All The Massachusetts Colleges That Have Canceled Classes

Moving vehicles gathered near Harvard’s Winthrop House as the university prepares for student departures. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Moving vehicles gathered near Harvard’s Winthrop House as the university prepares for student departures. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

More colleges in Massachusetts are canceling in person classes and going online to help reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.

Harvard and MIT are among those schools switching to online classes and telling students to move out of on-campus housing. Colleges are also trying to empty out the dorms, as a measure to hopefully minimize the risk of infection.

It's worth noting that a number of Massachusetts community colleges that serve commuting adult students have so far not changed their educational plans. Pam Eddinger, president of Bunker Hill Community College (the state’s largest), said they have “contingency plans” that include remote learning should the outbreak worsen, and that administrators have informed the community of risks associated with travel.

Here's a running list of the colleges and universities  who have made announcements so far (in alphabetical order):

Amherst College

Amherst College announced Monday it will begin holding classes online after its spring break, which starts Saturday.

"We know that many people will travel widely during spring break, no matter how hard we try to discourage it," the Amherst officials said in a message to students, faculty and staff. "The risk of having hundreds of people return from their travels to the campus is too great. The best time to act in ways that slow the spread of the virus is now."

Amherst students were asked to leave campus by Monday, unless they have successfully petitioned to remain in their on-campus residence over spring break.

Babson College

Babson is moving all classes online beginning March 13. Students are required to move out of their on-campus housing by March 21. Students with specific circumstances "may request a reasonable extension of time" or petition to stay through the remainder of the semester. Some of the circumstances noted in order to stay on campus include immigration status, a permanent residence in a country designated Level 3 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Berklee College of Music

Berklee plans to move classes at its Boston and Valencia campuses online March 23.  Students are being asked to leave both campus residence halls by next Wednesday. They can appeal this week to stay on campus, but President Roger Brown noted that "there will be severely limited on-campus services, interactions, and facilities for those who do remain on campus after spring break." He said he would be providing updates about what those services would be.

Starting this Saturday, the college is also postponing or canceling all performances, events and visiting artists.

Boston College

BC is cancelling all on-campus classes starting March 12 through the end of the semester, moving instead to online instruction starting March 19.

Residence halls will be closed and students must vacate by March 15. Those who can't return home because of extenuating circumstances must get written permission to stay.

Boston University

BU announced on Tuesday, March 17 that all classes and exams for the rest of the spring semester will be held remotely. After initially saying students could stay on campus, the university told students they must move off campus by Sunday, March 22 or sooner.

Room and board rates will be prorated for the semester. Students with exceptional circumstances can appeal to stay on campus.

Only activities for research with fewer than 10 participants will be allowed.

Brandeis University

While the school has already started some online classes, Brandeis will move all classes moving to remote learning by March 20, according to a letter by university President Ron Leibowitz.

"We will allow some undergraduates, on a case-by-case basis, to remain on campus in the residence halls but they will need permission from the Department of Community Living," Leibowitz wrote. "Examples of students for whom exceptions would be made include international students, those with ongoing on-campus jobs, those who do not have a home to go to where they would be able to continue their online classes, or for whom going home is not an option."

Bunker Hill Community College

BHCC canceled classes Thursday through Monday due to a student with a presumed case of the virus on its Chelsea campus, the school announced.

"Test result for this individual will be available in 72 hours," Bunker Hill said in a statement. This is not a confirmed case at this point."

The college is currently closed but said it will provide updates about whether it will reopen on Monday. The school's spring break starts next week and has been extended until March 28. It will also update community members about whether classes will be canceled after the break on or before Monday.

Emerson College

Friday, March 13 will be the last day of in-person classes, with Emerson transitioning to online classes after that.

While initially saying students could remain on campus, Emerson announced March 13 that students must move out of dorms by March 20. Students can request an exemption if they need it.

Emmanuel College

Emmanuel announced Friday it would extend online-only classes through the end of its spring semester. The school on Wednesday had said it would stick to remote learning through March.

"Since then, both the magnitude of the outbreak and the urgency to act have increased,"college President Sister Janet Eisner said in a statement announcing the change.

Hampshire College

Hampshire announced Thursday it will transition to remote learning starting after its spring break next week. The school says it is assessing whether students will be able to return to campus in April.

Its students are being asked to leave campus by March 22, with the exception of international students and those with "extenuating circumstances."

