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Butler University closes residential housing to students amid COVID-19 outbreak

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Posted at 11:35 AM, Mar 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 14:31:42-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Butler University announced residential housing will be closed to students until at least April 4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Along with the residence hall closures, Butler president James Danko recommended that students who live in Greek chapter houses or rental properties near campus move back home.

He said any student who is diagnosed with the coronavirus on campus would need to return home or self-isolate, which could become more difficult as time goes on if any travel restrictions are enacted or transportation becomes limited.

"I recognize this decision may cause unexpected hardship and angst for those students who preferred to return to campus after the spring break," Danko said. "However, the situation has changed considerably, just over the past few days. A national emergency has been declared; local and statewide directives have restricted gatherings; and we have seen travel bans and population lockdowns, most recently in Spain."

On Wednesday, Butler moved all classes online through at least April 4.

Danko said students who live in campus housing and need assistance or would like to request an exemption to continue living on campus through at least April 4 should email deanofstudents@butler.edu.

"I regret the inconvenience this will cause for so many of you," Danko said. "However, Butler cannot provide the level of medical attention that may be needed for the size of our residential community if we have a significant outbreak or spread of the virus."

Danko also said there are financial questions regarding how the university will handle prorated housing and board charges.

"While I do not have all the answers at this point, especially since we do not know if we will reopen yet this semester, I am committed to doing what is fair and right. I’d ask for your understanding as we resolve those issues," he said. "For now, my primary concern is for you and for the greater good of our campus, region, and country as we all do what we can to reduce the trend line of this dangerous virus."