BOSTON (SHNS) – UMass Lowell will shift to a mostly online model for the fall semester, officials announced Monday, following the system’s flagship Amherst campus in scaling back plans as COVID-19 infections surge around the country.
Leaders at school had already outlined intentions to bring back many students, albeit with caps on class sizes and residence halls, but on Monday they reversed course and said that most classes will now switch to a fully virtual model except for labs and studios that require an in-person component.
UML Chancellor Jacquie Moloney wrote in a public letter that officials reached the “difficult decision” based on several factors, including Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision last week to pause the statewide reopening and concerns that faculty and students had raised.
“As recently as late last week, we remained optimistic we could keep moving toward a larger on-campus experience and I know this change is a disappointment for many of you,” Moloney said. “However, the health and safety of our university community members are our top priorities and must always tip the balance we sought between normalcy and risk mitigation.”
With the announcement, Lowell becomes the second UMass campus in the past four days to alter plans for the impending fall semester.
On Thursday, UMass Amherst officials told the student body that they would now only allow those taking “essential face-to-face classes” to access dormitories and other campus facilities.