Harvard University has become the latest college to move its instruction online in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus after Fordham University and Princeton University made the same decision on Monday.
According to a statement on the school’s website, Harvard University has asked its students not to return to campus after Spring Break ‘and to meet academic requirements remotely until further notice’.
Officials from the university said they will begin moving to virtual instruction for graduate and undergraduate classes amid the coronavirus outbreak.
‘We are transitioning over the course of the next few days to non-essential gatherings of no more than 25 people,’ the university said.
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Harvard University (pictured Monday) has become the latest college to move its instruction online in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus. This statue of John Harvard is usually surrounded by tourists but groups have been urged not to tour the campus due to the virus
Coronavirus cases have surged to 765 in the United States as the virus continues to spread. The virus has already killed 26 people in the US
The university’s goal is to complete the transition by March 23, it added in the statement.
‘The campus will remain open and operations will continue with appropriate measures to protect the health of the community,’ administrators said.
Harvard’s decision comes just a day after Princeton University in New Jersey and Fordham University in New York City suspended in-person classes.
Several other schools – including Stanford in California, Rice in Houston and a number of campuses near Seattle, where the majority of the US cases have occurred – announced similar measures last week and over the weekend.
Since the outbreak began in the US in late January, 765 Americans have tested positive for coronavirus and 26 have died as officials struggle to stop the spread.
On Monday, Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber announced a ‘mandatory, temporary’ shift to virtual classes beginning March 23.
Eisgruber encouraged students, who are currently out on spring break, to stay home after the recess.
‘While much remains unknown about COVID-19’s epidemiology and impact, our medical advisers tell us that we should proceed on the assumption that the virus will spread more broadly and eventually reach our campus,’ he wrote.
Fordham University in New York City suspended in-person classes on Monday – joining a growing list of US schools that are moving to virtual instruction in an effort to keep coronavirus from invading their campuses
Princeton University (file image) in New Jersey also canceled face-to-face classes on Monday
‘They also tell us that the best time to put in place policies to slow the spread of the virus is now, before we begin to see cases on our campus, rather than later.’
No coronavirus cases have been reported at Princeton but six were confirmed in New Jersey in the past few days.
Fordham University also suspended in-person classes at its New York City campus in the Bronx on Monday after an undergraduate commuter student ‘exhibited symptoms consistent with coronavirus’.
‘That student has been tested for the virus, and is self-isolating at home,’ officials said in a statement.
‘We will inform the campus community immediately if we learn that the lab result is positive for the COVID-19 virus.’
Three other students and two faculty members may have also been exposed to the virus off campus, the statement said, noting that all five are staying home for 14 days ‘out of an abundance of caution’.
UNIVERSITIES THAT HAVE CANCELED IN-PERSON CLASSES
New York City
- Fordham University
- Columbia University
- Yeshiva University
- University of Washington
- Seattle University
- Pacific Lutheran University
- Lake Washington Institute of Technology
- Princeton University in New Jersey
- Rice University in Houston
- Stanford University in California
- Harvard University in Massachusetts
A parent of a prospective student was tested for the virus after falling ill in a library on the Rose Hill campus, but the results came back negative.
Faculty will begin teaching courses online on Wednesday and will continue to do so until further notice.
A few miles south of Fordham at Columbia University, classes were canceled on Monday and Tuesday.
University president Lee C Bollinger announced the cancellations in a statement on Sunday, warning nonessential gathers of more than 25 people were strongly discouraged.
Bollinger said there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus among students, faculty or staff, but that someone had been quarantined.
He said officials are preparing a shift to virtual classes for the remainder of the week.
‘Please understand that the decision to suspend classes does not mean that the University is shutting down,’ Bollinger wrote.
‘All non-classroom activities, including research, will continue in accordance with the new travel and events restrictions announced recently.’
Also in New York City, Yeshiva University canceled classes on two of its campuses until March 10 after a student tested positive for the virus last week. That student is the son of a Manhattan lawyer believed to have sparked a cluster of cases in Westchester County.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned Monday that more schools in the state could be closed for weeks because of the coronavirus.
‘If a student tests positive in a school, the school is closed for an initial 24-hour period so we can do an assessment,’ Cuomo said at a press conference.
He said if there are continued concerns about a campus, it could be ‘a number of weeks’ before it would reopen.
The governor noted that the situation is most severe in Westchester County, where 98 cases have been reported as of Monday.
Columbia University canceled classes on Monday and Tuesday and is laying plans to conduct courses online for the remainder of the week. Students are pictured on campus on Monday
Yeshiva University (pictured on March 5) in New York City canceled classes on two of its campuses until March 10 after a student tested positive for the virus last week
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently assessing the situation at schools in that county and is considering closing all facilities there.
The University of Washington, which has more than 55,000 students across three campuses in Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell, announced a switch to virtual classes on Friday.
Other schools in the area, including Pacific Lutheran University and Seattle University have taken similar measures.
The Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Kirkland shut down for cleaning last week after several students and faculty members visited the Life Care Center, a local nursing home where at least six people have died from the virus.
Rice University in Houston canceled in-person classes for the week of March 9 on Sunday after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 last week following a trip abroad.
The school also banned gatherings of 100 or more people through the end of April.
The University of Washington, which has more than 55,000 students across three campuses in Seattle (pictured on March 6), Tacoma and Bothell, announced a switch to virtual classes on Friday
The Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Kirkland, Washington, shut down for cleaning last week after several students and faculty members visited the Life Care Center (pictured on March 6), a local nursing home where six people have died from the virus
Classes at Stanford University (pictured on Monday) in Santa Clara County have also been moved online. A man is seen walking across a quiet campus on Monday
‘Like some of our peers, Rice is preparing for the possibility of delivering the majority of its classes remotely if that should prove necessary,’ officials said in a statement.
They said research will continue as it is general limited to small groups.
Classes at Stanford University in Santa Clara County have also been moved online.
The campus itself remains open and research is ongoing, officials said, but students are not required to be there.
The move came after more than 3,700 people signed an online petition calling for Stanford leaders to take action to prevent the spread of the virus.
University president Marc Tessier-Lavigne confirmed that Stanford Medicine was caring for a few patients with COVID-19 on Thursday.
A faculty member in the Stanford School of Medicine reportedly tested positive for the virus.