Hilbert College announced a suspension of all academic, residential, and student life/athletic programing effective March 15 as a result of the growing COVID-19 health pandemic affecting countries around the world. Hilbert will start their transition to online and virtual instruction until at least March 30.
“This was not an easy decision,” Hilbert President Michael Brophy said in a press release. “We realize this will create some challenges for our Hilbert campus community. However, we are taking this action in a proactive effort to safeguard the health and wellness of our students, faculty and staff, as well as the entire Western New York community.”
Residential students will be required to move off-campus by March 14 at 5 p.m. and are instructed to bring any critical items with them, including personal effects. School organizations who have events planned with external speakers or groups between March 10 and March 30 will need to postpone, cancel or conduct virtual versions of those events, according to the release.
Students who have specific accessibility needs on campus during the break should work with academic affairs, academic services or student life to resolve those issues, Hilbert’s executive director of marketing and communications Matt Heidt said in an email to the Scribe.
More details on residential life, campus events and student expenses related to the developments will be forthcoming, he added.
As athletic programs, including all practices and workouts, are suspended, Hilbert’s baseball, softball, and lacrosse teams futures remain uncertain for the 2020 spring season.
As far as business operations at Hilbert, those are expected to continue, as the campus will remain open in an administrative capacity, with updated work-from-home policies forthcoming.
So far there are no confirmed cases of new-coronavirus in Western New York, but in downstate cities like New Rochelle the virus is spreading quickly. The area has become the largest epicenter of the virus in the United States, according to the New York Times. State officials there have designated a one-mile zone as a “containment area,” where health officials say the outbreak in the Westchester County city may have started.
The Hilbert announcement comes on the heels of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement to close down normal operations of all SUNY and CUNY institutions, which are also shifting to distance learning starting March 19.
Hilbert community members can check this website for updates.