With coronavirus cases on the rise in Pennsylvania and around the nation, Millersville University is shifting its classes "primarily" online in the fall, according to an email sent to faculty by the university provost.
"The current state of the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country poses serious challenges to our ability and confidence in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus on our campus," Provost Vilas Prabhu wrote. "... With that in mind, Millersville University will shift to a primarily online/remote instructional modality this fall."
The announcement comes less than a month before classes at Millersville, the county's largest college and only public university, were expected to start. The university was already planning to conduct at least half of its classes online.
Given the opportunity, some professors decided to opt out of in-person instruction.
In his email, Prabhu said only courses that require in-person instruction will be taught either in person or in a hybrid model.
"In collectively making all these decisions," Prabhu wrote, "the safety and well-being of the campus community is of paramount importance."
University President Daniel Wubah, in a follow-up statement Monday afternoon, said at least 80% of classes will be online. As originally planned, all classes following Thanksgiving break will be remote, he said.
Millersville, Wubah added, is welcoming a "reduced" number of students on campus, with a one-student-per-bedroom policy. Because of the limited number of students allowed back on campus, the university is offering students the opportunity to cancel their housing contracts by Aug. 3.
Campus spaces such as dining halls, the Student Memorial Center and the Francine G. McNairy Library and Learning Forum will remain open with mitigation measures in place, Wubah said.
"I share in the disappointment that this fall's modality will bring to many of our students and their parents," the university president said. "Know that these decisions are made with our faculty, staff and students in mind and with the knowledge that better days lie ahead."
Millersville also announced Monday that its annual homecoming celebration will shift entirely online.