MARSHALL — Wiley College students will not return to the campus in Marshall for the fall semester this August because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, President Herman Felton Jr. announced in a statement Thursday.

Felton said instruction will be carried out virtually for the fall semester and the university will retain only “essential” staff.

“We find ourselves in a continuum of unprecedented times,” Felton said. “On this day, Texas has experienced its highest rate of infection (over 7,000) and is one of 32 states now putting the reopening efforts on pause. While we have yet to experience the ‘peak,’ it is imminent and according to the state’s epidemiologist, ‘We will likely roll out of the first wave in late August-early September and right into the second wave and the flu season in the fall.’”

Wiley College’s fall semester will run Aug. 3 through Nov. 20. All fall sports, homecoming and nonessential travel for faculty, students and staff are canceled.

The university’s new student orientation will be held online July 25-31 via Zoom conferencing, Felton said.