Coronavirus Communication 3/12/2020
Washington College responds to coronavirus outbreak. Spring Break is extended one week; classes will resume March 23.
Washington College is making some important operational decisions about how to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe as the coronavirus outbreak evolves. Even though there are no known cases of coronavirus on campus or on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, campus communities are particularly susceptible to the spread of this novel virus because of frequent travel among this population and because our students live in close quarters. We are aware that colleges and universities across the nation are taking a range of actions in response to the spread of the coronavirus. At Washington College, out of utmost concern for the safety and health of our students, we have chosen to extend Spring Break (March 7-15) by one week, postponing the resumption of classes until March 23.
Campus offices will remain open and operational as we continue to monitor the situation, and we will share that information with you through routine communications as events merit. The Emergency Operations Group (EOG) and senior leadership will convene daily over the next two weeks, and this page will be updated as necessary.
Here is where we stand at the moment.
Out of an abundance of caution, we are preparing to conduct all coursework online in lieu of face-to-face instruction. We have every intention to complete the academic semester on the same schedule as originally planned. In the coming days, faculty will communicate to students how their courses will proceed.
VARSITY ATHLETICS - BREAKING NEWS
The women’s lacrosse game scheduled to be at Randolph Macon Saturday, March 14, has been cancelled.
In order to help manage the spread of COVID-19, Washington College has temporarily suspended all sports competition and practices, beginning March 16. This decision was made in conjunction with the Centennial Conference’s decision today to suspend all spring athletics practices and competitions until further notice. The Centennial Conference Presidents Council and Conference leadership have promised to continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation and regularly assess the status of future spring athletics events.
“I share in the disappointment with our student-athletes and coaching staffs,” Director of Athletics Thad Moore stated. “This is part of a comprehensive action aimed at protecting the health of our students, faculty and staff as individuals, as well as protecting the health of our entire community.”
All other Washington College contests that are scheduled to take place through this weekend will go on as scheduled, including the home men’s lacrosse game versus Mary Washington this Saturday afternoon. In addition, this Sunday’s women’s soccer ID Clinic will still be held as scheduled on campus.
Study Abroad/International Students
Programs in Japan and South Korea have been cancelled and three of four students have returned to the U.S. from Italy. The fourth student has remained in Europe and is taking classes online via our partner school in Italy. Another student is returning from Spain, to complete her classes remotely from the U.S. Fifteen students are completing programs in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, France, Turkey, Morocco, South Africa, and Peru. Washington College is also hosting 48 matriculated students and 11 exchange students from abroad. Those students, as well as domestic students who have nowhere else to go, will be provided meals and housing.
Returning from Travel
As is often the case over Spring Break, our students and faculty have traveled widely. Those who have traveled to locations with significant coronavirus outbreak will be required to self-isolate, either off-campus or in a designated facility on campus. Domestic students who have remained on campus over the past few days will be asked to return home until normal face-to-face instruction resumes. Of those students remaining, any who have an immune-compromising health condition should consult immediately with the College’s Health Services. This office is also instituting what is called a “telephone triage tree,” whereby students are asked to call in before making the trip in person to see a healthcare professional. The number to call is 410-778-7261.
Regardless of whether you have traveled to a location designated by the Centers for Disease Control as a Level 2 or Level 3 risk, we ask that everyone practice stringent hand-washing hygiene, clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces, distance yourself from others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community, and stay home if you are sick or if you believe you may have been in contact with someone who is sick.
Given the rapidly evolving nature of this public health threat, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency on Monday, freeing up the resources to protect Maryland citizens and help prevent the spread of the virus, while waiving all cost-sharing regarding COVID-19 testing. As of Thursday afternoon, 12 Marylanders have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Please know that here at Washington College, we are doing everything we can to keep that number from growing.
As a final note, we are urging our community to be mindful of our international students and scholars who may be understandably concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their families back home. Similarly, we will ensure our international population is not unfairly maligned or on the receiving end of abuse, given the geographic source of the coronavirus.
updated March 12, 2020