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Hillsdale College stu­dents will not be allowed to return to campus until April 19, with in-person classes set to resume on April 20. This was extended from the original date of March 30. Nolan Ryan | Col­legian

Hillsdale College stu­dents will not be able to resume in-person classes until April 20, the college announced Monday due to the growing COVID-19 pan­demic.

While the college orig­i­nally planned to bring stu­dents back to campus by March 30, Provost Christopher VanOrman announced Monday that the college would not have them return for about another month, due to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s exec­utive order instructing Michigan res­i­dents to not leave their homes except for essential trips until April 13. VanOrman said in the email announcement that if things go as planned, stu­dents will be allowed to return starting April 19, but he also said stu­dents are asked not to return early to collect their things due to Whitmer’s exec­utive order.

“Assuming that Hillsdale College will resume again on that schedule, the goal is that Com­mencement will be held on Sat­urday, May 9, as planned,” he said.

The announcement came shortly after Whitmer’s press con­ference on Monday morning, in which she issued an exec­utive order pro­hibiting non-essential travel. The “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order goes into effect at mid­night on March 24 and will last for at least three weeks, Whitmer said.

“There’s no cure, there’s no vaccine,” she said. “The only tool that we have to fight it at the moment and to support our healthcare system to respond is to give them the oppor­tunity by buying some time.”

Whitmer noted that in 13 days, Michigan’s number of con­firmed cases of COVID-19 went from zero to 1,232.

Whitmer tweeted Monday afternoon to clarify exemp­tions to her exec­utive order. These include going to the grocery store, pharmacy, and hos­pital, as well as going outside for exercise. She also said in a Tweet that trav­elers can return to Michigan, if it is their place of res­i­dence, or leave the state if returning for their home else­where.

Carolyn Mil­ligan, exec­utive sec­retary to the dean of women, sent out an email Monday evening on behalf of Student Affairs to further clarify the sit­u­ation for Hillsdale stu­dents. For housing, Mil­ligan said off-campus stu­dents still in Hillsdale are encouraged to return to their per­manent res­i­dence if it is “within a rea­sonable driving dis­tance.” Stu­dents unable to travel home are asked to email the dean’s office, she said.

Mil­ligan added that cars may remain on campus for the time being and that security would keep patrolling parking lots as normal.

The college will also issue refunds on meal plans, Mil­ligan said.

“The pro-rated amount will be deter­mined, in large measure, by the return date for the semester (at present, April 20). More details will be worked out as the sit­u­ation unfolds,” she said.

Any student mail will be for­warded to home addresses on file, according to Mil­ligan. Because of the number of packages received recently, the school has asked stu­dents to refrain from shipping any­thing else to the college or to their res­i­dence halls.

For items checked out from Mossey Library, Mil­ligan said due dates will be extended until April 20, and the library will waive fines for mate­rials checked out through the inter­li­brary loan system or the Michigan eLi­brary Catalog.

Mil­ligan also said the Student Activ­ities Office will con­tinue to send out weekly emails with announce­ments, as well as tips on how to keep fos­tering campus com­munity from afar.