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University of Maryland, Towson University cancel spring-break, summer study-abroad programs amid coronavirus concerns

The University of Maryland, College Park and Towson University announced Tuesday that they’re canceling all spring-break and summer study-abroad programs because of coronavirus.

The universities said the decision comes after consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies.

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Programs in Italy were suspended last week at both universities, as have studies in China. Maryland also suspended South Korea programs.

Students returning to the United States from countries on the CDC’s COVID 19 transmission list are being asked to stay home rather than return to campus. They are also being asked to “self-monitor” and “self-isolate” for two weeks. That means staying home and checking for symptoms.

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Students abroad with a chronic health problem or those who are immunocompromised are also urged to return home, the University of Maryland release said.

“I must emphasize the importance of not returning to campus and refraining from non-essential contact with others during the two-week self-isolation period,” Provost and Senior Vice President Mary Ann Rankin wrote in the email. “Members of the campus community may want to visit friends on campus, but we insist that travelers from Level 3 countries avoid doing so for 14 days. We all need to work together to limit the possible spread of this infection.”

Those studying in Japan, which is at Alert Level 2 for coronavirus, are not yet being summoned back to the states.

Maryland health officials are testing seven people for the new coronavirus this week. There continue to be no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland, as results for six others with serious respiratory symptoms have come back negative, state officials reported.

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CDC officials said Tuesday that they believe the greatest risk is to people who have traveled and those who are in close contact with them, such as their family, as well as health care workers caring for the infected.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing, though most people suffer only mild cases and don’t always know they are infected. About 16% suffer more severe symptoms and need hospitalization, according to the CDC. Scientists estimate the infection kills fewer than 1% of those infected.

Baltimore Sun reporters Meredith Cohn and Lorraine Mirabella contributed to this article.

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