Following on the heels of several major cancellations of events the past few days, including the SXSW conference in Austin and the tech conference SaaStr, Stanford University, which is located in the heart of Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, California, announced late Friday that the school would cancel in-person classes for the final two weeks of the university's winter quarter in response to the expanding outbreak of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
In a statement posted by the university, Stanford's provost Persis Drell announced that the university would cancel two weeks of classes leading up to the university's winter quarter exams and "to the extent feasible" migrate classes to online formats.
In addition, professors are being encouraged by the administration to find ways of delivering functionally equivalent course material through online formats, and all exams for winter quarter are expected to be delivered remotely. The policy takes effect immediately starting with classes this coming Monday, March 9.
Furthermore, the university is canceling its annual Admit Weekend, where newly-admitted prospective freshman visit the palm-lined campus and learn more about the school before making a final decision on where to head for their undergraduate degrees. Tours of the campus have also been canceled.
The university in a separate note today acknowledged that two students are in self-isolation after "possible exposure" to the novel coronavirus. The university emphasized that neither student has affirmatively tested positive for the infection at this time.
The San Francisco Bay Area has seen increasing numbers of potential exposures to the novel coronavirus. Stanford itself has been on the vanguard of responding to the global pandemic, announcing the development of its own test earlier this week to detect the infection.