VA & NC universities adapt to online learning as coronavirus spreads


VIRGINIA (WAVY) — Colleges and universities across our region have announced changes to their schedules as the coronavirus spreads throughout the United States — including suspending classes for the upcoming week as educators work to transition their courses to online instruction.

Starting March 23, all classes will be taught online for several local universities, including William & Mary, Old Dominion University, and others.

Here is a list of changes colleges and universities in our region have made regarding instruction, travel and events.


William & Mary (Williamsburg)

University President Katherine Rowe announced that all in-person classes are suspended. Classes resumed online starting March 23. Online courses will continue throughout the semester.

William and Mary’s spring commencement ceremony, which was scheduled for May 16, has been deferred. The university will determine a new date for commencement with help from health officials. Even though the graduation ceremony has been postponed, William and Mary graduates will receive their degrees virtually on May 16.

Residence halls are closed for the rest of the semester. Staff will work with students who need help to find a housing solution. The college will provide students with a partial refund for room and board.

William and Mary also closed its offices to the general public. This includes its campuses and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Essential personnel will report to work, but other employees are coordinating with their managers to work remotely.

The university announced the cancellation of all athletic competitions for the remainder of winter and spring sports. All athletic activities are also suspended until further notice, and athletic facilities are closed to the public. A full list of affected services and events is posted on the William Mary website.

During this time person, the university is encouraging students to stay off-campus, if possible. Residence halls, dining services and more will be limited to students who have “compelling” reasons to be present on campus.

On March 30, William & Mary announced that a staff member in Miller Hall has potentially been exposed to a possible case of COVID-19. That staff member was asymptomatic but self-quarantined and monitored themselves for symptoms. Other employees who had close contact with this individual have been asked to also self-quarantine.

“William & Mary is a resilient community. I have seen this firsthand, particularly in recent weeks. We take care of each other. I am confident that will be the case in the coming days and weeks. Thanks to each of you for your creativity, understanding and commitment to this shared effort,” Rowe wrote.

William & Mary has set up an FAQ page for additional information on effects to combat the coronavirus.

Old Dominion University (Norfolk)

Old Dominion is holding it classes online. Remote instruction and telework have bee extended through Summer classes, as well. Registration for summer session is open.

Faculty and staff should still report to work, but those who feel sick should stay away, officials said.

The university is also canceling all school events until further notice. Athletic events will continue, but with restrictions.

WAVY’s Andy Fox went to ODU a few weeks ago to see what preparations are being done for the coronavirus. Everyday, a group meets to figure out how ODU will deal with coronavirus.

A spokesperson confirms the school has a Public Health Incident Task Force dealing with all things coronavirus. ODU’s Emergency Management Team has written plans in place to deal specifically with coronavirus.

Some students don’t think transitioning to online classes will be detrimental.

“I don’t think it is a huge issue for ODU. We are a massive campus that is really a majority commuter and online campus,” ODU Student Hayden Holmes said.

Others think online classes could trip up other students.

“I already take online classes. I’ve heard online classes won’t be appropriate for everyone just because not everyone has access to wifi, especially if we are required to go home,” student Morgan Reid said.

Old Dominion is keeping a page updated with answers to frequently asked questions.

Norfolk State University

On March 22, residence halls will reopen to students, but classes will be online.

Online classes will be delivered March 23 to April 6.

Additional updates will be sent to the Norfolk State community, officials said.

Non-designated employees are telecommuting.

All school events with expected attendance of more than 100 people are suspended.

Commencement ceremonies will not happen as scheduled on May 2. A subsequent commencement plan is being worked on by students and faculty.

Over at Norfolk State, where they welcome the MEAC Tournament, 10 On Your Side spoke with students remaining on campus for school break, like Malcolm Anderson from Suffolk.

“Am I concerned about it at all? No. I can’t say I am personally. I feel like I have a lot bigger things to worry about,” Anderson said.

Get NSU updates regarding the coronavirus at this link.

Hampton University

Hampton University has suspended all non-essential visitation to campus until further notice. In-person classes have been cancelled and teachers are offering remote instruction.

