Minnesota State Schools Extend Spring Break as COVID-19 Cases Jump to 9
The Minnesota State system announced Thursday that it would extend spring break at all schools in response the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in the state.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota jumped from five to nine on Thursday as efforts across the country continue to contain the spread of the virus. The new cases involve people from Hennepin, Dakota, and Stearns counties.
But health officials said Thursday that the coronavirus threat in Minnesota doesn’t yet warrant closing schools, although schools should take steps to reduce the risks of an outbreak. Kris Ehresmann, the Infectious Disease Director at the Minnesota Department of Health says no cases have been reported at a Minnesota school so far. She says Minnesota is not at a point where they are seeing community transmission of the disease.
Area colleges and universities aren’t taking any chances, though. One day after the University of Minnesota announced it was extending spring break, the Minnesota State system followed suit today. All schools in the system including Bemidji State University, Central Lakes College, and Northwest Technical College are suspending classes until March 23rd in some cases or until March 30th in others, depending on when their spring breaks are scheduled. When they do resume classes, they may be conducted online. All campuses, including residence halls, dining facilities, and student support services will remain open and appropriately staffed.
Minnesota State has also cancelled all gatherings and events totaling more than 100 attendees until May 1st and has suspended all out-of-state Minnesota State-related travel for faculty and staff effective Monday, March 16th.