Colorado College is extending spring break, which starts Wednesday, and implementing distance learning after classes resume, officials announced after Gov. Jared Polis’ declaration of a state of emergency.

Spring break will continue for an extra week, through March 29, school spokeswoman Leslie Weddell said.

Classes are to begin again on March 30 with distance-learning only, a format that could continue for the remainder of the semester, she said.

Polis made the declaration Tuesday when the number of presumed coronavirus cases in Colorado reached 17. One has been reported in El Paso County.

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The college, with about 2,200 students, operates on a block plan schedule with students taking one class for three and a half weeks, for a total of eight blocks in an academic year.

“Because the Block Plan allows us more flexibility, we will monitor the situation and determine mid-Block 7 if we can resume in-person classes for Block 8,” Weddell said.

Extending Spring Break will give officials more time to “monitor and assess the ramifications of the virus’ reach, and will allow faculty more time to modify their Block 7 classes to be delivered via distance learning,” she said.

Students must leave the campus north of downtown Colorado Springs by the end of the day March 18 and consider taking all of their belongings with them, according to a letter to students sent Tuesday. Students should prepare to remain off campus possibly the rest of the academic year, according to the letter.

Room and board will be provided to students who have no option but to remain on campus, including international students and those whose legal residence is Colorado College. 

Additionally, to reduce risk, most large campus events scheduled into April are canceled, including admission open houses, officials said.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

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