Columbia and Barnard Cancel All Classes for 2 Days and Plan for Remote Learning After Person Placed in Quarantine

Columbia University and Barnard canceled classes on Monday and Tuesday after someone at the university was placed on quarantine, and the university expects to hold remote classes for the rest of the week, according to a message from President Lee Bollinger.

The full message from Columbia is below:

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am writing this evening to notify everyone that, because a member of our community has been quarantined as a result of exposure to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we have decided to suspend classes on Monday and Tuesday. This suspension of activities will allow us to prepare to shift to remote classes for the remainder of the week. I want to emphasize that the individual who has been quarantined has not been diagnosed at this point with the virus.

Please understand that the decision to suspend classes does not mean that the University is shutting down. All non-classroom activities, including research, will continue in accordance with the new travel and events restrictions announced recently. At this point, just to restate what is important to know, we do not have a confirmed case of the virus on campus. This action is intended to prevent the virus from spreading.

This message will soon be followed by more specific information from deans and other University leaders, including plans for remote instruction beginning Wednesday and continuing until the start of Spring Break on Friday.

Let me say how much we appreciate the efforts of everyone who is helping us work our way through this challenging situation and your understanding and attention. As always, we are especially committed to providing updates as we have more information and recommendations.


Lee C. Bollinger

Barnard also sent out a message:

Correction: We initially wrote a student was the one quarantined. The school has only said it was a “member of our community.”

Photo by Alan Kotok.

NEWS, SCHOOLS | 7 comments | permalink
    1. Jean Hill says:

      No confirmed case and shutting down? WOW. I wonder what they know that we don’t.

    2. Michele says:

      The libraries and gym should also be closed. Doesn’t make sense to cancel classes and then leave open other places where people congregate.

      • Suzie E says:

        It seems to me the two-day shutdown is more about having time for faculty and staff to evaluate and make plans rather than any over-reaction to a possible exposure.

    3. chris woo says:

      The case is someone who came into contact with a person who is positive. So test results should already be available by Tuesday at latest for this new potential case. IMO this is a case of CYO. I mean, come on, you are getting a tuition of $60k a year and you still need more time off to figure out a plan going forward? This has been brewing for weeks now. And what about AFTER spring break when the kids are returning from taking airplane flights etc. More closures?