Goucher College officials say all classes will remain online for the spring semester, citing continuing concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Kent Devereaux told the Goucher community in a message Thursday that the decision was based on the seven-day average testing positivity rate for both Maryland and Baltimore County.
Maryland’s positivity rate on Thursday was at 9.31% and Baltimore County was at 7.7%. Goucher’s benchmark for reopening states the positivity rate should remain at or below 5% for 14 days.
The Towson college also held classes online throughout the fall semester.
“I understand that this news will be deeply disappointing for many,” Devereaux said. “We are equally disappointed.”
The president said school officials wanted nothing more than to welcome students back to campus in the spring, but could ultimately not “ignore the science and public health data that indicates a return to campus would not be in our community’s best interests.”
Goucher’s spring semester will begin Feb. 8 on a compressed 13-week spring semester schedule, with no residential housing option for most students. Officials do not anticipate changes to staffing plans at this time, the letter states.
Some financial aid awards may be adjusted to reflect a reduced cost of attendance, officials said.
And the college will not participate in the Landmark Conference athletic competition for the remainder of the academic year. All student-athletes will retain an extra season of eligibility under the updated NCAA Division III rules.
Administrators will provide additional details by Jan. 25 on student accessibility to campus-based resources such as the library and select facilities and equipment. Officials will announce a decision on commencement and other events by March 5, the letter states.
“Despite these setbacks, I am excited about many of the new developments we already have underway and will be announcing later this spring,” Devereaux said. “I am also more confident than ever that Goucher will emerge from this pandemic stronger and better prepared to face the challenges ahead together.”