Harvard University dropped a bomb yesterday when they announced that they will be suspending all in-person classes and moving everything online because of the coronavirus, becoming the latest college to make this move.
Harvard explained their decision in a statement posted to their website:
“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.”
The statement went on to say that Harvard will be offering counseling and mental health services to help students manage their stresses and anxieties in regard to the virus.
“To our students, I know it will be difficult to leave your friends and your classrooms,” the statement continued. “We are doing this not just to protect you but also to protect other members of our community who may be more vulnerable to this disease than you are. To our faculty, I recognize that we are asking you midway through the semester to completely rethink how you teach. We do this because we know that you want to avoid putting your students at risk.”
Harvard will begin transitioning to virtual instruction for graduate and undergraduate classes. Read President Bacow’s message to the community. https://t.co/njh3ci1QEH
— Harvard University (@Harvard) March 10, 2020
“To our staff, I understand that we are expecting you to go above and beyond in your efforts to support our important mission of teaching and scholarship,” Harvard concluded. “We do this because we know we can rely on your creativity, flexibility and judgment through these challenging times.”
This comes after other schools like Amherst College in Massachusetts as well as Stanford and the University of Washington on the west coast announced that they would be shutting down and moving to a remote schedule as well, according to Fox News. Princeton University in New Jersey also announced this week that there would be a “mandatory, temporary move for all lectures, seminars and precepts to virtual instruction starting on Monday, March 23.”
The media’s coverage of the coronavirus has stirred up a mass panic all over the United States, which has lead directly to the closures of these schools. It remains to be seen whether this was a smart decision, or a major overreaction on the parts of the academic institutions.