Scenes From a Lost School Year: Photos From the Month Coronavirus Derailed Classrooms & Campuses

By Meghan Gallagher | March 16, 2020

The number of classrooms and school districts and states affected by the escalating COVID-19 crisis seems to be multiplying by the day. As of midday Monday, more than 30 million students across at least 31 states were told to stay home from campus. The mass exodus from one of our most vivid and essential gathering places has resulted in images that are both startling and surreal. We’ve scanned the wires and the social platforms over the past few days to gather these remarkable scenes from an interrupted school year: 

March 12 – MIT graduate student Aubrey Simonson protests on campus. Students were asked to move out of their dorms by March 17. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
March 12 – An abandoned soccer ball outside the Eliot K-8 Innovation School playground in Boston, which was closed after a confirmed case of the coronavirus among the school’s staff. (Stan Grossfeld/ Getty Images)
March 12 – An official notice of the Big West Men’s Basketball Tournament cancellation (Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
March 12 – Some students graduating wore plastic trash bags at the Olin College of Engineering “Fauxmencement” for senior students, two months early, because of coronavirus fears in Needham, Massachusetts. (John Tlumacki/Getty Images)
March 16 – Volunteers and members of the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office prepare to deliver bagged meals to children at the closed T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. (Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images)
March 10 – Stacked chairs in the empty halls of Albert Leonard Middle School in New Rochelle, New York. (John Taggart/Getty Images)
March 12 – Joe Schwarz, an instructional designer at Tuscarora High School in Leesburg, Virginia, configures hotspot devices for students experiencing internet issues at home during school closures. (Michael S. Williamson/Getty Images)
March 8 – Steve Carrara, head custodian for Dr. Philip O. Coakley Middle School in Norwood, Massachusetts, cleans school buses with disinfectant. (Jessica Rinaldi/Getty Images)
March 15 –  Glen Rock High School will transition to virtual learning starting March 17. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
March 9 – A study space remains closed at Stanford University. (Philip Pacheco/Getty Images)
March 12 – Harvard sophomore Jordan Di Verniero, 19, sits with her belongings before returning home to Ormond Beach, Florida, for the rest of the semester. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
March 12 – Maynard High and Monson High make their introductions to an empty court without fans during the MIAA Girls Division IV at Worcester State University’s John Brissette Competition Court. (Matthew J. Lee/Getty Images)
March 16 – Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, tweeted: “The halls are empty, but the sign on Miss Carroll’s door says it all. ‘I’m courageous’…we are all courageous!” (Roncalli High School/Twitter)
March 15 –  Emerson College students Reilly Leconte and Daniel Otero hug while preparing to move back home. (Pat Greenhouse/Getty Images)
March 16 – Notre Dame Magazine tweeted: “The Long Hall: Busy campus spaces like O’Shaughnessy’s main corridor will be empty in the weeks ahead as Notre Dame institutes online instruction to prevent the spread of coronavirus.” (Notre Dame Magazine/Twitter)
March 12 – Boston University students wait for an Uber to take them and their belongings to a storage unit after the university canceled classes and urged students to return home. 
(Erin Clark/Getty Images)
March 12 – Sophia Nielson cries as an opening song is played at the Olin College of Engineering “Fauxmencement” for senior students, two months early. (John Tlumacki/Getty Images)
March 12 – Harvard students move out of dorms. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
February 15 – UCLA students hold a memorial in front of the campus after Dr. Li Wenliang, whose warnings of an outbreak were silenced, died from the coronavirus in Wuhan, China. (Mark Ralston/Getty Images)
UC Berkeley assistant professor David Bamman tweeted: “In-person classes are canceled at Berkeley but my class recordings still go on at the same place at the same time, so I give an NLP performance to an empty room.” (David Bamman/Twitter)
March 2 – Saint Raphael Academy, a Catholic high school in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, closed after a teen and an adult tested positive for the coronavirus after a school trip to Europe. (Jessica Rinaldi/Getty Images)
March 10 – Two men cleaned windows in the auditorium entrance of Osceola High School in Osceola, Wisconsin, after it was discovered that someone with the coronavirus attended a function at the school. (Renee Jones Schneider/Getty Images)
Feb. 27 – School district officials decided to close Bothell High School in Bothell, Washington, for disinfecting after a family member of a school staffer was quarantined. (David Ryder/Getty Images)
March 12 – MIT Students Protest Coronavirus Policy (David L. Ryan/Getty Images)
March 11 – Towson University students move out of their dorms as the school shuts down days before the scheduled spring break. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
March 9 – Stanford University canceled on-campus classes after a faculty member tested positive for the coronavirus. (Philip Pacheco/Getty Images)
March 9 – Stanford University (Philip Pacheco/Getty Images)
March 12 – A general view of empty seats as the Florida State Seminoles warm up prior to the quarterfinals round of the 2020 Men’s ACC Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
March 15 – UC Berkeley professor Marla Feller tweeted: “A sobering day on Berkeley’s beautiful but empty campus.” (Marla Feller/Twitter)

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