AMHERST/NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- There's a fast-developing response to the coronavirus in western Massachusetts as now a second college announces it is ending in-person classes.

Smith College joins Amherst College taking similar action by telling students they must leave campus for Spring Break and be prepared not to return.

Instead, they'll finish the semester remotely.

Smith College made the decision this afternoon, joining Amherst College, Harvard, and a growing list of colleges nationwide that are moving their classes online after Spring Break.

At Amherst College earlier today, the school's president, Biddy Martin, told Western Mass News why sending 1,800 people home is their best move.

"This is the decision we made," Martin said.

Martin said the school will be moving to remote, online classes after Spring Break.

Though no students have confirmed cases of coronavirus or are quarantined, because she can't control where the students go over break, Martin said the safest decision was to have them move out early.

"We will reimburse our students and their families room and board," Martin explained.

For a residential college of 1,800 students, officials said roughly 100 will remain on-campus as they have nowhere else to go.

“I can’t go home until after summer," one Amherst College student explained.

Tuesday afternoon, Smith College announced that all students must move out by March 14 and expect not to return for the rest of the Spring semester.

They too will have remote classes after an extended spring break.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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