Updated on March 18 at 4:18 p.m. to include statements from Vice President of Student Life Jon Dooley.

Elon University is extending online classes until April 20 as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus.

Last week, Elon announced its plans to suspend in-person classes until April 6. 

"We are setting a new target of April 20 for a potential date for a return to residential life here on campus," said President Connie Book in a statement. "Obviously that could change, depending on how the virus spreads and how our nation adapts. But since Elon’s spring semester runs a little later than most colleges, there is still a possibility we could finish the semester here on campus."

Book asked students currently not at Elon to remain off-campus. For students unable to return home, the university plans to continue offering some services.

According to an email from Jon Dooley, vice president of student life, Elon is canceling all student organization activities through Reading Day on May 13. All winter and spring athletics competitions and performing arts spring productions have also been canceled.

"The activities and experiences you might normally expect on campus will be limited, and we strongly recommend that only those students who absolutely need to return to campus do so," Dooley wrote in the email. "If you are coming back to hang out with friends, you will not find the social environment you might normally expect. The university is adopting social distancing measures and asking community members to alter their personal interactions with others."

Students planning on staying or returning to Elon are asked to fill out an online form to inform the university of their plans.

In his email, Dooley stated that "it is simply too early to make any decisions" about commencement, which is currently planned for Friday, May 22.

"My heart breaks for our seniors, whose last semester is not what they envisioned," Book said. "For faculty and staff, whose goals for the semester have had to shift. For student athletes and performers and researchers each missing opportunities—each of us putting plans and, in many cases, dreams on hold while we wait."