BOSTON (CBS) – As colleges and universities around Massachusetts continue grappling with how to handle the remainder of the school year amid coronavirus concerns, a growing number of schools is opting to make drastic changes.
Boston University, Northeastern University, and all University of Massachusetts schools are now among those who will hold classes remotely for the foreseeable future.
BU courses will be held online from March 16 until April 13. Though the school “strongly” advises students not to return after spring break, residence and dining halls will remain open for people who are unable to leave.
“We’re on the track team, so we were supposed to go to California last week, Monday or Tuesday, and that got canceled, so we kinda knew that things could keep escalating,” said Boston University senior Chiebuka Onwuzurike.
Boston University is allowing students to remain on campus, which is good news for Boston University freshman Pamela Ruis, a low-income student from South Texas, who said she doesn’t know where she would go if the campus closed. “Honestly, I’m really glad they said you can stay if you need to stay,” she said.
Northeastern announced it will be going online starting Thursday. Students will not be asked to move out.
Students at Northeastern said they think the move is for the best.
“Better safe than sorry, I guess,” said Korry Valley, a junior at Northeastern.
“I think its the best decision the university could’ve made at this point,” said Northeastern Freshman Nicholas Pietrinferno.
UMass announced that it will be asking students at its five campuses not to return from spring break. Classes will be held online through at least April 3.
Berklee College is asking students not to return after spring break and to complete courses online beginning March 23 “until further notice.” The school says there will be “severely limited on-campus services and interactions after spring break” for anyone who is unable to leave.
Wheaton College announced Wednesday it will extend spring break through March 22. Then classes will move to online for the rest of the spring semester, beginning March 23.
Spring break at Wentworth Institute of Technology will be extended through March 18. Online classes will begin March 19, and all residence halls will be closed for the remainder of the spring semester.
Framingham State canceled classes for the week following spring break. Classes will resume on March 30.
Curry College has said that spring break will be extended for another week and then classes will move online for as long as needed.
On Tuesday, Harvard University became the first Boston school to announce it would be shifting to online-only classes for the rest of the year. The university asked students to move out of their dorms by Sunday at 5 p.m. and not return to campus following spring break.
Later in the day, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology followed suit. MIT moved its classes online and also asked students to move out of their dorms.
Emerson College, Amherst College, Smith College, Babson College, Suffolk University, Brandeis University, Boston College and Tufts University are among the other Massachusetts schools that will hold online classes only for the remainder of the semester.
Harvard, Suffolk and Tufts have announced plans to make room and board costs pro-rated for the remainder of the year.
Simmons College is extending its spring break by a week and classes will resume on March 23.
Emmanuel College will extend spring break through March 17 and move to online-only classes through March 27.
“Our intention at present is to continue operations as normal. Should the University decide to alter operations, we will immediately communicate these changes to the community,” Boston College said in a letter to the community. “Obviously there is no singular approach that has been recommended by the CDC. We will continue to monitor the situation, and make appropriate decisions for Boston College based on advice from federal, state and local authorities and the judgment of senior administrators.”
University of New Hampshire officials sent an alter to its campus saying no decision has been made, but faculty members have been asked to begin planning how they would teach classes online after spring break if it becomes necessary.
“As part of our preparations, we are doing contingency planning which could include options to continue courses online, adjust semester schedules, curtail classes or close the campus. Please monitor your UNH email regularly as we will share decisions as soon as they are made,” the school said.
While students understand schools’ decisions, they are concerned about how their learning is going to be affected if they can’t go to class.
“I’m not sure. See, I’m a pre-med student, so I’m taking, like, chem and bio. We have, like, three-hour labs for each class,” said Boston University freshman Noelani Phillips.
“I’m an architecture student, so we have studio classes, so it’s kind of up in the air what we’re choosing to do,” Northeastern Freshman Nicholas Pietrinferno said.