Campuses Cancel In-person Classes Due to COVID-19

Many universities are moving their classes to online formats.
Published: March 9, 2020

Across the nation the coronavirus outbreak has prompted institutions of higher education and K-12 campuses to cancel in-person classes, switch to distance learning or make preparations for such actions.

So far, Seattle has the highest number of COVID-19 cases confirmed in the United States, and several college campuses in the area, including the University of Washington and Seattle University, are conducting classes remotely, as well as exams.

Starting Monday and continuing through the end of the quarter, neither school will be holding classes in person, reports LocalNews8. Seattle University’s School of Law has suspended classes until further notice.

Also starting on Monday, Stanford University has cancelled its in-person classes. When possible, classes will be moved to online formats.

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The University of Southern California (USC) is testing its preparedness by only hosting lectures and seminars online March 11-13. Currently, USC has no confirmed coronavirus cases.

“Our university must be nimble and flexible in the event that we need to make any further changes to the semester,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Charles F. Zukosi in an online announcement. “We have about 7,000 lecture classes this spring. We need to test our technical capabilities to ensure academic continuity in an online environment should there be a disruption.”

Sierra College in Yuba, California, which also doesn’t have any confirmed cases, has declared a state of emergency so it can minimize access to the campus, reports YubaNet. It too is preparing to provide instruction remotely, with most classes moving online by March 18. All events in March have been cancelled, but athletic events will continue as scheduled. No spectators will be permitted to attend.

After an employee tested positive for COVID-19, Rice University in Houston cancelled all in-person classes and undergraduate labs for the week of March 9-13, reports the Abilene Reporter News.

“Out of an abundance of caution and to allow faculty and staff time to prepare for possible remote instruction this semester, in-person classroom instruction and undergrad teaching labs for the week of March 9 are canceled. During the week of March 9-13, faculty can provide material that can be completed remotely and does not require group interaction,” the university said in a statement.

The Rice staff member contracted the virus while on a cruise ship in Egypt last month.

Gatherings and parties of more than 100 people are banned through April 30.

Hofstra University in New York is also cancelling in-person classes for a week starting Monday, while Columbia University and Barnard College suspended in-person classes March 9 and 10, and will resume classes online after that.

Additionally, all Princeton lectures will be online starting March 23. Students are also being encouraged to stay home after spring break instead of returning to campus.

Fordham University has suspended face-to-face instruction on all of its New York campuses March 9 and 10.

“All residential students are encouraged to return home immediately,” the school said in a statement. “Beginning with the start of classes on Wednesday, March 11, faculty will teach their classes online or electronically. Over the coming days, the University will also curtail some on-campus operations and redirect specific personnel to work remotely rather than coming to campus.”

Over the weekend, the school learned of an undergraduate commuter student who exhibited symptoms consistent with the coronavirus. That student has been tested for the virus and is self-isolating at home.

Last week, Arizona State University (ASU) transitioned 170 in-person classes involving about 150 professors to an online-only program. The move was to prepare for the possibility that students would need to work remotely due to the spread of COVID-19, reports the State Press. It used the remote conferencing service Zoom.

K-12 school districts are also feeling the effects of the coronavirus. Some schools in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have closed for a day or two, while for others, it’s longer, reports NBC New York. Some Philadelphia-area schools have closed and/or are being cleaned. Trips are also being cancelled.

In Washington, D.C., Schools Without Walls High School was closed Monday after a staff member came into contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. On Tuesday, all schools in Fulton County, Georgia, will be closed after one of the school system’s employees tested positive, reports WSB-TV. The closure will allow custodians to clean and sanitize the affected schools.

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