DES MOINES, Iowa – Drake University is reporting more COVID-19 cases than all three state schools combined. The surge has prompted a return to online learning.

Next week, all classes will move online with the exception of the Law School and John Dee Bright College.

Drake University made the switch from in-person after the student COVID case count went from zero last week to 255 this week.

Just days after the Drake relays, students found out they will be crossing this semester’s finish line online.

“I didn’t expect it,” sophomore Vanessa Southgate said, “but it’s also not surprising if that makes sense.”

“It sucks but it’s necessary,” junior Jeremy Alport said. “Seeing how much our cases have skyrocketed, it’s just kind of inevitable.”

According to a letter from Drake University President Marty Martin, there were 255 confirmed student cases of COVID as of May 4 and 500 student tests still need to be analyzed. The spike caused finals week to go virtual.

“It allows a lot of students to go home early which is maybe nice,” Southgate said, “because I feel like campus is actually less safe than other places right now.”

It also means remaining extracurricular activities will either be moved online, postponed, or canceled. 

“It just kinda sucks that you can’t really end your year, especially for the seniors because they planned a lot of big stuff and they just can’t do it now,” sophomore Evan Hein said.

Not all big stuff is sidelined. Intercollegiate athletics at Drake follows NCAA guidelines, meaning Friday’s softball game is still on and open to the public. 

As students end this semester like they started, they’re hopeful next year will bring more routine.

“Here we were thinking this last semester would be back to normal more or less, having a normal Relays, and then now back to another week online,” junior Peyton Haas said. “So I’m really holding out hope for my senior year that we’ll be more or less back to normal without these disruptions.”

The University says in-person commencement is still being planned as normal for Sunday, May 15. They’ll have an update on the mask policy closer to the event.