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COLUMBIA - Starting Monday, the University of Missouri will go fully remote, which means classes will only be available online.

This change has caused many students to pack up their lives in Columbia and get ready to move back to their hometowns. 

It hasn't been an easy decision for out-of-state students, who have homes hundreds of miles away like Leah Glasser.

Glasser is an MU sophomore from Washington state. Her home state currently has the most cases of COVID-19 in the country, with 642 cases, according to CNN. 

“I remember when we got the notification for the first case in Washington, and but I never really thought it would come here,” said Glasser. “I guess we were a little narrow-minded about it.”

Glasser said when she heard classes would be online for the rest of the semester, it put her thoughts on the virus into perspective. 

"I'd like to go home for that comfort, but I know in the time of a lot of stress, we can't always do what is the most comfortable for us. Sometimes we have to do what is best for others and that's not endangering them by traveling," she said.

Los Angeles native Ben Ramirez said he is packed and will be out of Columbia in two weeks. 

"I don't want to leave, I don't think anyone really wants to leave, but at this point it’s definitely the best situation for me," Ramirez said.

In an email to students, UM System President Mun Choi said the system is viewing this week as a soft launch of the new remote learning platforms. Officials hope it allows faculty, students and staff to familiarize themselves with new tools and a new routine.

“Some of my teachers don’t use technology in our classes, so this is going to be a huge adjustment,” said MU student Camaron Harvey. 

“I wasn’t thrilled about the decision to go online,” MU student Jake Edgar said. 

Edgar said he has made the decision to stay on campus for the rest of the semester. 

“If I had to go home, I would have none of the equipment that the school can provide for my classes," he said. 

The email said there will be no penalties for missed connections or assignments this week as students and faculty work out their arrangements for the rest of the semester.

The university is also still deciding what to do about finals week and commencement ceremonies. 

However, students still have reservations about the shift in their semester.

“I want to go home, but I work in Columbia and I pay for my own school. It would be hard to go home and not have a job and still pay for rent here,” said Harvey. 

The library, residence halls, dining halls, and other campus facilities at MU will be available for student use at adjusted hours.

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