Harvard University recently announced in a shocking but not-so-shocking email that all the classes are moving online, telling students not to return from Spring break. Students in all dorms were given 5 days to vacate their rooms and either move back to their hometowns or find accommodation off-campus for the rest of the semester.
All this is in an effort to slow local transmission of the novel Coronavirus, which is causing a fast-spreading pneumonia-like disease with respiratory issues, called Covid-19. The 2019 Coronavirus has now spread to almost every country in the world, and is putting a major strain on the healthcare sector.
The risk of the spread of disease is very high in close-living spaces such as dorms, and even in places where large numbers of people gather, such as classrooms or dining halls. So in such a scenario, this measure is a welcome news. “The goal of these social distancing measures is to limit the number of instances where community members are gathering in large groups and spending periods of time in close proximity with each other in classrooms, dining halls, and residential buildings,” says the Harvard website.
Classes will be taking place online, over video conferencing and professors are looking at new ways for grading classes and teaching courses. “We will begin transitioning to online instruction for all graduate and undergraduate classes. The goal is to complete this transition by March 23,” added the website. This is going to be especially difficult for students in countries that have 10-12 hour time difference, and those who have nowhere to go, with certain countries’ applicable incoming bans.
However, the news has not only left students scrambling, but it has also left applicants confused, those who were planning to apply in the coming fall. As an alumna, I had the opportunity to experience the best Harvard has to offer, and I understand that the classroom experience is not on top of the list.
According to me, and many of my Harvard classmates agree, the real learning takes place outside the classroom. Meeting people who inspire you, forming lasting connections with the community, discussing ideas and learning about different perspectives is what Harvard is all about.
While safety comes first for the Harvard community and applicants, too, will this situation encourage applicants from applying this fall? Or will they prefer applying next year, when life hopefully goes back to normal. Currently, the question is up for debate, and we’ll only know in a couple of months.
In many countries, governments and workplaces have taken drastic steps to reduce the local transmission rates, such as banning travel and public gathering, closing malls, shops and restaurants, etc. Some countries like Italy have nation-wide lockdowns, while some others are preparing for it. Many places now have region or state-wide lockdowns, such as San Francisco. Countless workplaces around the globe have asked their employees to work from home, and many schools and universities have closed indefinitely.
To know more information & see live stats in our country, please visit our Coronavirus dashboard.