University of Washington Becomes 1st Major College to Shift All Classes Online Due to Coronavirus Fears

March 9, 2020

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On Friday, the University of Washington took the unprecedented step of moving all of its classes online through March 20, when winter quarter ends, to try and prevent the spread of coronavirus among its 50,000 students. The university is the first in the country to take such an extreme precaution. “In addition to providing maximum flexibility for our university community to take health precautions and finish classes this quarter, this transition provides our facilities crews additional time to deep clean classrooms, auditoriums, libraries, restrooms, and other public spaces," UW President Ana Mari Cauce wrote in a letter to faculty and staff. The Seattle area has emerged as the American epicenter for the deadly virus, and a UW staffer recently tested positive for it. The Seattle Times reports that in-person classes are expected to resume when spring quarter begins on March 30.