Morgan State University has mandated that all student leave campus and that classes be taken virtually for the rest of the semester as the college becomes the latest to close its doors in response to the growing coronavirus outbreak.
In an announcement Tuesday, university President David K. Wilson wrote that all students currently on campus “should begin making arrangements with their families/guardians to move out of the residence halls and return home for the remainder of the semester.”
Students already away from campus on spring break are being asked not to return to campus. Those “for whom relocation to home would cause extreme hardship, and those who are facing other special circumstances” can request to stay at the college, Wilson said.
“Given the State’s executive order to temporarily shutter businesses, gathering places and entertainment venues off-campus, and the call to minimize large gatherings of people on-campus, it has become evident that this is the best action to take to enhance the safety of our students,” Wilson wrote.
The university is extending its two-week interim period of virtual classes until the end of the semester and has “implemented temporary telework guidelines for all non-essential staff who are approved to telework.”
Spring commencement, which is usually held in May, is postponed until a later date to be determined, Wilson wrote.
The Division of Student Affairs will handle requests to stay on campus on a case-by-case basis. Those affected by the closure of on-campus housing “will be issued pro-rated refunds for unused housing and meal plan fees,” the president wrote.
“Please know that these decisions were made with thoughtful consideration of the needs of our students, particularly as it relates to graduation,” Wilson wrote.
Morgan State becomes the latest Maryland college to close its doors in response to the growing outbreak of COVID-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus. At least 57 people have confirmed COVID-19 infections in the state as of Tuesday.
Colleges in the University System of Maryland, of which Morgan State is not a part, have told students not to return to campus following spring break and plan to have classes taught online at least until April.