Courtesy of Julia Schorr

The grading policies of different Ivies to Cornell's, in response to COVID-19 related challenges.

March 11, 2020

Cornell Not Alone in Class Cancellations: Tracking COVID-19 Reactions Across the Ivy League

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With its Tuesday announcement of in-person class cancellations and closed classrooms after spring break, Cornell joined other Ivy League schools and a wave of colleges nationwide.

All of the Ancient Eight have planned to move classes exclusively online and asked students to vacate campus, as of Thursday night.

As decision day for the Ivies nears, all eight schools also canceled all admitted students programming and campus events with 100 or more attendees, although some schools are using a smaller maximum. The universities have also suspended upcoming sponsored travel to international destinations.

Brown University

Brown canceled classes for the week of March 16 on Thursday, giving faculty the chance to transition to all online classes starting March 30.

Alongside the classrooms closing, all undergraduates who live on campus must vacate by March 22.

While three students are currently being tested for the virus and are in isolation pending the outcome of their test results, there have not been any presumptive or confirmed cases on Brown’s campus as of Tuesday night. The entire state of Rhode Island has five confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Columbia University

Columbia suspended classes on Monday and Tuesday after a “member of the campus community” was quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19. The university has since resumed classes, though only virtually, and plans to continue this system through the end of the semester, as of Thursday.

No Columbia student, faculty or staff has been diagnosed with COVID-19, but the university has “strongly discourage[d] nonessential events of more than 25 people.”

As of Thursday, the university also encouraged students to move out of undergraduate residence halls for the rest of the semester and further suspended all Columbia-related domestic travel.

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth announced Thursday that they would move to a “remote format” for the first five weeks of their spring term, asking students not to return to campus. They maintained that there are currently no identified cases of COVID-19 in the Dartmouth community.

Less than a week ago, an employee at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, less than three miles away from campus, showed possible symptoms. Instead of quarantining himself, he went to a “mixer at a crowded music venue.” Three days later, he was confirmed as the state’s first coronavirus case.

Harvard University

Harvard hopes to completely transition to virtual instruction by March 23, the end of their spring recess. They also asked students not to return to campus after the break.

Events with more than 25 people — like Columbia’s — are strongly discouraged.

University of Pennsylvania

Penn extended their spring break for one week to give students and faculty time to adjust to the switch to online, mirroring the Brown announcement. Classes will officially be online beginning March 23, through the remainder of the semester, including exams.

The university also asked for students who are currently out of town not to return and for all students on campus to leave by March 15.

Like many of its peers, Penn has also prohibited “all future university-related travel, both domestic and international.”

Princeton University

Princeton plans — like Cornell and Harvard — to move to entirely virtual instruction for the remainder of the spring semester, it announced Monday morning. It hopes to complete the transition from in-person classes by March 23, following its spring break.

Princeton’s president explained that the announcement was an attempt to act before the school began to see cases on campus, and that they wanted to allow students the option to stay home after the break.

On Thursday, the university asked all undergraduates to leave campus as soon as possible, also announcing the possible exposure of two staff members to COVID-19 and the testing of one student.

Yale University

Yale similarly went online and asked students to leave campus. The university requested that students remain at home following their spring recess, which began on Monday. For students who didn’t return home for the break, it gave a deadline of March 15 for them to leave campus. The university plans to reassess its plans by April 5.

Other notable university closures — temporary or long-term cancellations of in-person classes — include:

  • Amherst College
  • Colgate University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • New York University
  • Stanford University
  • Syracuse University
  • Rice University
  • Rutgers University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Washington

Update, March 13, 12:49 a.m.: This article has been updated to include the announcements from Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania.