The University of Washington (UW), Seattle, has become the first major United States university to halt in-person teaching and move all classes online in order to minimise spread of the coronavirus. The transition was announced by President Ana Mari Cauce, after consultation with public health officials, on Friday 6 March.

On the same day it was announced that a UW staff member had received a presumptive positive test for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel virus.

From Monday 9 March and for the remainder of the quarter, instructors have been asked to conduct classes and-or exams remotely, as possible, until the quarter concludes on 20 March. In addition, final exams will not be conducted in person but may be conducted online when feasible and at the instructor’s discretion.

UW, a public university with nearly 50,000 students, is located in the Seattle area, which has become the epicentre of the outbreak of the virus on the US West Coast, with 70 confirmed cases in Washington State and 11 deaths so far, according to CNBC. As of Friday morning, this compared to 233 cases nationwide and 14 deaths.

Read more : Brendan O’Malley : University World News : 08 March 2020