Coronavirus campus closures top 220—and keep growing

Closures range from entire state systems to one small college that shut down for the year
By: | March 12, 2020
COVID-19 compels higher education to tell students head home for spring break and engage in distance learning for an extended and unknown length of time. (gettyimages.com: Philip Pacheco/Stringer)COVID-19 compels higher education to tell students head home for spring break and engage in distance learning for an extended and unknown length of time. (gettyimages.com: Philip Pacheco/Stringer)

Coronavirus had compelled more than 220 colleges and universities had canceled in-person classes, asked students to go home and shifted to online education in some form as of Thursday, according to a crowdsourced Google doc.

The COVID-19-related closures range from the entire Florida state university system to at least one small Kentucky college that has completely shut down for the rest of the school year.

All institutions in the University of North Carolina System will transition to an indefinite period of online education by March 23. All gatherings of 100 or more people will be been canceled or postponed.

The entire State University System of New York and The City University of New York have taken a 5-day recess to shift to online education for the remainder of the spring semester.


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The Univesity of Colorado Boulder is also shifting to remote instruction for the remainder of the semester, and Chancellor Philip DiStefano has also asked employees to work from home, though residence halls, dining halls, the libraries, student recreation centers and other facilities will remain open.

The University of Maryland is winding down operations and has asked students leaving for spring break not to expect to return to campus until at least April 10. The university will deliver all courses online starting March 30.

Utah’s three largest institutions—The University of Utah, Utah State University and Weber State University—are canceling classes, The Salt Lake City Tribune reported.

Coronavirus raises equity concerns

The rapid pace of closures, and the shifts online, have some in higher ed reminded campus leaders to continue to support students who may not have ready access to computers and connectivity.


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“These kinds of remote solutions have the effect of doubling down on inequalities that are already in the system, and that’s going to be even more true when it happens, unexpectedly, mid-semester,” Kate Antonova, an associate professor of history at Queens College in New York, told WIRED.

“I’ve already surveyed my students, and I definitely have students who have no internet-connected devices at home,” Antonova told WIRED. “And I have even more students who have a smartphone but are paying for their own data, so they wouldn’t be able to stream long lectures.”

Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Times took a look at some of the awkward momentsUSC and UCLA students experienced as they adjusted to online education this week.


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