Starting Monday, March 16, Boise State University will deliver all Spring 2020 courses remotely through the end of the semester in an unprecedented campus move to help Idaho slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Students are encouraged to return home as soon as practical, but those with work, research or other obligations may remain in their campus housing.
In addition, on the advice of state and federal public health experts, effective Saturday, March 14, the university will suspend all events where proper social distancing cannot be assured. The university will reassess this suspension on April 15. A final decision has not been made on commencement, currently scheduled for May 9.
Boise State is also suspending all official university travel through the end of the Spring 2020 semester, with the potential for approval of exceptions through divisional vice presidents.
The decision follows a successful day of testing university capabilities on Friday and Gov. Brad Little’s announcement that Idaho has confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the state. Boise State’s trustees on the Idaho State Board of Education voted Friday evening to support Boise State’s decision — as well as similar decisions being made at Idaho’s other public universities.
“We couldn’t have imagined this turn of events when we began the academic year. Health professionals advise us that this is best for the whole community because we are reducing the risk that the university will become a vector for spreading the virus to vulnerable populations in the city and state,” said Dr. Marlene Tromp, Boise State’s president. “While such measures can create challenges, I am proud of the incredible work our faculty and staff have done to prepare for this moment, as well as the responsiveness of our students. As an educational institution, we also see it as our responsibility to learn as much as we can from all the challenges before us.”
“A big thanks to Boise State for their leadership,” St. Luke’s Health System President and CEO Chris Roth said. “Dr. Tromp and her team have acted promptly and decisively to do what they can to help slow the progress of the virus through our community. We’re grateful as health-care providers, and as residents and neighbors.”
Roth said St. Luke’s continues to advise fundamental precautions – social distancing, handwashing, covering sneezes and coughs with an elbow, not touching faces – and is regularly updating and refreshing online resources, available to the public, with the latest information and updates.
The university will continue to provide housing and dining services to those who need to remain on campus. Other student services, including advising and support, testing centers, computer labs and the library, also will serve residential students while also providing remote services to students who have returned home. The university will expand already-enhanced safety and hygiene measures to help keep our community safe and healthy for those who remain on campus.
Faculty and staff who can work remotely will be encouraged to do so, and managers will be provided a suite of options for alternative approaches to keeping individual workplaces safe through this period.
“We will not close our doors,” Tromp said. “Research should continue on campus as long as it is safe to do so. Boise State and research universities like ours across the globe will help develop the protocols and tools to aid our most vulnerable populations and will help us prepare to handle the next challenges we face as a community and a nation.”
Over the next several days, the university will communicate additional information to our students, including a separate communication to residential students, as well as to faculty and staff. Up-to-date campus information is available at go.boisestate.edu/coronavirus-response.