The threat of coronavirus has forced two major universities in the US located in high-risk areas, to shut down. Reports indicate that the closing down of the universities in the Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area was just the beginning of a likely wave of campus closures in the United States over the coming weeks.
There have been 708 total positive coronavirus cases in the United States and the death toll in the country has reached 27. On March 6, Stanford University announced that it was cancelling classes for the last two weeks of its winter quarter. The cancellation went into effect from March 9 onwards. As per reports, the classes were moved to an online format.
The University of Washington on March 6 told its 50,000 students that classes would be moving online from March 9 onwards. According to reports, Seattle University and the Seattle campus of Boston’s Northeastern University have also moved classes online. Columbia University has warned its students of international travel during spring break and has also announced the cancelling of spring campus tours for undergraduate admissions and programming for incoming, admitted students.
The New York Law School also temporarily closed its doors for three days due to concerns of a student coming into contact with a lawyer who contracted the disease. The student had tested negative and the campus has been reopened.
Stanford University which is located in the heart of Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, California has reportedly announced that it will be cancelling all in-person classes for the final two weeks of the winter quarter. The move was done in order to combat the spread of the fast-spreading coronavirus and to ease the panic among students and parents. The university has also cancelled its in-person Admit Weekend event for prospective undergraduates.
According to reports, Provost Persis Drell announced the cancellation of classes in a letter sent out to the campus community on March 6. The letter stated that to the extent that it is feasible, all classes will be moved to an online format and replace the in-person instruction format.
The letter also stated that final exams will take place in a take-home format. Drell added in the letter that the University will still remain open even though classes will not be meeting. Drell in the letter also expressed profound disappointment at having to cancel the popular Admit Weekend event but also stated that the move was necessary and prudent given the current situation with the virus spreading fast and rapidly changing travel conditions.