Officials at Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College today announced plans to move all courses to online learning platforms for the fall semester.
The announcement comes weeks after the three private HBCUs jointly revealed plans for hybrid distance and on-site learning. The announcement was tied to surging numbers of infections in the city of Atlanta and the State of Georgia overall.
“As much as I wanted to see the men of Morehouse return to campus for classes on Aug. 19, the spike in COVID-19 cases in Georgia and across the nation, warrants us to change course to protect the health and safety of Morehouse students, faculty, and staff,” Morehouse President David Thomas said. “Many of our target enrollment areas are facing outbreaks. And as families use their summer vacation to travel both locally and out of state, Morehouse could not guarantee the well-being of our community for in-person instruction, even with the rigorous safety protocols that we were planning. I believe that continuing online learning is our most prudent path forward.”
In a statement to the campus community, Clark Atlanta President George T. French cited the number of states from which the university draws its out-of-state student enrollment, with 33 out of the nation’s 36 top states for infection risk representing the residency of more than 97 percent of the campus’ student body.
“We understand that many students will be heartbroken over this decision, but the overall wellbeing of Panther Nation is our highest priority,” French said. “This past weekend, there were more than 3.5 million confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. and over 137,000 deaths. The latest information cites over 77,000 new cases reported nationwide in a single day. These statistics have caused us great concern and further made the case that, with the exception of essential workers, it is not feasible for us to bring students, faculty, staff, and administrators to the campus in the current atmosphere. Your overall wellbeing is our top priority.”
Georgia yesterday recorded its single highest one-day tally of infections, with 4,689 positive diagnoses, eclipsing the previous record set July 10 by more than 200 cases.
The three institutions will join Bennett College, Hampton University, Wiley College, Paul Quinn College, Huston-Tillotson University, Voorhees College, Jarvis Christian College as institutions that will extend online learning into the fall semester.