Students launched a petition Tuesday night to close the University’s campuses amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19.
The petition, which currently has almost 1,000 signatures, urges officials to cancel classes amid an increase in cases of the novel coronavirus in the D.C. region. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that there are now more than 20 cases of the virus reported in the region, a virus that is present in dozens of countries around the world and has infected thousands of people.
“You can be asymptomatic but also able to spread the virus to others! Shut down the campus, it is the best way to protect not only GWU staff and students, but to protect the whole community,” according to the petition, which was started by student Lindy Feng. “Take COVID-19 seriously.”
Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a press conference Tuesday that a working group composed of D.C. officials and led by Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn has been in contact with universities across the District. The group has not made any specific recommendations about whether or not universities should remain open, Bowser said.
Among universities in the D.C. area, American University and the University of Maryland, College Park, have shifted to online classes after their respective spring breaks. Nearly 50 universities nationwide have canceled classes, including peer schools Syracuse and New York universities and the University of Southern California, Forbes reported Tuesday.