With growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, Northern Virginia Community College, NOVA, is shifting to remote learning for all students beginning March 18.
All classes will be cancelled March 16-17 to allow for the transition, according to a statement from the school.
Similar measures were announced Wednesday for students at the University of Virginia.
COVID-19 started in China late last year and has quickly crossed the globe, with more than 4,373 deaths, including 29 in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracking of global reports, as of Wednesday. More than 121,500 cases of the virus have been reported, including more than 1,050 in the United States and nine in Virginia.
NOVA students should take precautionary measures and not return from spring break, the school noted. All classroom instruction will be conducted virtually through April 4. All in-person student organized activities are suspended during that period. The situation will be reviewed by March 27 to determine if it is safe to resume campus activities after April 4.
“Currently, there are no known COVID-19 cases on our campuses,” the school noted in a release. “However, there are more than 20 confirmed cases in the D.C.-Maryland-Northern Virginia region. NOVA is implementing this remote learning policy to mitigate the risk of transmission.”
The school also is implementing a self-quarantine requirement for individuals who have traveled to countries for which the CDC has issued a Level 2 or 3 Travel Warning. During the quarantine, access to NOVA campuses and activities is prohibited.
NOVA campuses will remain open to allow faculty to develop and deliver lessons and materials electronically, thus maintaining continuity of teaching and learning. It also allows staff and administrators to continue to provide services to help with additional response efforts.
Students taking courses that do not have a remote learning option that require workforce experience should check with their instructors for alternatives.
On Tuesday, Fairfax schools announced they would close for the day March 16 to give teachers an opportunity "to prepare for the possibility of distance learning in the event of a school closure.”