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Coronavirus Hits University of Washington, College Cancels All In-Person Classes

The University of Washington is set to no longer hold classes after the novel coronavirus hit the Seattle campus with one staff member being deeded “presumptive positive” the institution announced Friday – as the city braces with the spike of COVID-19 cases being detected.

The staff member at the university, “has received a presumptive positive test for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus,” according to a press release Friday.

In emails obtained by Mediaite, the university has put on notice students, faculty, and UW staff that “classes will no longer meet in person.”

The decision to halt in-classroom learning will stay in effect until March 20, which is the last day of the winter quarter.

The emails further reveal that the university will keep buildings and the facilities open but strongly encourage student organizations to distance themselves from their peers and professors- with the practice called “social distancing.”

The campus-wide email further stated, “In-person classes qualify as events, and the sizes of our classrooms do not generally allow for social distancing,” rationalizing the move to take classes online.

“I think it’s a wise decision on the part of the administration,” John Graves, a student at the University of Washington, told Mediaite.

Graves, who is studying politics at the institution, also shared with Mediaite that the political science department stopped holding classes a week ago – prior to the university taking action.

When asked about the emotions and reactions of students on the campus, Graves told Mediaite it’s a “mixed bag.”

“There are people worried about catching it and anxious about how it will impact finals,” stated Graves to Mediaite, who added, “then there are many people who are taking a humorous course in dealing with it…I’ve seen many jokes and humorous posts about it.”

The over 40,000 student population at UW has now turned to watch their classes via the streaming platform “Panopto.”

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