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Harvard tells students to get up to speed on the school videoconferencing system, just in case; other schools also looking at online teaching

Harvard University yesterday told students and staff at its Cambridge and Boston campuses that it's banned all school-related international travel and "non-essential domestic travel" due to Covid-19 concerrns - and that it might be a good idea to cancel any on-campus meetings of 100 people or more, although lecture classes will go on as usual.

In a memo from two Harvard executives and the head of the school's health services, students and staffers were advised to "begin preparing your devices to work from home and practice using [the Harvard videoconferencing system]," should conditions worse and the school has to ban classes as well.

But even short of that, the officials added, "we strongly encourage you to consider alternative methods to communicate and hold meetings, such as teleconferencing."

Boston University reports it's also begun working on holding classes online, should it come to that:

Our hope is that courses will not be interrupted, but we are actively exploring the possibility of offering remote access to existing courses. The health and well-being of the community is our first priority, so if we reach a point where students cannot safely physically attend classes, course expectations would be adjusted accordingly.

Berklee says it's ready:

Should proliferation of COVID-19 necessitate a reduction in person-to-person contact, we have detailed plans to ensure that students are able to continue their studies uninterrupted, and keep the spring semester running on schedule.

Berklee has also stepped up its campus-wide cleaning and sterilization efforts - but not with bleach:

We continue to enhance cleaning efforts across campus, including the use of a non-toxic, wide-spectrum disinfectant to reduce the spread of germs. Instead of chemicals, the disinfectant uses a system of ionization by mixing salt tablets with water.

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Comments

And teleconferencing is just a good practical skill to have in 2020.

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