The cancellations have been focused in states and areas hardest hit by the virus, including the Seattle area, California and New York.
Also, many students either are on or about to go on spring break, so some schools are issuing guidance on avoiding travel to countries such as China, Italy or South Korea, based on advisories from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some are telling students to not return to campus for 14 days after their return, depending on the laws in their state.
One university even told students to leave campus for the time being.
These are all the universities that have canceled or suspended classes so far.
Amherst canceled classes for Thursday and Friday.
It told students who wanted to stay during the break to fill out an online form.
“We know that many people will travel widely during spring break, no matter how hard we try to discourage it,” a statement from the school’s chancellor, Biddy Martin, reads. “The risk of having hundreds of people return from their travels to the campus is too great.”
University of California, Berkeley
In a letter sent to the campus community Monday, Chancellor Carol Christ said the changes will begin Tuesday and remain in effect through spring break, which ends March 29.
All lecture courses, seminar instruction and exams will be offered through virtual options. Courses that must meet in person — such as labs, performing arts or physical education — are encouraged to minimize their in-person meetings.
Columbia University and Barnard College
“This suspension of activities will allow us to prepare to shift to remote classes for the remainder of the week,” President Lee Bollinger said. “I want to emphasize that the individual who has been quarantined has not been diagnosed at this point with the virus.”
The announcement, made out of “an abundance of caution,” comes after a student contacted the health center reporting flu-like symptoms, Hofstra said.
The student had attended an off-campus conference where an attendee has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The student is being tested for coronavirus and is in isolation, the university said. Six people who have been in close contact with the student have been asked to self-isolate pending the student’s test results.
“We want to emphasize that this action is a precaution taken to provide peace of mind to students, faculty, staff and families,” the university said. “There are currently no confirmed cases of Covid-19 associated with the university.”
According to Eisgruber, university medical advisers say that “the best time to put in place policies to slow the spread of the virus is now, before we begin to see cases on our campus, rather than later.” He encouraged students to consider staying home after spring break rather than returning to campus.
The new policies will be in place through April 5 and will be reassessed as that date approaches.
The university said there are no confirmed coronavirus cases in the campus community.
“We have endeavored to operate in a manner that prioritizes the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff while allowing our students full opportunity to continue to engage in their academic studies,” President Stephen V. Sundborg said.
University of Southern California
“I emphasize that this is a test of our capabilities. The university is fully functional,” said Charles F. Zukoski, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
“To the extent feasible, we will be moving classes to online formats in place of in-person instruction,” Drell said in the letter.
Exams that were scheduled to be taken in-person will be taken in a take-home format, the university said.
Stanford is located in Santa Clara County, which currently has dozens of cases of the coronavirus. California has nearly 90 cases of the virus.
Stanford University is also canceling campus tours and the “Admit Weekend” event for prospective undergraduates that was originally scheduled for the weekend of April 23-26. Visitors will be allowed to take self-guided tours but there will be no group tours or events, according to the letter. The university plans to keep its visitor center open.
University of Washington
The university said it plans to resume normal class operations when the spring quarter begins March 30, pending public health guidance.
At least seven universities, including Villanova, Elon, Florida International and Syracuse, have suspended programs in Italy, and others have canceled programs in China and South Korea.
The study abroad program Semester at Sea, based on a cruise ship that’s been retrofitted into a floating campus, is rerouting with hundreds of American students on board.
CNN’s Connor Spielmaker, Sarah Moon, Jenn Selva, and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.