This story was updated at 8:19 p.m. to reflect new information from the university.
In an email sent to the university community at 4 p.m. Saturday, Northeastern requested that all students move out of campus residence halls by March 17 to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
“Based upon continuing guidance from public health officials, we are requesting that all students who reside in Northeastern residence halls complete their end of semester move-out no later than Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at 5:00 p.m.,” wrote Michael Armini, senior vice president for External Affairs, in an email Saturday evening.
In a follow-up email at 7:53 p.m., the university provided additional information after the afternoon saw widespread confusion and anxiety across campus. The second email indicated that any student with “specific hardships” can petition to remain in a residence hall after Tuesday. The email specifically mentioned international students in this category, but didn’t limit it to that group.
The second email also announced that housing costs will be prorated to reflect the early termination. The school also announced that classes will be cancelled on Monday and Tuesday to allow students to focus on relocating.
There was also an update for students currently on co-op: Such students are to leave residence halls along with students taking classes. “The rationale for this request is based on strong public health guidance, irrespective of current semester status,” the email read.
Co-op students were urged to ask their employers about working for home, and assured that those who had no choice but to end their co-op early would receive “appropriate credit.”
Initially, when the university moved all courses to online delivery last week, students were not encouraged to leave campus and instead were given the option to stay or not. In an email earlier this week, President Joseph E. Aoun wrote then that the university was “committed to maintaining continuity of campus life for those who elect to stay.”
As the COVID-19 situation has become increasingly dire in the United States, the university has changed course.
Saturday’s announcement is in line with escalating measures nationwide to combat the spread of the disease as public school districts and tourist attractions have closed from coast to coast.
“This decision has been made in accordance with public health guidance to reduce density on campus, and due to the likelihood of further travel restrictions in the coming days,” Armini wrote.
While many students have already moved out, some went home without completing their “end of semester move-out” and others remain on campus. In the wake of the sudden announcement, Armini wrote that any students who require assistance should contact WeCare.
“Any student who needs assistance in expediting this process, or for whom this request poses a particular hardship, is asked to contact WeCare at 617-373-7591 or by email at [email protected].”
This is a developing story. If you live on campus and would like to comment, email [email protected]