All events are cancelled for the week, though classes remain in session
On Monday, Azusa Pacific announced all events on campus would be cancelled as a precaution against the coronavirus. Although classes remain in session, the school will evaluate its options at the end of the week to determine their next steps.
Shino Simmons, vice president of Student Affairs, sent an email to all students Monday morning explaining the issue.
“All chapels, SoulQuest, clubs, organization meetings, intramurals and other nonessential extracurricular events March 9-13 are cancelled,” Simmons wrote. “At this point, the plan is for chapel and other events to resume next Monday, March 16. We continue to meet throughout the week to assess this unfolding situation. Classes are not cancelled at this time.”
Simmons added that this step was a preventative measure to protect the health and wellbeing of students upon their return from Spring Break.
Currently, there are no known cases of coronavirus at APU or in Azusa, though it is quickly spreading around the world. The United States has witnessed 31 deaths from the virus so far.
“The Student Health Center and the Critical Incident Response Team are managing APU’s response and coordinating their efforts with information from state and federal agencies,” Simmons said.
Events across campus have been cancelled or postponed since the announcement, including those from the Office of Women’s development, the Student Center for Reconciliation and Diversity, the Honors College and Tapestry.
APU officials have also included a public statement about the coronavirus on the APU website.
“To help reduce the spread of germs, Azusa Pacific’s Facilities Management team is installing both fixed and portable hand sanitizing dispensers in high use areas as well as wiping door handles and light switches in classrooms daily,” the statement reads.
Derek Darnell started a petition on change.org on March 10 entitled “Azusa should do online classes to keep us safe.” The petition aims to persuade professors to move classes online for the safety of students and faculty.
“If we try online classes we have no problem or excuse of spreading the coronavirus. We all are responsible for what we do and where we go after that,” the petition reads. “We can focus on preparing and being safe if we have online classes. This disease is fast spreading and there are cases everywhere.”
The petition gained over 1000 online signatures in under nine hours from APU students and staffers in favor of having classes online. Students have also been commenting on the petition with their reasons for supporting it.
“Coronavirus has spread in California now, especially in Los Angeles. All of my family and relatives are in China, and we know how severe this Coronavirus is! People could go out only if they wear a face mask,” wrote Chengjie “Harry” Gu, an international student from China.
Other supporters mentioned their need to feel safe.
“I’d feel safe if I knew everybody I surrounded myself with did not have the virus,” wrote Grace Engle. “Instead I must stay on campus and go to classes, being forced to surround myself with people whom I’m extremely unaware of if they’re affected or not.”