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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Urbana University Closing Campus After Spring Semester, Citing Pandemic Difficulties

Urbana University in Urbana, Ohio.
Urbana University in Urbana, Ohio.

Urbana University, a private college in Ohio, announced Tuesday that it will close its physical campus and move classes online after the spring semester ends. It will also stop enrolling students at the end of the semester.

The university will transition its academic offerings to Franklin University in Columbus, citing operational difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for closing. The Urbana branch campus will no longer offer sports or on-site administrative roles.

Urbana said in a press release that it has experienced low enrollment rates for several years.

“However, the global coronavirus pandemic has added a level of stress and uncertainty to Urbana’s prospects that make it impossible to sustain, compelling Franklin University to discontinue physical operations on the Urbana branch campus effective after the Spring 2020 semester has ended,” the press release states.

The university currently has 1,254 students enrolled. Three-quarters of those students are enrolled in programs for which instruction does not occur on Urbana’s campus, and their studies may proceed uninterrupted.

The remaining 25% of students are residential and commuter students who will finish this semester online. Afterwards, they may continue on at Franklin University or transfer to another school. Urbana will offer severance packages to help students who choose to transfer outside Franklin University.

Urbana's campus also has 111 full-time employees who will be impacted by the closure. Some will be offered jobs at Franklin University, while others will be ofered severance packages that include outplacement assistance. 

Urbana did not disclose the number of employees who will be able to transfer.

Copyright 2020 WOSU 89.7 NPR News