SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Just hours after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, Rhode Island’s largest university has opted to cancel all on-campus classes for several weeks.

The University of Rhode Island said all face-to-face classes are suspended until at least April 3. Classes from March 16 to 20 have been canceled and starting Monday, March 23, all classes will be conducted online.

“This is a difficult and extraordinary situation, and we recognize that people throughout our community are concerned for their personal health and that of their families and friends,” URI said in an email to students, faculty and staff.

The university stressed that the changes only affect classes that meet in person. All online courses will go on as scheduled.

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In addition, the university said all events with 100 or more participants are canceled or postponed through April 3, including those organized by outside community partners hosted on a URI campus. Those with less than 100 participants are asked to consider postponing or canceling their events.

All interscholastic sporting events and other non-intercollegiate athletic events will be held as scheduled, however, the university said fans will be prohibited from attending.

Residence halls will remain open and fully operational, though students who live on campus should delay their return until after April 3. The university stressed that students who do return to campus will have limited access to dining, recreation and health services.

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“The university understands that remaining at home may not be possible or prudent for everyone,” the email continued.

Anyone with questions is urged to contact URI’s information hotline, which will be available starting March 12 and will be staffed Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.