Harvard Tells Students Not to Return to Campus Due to Coronavirus

Harvard has instructed remaining students to leave campus by Mar. 15 over coronavirus fears.

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The prestigious Harvard University has joined several U.S. colleges that have asked their students not to return to campus after spring break due to the growing global coronavirus outbreak. On Tuesday morning, Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow sent out an email announcing that all Harvard courses would move online on Mar. 23, the day after spring break officially ends.

A statement posted on the university website on Tuesday reads: "Students are asked not to return to campus after Spring Recess and to meet academic requirements remotely until further notice." Furthermore, "students who need to remain on campus" must "prepare for severely limited on-campus activities and interactions," as the school was transitioning to "non-essential gatherings of no more than 25 people."

The statement emphasized that while the decision to move all classes online was not taken lightly, it was made on the basis of "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."

Columbia, Princeton, Stanford, Amherst, and Berkeley are some of the other U.S. colleges that have chosen to suspend in-person classes in an attempt to keep coronavirus contained.

Harvard also sent a follow-up email to students who were still on campus, telling them they would be required to move out of their dorms by no later than Mar. 15 at 5 p.m.

The decision was met by outcry from some students, like Harvard senior Nick Wyville, who tweeted that "some of us don't even have internet at our homes to 'virtual learn'" and that "some can't afford to all of a sudden get up and leave."

Another Harvard senior, Hakeem Angulu, tweeted that the decision put him, as a student from Jamaica, in a difficult position due to the expectations that he should pack his belongings and book travel back home in five days, all while attending classes.

The university website asked students who could not leave campus to "communicate with your School and with Harvard University Housing to make appropriate accommodations." Multiple Harvard employees instructed Angulu on Twitter where he could get further support.

Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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