By following the guidelines set in place by institutions on the federal, state and local levels, JMU students can do their part to address this pandemic accordingly.

The spring semester was brought to a screeching halt when an email announcing the suspension of all in-person classes was sent to the university community on March 11. 

JMU President Jonathan Alger said that the operational changes being made at the university are “unprecedented in our history” in the Wednesday email.

Amid the confusion and growing concern around COVID-19, or coronavirus, here’s what one needs to know if they plan to return to or stay in the Harrisonburg area during this closure.

Residence Halls

According to JMU’s Office of Residence Life Instagram, residence halls will reopen on Saturday, March 14, at 10 a.m. for those who need to return to gather belongings or are in need of somewhere to stay. However, it’s encouraged that anyone living on or off campus should stay home if possible until April 5. The university will make another announcement on March 27 about what the next steps will be going forward.

Dining Halls

For those returning to their residences in Harrisonburg who want to continue using their spring semester meal plan, the dining halls will remain open with some altered schedules. The top floor of D-Hall will reopen on Sunday, March 15, at 4:30 p.m. and will maintain normal lunch and dinner hours for the remainder of the week. Chip C-Store will also be open Sunday, March 15, at 5:00 p.m. with hours from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. the rest of the week. E-Hall is scheduled to reopen Sunday, March 22, for its normal lunch and dinner hours. Lower D-Hall’s retail and Market 64 locations will remain closed except for Chick-fil-A, which will be open for limited hours from Monday, March 16, to Friday, March 20. The Starbucks located in Carrier Library will open on Monday, March 16, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and continue with those hours throughout the week. Specific details on dining hours are available here.

University Recreation Center

Currently, UREC announced it’ll be closed until March 21, including the cancellation of all UREC classes and programs. During the next week, the recreation center plans to release more information about hours and operations. To supplement the lack of an in-person facility, UREC is updating its Instagram page with at-home workouts and plans to continue uploading at-home resources throughout the week.


The Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation updated its Facebook page to announce that all JMU bus lines will be suspended until March 21 due to the suspension of classes. HDPT said it plans to supply updated information for operations after March 21 next week. During this time, all city routes will continue operating as usual. This is especially pertinent to any students without a car on-campus who will need to navigate campus without bus service next week.

City of Harrisonburg

According to Harrisonburg’s local news station, WHSV, there’s been one confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Valley. The city of Harrisonburg released an announcement on March 12 that didn’t include any extreme precautionary measures or further closures or cancellations. The city reported that it’s monitoring the virus and working with health authorities to ensure city operations are handled accordingly. The city also said it’s reevaluating community events and activities and will revoke permits for mass outdoor gatherings until April 5th. 

By following the guidelines set in place by institutions on the federal, state and local levels, JMU students and Harrisonburg residents can do their part to remain calm and address this pandemic accordingly.

For the most up-to-date information on JMU operations, consult this FAQ page.

Contact Ryann Sheehy at sheehyrl@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.