Harvard University

Harvard University announced Tuesday it will transition to remote learning for all classes after its spring break next week. Students are asked not to return to campus after the break. Only those with "extenuating circumstances" will be allowed to remain on campus.

Harvard will also refund room and board charges at a pro-rated rate beginning March 15, according to an FAQ section of its website. Officials are still working out details for other student charges.


MassArt is suspending all campus activity for a week — March 16 to 22. Officials say that will allow for a cleaning of the campus and time to plan possible alternative modes of instruction.

Students are asked not to come to campus and, unless specifically authorized, won't be able to access residence halls during that time. Exceptions are being made for international students.

Faculty, staff and student workers are also asked not to come to campus during that week, and will be paid.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT announced Tuesday it was canceling classes the week after spring break and is moving to all online classes. The school had already moved classes of 150 or more students online.

MIT also told students living on campus that they must leave their dorm or other MIT residence by March 17.

"We are taking this dramatic action to protect the health and safety of everyone at MIT – staff, students, post-docs and faculty – and because MIT has an important role in slowing the spread of this disease," MIT president L. Rafael Reif wrote.

MGH Institute of Health Professions

On-campus classes and events at the MGH Institute of Health Professions are moving online March 16 for the rest of the semester.

“As a graduate school focused exclusively on the health professions, we have a responsibility to lead in the effort to decrease the spread of infection and reduce the risk to our community,” President Dr. Paula Milone-Nuzzo said in a statement. “A big way we can do this is to reduce the number of students, faculty, and staff on campus at one time.”

The school said it is working with Partners Healthcare hospitals and other partners so students can continue clinical rotations.

“Students should be vigilant in the clinical area to keep themselves safe and protect the patients and families with whom they are working,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Alex Johnson.

Mount Holyoke College

After extending spring break for an extra week, "alternate modes of instruction" will be made available starting March 30.

All students have to move out of their on-campus housing by March 20 and shouldn't expect to come back on campus for the rest of the semester. Students from countries with travel restrictions, those whose legal residence is at the college or others with extenuating circumstances can stay if they request it.

Northeastern University

Northeastern announced Wednesday that they would move to online instruction for the Boston campus starting Thursday. They are already transitioning to remote learning for the Seattle and San Francisco campuses.

"We are seeking to preserve the essence of a Northeastern education—including current co-op placements—while also taking prudent steps to reduce the risk of infection within our community," President Joseph E. Aoun said.

Northeastern is not asking students in residents halls to move out.

Northern Essex Community College

NECC is closing its Haverhill and Lawrence campuses, effective immediately through Monday, March 16, the school announced Thursday.

The school says a student may have come in contact with someone who has a presumed positive case of coronavirus.

Olin College

Olin is moving to online classes after its spring break. Students were told not to return to campus after the break. The school says it will work with students who have no option but to stay on campus.

Smith College

Smith, in Northampton, said Tuesday that in-person classes would be offered through the end of the week, with online classes beginning after an extended spring break. Students will have to move out of their dorms by March 20, with only those with extenuating circumstances allowed to stay.

"Students should not expect to return this semester," Smith President Kathleen McCartney wrote.

Suffolk University

Suffolk is moving to online classes after its spring break. The campus will remain open, but students are asked to move out -- with the exception of international students living on campus who are unable to return to their home countries and domestic students with special circumstances.

Suffolk says that students who move out of the residence halls will be eligible for a pro-rated refund based on the time remaining in the semester.

Tufts University

Beginning March 25, all classes will be online for the rest of the semester. Spring break will be extended an extra week. Students living on campus will have to move out by March 16. Those who can't return to their permanent residences "due to travel restrictions or other significant constraints" will be allowed to remain in dorms.

Winter athletic teams will be allowed to keep playing, but the University is prohibiting campus visitors. Spring sports have been canceled for the rest of the semester.

University of Massachusetts system

The five UMass campuses will shift to online classes beginning March 16, through at least April 3. President Marty Meehan says most of the university's 75,000 students will not be on campus for that time period.

UMass Dartmouth and UMass Lowell students are currently on spring break this week, and were told they should not return to campus unless they have special permission to retrieve belongings from residence halls.

UMass Amherst and UMass Boston students are advised to bring home any belongings they will need when they leave for spring break at the end of this week.

Wentworth Institute of Technology

Wentworth is extending it's spring break this week through next Wednesday to provide more time for faculty to move courses online by March 19. It will also close residence halls for the rest of the semester, with an option for some students to petition to stay in the dorms.

This article was originally published on March 11, 2020.



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