York College to close campus, move classes online until March 30

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch
Students walk on the York College campus Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. Enrollment decline has been a reality for colleges and universitiesÊacross the nation, including those in York County. Bill Kalina photo

York College will move all classes to an online format Monday to stave off spread of the coronavirus, school officials announced Thursday.

The campus will be close to students at noon Sunday, with plans to reopen March 30. The college will also cancel all school-sponsored events, both on and off campus.

"We are all working diligently to navigate through what is uncharted territory. Please know that York College is committed to the health and welfare of our community and to the success of our students," said President Pamela Gunter-Smith in a statement posted to the school's website.

Penn State University made a similar announcement Wednesday about switching to online classes, which will include Penn State York.

As of Thursday afternoon, there were 22 cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, in Pennsylvania, according to the state Department of Health.

For most people living in an area without an active outbreak, the risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19 is low, according to the World Health Organization. And most who get the virus will experience mild symptoms, such as a fever and cough, and will fully recover in about two weeks, the WHO has said.

But in the elderly and in people with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes, COVID-19 can lead to serious illness with a longer recovery time of three to six weeks.

Thirteen of Pennsylvania's 22 cases are in Montgomery County, leading Gov. Tom Wolf to close all Montgomery County schools, Commonwealth-run day care centers and adult day care centers for two weeks beginning Friday.

The governor also suspended visitation at Montgomery County correctional institutions and nursing homes.

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