AMHERST - This week has been an absolute whirlwind in the news, both on the national level and on the local level. Here in Massachusetts, the week has been filled with announcements that colleges and universities would be closing their campuses and switching to online platforms for the remainder of the semester.
It worked out well that spring break happens to begin tomorrow for many Massachusetts colleges, allowing them the time to work out the kinks that come from trying to transition an entire academic semester to a digital capacity.
Harvard University, Amherst College, Smith College, and more had established the precedence for this switch in the New England region. But when universities across the nation followed suit, it was only a matter of time before UMass Amherst joined the fold and mirrored the actions of their Five College neighbors and the other UMass schools around the state. And now, it is official. The flagship campus of our state will shutter its doors, as shared by The Boston Globe. For the time being, at least.
Yesterday, UMass Amherst announced that, in response to the coronavirus concerns, they would be going virtual for two weeks after spring break, until April 3. However, the coronavirus concerns seem to be getting worse before they get better. It seems like the writing is on the wall and it is quite unlikely that UMass will reopen. However, they are leaving the door open for that chance, in case of a Hail Mary recovery situation in response to the coronavirus. It would be quite a surprise to see the campus reopen, however. No announcement has been made yet.
Joining UMass yesterday in this closure was Northeastern and Boston University and the tally will only continue to grow. Currently, there are no cases of coronavirus on the UMass campus, but it certainly makes sense to be safe. After all, a campus with 30,000 students, many of whom are traveling for spring break, is practically a breeding ground for a virus to proliferate and spread.
This week has definitely been a wake-up call for many that the coronavirus fears are grounded invalidity and that it might be well past time to be vigilant regarding them. Stay safe out there, everyone.
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