ST. PAUL — Minnesota State colleges and universities will suspend classes in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus, school officials announced Thursday, March 12.

Class will resume on March 23 for the 32 schools currently on spring break. The five scheduled to begin their break next Monday, March 16, will head back to class on March 30.

Effective March 16, out-of-state business travel for Minnesota State students, faculty and staff will also be suspended. School-and-business related travel to other countries was suspended earlier on Feb. 28.

Campuses will remain open throughout the suspension, according to the announcement, as will residence halls and dining facilities.

In a statement, Minnesota State chancellor Devinder Malhotra said that school administrators, faculty and staff will spend the extra week without classes "exploring alternative modes of delivery and adjust campus learning spaces to ensure the safety of our communities."

"Minnesota State is continuously reviewing a range of strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on our campuses and the communities in which we live and serve," he said. "I am committed to taking all steps necessary to protect the health and safety of our students, our faculty, and our staff."

The suspension will impact approximately 350,000 students in what is one of the largest school systems in the U.S. The announcement comes one day after the University of Minnesota system announced the suspension of in-person classes at its five locations.

Across the state and region, healthcare facilities restricted visitation Thursday as plans for school sporting events and other public gatherings were cancelled, postponed or scaled back. Nine people in Minnesota have tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus, as of Thursday, according to the state Department of Health. Confirmed cases have been reported in the Dakotas and in Wisconsin as well.

Since breaking out in central China late last year, the coronavirus has spread to other countries in Asia and Europe as well as the U.S. More than 125,000 cases of the illness it causes have been confirmed globally as of Thursday, according to the World Health Organization, and it has killed approximately 4,600. A majority of cases and deaths have been recorded in China.

Because there is no vaccine for the coronavirus disease, the CDC has recommend avoiding exposure to it as the best way to prevent illnesses. It is believed to spread through contact with respiratory droplets produced by coughing and sneezing.

State and federal officials have asked members of the public to wash their hands frequently, cover their coughs and sneezes and to stay home if they feel sick to limit the spread of the disease. Close contact with others should be avoided if the disease is spreading your community, they have said, and face masks should be worn if you are infected.

Class is cancelled until March 23 for the following schools:

  • Alexandria Technical and Community College

  • Bemidji State University

  • Central Lakes College

  • Century College

  • Dakota County Technical College

  • Hibbing Community College

  • Inver Hills Community College

  • Itasca Community College

  • Lake Superior College

  • Mesabi Range College

  • Metropolitan State University

  • Minneapolis Community and Technical College

  • Minnesota State College Southeast

  • Minnesota State Community and Technical College

  • Minnesota State University Mankato

  • Minnesota State University Moorhead

  • Minnesota West Community and Technical College

  • Normandale Community College

  • North Hennepin Community College

  • Northland Community and Technical College

  • Northwest Technical College − Bemidji

  • Pine Technical and Community College

  • Rainy River Community College

  • Ridgewater College

  • Riverland Community College

  • Rochester Community and Technical College

  • South Central College

  • Southwest Minnesota State University

  • St. Cloud State University

  • St. Cloud Technical and Community College

  • Vermilion Community College

  • Winona State University

Class is cancelled until March 30 for the following schools:

  • Anoka Technical College

  • Anoka‐Ramsey Community College

  • Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College

  • Hennepin Technical College

  • Saint Paul College

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