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March 11, 2020 Wednesday 02:35:47 PM IST

COVID-19: Harvard and MIT to launch online classes

Teacher Insights

After an outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease in the USA, top institutions - Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will move classes online and are telling students not to return from spring break.

An official statement on Harvard University's website: "We will begin transitioning to virtual instruction for graduate and undergraduate classes. Our goal is to have this transition complete by Monday, March 23, which is the first day of scheduled classes following Spring Recess. 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. We are transitioning over the course of the next few days to non-essential gatherings of no more than 25 people. Please note this is a change from prior guidance.

"The decision to move to virtual instruction was not made lightly. The goal of these changes is to minimize the need to gather in large groups and spend prolonged time in close proximity with each other in spaces such as classrooms, dining halls, and residential buildings. Our actions are consistent with the 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. The campus will remain open and operations will continue with appropriate measures to protect the health of the community." 

An official letter from MIT says, "All classes are cancelled for the week of Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20. Because the following week is spring break, this will allow faculty and instructors two weeks to organize a full transition to online instruction. Online instruction, which some units are already experimenting with this week, will begin for all classes on Monday, March 30, and continue for the remainder of the semester. Undergraduates should not return to campus after spring break. Undergraduates who live in an MIT residence or fraternity, sorority or independent living group (FSILG) must begin packing and departing this Saturday, March 14. We are requiring undergraduates to depart from campus residences no later than noon on Tuesday, March 17."



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