Northwestern University officials late today told first- and second-year undergraduate students to stay home for fall quarter and take all classes remotely.

University President Morton Schapiro said in a message to students that the change in plans was dictated by COVID-19’s increasing spread through suburban Chicago and the experience of other schools in the early stages of reopening their campuses.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to provide the best academic experience possible,” Schapiro said. “Our number one priority remains the health and well-being of our community — and the larger communities of which we are a part.”

He said the changes are designed to reduce the density of our Evanston campus residential housing, preserve the on-campus experience for as many third- and fourth-year undergraduates, graduate students and professional students as possible, allow for more quarantine and isolation spaces on campus and respond to the pandemic’s spread.

If all goes as planned, the message said, first- and second-year undergraduates will come to campus for Winter Quarter in January/

In addition the school says it will close sorority and fraternity houses until Winter Quarter and is discouraging first- and second-year undergraduate students from moving to the Evanston area this fall.

Undergraduate move-in dates will be delayed for those coming to on-campus housing and will now begin Sept. 12. Undergraduate classes will begin Sept. 16 as planned.

Schapiro said the school will reduce undergraduate tuition by 10% for Fall Quarter and incoming undergraduate students can now request a one-quarter deferral to begin their studies in Winter Quarter.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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