The small college announced today that when students leave for spring break, they should take most of their belongings with them, because the campus will be closed to them and the professors will instead use videoconferencing and other online systems to complete classes for the semester.
Covid-19, of course:
We know that many people will travel widely during spring break, no matter how hard we try to discourage it. The risk of having hundreds of people return from their travels to the campus is too great. The best time to act in ways that slow the spread of the virus is now.
The campus will remain open to professors and staff - and to a small number of students who can convince school administrators they need to stay over for the entire semester and who will not be going anywhere for spring break. There have yet to be any Covid-19 cases in Hampshire County.
The college posted some FAQs, including:
Should I take my personal belongings? What if I cannot take them all?
Because the duration of this disruption is unclear, we encourage students to take as many of their belongings as possible, particularly the items and materials they need to continue their studies remotely after the break. A subsequent notice to students will provide more information about packing and moving support.
Nearby Smith College announced yesterday it doesn't currently plan to close the campus to students, but is looking at "a scenario in which all courses would move to alternate modes of instruction should COVID-19 affect our on-campus community directly."
Hampshire College, another member of the Five College Consortium, said today it will open its dorms over spring break to students who don't want to travel overseas or even to other parts of the US.
Mount Holyoke College is also opening its dorms over spring break and is requiring any students who travel more than 100 miles to register their trips with the school. A faculty/staff task force is looking at how to keep classes going should the campus need to be shut.
UMass Amherst, by far the largest of the Five Colleges says it has assembled a task force to formulate a Covid-19 reponse should the virus appear on campus or nearby.