James Madison University moving to mostly online instruction

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) — James Madison University will transition at least temporarily to primarily online instruction after experiencing a “rapid increase” in cases of COVID-19 among students.

The Virginia school’s president made the announcement in a letter that was posted on its website Tuesday night.

“As a result of a rapid increase in the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in our student population in a short period of time, the university is concerned about capacity in the number of isolation and quarantine spaces we can provide,” it read.

The letter said in-person classes will shift online no later than Monday, Sept. 7 after consultation with the Virginia Department of Health, by which time residential students will be asked to return home unless they seek an exemption to stay.

Campus officials will monitor local coronavirus case trends for the next four weeks, and later this month will reevaluate whether to resume in-person instruction on or after Oct. 5.

The public school with about 20,000 undergraduate students joins a growing number of colleges around the U.S. that have reversed course or altered plans for in-person instruction due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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