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McDaniel College announces changes to spring semester, says January term will be online only

McDaniel College on Thursday announced details for the upcoming spring semester and said the January term will be offered remotely.

Classes will be held online over the winter term, and students may participate in internships or other independent studies “as long as the health and safety protocols of the external site have been approved by the college in advance,” according to a news release from the Westminster college.

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But domestic trips and study abroad programs are cancelled, the release states, and students will not be allowed to stay in on-campus housing. Study abroad at the college’s Budapest, Hungary, campus will not be offered in the spring either, though the release did not specify whether other programs will be offered then.

For the spring semester, most classes will be available in a hybrid of in-person and remote instruction, according to the release, and options are available for those who stay away from the campus.

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The calendar for undergraduates was also changed, with classes now beginning Feb. 1 and no spring break offered, the release states. The calendar for graduate students was unchanged. The semester will not be divided into two sessions.

These changes, developed by the Return to the Hill Taskforce, were made during a fall semester when the college has not seen COVID-19 cases get out of control. McDaniel has reported 10 positive COVID-19 tests among its campus population, from a total of 1,674 tests administered since Aug. 14.

The college announced Wednesday it had moved to a “green” alert status, meaning that “campus health and safety protocols are working effectively and our community is doing a good job minimizing risk,” according to the college website.

However, an email sent to the campus community stressed that the new alert status doesn’t mean social distancing and other steps to minimize risk of spreading the virus can be forgotten. “Rather, it means just the opposite; that our protocols are working effectively and we must remain committed to them,” the email states. “Staying vigilant is the key to our continued success.”

In the upcoming terms, McDaniel will require students to present documentation of a negative COVID-19 test, as well as that they received a flu shot, before returning to the campus in the spring.

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