Residence halls are closed to all students. International students will receive housing provisions as needed.

Officials are also suspending university-related travel and all campus events. High School Day and Lady Pirates’ participation in the Big South Basketball Tournament has been cancelled, and the annual conference on the Black Family, the Freshman Ball, and the Freshman Fashion Show has been postponed.

Christopher Newport University

Students are attending classes online until April 10. Officials will decide if online learning is necessary past April 10 closer to that time.

Virginia Wesleyan University

Virginia Wesleyan announced on March 18 that classes will be held remotely for the remainder of the semester. University faculty will also work remotely, with the exception of some essential staff.

All campus events have been canceled for the spring semester, and May graduation ceremonies have been postponed.

The university will provide on-campus housing for qualifying students. Limited campus resources will be available. Those who won’t continue living on campus for the remainder of the semester will receive a prorated account credit for their housing.

Regent University

Campus classes moved to online on March 16. Students living on campus were asked to remove their belongings as soon as possible and no later than March 20. Campus facilities are closed to the public.

As for existing online students, Regent expects to resume online instruction as planned.

According to the University, there is no evidence that the Regent students or faculty came into contact with the infected conference attendees. Regent is posting updates on its proactive measure in light of the continued spread of coronavirus. You can find those updates at this link.

Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University’s Virginia campuses began online classes on March 16. The University has also canceled its March 18 open houses in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Tidewater Community College (several locations)

TCC will offer remote instruction to students for the rest of the spring semester. All campuses and buildings will remain closed.

TCC has also cancelled its May 11 commencement for 2020 graduates. A virtual graduation ceremony will be held in its place on May 11 at 6 p.m. Graduates can register for the virtual ceremony here.

If you are a TCC student, check your student email frequently for updates.

Thomas Nelson Community College

TNCC is offering classes through virtual or alternative delivery throughout the remainder of the spring semester.  

Students are expected to check their Thomas Nelson e-mail accounts regularly for updates. You can also keep up with the latest news related to COVID-19 and Thomas Nelson by visiting and the Thomas Nelson Emergency Preparedness page.

James Madison University (Harrisonburg)

JMU is offering online instruction.

Virginia Tech (Blacksburg)

Virginia Tech also moved classes online starting March 23, as well as Radford University and the University of Richmond.

Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond)

VCU’s student are taking classes online.

University events that include more than 100 people are canceled until April 15.

Get the latest COVID-19 updates from VCU at this link.

University of Virginia (Charlottesville)

The University of Virginia announced it would move all classes online in response to the coronavirus.

They will not be holding classes on campus for the foreseeable future and “quite possibly through the end of the semester.” The university said it will reassess this after April 5. University buildings and health system will remain open as of now.

The school has also suspended all athletic activities.


East Carolina University

The school transitioned to “alternative delivery classes” on March 23. Fewer than 50 students remain in the college’s residence calls and they are there due to “extraordinary circumstances.”

Staff who can telework are doing so.

Stay updated on the university’s website.

Chowan University

Classes have transition to online learning for the remainder of the spring semester, but Thomas Dining Hall is providing take-out services for students, faculty, and staff.

Commencement 2020 will be held on Dec. 9.

University offices will remain open during business hours.

All athletic competitions have been suspended until further notice. These events include the CIAA Bowling Event III in Richmond and the CIAA Bowling Championship in Virginia Beach.

The University will post updates on its website, at this link.

College of Albemarle

The College of Albemarle is closed. Classes will be delivered online indefinitely, and all events have been cancelled until April 30. All non-essential university-related travel has been cancelled for students and staff until April 30.

To learn more, visit the college’s website.

Elizabeth City State University

Elizabeth City State University is closed, and all student events are cancelled. Remote instruction began on March 23 and will last indefinitely. All athletic practices and competition are suspended until further notice.

To learn more, visit the university’s website.

Mid-Atlantic Christian University

Mid-Atlantic Christian University is closed. Classes began online on March 18. Students will not be staying in the university’s dorm unless approved to do so by campus leadership. Campus services will be limited.

To learn more, visit the university’s website.

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