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Harvard Cancels Admitted Students Weekend Amid Coronavirus Fears

Harvard College announced it would cancel Visitas in an email Friday.
Harvard College announced it would cancel Visitas in an email Friday. By Aiyana G. White
By Benjamin L. Fu and Dohyun Kim, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard College has canceled Visitas, its annual admitted students weekend, due to concerns over the ongoing global coronavirus outbreak, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 announced to admitted students in a Friday email.

Fitzsimmons wrote that the College plans to replace the on-campus programming with a series of online events and videos that will be called “Virtual Visitas.”

“Rather than be confined to three days, these videos and sessions will be available to all admitted students throughout the month of April,” Fitzsimmons wrote.

There are no confirmed cases of the Coronavirus disease among Harvard affiliates, according to Fitzsimmons. Health officials have so far identified eight cases in Massachusetts, and three employees of a Cambridge-based company Biogen have tested positive for the virus. While none of those employees reside in Massachusetts, all attended a meeting in Boston last week.

Official counts have identified more than 100,000 cases globally, with over 250 cases in the United States. As the numbers of cases grows, the CDC has suspended entry into the United States from China and Iran. Additionally, they have discouraged nonessential travel to South Korea and Italy.

In response, Harvard College has prohibited all University-related international and domestic travel. Additionally, the College requires anyone returning from a CDC level 3 travel warning country to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days.

Fitzsimmons wrote that the College made the decision in response to recommendations from the Massachusetts state officials and representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology similarly announced the decision to cancel its respective admitted students weekend scheduled for April yesterday evening.

Every spring, Harvard welcomes hundreds of prospective students to campus for Visitas, where on-campus organizations host events and students and faculty discuss life at Harvard.

Visitas was last canceled in 2013 as law enforcement officers searched for one of the suspects involved in the Boston Marathon bombings.

—Staff writer Benjamin L. Fu can be reached at benjamin.fu@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenFu_2.

—Staff writer Dohyun Kim can be reached at dohyun.kim@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @DxhyunKim.

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