The faculty at San Diego State University has been told to be prepared to set up “virtual classrooms” to teach their students online in the event that the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

There are no known cases of COVID-19 in San Diego County, but the university is taking precautions in the event that students, faculty or administrators may become ill or quarantined, according to SDSU Provost Salvador Hector Ochoa.

Ochoa sent an email Friday addressed to the faculty that said the university has been preparing since January for just such a circumstance.

“In that case, we will likely need to offer alternatives to in-person meetings and classes,” Ochoa’s memo stated. “In the continued interest of health and safety, this is an appropriate time for all instructors to be prepared, or if the campus needs to temporarily suspend in-person instruction.

“For the benefit of academic continuity,” the memo continued, “faculty should start to make preliminary plans to teach online or remotely for a single session or even for an extended period of time.”

The provost also announced that the university will hold training classes and workshops for the faculty on how to teach online. Those sessions will be offered March 11-19.

Ochoa also asked the faculty to adjust course policies related to class attendance so as not to penalize students who become ill or placed under quarantine.

In Los Angeles, USC announced Friday that it will hold online classes Wednesday through Friday so the school can test its “technical capabilities” as a precaution if the coronavirus continues to spread through California.

In San Diego on Friday, the city attorney’s office warned San Diegans of price gouging in the wake of the outbreak.

“San Diegans shouldn’t have to worry about being cheated when taking the necessary precautions to stay healthy and prevent the spread of novel coronavirus,” City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. “We are taking reports of price gouging seriously, and will hold accountable those who violate the law.”

On Thursday, health authorities in San Diego announced a presumptively positive case in Chula Vista, and are awaiting confirmation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That person works in Chula Vista but lives in Orange County.

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