University suspends on-campus classes

Online instruction begins March 18

By Madison Pfeifer | March 12, 2020 9:11am

University President Fr. Mark Poorman announced March 12 that the school would be suspending all on-campus classes.

Media Credit: Brennan Crowder / The Beacon

University President Fr. Mark Poorman announced Thursday morning that the school would be suspending all face-to-face classes starting March 16. There will be no classes Monday, March 16 or Tuesday, March 17 to allow faculty time to prepare for online instruction. Starting March 18, all courses will be held online until further notice.

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An important update on new coronavirus-related measures at The University of Portland: The University will initiate a transition to online instructions. This transition will occur as follows. Beginning Monday, March 16th, all face-to-face classroom instruction will be suspended. No classes will be held on Monday, March 16th, and Tuesday, March 17th, in order to allow for faculty online class preparations and student travel. Beginning Wednesday, March 18th, all courses will begin to be held online until further notice. We encourage students to return to their permanent addresses while this virtual learning environment is in effect. We appreciate that, for many students, returning to their permanent addresses may present a significant hardship. Other students may have specific, compelling reasons to remain on the UP campus. Residence Halls will remain open and key services, including on-campus dining, will be available. In accordance with recently-issued directives from state and local authorities, several signature University events which attract large crowds will be canceled. Gatherings, and Lectures Sponsored by Departments, Clubs, and Organizations: Smaller events, gatherings, and lectures sponsored by departments, clubs, and organizations will be canceled or postponed until further notice. As a University guided by the Congregation of Holy Cross, we are called to be people “with hope to bring.” May we now unite in a spirit of hope and an abiding confidence in the value and indispensability of our sacred mission. Click the link in our bio to read the entire coronavirus update.

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“Throughout our University's decision-making process, we have considered guidance from public health authorities, members of our Health & Counseling Center team, and best practices in higher education,” Poorman said. “We have endeavored to make decisions that are data-informed and consistent with our mission.”

Poorman outlined what the transition to online learning means for students, room and board, faculty and staff, travel and on campus events.

Student Room and Board

Students are encouraged to return to their permanent addresses. Poorman acknowledged that returning home might be difficult for some students so residence halls will remain open and on-campus dining will be available.


The university will remain open and operate under a normal schedule. More information regarding flexible work options will come from Vice President for Human Resources Sandy Chung.

Large University Events

Following Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s orders, all events of over 250 people will be canceled. This includes Founders’ Day, Weekend on The Bluff, Rock The Bluff, the student-athlete awards dinner and the Hawaiian Luau. 

Attendance at on-campus athletic events will be restricted to student-athletes, officials, essential staff and credentialed media.

According to Poorman, at this time, there are not plans to cancel commencement in May.

Small Events

Smaller events like lectures and club meetings will be postponed until further notice. Some smaller events may be allowed to occur with advance written approval from the provost and/or a university vice president.


All university-sponsored and/or reimbursed travel will be canceled or postponed for now, unless the provost and/or a university vice president grants a written exception. However, this does not apply to people currently abroad and traveling back to the U.S.

“These are difficult times, and I invite you to join me in praying for all who have been impacted around the world by the COVID-19 outbreak,” Poorman said. “I also ask that you join me in praying for our University of Portland community and for all who labor in support of the safety and well-being of our Pilot students, faculty, and staff. I am confident that through action, resilience, and God’s grace, we will emerge from these present challenges.”

Maddie Pfeifer is the News and Managing Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at