Just two weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned schools and businesses to consider a closure if coronavirus (COVID-19) became a pandemic. They also urged the public to start preparing for a US outbreak. At the time, there were 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US. Now, there are more than 1,100 cases in the country and the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared pandemic status. As a response, US college campuses are one of many entities announcing closures to stop the spread of coronavirus, with K-12 public schools following in their wake.
Washington state, which saw a spike in confirmed cases last week, was the first to announce a university closure. The University of Washington announced a switch to remote classes to stop the spread of coronavirus. Other schools that already have students on spring break told students not to come back to campus if they were already away, especially if they have been traveling either domestically or internationally.
No school has yet to cancel academic classes altogether. Measures include shifting from in-person classes to remote classes. Those with final exams coming up, like University of California campuses, will be taking exams remotely. Likewise, public campus events and mass gatherings have also been canceled. In many cases, college campuses are encouraging students to leave their campus dwellings and move off-campus, if possible.
Washington, California, and New York have been hit by COVID-19 the hardest, but have not seen community spread of the virus on campus. CNN reports that the United Nations (UN) estimates around 363 million students being affected by coronavirus-related closures worldwide.
College campuses that have announced closures due to coronavirus include:
- University of California campuses: Irvine, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, Berkeley, and Davis
- California: Stanford, Cal State Long Beach, San Diego State University, USC, San Francisco State University
- Washington: University of Washington, Seattle University
- New York: Columbia, New York University, Barnard, Hofstra
- Massachusetts: MIT, Harvard University, UMass Amherst
- New Jersey: Princeton
- North Carolina: Duke University
- Ohio State University
Myriad K-12 public schools, including those in Fairfax County, Virginia and Washington, DC, have announced they’ll be closing on Monday for emergency response planning.
In a statement, Lewis D. Ferebee, Chancellor of DC Public Schools (DCPS), wrote, “Instructional contingency plans are underway that will allow meaningful, relevant learning to take place in the event that schools are closed for an extended period of time. We are developing resources for every level in grades PK-8 and for each graduation requirement course for grades 9-12. These resources will be available both in print and online and accessible to every family.”