Two Mass. colleges switch to remote learning, one closes dorms to students

Two colleges in Massachusetts are switching to remote learning to help stop the spread of the coronavirus as cases across the state continue to trend in the wrong direction.

On Monday, Massachusetts added more than 1,900 new cases of the virus to its overall total and 12 more deaths as the daily positive test rate is now at 3.1%.

At Westfield State University, residence halls will begin closing Tuesday through Nov. 22 as students will have a controlled move-out. Their dorms will remain closed until the spring semester starts on Jan. 19. All courses are being moved online for the rest of the semester.

Westfield State’s president Roy Saigo said, “We are at a critical juncture as the health and safety of our campus community is our top priority.”

Westfield State has been in close contact with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as it monitored whether to adjust its plan.

In September, 1,300 residential students arrived on campus, but Westfield State significantly reduced its in-person courses. Earlier in November, the school instituted a temporary shelter-in-placed order because of positive COVID-19 cases on campus.

At Clark University in Worcester, they are transitioning from in-person classes to online learning through the end of the semester. University administrators said, “While it is not an emergency situation, it is serious.”

Classes have been cancelled through this Thursday to allow students to prepare for the change.

The school raised its alert status to a level three, which means the COVID-19 risk his high. The decision was based on five new positive test results from the university testing process and overall trends in the Worcester area.

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