UMass, BU, Other Schools Move Classes Online Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The entire UMass system will move to virtual learning

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Major colleges in Massachusetts — including the entire University of Massachusetts system — said Wednesday they would move to online classes amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

UMass students at the Dartmouth, Lowell, Amherst and Boston campuses, as well as at the UMass Medical School, were told classes would be taught remotely until at least April 3, at which point the situation would be reassessed.

The remote learning will begin at UMass Dartmouth and UMass Lowell next week when students return from spring break, UMass president Martin Meehan said. Those students were notified they should not return to campus.

The measure would take effect for UMass Amherst and UMass Boston students on March 23 when their spring break ends. Students were advised to bring home belongings they will need when they leave for spring break at the end of this week.

The number of colleges and universities across Massachusetts that are moving to online classes amid the coronavirus outbreak continues to grow.

Boston University on Wednesday said classes would be moved online beginning Monday and "strongly" advised students who weren't on campus not to return for the time being. Those currently on campus were advised to "consider going home."

The university said residences and dining halls would remain open for those who choose to stay on campus or are unable to return to their homes.

Classes would remain online until at least April 13, school president Robert Brown said.

Northeastern University said its Boston campus would move to online learning starting Thursday.

Northeastern students were not asked to leave campus. "While students may elect to do so, we are committed to maintaining continuity of campus life for those who elect to stay," Northeastern president Joseph Aoun said.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States has topped 1,000 overnight as efforts to contain the disease continue. At least 31 people have died.

Boston College canceled classes starting Thursday, March 12, and the upcoming finals. It will begin online lessons on Monday, March 19.

Residence halls are being quickly closed as well, with students required to leave by Saturday, March 15, at 9 p.m. unless they can obtain an exception.

At Brandeis University, the last day of in-person classes will be March 20. Some classes have already been moved online, those with 100 people or more will be online by March 16 and all will be online by March 26.

The Wentworth Institute of Technology's spring break was extended to Wednesday, March 18. The next day, classes will resume online and on "other methods of distance education," while residence halls will be closed for all except those with exceptions.

Spring break will be extended through Sunday, March 22, for Wheaton College (Massachusetts), with remote/virtual instruction in place when the semester resumes the next day.

Officials at Norwood Hospital have set up a medical tent outside to prepare to treat people who may be infected with the coronavirus.

Students already off campus can only come back to get their belongings, which they must do by Sunday, March 22. Residents halls will close that day to all students except those who have arranged for an exception by Wednesday, March 18, at 1 p.m.

The announcements from the schools follow similar ones from other local schools, including Harvard University, Tufts University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

On Tuesday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency as the number of coronavirus cases in the state spiked to 92, more than double the 41 cases announced just 24 hours earlier.

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