Harvard University is transitioning to virtual instruction for graduate and undergraduate classes, starting Monday, March 23, 2020. Students are being asked to move out of their dorms within five days due to coronavirus, according to CNN.
Spokeswoman Rachael Dane told CNN: “Harvard College students have been asked to move out of their Houses and First-Year Dorms by Sunday, March 15, in an effort to de-densify our community.”
In a statement, the university outlined other changes.
“Like all of you, I have been intently following reports of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and considering the many ways in which its future course might alter my life and the lives of those closest to me. These past few weeks have been a powerful reminder of just how connected we are to one another—and how our choices today determine our options tomorrow,” University President Lawrence S. Bacow wrote in a statement.
“Fortunately, a group of extremely dedicated people has been working literally around the clock to respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19. Our teams are considering every contingency as they undertake their important work on your behalf, and I write today to update you on major near-term changes that will limit exposure to the disease among members of our community.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Harvard Is Moving Classes Online
The university’s statement outlined the following changes:
“We will begin transitioning to virtual instruction for graduate and undergraduate classes. Our goal is to have this transition complete by Monday, March 23, which is the first day of scheduled classes following Spring Recess.
Students are asked not to return to campus after Spring Recess and to meet academic requirements remotely until further notice. Students who need to remain on campus will also receive instruction remotely and must prepare for severely limited on-campus activities and interactions. All graduate students will transition to remote work wherever possible. Schools will communicate more specific guidance and information, and we encourage everyone to review previous guidance about both international and domestic travel.
We are transitioning over the course of the next few days to non-essential gatherings of no more than 25 people. Please note this is a change from prior guidance.”
The statement continued, “The decision to move to virtual instruction was not made lightly. 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. Our actions are consistent with the recommendations of leading health officials on how to limit the spread of COVID-19 and are also consistent with similar decisions made by a number of our peer institutions. The campus will remain open and operations will continue with appropriate measures to protect the health of the community.”
“Despite our best efforts to bring the University’s resources to bear on this virus, we are still faced with uncertainty – and the considerable unease brought on by uncertainty. It will take time for researchers, a good many of them who are our colleagues, to understand enough about this disease to mount a reliable defense against it. Now more than ever, we must do our utmost to protect those among us who are most vulnerable, whether physically or emotionally, and to treat one another with generosity and respect. Harvard Counseling and Mental Health Services and the Harvard Employee Assistance Program are available to help you manage anxiety and stress. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.”
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