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Johns Hopkins moves all classes to online, cancels in-person May commencement and vacates campus amid coronavirus

Johns Hopkins University announced Wednesday that classes will be taken virtually for the rest of the semester, in-person spring commencement has been canceled and all students should vacate campus.

The university is the latest among those that have closed their doors in response to the growing coronavirus outbreak.

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University President Ronald J. Daniels and Provost Sunil Kumar said in a news release that the decisions were a “series of unprecedented steps to safeguard our community and ensure that we can accomplish our mission to care for those we serve, including the most vulnerable among us.”

Classes will begin being held virtually in full no later than March 23, after undergraduate students’ spring break, the university said. In-person labs, research for credit and practicums will not be held.

The university said it’s providing virtual teaching support for all faculty, lecturers and teaching assistants. Additionally, the provost and dean’s office are working to make adjustments for exams, grading, course credit and degree requirements, among other things.

Residential undergraduate students were already required to leave campus. The university said it is working with the Student Affairs department to establish a procedure for people to return to campus and gather any remaining belongings to bring home or move into storage. Students will receive a credit for unused housing and dining contracts, the university said.

The university is also now urging students who live off campus to “seriously consider” returning to a permanent residence, because campus resources will be so limited.

Student workers on campus are expected to be paid through at least April 12, but the university said it is working to extend the time frame and provide remote working opportunities where available.

University-wide commencement, held in May, will be done virtually. Johns Hopkins said it is planning an in-person celebration at a “later date.” Opportunities to walk at future graduation ceremonies will be offered, and the university is also discussing a fall class gathering as part of Young Alumni Weekend.

Only critical research will continue to be maintained, the university said, and the vast majority of people are transitioning to telework. The university is also providing emergency COVID-19 leave for employees.

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The university said all meetings and work activities — even those deemed essential — must be conducted virtually. Any in-person gatherings must be fewer than 10 people, and all nonessential university travel has been canceled.

All tours, admission and alumni events have been suspended until further notice, the university said.

“Though we will not be together in person for the immediate future, we continue to draw inspiration and strength from this remarkable community no matter where we may find ourselves in the world,” the university said.

Notre Dame of Maryland University and Morgan State University, among others, also decided to move to fully virtual classes. Notre Dame has not yet canceled its spring commencement.

The decisions are amid the growing outbreak of COVID-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus. At least 85 people have confirmed COVID-19 infections in the state as of Wednesday.

Colleges in the University System of Maryland, separate from Johns Hopkins, have told students not to return to campus after spring break and plan to have classes taught online at least until April.

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