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McDaniel College moves spring semester teaching online, cancels events in response to coronavirus

McDaniel College announced Tuesday that all instruction for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester will move online after spring break.

The move affects graduate and undergraduate programs, and will begin March 23. Colleges around the state have been closing their campuses and in-person gatherings as the coronavirus also known by the disease it causes, COVID-19, spreads around the United States.

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The Westminster college has not yet made a decision about whether to hold commencement ceremonies for students earning master’s and bachelor’s degrees currently scheduled for May 23.

The college also canceled all events on the campus for the rest of the semester in order to follow the state government’s mandate against gatherings of more than 50 people. These cancellations include cultural events and performances, lectures, and large-format admissions and alumni events.

Any changes regarding athletics will be made after decisions are announced from the Centennial Conference.

The McDaniel College Coronavirus Task Force sent a message to the campus Tuesday, calling the move to an online format a “difficult but necessary decision.”

Residence Life will communicate with students in the coming few days about how to move items out of residence halls. The college had previously closed the residences to students except for a small number who applied for approval to stay.

Only visitors with appointments are permitted to access the campus. “Faculty and staff will be receiving further communication about their options during this time,” according to an email announcement.

The college posted a list of contact information for services that will be available during online instruction, such as academic and student support services. The Wellness Center will be reachable by phone, at 410-857-2243, or email, wellness@mcdaniel.edu, during business hours Monday through Friday.

Two cases of the coronavirus, also known by the disease it causes, COVID-19, have been confirmed in Carroll County as of Tuesday morning.

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At least 57 people have confirmed COVID-19 infections in the state as of Tuesday morning, according to Mike Ricci, spokesman for Hogan, though the second Carroll case was not included in that total.

The all-campus message concluded, “Please know that the College remains committed to our students-first mission. We are dedicated to our students and their future. Thank you to our tremendous campus community for your flexibility and adaptability to the sudden changes that have been required during this uncertain time. We are here to support you and look forward to your physical return back to the Hill.”

The college continues to provide updates and information through its COVID-19 webpage at www.mcdaniel.edu.

Anyone who thinks they or a family member might be showing coronavirus symptoms can call the health department’s COVID-19 hotline, which is available 8 am. through 5 p.m. seven days a week at 410-876-4848, or contact their doctor. After hours, callers may leave a message or call 211. People with emergencies should continue to call 911.

Other cancellations and closings

Effective at end of business March 17, Piney Run and Bear Branch nature centers, as well as Hap Baker Firearms Facility, are closed until further notice.

Piney Run Park will be open from 7 a.m. to sunset on weekdays only. The gate house and boat house will be closed, and no boating will be permitted.

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The Historical Society of Carroll County announced that it would be closed through March 27. That includes exhibit galleries, historic houses, the gift shop and library. Additionally, all events have been canceled through April 4.

Manchester’s Town Hall was closed to the public until the end of March or early April. All town meetings during that time have been canceled and not been rescheduled. The town is placing priority on vital services including police and public safety, water and wastewater services.

Charlotte’s Quest Nature Center in Manchester canceled all upcoming events until a later date, but the nature center area remains open for hiking and other outdoor activities. The center encouraged people to get fresh air and exercise while practicing social distancing.

Bulk trash pickup in Hampstead scheduled for March 21 was postponed in order to limit person-to-person contact. A new date has not been determined as of March 17, but the town will reach out to residents when one is chosen. Regular trash/recycling collection will continue as scheduled. For questions, call Hampstead Town Office at 410-239-7408.

Westminster’s exchange activities with its sister city — Paide, Estonia — have been canceled. These included visits to Westminster from Paide government employees, and a visit and performances from Järva Juulad, an Estonian folk dance group.

Manchester Happenings’ Easter Egg Scramble, scheduled for April 4, was canceled. The corresponding Fire Department Breakfast with the Easter bunny has also been cancelled. The fire department will post updates to its website if community events are rescheduled.

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