UC Berkeley this week called off all in-person classes until the end of spring break on March 29, meaning that professors were lecturing in empty lecture halls in front of web chat screens Tuesday and Wednesday.

Berkeleyside looked in on the hall at Wurster 112 yesterday where this was this scene for Professor Karen Chapple's urban planning class — though a photo does show two students in the otherwise empty room. The campus is reportedly pretty deserted, and with most events called off, it seems likely that many students have just started spring break early. The libraries on campus remain open, and the school tells Berkeleyside that many PE classes, art classes, and labs are being held as usual.

Stanford also moved all its classes online on Monday and canceled all large group events in order to slow or prevent an outbreak of coronavirus, following in the footsteps of the University of Washington. Now many universities around the country have also called off classes, as CNN reports, including UCLA, Michigan State, and most of the Ivy League.

But in the city of Berkeley, there have still only been two confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus — and both are traceable, with one a person who traveled to Italy, and the other being a passenger from the Grand Princess cruise ship. So far, community spread of the virus there has not been detected, and the University of California says it has not detected a case of COVID-19 yet either.

This all could change in the coming weeks, and this could end up creating a serious disruption for exams and general life on the Berkeley campus if the local outbreak escalates.

Chapple tells Berkeleyside that she's glad the school made the move, less for the students' safety than for that of the faculty. "I am actually not that worried about Berkeley students," she says. "You’re young and healthy. There’s also vulnerable faculty. There’s something like 10% of the faculty are over 70 and 20% are over 64."

Photo: Wally Gobetz