An email from President Simon addressed to the Lehigh community announced that all classes would move online for the remainder of the semester. The first case of COVID-19 in the Lehigh Valley was reported today. (Alexis McGowan/B&W Staff)

BREAKING: All Lehigh classes to be held remotely for rest of semester

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Classes will be conducted remotely for the remainder of the spring semester in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to an email addressed to the Lehigh community today from President John Simon. 

This announcement comes just one day after a March 11 email from Simon said classes would be conducted online for two weeks. 

“I recognize this is an unprecedented decision,” Simon said in the email. 

Simon cited the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in the Lehigh Valley earlier today and the recent classification from the World Health Organization designating COVID-19 a pandemic as reasons for the decision.

Simon wrote that the decision confirms advice from health professionals that the virus will continue to spread in the Lehigh Valley beyond the initial two-week period that was mapped out.

While there are no confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 on campus, social distancing has continued to be recommended as a preventative measure to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

Simon emphasized Lehigh’s readiness for online courses. 

“Our residential experience — the close contact with faculty, and the learning that takes place in and out of the classroom and labs — is a valuable element of a Lehigh education,” he said. “Yet, these extraordinary times require extraordinary measures, and I have great confidence that our community will work and learn together, and deliver on the quality education Lehigh is rightly known for. I know the character of Lehigh, and I know Lehigh will step up to this challenge.”

Earlier today, the Patriot League announced it was canceling all spring practices and competitions. The university also encouraged all students currently studying abroad to make arrangements to return home immediately.

Simon said students will receive a separate notice from Housing Services about details for retrieving belongings from on-campus residences.

Click here for the latest updates from The Brown and White on the impact of coronavirus. This is a developing story and will be updated as news breaks.

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