Planet Desk | 11 March 2020 | 11:59 pm
The novel coronavirus ‘Covid-19’ is causing havocs on educational institutions across the world as according to UNESCO about 363 million students or 20% of them are currently out of school worldwide for the virus.
Schools, colleges and universities in many countries including USA, UK, Germany, Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore have been closed short term or long term in order to contain the spread of the virus which have now infected more than 115,800 people and killed more than 4,200 across the world, the vast majority though in mainland China.
According to data from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), ‘one in five students worldwide is staying away from school due to the COVID-19 crisis and an additional one in four is being kept out of higher education establishments.’
The UN agency further says 15 countries have shut school and university closures nationwide while 14 have gone for localized closures with these countries spanning Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.
Meanwhile, Harvard has March 11 asked its students to get out of the campus by March 15 in an effort to de-densify its community, according to the university’s media relations director Rachael Dane.
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The director in an email sent to CNN said, ‘Harvard College students have been asked to move out of their Houses and First-Year Dorms by Sunday, March 15 in an effort to de-densify our community.’
But she added that all academic courses of the university will be carried out online.
Earlier on March 10, Harvard’s president Lawrence S. Bacow said that the university has decided to introduce online classes instead of in-person lessons from March 23, the first day after Spring Break.
Georgetown University in Washington, DC have decided to follow the footsteps of Harvard as the university authority March 11 announced that from March 16 they would hold online classes for students due to concerns over the novel coronavirus outbreak. The university announced this in a statement on their website.
The university is currently on spring break which is scheduled to end on March 22.
The statement of the university reads, ‘we are suspending all in-person, on-campus classroom instruction. This will continue until further notice.’
All undergraduate students are advised to return home, but the campus will remain open. No guests will be allowed into any residential facilities starting Sunday, March 15, according to the school’s website.
In the USA, there are now at least 1000 confirmed cases of infections including at least 31 deaths in at least 36 states and the District of Columbia. The worst hit state is Washington where more than 273 people have been infected with 24 deaths.
On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO)) has finally declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced this at a press conference in Geneva March 11. Source : CNN