BOSTON (SHNS) – Two Massachusetts colleges abruptly changed direction Monday amid growing concerns about COVID-19 threats on campus.
Westfield State University will escalate an ongoing plan to limit in-person interactions and learning, closing residence halls and shifting the remainder of the semester to remote learning. Most students will be asked to move out of their on-campus housing between Tuesday and Sunday.
The phased multi-day plan aims at limiting large groups from forming or congregating. School officials will also offer prorated refunds for housing, dining services and the fitness center due to closing down campus early.
The school has been adhering to a shelter-in-place order since Nov. 5, with 26 students isolating and 11 quarantining at Lansdowne Place and another 28 quarantining in campus suites or apartments, school officials wrote on Monday.
After confirming five positive tests overnight, Clark University in Worcester shuttered all classes through Wednesday and will shift all coursework to online-only starting Thursday.
The cases do not appear linked, President David Fithian and Provost Davis Baird wrote in a letter to the community, but they are concerning enough that the school will substantially limit access to common areas and encourage students “to make plans to depart campus as soon as possible.”