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Princeton University is encouraging all students to stay home after their upcoming Spring Break, and they say that they will NOT be holding in-person lectures or seminars after this week. All instruction will be given virtually starting March 23. The announcement, which was made on Monday morning, comes as a response to fears over the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“We recognize that these are extraordinary times that require exceptional measures to deal with a health risk that affects us all,” the university’s president, Chris Eisgruber said in a written statement on Monday. “For that reason, we are creating, supporting, and mandating alternative ways of meeting our academic and other programmatic requirements in ways consistent with social distancing.”

The moves include a mandatory move for ALL lectures, seminars, and precepts to virtual instruction starting on Monday, March 23.

Princeton University’s academic calendar says that the university will be on Spring Break next week (starting March 14). The calendar says midterms are being administered this week (through Friday, March 13) on the campus.

“We encourage students to consider staying home after Spring Break.  If students choose to remain home after Spring Break, we will make sure that they are able to meet their academic requirements remotely,” Eisgruber says.

In a tweet this morning, the university expanded upon the news by saying these policies will be in effect through at least Sunday, April 5. As that date approaches, they will reassess the plan and communicate any updates.

The university says they believe the risk of transmission on campus is currently low, but experts have advised the college that they should proceed on the assumption that the virus will spread more broadly, and that the best time to put policies into place to decrease any potential impacts on the community.

Princeton University is certainly not alone in the decision to cancel in-person classes. The University of Washington has canceled in-person courses for the remainder of the semester, the NY Times reported.

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