Editorial: Eastern made right choice in moving to online-only classes

Eastern announced on Wednesday a sweeping series of decisions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak including the extension of spring break until March 29 and the move to online-only classes when school resumes.

Other changes include the cancelation of Eastern’s Spring Concert, cancelation of Greek Week, cancelation of the Black Student Reunion and the suspension of all planned events expected to draw more than 50 people, including all scheduled performances at the Doudna Fine Arts Center for the rest of the semester.

The Ohio Valley Conference also announced on Wednesday that all sports will be suspended, which includes all Eastern athletics.

Even though these changes take us all out of our normal routines, like them or not, Eastern’s administrators made the right decision.

The spread of the new coronavirus strain is not a media hoax, it is not a political tool, it is not hysteria and it should not be taken lightly. Any and all measures that can be taken to prevent this from becoming a truly threatening and scary, life-changing virus in the U.S. need to be taken. And we at The Daily Eastern News applaud Eastern’s administration for making tough, and maybe unpopular, decisions for the safety of students, staff and faculty.

The bottom line is that universities and colleges could quickly turn into hubs for this virus to thrive. The close quarters of classrooms represent the perfect place for a virus to hop from person to person. Gatherings of over 50 people may as well be a buffet table for COVID-19.

Yes, switching to online-only classes may prove to be a difficult transition, and yes, the cancelation of sports, concerts and other fun spring events may be tough to swallow, but in the face of a pandemic, no measure should be seen as too far.

COVID-19 presents a perfect example of where the old phrase “better safe than sorry” fits wonderfully.

It is also incredibly important to reiterate that if you choose to return to campus after the break, it is vitally important to wash your hands and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines of how to keep yourself safe from the virus.

The effort to keep everyone at Eastern safe is truly going to have to come from everyone.