BOSTON (CBS) — University of Massachusetts students are being told not to return from spring break and classes will move online due to coronavirus fears. The school announced Wednesday that its five campuses will go into a “virtual mode of instruction” through at least April 3.
“We regret the disruption that this will cause, but are confident that all parties will agree that the health and safety of those who live and work at the five campuses and dozens of UMass facilities across the state must come first,” UMass President Marty Meehan wrote in a letter to the Board of Trustees.
There are 75,000 students in the UMass system, including about 30,000 at the flagship Amherst campus. UMass Lowell and Dartmouth students are currently on spring break while Amherst and Boston start Saturday.
“Through April 3, UMass classes (as students come back from break) will be taught remotely using web, video and teleconferencing tools that in many cases are already being used throughout the UMass system,” the school said in a statement. “Exact details of procedures will vary from campus to campus.”
The school said it will continue to evaluate the best course of action in the coming weeks.
A UMass Boston student who was the first diagnosed case of coronavirus in the state is recovering well, Meehan said. There have been 92 positive tests across Massachusetts and Gov. Charlie Baker has declared a state of emergency.
Coronavirus fears have forced many colleges in the state to make drastic changes. Harvard University and MIT have told students to move out as they work to move classes online. Northeastern University, Emerson College, Amherst College, Smith College, Babson College, Suffolk University and Tufts University are among the other Massachusetts schools that will hold online classes only.