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Columbia University's Low Memorial Library in New York City. Photo: James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images


Columbia University announced Sunday night it canceled classes for Monday and Tuesday and plans to hold remote lessons for the rest of the week after a member of its community was quarantined following exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: The Ivy League school is the latest educational institution to suspend in-person classes and move studying online in response to the outbreak as the virus continues to spread across the U.S., which now has more than 500 cases, per data from Johns Hopkins and state health departments.

What they're saying: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told CNN earlier Sunday that it was time to think about canceling large gatherings and closing schools "to prevent more deaths" as the U.S. moves into a "mitigation phase."

The big picture: Schools across Washington state, one of the areas worst hit by the virus, began to close at the start of this month. The University of Washington announced Friday it was moving classes online in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Seattle University and Northeastern's Seattle campus have also moved to remote classes.

  • In New York, Barnard College, which is affiliated with Columbia University, followed Columbia's measures and announced it was switching to remote classes.
    • In Westchester County, New York, Scarsdale Public Schools said Sunday after a middle school faculty member tested positive for the virus it was closing all district schools March 9–18 for "cleaning, progress monitoring, and social-distancing."
  • In California, Stanford University canceled in-person classes for two weeks starting Monday after a faculty member tested positive for the virus and two students self-isolated over possible exposures, though they displayed no symptoms.
  • In Texas, Rice University in Houston announced Sunday it had canceled in-person classes for the week after an employee tested positive.

Elsewhere in the U.S., schools and colleges including Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and the University of California, Los Angeles have stepped up measures to combat the threat of the virus.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

19 mins ago - Health

Pfizer-BioNTech: Booster doses more effective at blocking Omicron

Prepared doses of the BioNtech-Pfizer Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Germany on Dec. 7. Photo: Thomas Kienzle/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that two doses of their COVID-19 vaccine were significantly less effective at neutralizing the Omicron variant in early lab tests, but a three-dose regimen was more effective.

Why it matters: Omicron, which has been labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization after being identified by scientists in South Africa last month, has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines against this specific new form of coronavirus.

Mike Allen, author of AM
25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden unveils "Building a Better America" branding

President Biden speaks on infrastructure while visiting a bridge in Woodstock, N.H., last month. Photo: John Tully/Getty Images

President Biden today launched a new website and unveiled bold new branding as part of a nationwide tour to sell the benefits of his infrastructure package.

Why it matters: The White House says passage of the new law shows the ability to "forge bipartisan consensus and prove our democracy can deliver big wins" even in these toxic times.

2 hours ago - World

Olaf Scholz sworn in as German chancellor, succeeding Merkel

Incoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is sworn in by Bundestag President Bärbel Bas in Berlin today. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Social Democrat Olaf Scholz was sworn in as chancellor of Germany on Wednesday, succeeding Angela Merkel after 16 years and launching a new era of German and European politics.

Why it matters: Scholz, a center-left pragmatist who served as finance minister and vice chancellor in Merkel's last government, will lead Europe's largest economy in a coalition with the environmentalist Greens and pro-business Free Democrats.