Here’s what Maryland’s colleges are planning for fall 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic

As the fall semester approaches, Maryland’s colleges and universities are announcing plans and guidelines for how they plan to hold classes while containing the spread of coronavirus. Here’s a sampling of what some of the schools in the area are doing.

Coppin State

Like other schools, Coppin State plans to employ a hybrid method, with classes being offered both in person and remotely.


Additionally, residence halls will be open at a reduced capacity, and masks will be required to enter buildings. Fall classes are scheduled to start Aug. 31.

Johns Hopkins University

The university announced Aug. 6 that it will hold all classes virtually, citing the pandemic.


Hopkins officials said the increased prevalence of infections among younger people, plus the fact that many of its students come from states considered COVID-19 hot spots, led them to reverse earlier plans to resume at least some instruction and activities on its Homewood campus in North Baltimore.

The university will reduce undergraduate tuition, which is about $28,500 a semester, by 10 percent for the fall. Some limited activity will remain on campus, such as at research labs that are operating at lower densities and with other safety and distancing measures.

Loyola University Maryland

Loyola announced Aug. 6 that it will be fully online for the fall semester.

The university said it plans “a full residential and academic experience” for the spring 2021 semester.

Morgan State University

Morgan State University said in May that it plans to reopen its physical campus in the fall, with in-person instruction and students staying in dorms under social distancing guidelines.

In a statement, the university said it would resume classes with “full instruction featuring an innovative ‘student choice’ course delivery model that incorporates face-to-face and remote learning.”

Earlier this month, the university announced a number of initiatives to help stem the spread of the disease on campus, including giving anyone on campus a care package of face coverings and hand sanitizer as well as modifying certain classrooms and spaces to “support appropriate physical distancing.

The college has also announced that it will not raise tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Mount St. Mary’s

Noting its large campus and small class sizes, Mount St. Mary’s plans to have on-campus instruction in the fall with a requirement to wear masks.

Classrooms will be technologically equipped to allow some classes to be taught in person and remotely simultaneously. The university is also preparing for the possibility of having students move around campus in waves, allowing for proper distancing as students move from building to building, with mealtimes staggered, as well.

Naval Academy

Naval Academy upper-class midshipmen will return to campus this fall, though much of their education will likely still be conducted online due to the coronavirus pandemic, the academy announced Aug. 7.

Junior, sophomore and senor midshipmen will be tested upon arrival, and then their movement will be restricted for two weeks. They will then be tested again, spokesperson Cmdr. Alana Garas said in a statement.


The academy will also begin random testing of students, faculty and staff on Aug. 24. Midshipmen will not be allowed to leave the Yard, and it will be closed to the general public as a precaution against the asymptomatic transmission of the coronavirus.

Towson University

The university has announced that it plans to have both in-person and online classes for the fall 2020 semester.

University classes will begin a week earlier, on Aug. 24, and will shift to remote learning after Thanksgiving break Nov. 24, the university wrote in a release. All students will be required to vacate on-campus dorms the day before, unless they face a specific hardship associated with moving, the university wrote.

All fall classes will then be completed online.

As for on-campus housing, the university said officials “will adjust to lower-density models” to mitigate exposure between students, and designate Glen Tower C as a single-use residence for students who may need to be isolated.

The college said it will also modify “classrooms, workspaces, restrooms, conference rooms and ingresses/egresses” to promote proper social distancing as well as requiring masks to be worn in situations where “physical distancing might have limitations.”

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

On June 15, the college reopened its research and studio facilities, but is requiring anyone to obtain permission from the college beforehand.

Campus officials announced this month it will allow for “limited on-campus activity” for the Fall 2020 semester, with most classes remaining online and a reduced occupancy at on-campus housing.

The university wrote in a release that about 10% of courses will meet either on-campus or alternate between in-person and virtual learning starting Aug. 27.

In addition, the college is prioritizing giving housing to “students who must be present to participate in on-campus instruction and are unable to commute.”

After Thanksgiving break, all classes will move to online learning and all residence halls will be closed to students.

University of Maryland, College Park

The university said it plans to plans to hold “about 20%” of undergraduate courses at least partially in-person for the fall semester and move all courses of more than 50 students online due to social distancing limits.

The university will also take different steps to facilitate proper social distancing measures as students return to campus in the fall.

Among them, students and staff will be asked to take their temperature daily and student dormitories will allow up to two students per room, eliminating three- and four-person rooms to reduce students’ exposure to one another.

The school will also limit seating in the dining hall, promote wearing face masks on campus and supplement the state’s contact tracing task force.


University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

UMES will complete its fall semester before Thanksgiving. The first day of class will be Aug. 10, with commencement scheduled for Nov. 20 and 21.


There is an exception for students in the physical therapy and physician assistant studies programs, who will begin their semester Aug. 31 with a final day of classes Dec. 11.

Bowie State University

University officials announced that it will start its fall semester Aug. 31 with a reduced number of students and will move all classes online after Thanksgiving break.

Bowie State President Aminta Breaux said the plan will focus primarily on providing first-year students housing assignments. She added that some housing will be available for upper-class students with special circumstances, but that the university is also trying to secure additional off-campus housing.

While the university will have a mixture of in-class and online learning programs to begin the year, students will be asked to stay home after Thanksgiving break and finish their classes via remote learning.

