MASSACHUSETTS, USA — Harvard University on Tuesday said it would move to remote instruction and ask students not to return from spring break later this month amid the global outbreak of COVID-19.

Harvard president Lawrence Bacow said students had been asked not to return to school after spring break, which concludes on March 22, instead completing coursework remotely.

Students needing to remain on campus would receive instruction remotely and must prepare for "severely limited on-campus activities" and interactions, Bacow said.

"The decision to move to virtual instruction was not made lightly," Bacow said in a letter to the school community. "The goal of these changes is to minimize the need to gather in large groups and spend prolonged time in close proximity with each other in spaces such as classrooms, dining halls, and residential buildings."

The school is strongly discouraging gatherings of more than 25 people.

Other local schools have announced measures.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced classes with more than 150 students — about 20 classes — would be taught online starting Tuesday. Events at the campus in Cambridge have also been cancelled or postponed through May 15th.

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Amherst College announced late Monday that classes will be taught remotely after spring break ends on March 23.

Boston University University announced it was developing a remote teaching readiness plan in the event that it to has to shut its doors and continue classes online.

As of Monday, Massachusetts has announced 41 cases of coronavirus, including one confirmed case in a UMASS Boston student.

Thirty-two of the cases are associated with a conference held by the biotech company Biogen from Feb. 24 to 27 at the Marriott Long Wharf in Boston's Seaport District.

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