Lindenwood cancels in-person classes for rest of semester, tells students to leave in 6 days

The+Evans+Commons+dining+hall%2C+usually+filled+with+students+eating+and+interacting+with+each+other%2C+sits+empty.++All+dining+areas+became+takeout-only+because+of+the+COVID-19+pandemic.++

Jessica Spivey

The Evans Commons dining hall, usually filled with students eating and interacting with each other, sits empty. All dining areas became takeout-only because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matt Hampton, Editor-in-Chief

Editor’s note:  This is a developing story, and it will be updated with more information.  Please send us questions on social media (@Lindenlink on Twitter, @LindenwoodLindenlink on Instagram, or Lindenlink on Facebook) or to Matt Hampton, editor-in-chief, at [email protected]  Full details about Lindenwood’s COVID-19 policies are available here.  

Lindenwood University announced Monday that classes will remain online for the rest of the semester because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and told all students to leave campus by Sunday, March 22.

“In a very short time, we have all had to come to grips with the unprecedented global health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications for virtually every aspect of our lives,” University president John Porter said in an email about the decision.  “I believe we all feel the same kinds of anxieties and fears as this virus spreads and our institutions work to combat it.”

The email said no decisions have been made about spring graduation ceremonies.

Earlier the same day, Lindenwood’s Office of Admissions and Services for International Students sent out an email encouraging international students to return to their home countries, but did not mention campus residences closing.

During spring break, on March 11, the university announced all classes would be online until March 30, and urged students not to return to campus.

Now, students are required to move out by Sunday at 6 p.m  If they cannot move out by Sunday, students are required to contact Shane Williamson, dean of students, to be able to leave their belongings on campus.

Lindenwood’s COVID-19 website stated: “We recognize that there may be some students who have exceptional reasons that require them to stay at Lindenwood University. Those seeking exceptions — and the bar will be high — should contact Shane Williamson at [email protected] to be considered for an exception.”

Students needing an exception to remain on campus must ask for it by noon on Wednesday, March 18.  The website did not state what specifically would qualify a student for an exception.

Dining services will end on March 22, and Lindenwood will prohibit students from dining together on campus to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a respiratory disease which has spread over the world from its start in Wuhan, China last year.

“Students should remain more than six feet apart from others whenever possible and avoid large groups,” the email said.   “This means that students may not dine together in groups on campus. Groups of students will be disbanded and sent back to individual residences in order to protect their health, the health of staff on campus, and the health of the larger community.”

Some other campus facilities will close or transition to providing services online.

On Tuesday, the university sent an email which said students have been refunded for their room and board.

The email also stated that international students who face difficulty returning home should contact international services at  [email protected].

“We made [the decision to close housing] this week in order to protect our community, but we recognize that it may cause additional challenges for students who are adjusting to circumstances that are already challenging,” the email said. “We stand ready to support all our students and help them navigate their individual situations. We assure our university community that no students will be left without a roof over their heads.”

All student employee positions will end March 22.

The pandemic has led to shutdowns of schools, workplaces, and public events.  All of Lindenwood’s sports were shut down over spring break after the decision to move classes online until March 30.

Updated March 17, 2020, with information about second email.