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Iowa's 3 public universities moving to online instruction amid COVID-19 outbreak

Iowa, Iowa State and UNI all said they will suspend face-to-face instruction for the two weeks following spring break.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa, Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa have announced measures to keep its campus community safe in response to concerns over COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus. 

In a letters posted on its website Wednesday, officials from all three public universities said classes will move online for the two weeks following spring break.

“The health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff remains a paramount priority, and we are taking reasonable precautions to protect campus at this time,” said UNI President Mark A. Nook. “I’d like to thank the faculty and staff at UNI who are showing remarkable speed and flexibility in making complete online coursework a reality.”

"We know how disappointing and disruptive this is to our students, faculty, and staff," ISU President Wendy Wintersteen said in a Wednesday letter. "This decision was made in consultation with the Board of Regents out of an abundance of caution to prioritize health and safety as the outbreak continues to spread and circumstances rapidly evolve."

Coronavirus cases have been identified in Johnson County. 

Leaders said they will move towards virtual instruction beginning March 23, and continue online courses through at least April 3. 

Drake University and Grinnell College have announced similar moves.

The Iowa Department of Public Health announced Tuesday night that 13 Iowans have tested positive for COVID-19, while 46 have tested negative and 27 tests are pending. 

Officials said in the release they will keep residence halls and dining services open, while classes transition to online. They said following the end of spring break, student have a choice of staying home or returning to their residence hall, off-campus housing or a different location. 

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