Tufts suspends in-person classes, asks students not to return after spring break

Ballou Hall is pictured on Apr. 20, 2018. Rachel Hartman / The Tufts Daily Archives

Tufts University announced on Tuesday night that it will conduct all classes online starting March 25 in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on its campuses.

In an email to the Tufts community, University President Anthony Monaco explained that undergraduate and Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy students living on campus must leave their residence halls by March 16. Tufts will allow students who cannot return to their permanent residences to remain in their residence hall, as long as they receive permission from the Office of Residential Life and Learning or the Fletcher School’s Office of Student Affairs.

Monaco also announced the cancellation of undergraduate classes on Friday to give students time to pack their belongings. Tufts will extend its undergraduate spring break by two days, with classes slated to resume online on March 25.

Winter sports with remaining games and meets will continue as scheduled without spectators, while all spring sports are canceled, according to the email.

Several winter sports teams have postseason competitions remaining on their schedules. Women’s basketball, men’s basketball, women’s indoor track and field, mens’s indoor track and field, men’s swim and dive and women’s swim and dive are all currently scheduled to compete in NCAA postseason events in the next two weeks. As of now, these events are planned to go on as scheduled and will be closed to spectators.

The email also indicated that all spring sports, including NESCAC tournaments, have been canceled, per a joint decision by the presidents of NESCAC members. No decision has been made on spring sports eligibility for NCAA tournaments.

Tufts joins a growing list of Massachusetts colleges that have suspended in-person classes, part of a national effort by schools to stem the coronavirus outbreak by shutting their doors.

Both Amherst College and Harvard University informed students in recent days that classes will be conducted remotely following next week’s spring break and asked students not to return to campus. Other Massachusetts schools that suspended classes today include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Babson College, Smith College and Mount Holyoke College.

Tufts faculty members were warned last week to prepare for a scenario in which classes would be conducted online, according to a March 6 email to the Tufts community from Executive Vice President Mike Howard.

University administrators also announced last week a number of travel restrictions on faculty, staff and students. Those restrictions included a 14-day self-quarantine period on visitors to campus traveling from a country designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with a Level 3 travel warning — its highest risk level.

Tufts also prohibited all university-related travel to CDC Level 3 countries and suspended several university-supported international trips scheduled for spring break.

This is a developing story. The Daily will provide updates when more information is available.


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