Harvard University's president and his wife have tested positive for the coronavirus

Lawrence Seldon Bacow speaks as he is introduced as Harvard University's 29th president during a news conference on February 11, 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Paul Marotta:Getty Images)

  • President of Harvard University, Lawrence Bacow, and his wife, Adele Fleet Bacow, have both tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Bacow said Tuesday.
  • In a statement, Lawrence Bacow said they had been social distancing since March 14, one day after the first coronavirus case was confirmed on campus.
  • For seniors at the elite university and across the country, the coronavirus crisis has cut short a cherished time of the school year: The last days before graduation.
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Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow and his wife, Adele Fleet Bacow, have tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus, he announced Tuesday.

The news comes just two weeks after the university shuttered classes and ordered students to leave campus. Days ago, it postponed commencement.
"Earlier today, Adele and I learned that we tested positive for COVID-19," Bacow wrote. "We started experiencing symptoms on Sunday - first coughs then fevers, chills, and muscle aches - and contacted our doctors on Monday."

The first coronavirus case on Harvard's campus was confirmed on March 13. A second "presumptive positive case" was discovered three days later.

The couple began social distancing on March 14, according to the letter.

"The good news - if there is any to be had - is that far fewer people crossed our paths recently than is usually the case," Lawrence Bacow wrote.

"This virus can lay anyone low. We all need to be vigilant and keep following guidelines to limit our contact with others," he continued. "I hope to see as few of you in our situation as possible, and I urge you to continue following the guidance of public health experts and the advice and orders of our government officials." As of Monday, there are at least 777 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts, including nine deaths, local media reported. With Mr. and Mrs. Bacow's announcement, the state presently has at least 779 positive cases.

College seniors said goodbye early

Around this time, fourth-year students are typically found scrambling to submit their capstone and thesis projects before the full bloom of spring. But this year, seniors have had their final semester, and its attendant last-hurrahs, cut short.

"COVID-19 was meant to produce social-distancing measures," wrote Julie Chung, a Harvard senior, in a recent Harvard Magazine op-ed. "Instead, it brought the students closer."

In the week before Harvard shut down, Chung wrote, students hosted "no shortage of parties and gatherings" while trying to keep groups to under 25 students.

"Holding my roommates' hands in our common room, I cried because there was no time to cry - because I wanted to have pure joy, just joy, without feeling the desperation and loss that had been twisted into our time remaining together on campus," Chung wrote.

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