University of Washington switches to virtual classes after staff member tests positive for coronavirus

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The University of Washington has just become the first large U.S. university to end in-person classes and exams for the rest of the quarter over coronavirus fears.

In an announcement on Friday, the university said starting March 9 classes will no longer meet in person and will instead take place remotely until the quarter ends on March 20. The same change applies to exams. 

“The last week or so has been difficult as the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has gained a foothold in our region and country,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce said in a statement. “Our focus remains keeping this community healthy as we fulfill our important educational, research and service mission.”

The university also announced on Friday that an unnamed UW staff member has presumptively tested positive for coronavirus but has not been at the off-campus building he or she works in since last Friday. Officials have closed the building for cleaning.

Seattle University also announced Friday that it would cancel classes for the rest of the quarter starting Monday as a precaution as coronavirus spreads in the area. 

King County, which includes Seattle, has been hit hard with the viral illness; there are more than 30 cases of coronavirus in the county and there have been nine deaths so far.
Gov. Jay Inslee (D) declared a state of emergency last week after the first death, and Vice President Pence visited the state on Friday as the administration seeks to address the outbreak and take action. 
Tags Coronavirus COVID Jay Inslee Mike Pence Seattle University Washington University

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