Smith College announced on Tuesday that is moving to online classes and has given students until March 20 to move out of their dorms.
Smith joins Harvard and Amherst as the latest Massachusetts institution to preemptively shut-down most of student life on campus in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The last in-person classes at Smith will be held on Friday. The college will extend spring break to students until March 29 and online and alternative classes will start the following day.
Smith said it will provide room and board for students who have no other options but to remain on campus in Northampton, including those from countries with travel restrictions, those whose legal residence is Smith College and those with other extenuating circumstances. Smith’s students who are studying abroad will remain where they are.
“There are many unknowns about the COVID-19 disease, but two things are clear,” Kathleen McCartney, Smith’s president wrote in a message to the community. “The first is that social distancing is one of the best protections against the spread of the virus. The second is that the virus has the potential to spread rapidly in communities. Both of these pose challenges for each and every college campus, including Smith.”
McCartney said the extension of spring break will allow faculty and staff to prepare to offer students classes virtually.