu.edu/news.

Dalondo Moultrie is the assistant managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at dalondo.moultrie@seguingazette.com .

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