Frostburg State University

Frostburg State will start its fall semester two weeks early, beginning Aug. 17, and wrap up two days before Thanksgiving.

Classes will be offered in-person, virtually or in a combination. All resident hall rooms will be for single occupants, with move-in times by appointment to minimize the number of people using hallways and elevators at once. Cleanings of all buildings will be increased, with hand sanitizer made more available throughout campus.

Goucher College

Goucher College in Towson has reversed its decision to open its campus to some students for the fall semester.

The college will hold all its fall classes online, Goucher President Kent Deveraux announced in a news release July 31. Only students with a “critical need” for on-campus housing will live at Goucher, Deveraux said.

“Two months ago, when we began the process of planning for this fall, the public health data supported a decision to return to campus,” Devereaux wrote. “The number of new coronavirus cases and deaths in Maryland and surrounding states was declining, and the availability of testing was increasing each week. However, much has changed in the past month.”

Hood College

Hood College eliminated numerous scheduled breaks in its fall calendar, with class taking place on both Labor Day and what was scheduled to be a weeklong fall break. The semester will start a week earlier than scheduled on Aug. 17 and end with Thanksgiving break.

The school plans to release more details in July.

Maryland Institute College of Art

In an updated Aug. 4 email, college officials announced, “despite best intentions and efforts, MICA will not reopen the campus per the plan announced on July 6. Instead, our Fall 2020 semester will be delivered in online mode and the physical campus will remain closed.”

On July 20, MICA officials aimed to reopen the campus with a combination of online and in-person classes on Aug. 24.

“MICA has been diligently observing a set of key principles while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, with the top priority being the health, safety, and wellness of our campus members,” the memo states. “We have also been making decisions based on the best information available while thinking through multiple scenarios, in order to adapt agilely and act responsibly.”

The semester will end Dec. 18.

McDaniel College

The Westminster college plans to reopen to students for a mix of online and in-person classes in the fall.

The semester will begin Aug. 20 and most students are expected to move onto the campus Aug. 14 to Aug. 19. To reduce the time students are grouped in classrooms, the semester will be broken into two seven-week sessions. A student who might normally take four classes per semester will take two during each session.

Faculty, students and anyone else on campus will be required to wear a face mask while inside buildings that are not their immediate living space. Masks will not be required in outdoor spaces as long as physical distancing is maintained. Housekeeping staff will be expected to clean and sanitize more frequently, focused on high-touch areas.

The college opened its Office of Admissions for appointments only June 15, while still requiring that visitors adhere to social distancing guidelines.

McDaniel Local, the orientation program for first-year students, will be offered in person or virtually for students starting in July.

Salisbury University

President Charles Wright announced earlier this month that the Eastern Shore college plans to welcome back students, faculty and staff on campus for the fall 2020 semester, and that it will make a number of changes to try to stem the spread of the disease.

According to WBOC, Wright said earlier this month that while plans are still fluid, the Eastern Shore university is planning to have its campus open to students and faculty.

The university president said the university is still discussing how to best address class size as well as leaving some on-campus housing vacant for potential COVID-19-positive patients.

St. Mary’s College

All on-campus students, faculty and staff will receive various personal protective equipment including gloves, masks and a semester’s worth of hand sanitizer, as well as a digital thermometer. Employees returning to campus each day will have their temperatures checked daily with infrared thermometers.

St. Mary’s has formed several subcommittees to help plan for a return in the fall. The college hasn’t announced formal dates for its fall semester but intends to begin instruction in mid-August and complete the semester by Thanksgiving.

Stevenson University

Stevenson’s fall semester will start Aug. 31. In an effort to have students complete finals earlier in the year, the university will not have a two-day fall break as originally scheduled, and students will also have class Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

Classrooms, labs and other teaching areas will be organized to allow for social distancing, with some events, such as fitness sessions and art performances, being set up to take place outdoors.

University of Baltimore

The University of Baltimore will “remain almost exclusively online,” with the exception on certain law students whole will meet with faculty in small groups while wearing masks and socially distancing. The university will also have no on-campus student employees.

The university has said graduation ceremonies for spring and fall 2020 graduates “will most likely occur at the conclusion of the fall semester in December to accommodate both.”


Washington College

Trying to avoid more student travel than necessary, the on-campus portion of Washington College’s fall semester will begin Aug. 24 and end with Thanksgiving break, with no fall break between. Courses will continue remotely after Thanksgiving.

In addition to having smaller class sizes, students could take turns attending classes in person and online. Faculty will also prepare to have their courses fully online in case the further spread of COVID-19 requires it. A daily screening protocol is being developed.

Baltimore City Community College

The community college announced Aug. 6 that all of its operations will be entirely virtual for the fall.

St. John’s College

St. John’s College in Annapolis will not resume in-person instruction for the fall semester, instead, students and faculty will use online learning, according to an announcement sent out late July.

The college’s faculty and staff reviewed coronavirus testing as well as health and safety measurements to reduce exposure risk. Due to the state of the pandemic in Anne Arundel County, and in Maryland, the college decided to not offer in-person instruction for the fall semester.

Baltimore Sun Media reporters Liz Bowie, Wilborn Nobles III, Catalina Righter, Olivia Sanchez and Naomi Harris contributed to this article.

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