Trump says Harvard move to online courses due to coronavirus 'ridiculous'

VIDEO: REUTERS
Trump attends a roundtable discussion on the Safe Reopening of America’s Schools at the White House on July 7, 2020.
Trump attends a roundtable discussion on the Safe Reopening of America’s Schools at the White House on July 7, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Donald Trump lashed out at Harvard University on Tuesday (July 7), calling its decision to move all its courses online in the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic "ridiculous".

"I think it's ridiculous. I think it's an easy way out. And I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves," Trump said at a White House roundtable discussion, during which he called for schools and universities to reopen for the next semester.

Trump, who is campaigning for reelection in November, has taken a bullish approach to reopening the country even as virus infections continue to spike, particularly in the south and west.

"Everybody wants it. The mums want it. The dads want it. The kids want it. It's time to do it," he said.

"We want to get our schools open, we want to get them open quickly, beautifully, in the fall."

On Monday, his administration said it would not allow foreign students to remain in the country if all of their classes are moved online because of the Covid-19 crisis.

A number of schools are looking at a hybrid model of in-person and online instruction but some, including Harvard, have said all classes will be conducted online.

The prestigious university, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has said 40 per cent of undergraduates would be allowed to return to campus - but their instruction would be conducted remotely.

With more than 130,000 deaths linked to the coronavirus, the United States is the hardest-hit country in the global pandemic.