Harvard is instructing students not to return from spring break and to move out of their campus houses and dorms back to their homes, following the lead of other colleges preparing for the coronavirus outbreak spread, the Harvard Crimson reported Tuesday.
Harvard’s spring break concludes on Sunday March 22, and the University will be transitioning to online classes — which should be prepared for the first day of scheduled classes following spring break — in order to prevent large groups of people from congregating on campus, University President Lawrence S. Bacow said in an email statement to students, the Harvard Crimson reported.
Harvard joins the ranks of colleges cancelling school for the rest of the year pic.twitter.com/YJauHalJKX
— Farzad Mostashari (@Farzad_MD) March 10, 2020
The University is also strongly discouraging any “non-essential meetings or events” of 25 people or more and prohibiting University related non-essential domestic air travel. The University had originally warned against gatherings of 100 people or more. (RELATED: U.S. Colleges And Universities Cancel Study Abroad Programs Amid Coronavirus Fears)
“The decision to move to virtual instruction was not made lightly,” the statement to the campus community said. “The goal of these changes is to minimize the need to gather in large groups and spend prolonged time in close proximity with each other in spaces such as classrooms, dining halls, and residential buildings.”
The University is requiring anyone who arrives to campus from a location with a CDC level 3 travel warning for the coronavirus to complete a confidential health form at least 48 hours before returning to campus and to self-isolate for two weeks.
Harvard joins Amherst College, Columbia University, and Princeton, among many others, in transitioning to online instruction as the upcoming weeks remain uncertain with regards to the spread of the coronavirus, CNN reported.
The idea that Harvard switch to online classes seemed like an overreaction 5 days ago. Today we made the obviously right decision to ask our undergraduates not to return after spring break. I don’t think anyone in the US will be sitting in a university classroom 2 wks from now.
— Jason Furman (@jasonfurman) March 10, 2020