University announces online classes, citing coronavirus concerns

March 11, 2020

Illustration by Deborah Han

Georgetown University announced plans on March 11 to move all undergraduate courses online in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus and the associated disease known as COVID-19. 

In a university-wide statement, university President John DeGioia explained that while campus will remain open, all courses will be administered virtually until further notice. He also strongly encouraged students to not return to campus after spring break, but noted that students who needed to stay would be able to.

We strongly encourage undergraduate students to return to their permanent addresses,” DeGioia wrote. 

While no specific methods of remote instruction were given, administrators stressed that both students and faculty would need to work together to aid transition. Some professors have informed their classes that online instruction will take place via Zoom, a video conferencing platform.

“While almost all faculty have used instructional continuity before, we have never offered several weeks of remote education,” Provost Robert Groves wrote in an additional campus-wide email. “We must work together to do this well.”

Students who need to remain on campus will be able to do so. “Key services will be available,” DeGioia wrote.

The university announcement comes after several U.S. universities, including Harvard, Stanford, Ohio State, Berkeley, and American have moved to digital classes to prevent further spread of the virus.

As of March 10, nineteen cases of COVID-19 have been reported in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Three D.C. virus patients are associated with Christ Church Georgetown, less than a mile from Georgetown’s campus. 

No Georgetown students, faculty, or staff have tested positive for the coronavirus.

There are 570 confirmed cases in 36 U.S. states. So far, 26 U.S. deaths have been caused by COVID-19. According to The Atlantic, as of March 10, only 4,384 individuals in the U.S. have been tested for COVID-19.  

DeGioia ensured that the university is working closely with D.C. Health and promised that the university community would be informed of any updates or changes to university policy. “All of us need to exercise the strongest precautions to reduce transmission,” he wrote.

This story is ongoing and will be updated.

Roman Peregrino contributed reporting.

Sarah Watson
Sarah is the former Spring 2022 Editor-in-Chief and a senior in the SFS studying Regional and Comparative Studies. She is a national park enthusiast and really just wants to talk about mountains.

Caroline Hamilton
Caroline Hamilton is a junior in the SFS studying Culture & Politics. She’s a half-ironic fan of Arcade Fire and an earnest fan of Paul Simon, as well as the features editor for the Voice.

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