After the outbreak of the new coronavirus in the United States, Harvard University, one of the oldest universities in the United States, decided to adopt online courses based on safety considerations, and informed students not to return to school after spring break.
On March 10, local time, Harvard University issued a statement on its official website, telling students that the school plans to change all courses to online teaching by March 23, and asking students to start after the spring break week starting March 13. Do not go back to school.
In addition to Harvard University, on the same day, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), another well-known university adjacent to Harvard University, notified students by email that the school would also adopt online classes and canceled March 16-20. This week of classes also asked students not to return to school after spring break.
Harvard currently has more than 6,500 undergraduate students, with a total of more than 20,000 students. Harvard said the move to online classes was designed to avoid large gatherings and close contact between people, otherwise the campus would remain open and operational.
“The events of the past few weeks are a stark reminder of how closely we are connected to each other and how today’s choices can affect tomorrow,” Harvard President Lawrence Bacow said in a statement. At the same time, he pointed out, “We are doing this not only to protect ourselves, but also to protect other people and communities who may be more vulnerable to the virus than you.”
Harvard said such measures are in line with recommendations from leading U.S. health officials. Leading U.S. health officials have urged older adults to minimize travel and contact with others, and asked other parts of the country to practice social distancing to slow the movement of people.
Both Harvard University and MIT are located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. To date, there have been more than 40 cases of coronavirus transmission in Massachusetts. Many of those cases were linked to a recent executive meeting at Biogen, a biotech company in the region, which is at the heart of the biomedical research community.
However, Harvard said that the school’s laboratory was not affected by this measure and is still working normally. In a message to staff, Harvard Medical School Dean George Daley said medical students would remain on campus and continue to rotate at the school’s teaching hospital.
Some foreign media said that such a move by Harvard University may prompt other schools to take the same measures. On the West Coast, the University of Washington in Seattle has taken similar steps.
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