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November 23, 2020

Worcester State moves classes online, increases testing

Photo | Grant Welker Worcester State University

Worcester State University is moving classes online starting Monday for a nine-day period and requiring residential students arriving back on campus after Thanksgiving break to either prove a negative coronavirus test or complete a test right away and quarantine until the results come back.

Worcester State is the latest Central Massachusetts college to adjust its schedule or restrict movement on campus as virus cases have spiked to roughly match their spring peak, which spurred colleges nearly everywhere to finish the spring semester online. Worcester State has been operating this semester with courses both in-person and online, with a reduced capacity in dormitories and regular testing.

The university will hold classes remote only from Monday through Dec. 1. Classes won't be held from Wednesday to Friday anyway because of Thanksgiving.

[Related: Central Mass. colleges face an unprecedented semester]

Disruption is expected to be minimal because many courses are already held at least partially online, with in-person components generally taking place early in the semester, when case levels were far lower, according to an announcement of the schedule change from Lois Wims, the provost, and Julie Kazarian, the dean of students and chief student affairs officer.

Worcester State's testing center will have extended hours Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 to accommodate students who might be returning to campus after the Thanksgiving break. The university is asking students leaving campus for break to receive a negative test within 72 hours of departing in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Commuter students will have stricter test requirements: once-a-week tests for all commuters, not only those with four or more on-campus credits.

Worcester County and the city of Worcester both recorded seven-day case highs in the week ending Thursday, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Assumption University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Clark University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Fitchburg State University have all changed class schedules or restricted student movement since late October as case numbers have sharply risen.

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