UMass President Marty Meehan statement on COVID-19 response

BOSTON – UMass President Marty Meehan, after a period of intense planning with the campus chancellors, today informed the Board of Trustees that the five UMass campuses will shift to a virtual mode of instruction beginning March 16. Most of the university’s 75,000 students will not be on campus for a period that will last at least through April 3. During that time, UMass officials, working closely with state and federal public health experts, will determine next steps in the overall effort to protect its 75,000 students and 18,000 faculty and staff from the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

UMass action at a glance:

  • Through April 3, UMass classes (as students come back from break) will be taught remotely using web, video and teleconferencing tools that in many cases are already being used throughout the UMass system. Exact details of procedures will vary from campus to campus. UMass has had a major online education program since 2001.
  • As the month unfolds, UMass officials, in consultation with state and federal public health experts, will further assess the situation and determine the course of action that will best serve the interests of the members of the UMass community. UMass is committed to maintaining its educational programs throughout this semester and keeping students on track.
  • President Meehan consulted with Governor Baker, Senate President Spilka and House Speaker DeLeo this morning prior to finalizing its virus-prevention action, which Meehan said was consistent with Baker’s state-of-emergency advice that everyone “be vigilant” and “be part of this effort.”

“The sudden arrival and spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 has had a profound impact on life in Massachusetts and around the world. Given the uncertainties and risks of the moment and in keeping with our steadfast commitment to the health and safety of the members of the UMass community, the Chancellors and I are implementing a remote teaching and learning plan that will protect the students, faculty and staff on our otherwise densely populated campuses. We regret the disruption that this will cause, but are confident that all parties will agree that the well-being of those who live, work and learn on our campuses must come first,” Meehan said.