On Monday 3 February Tsinghua University’s leaders, including Chair of Council Chen Xu, President Qiu Yong and Provost Yang Bin gave the first class to more than 50,000 students and 5,000 faculty, announcing the new semester would be ‘education as usual’ despite the swelling spread of a king-like, frightening germ – the coronavirus.

Since 17 February, almost 2,700 teaching staff at Tsinghua University have delivered 4,000 online courses to 25,000 students spread across every time zone and continent. Shifting one of the world’s most elite university campuses into the cloud has required clarity, expertise, community and computers.

Tsinghua’s decision to proceed with teaching-as-usual conveyed the clear message that higher education is one of our most precious resources. In times of uncertainty and fear, learning and research are more important than ever. Do not panic. Study and discover.

It will take millions of minds many decades to fully decode the ramifications of this shock to higher education. But it is important for people everywhere to know what has happened and immediately start making sense of what is going on.

Read more : Hamish Coates, Wen Wen and Linghuan Shi : University World News : 02 March 2020