As COVID-19 cases surge heading into the holidays, McDaniel College in Westminster announced Tuesday that it would shift the format of its January term courses to online only, and two Carroll County public schools postponed planned concerts.
“All classes will still begin on Tuesday, Jan. 4, as previously scheduled, however, the format of courses previously scheduled on campus will shift to online only,” according to the announcement.
Cheryl Knauer, director of public relations at McDaniel, said the college has also made the decision to require all undergraduate students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot prior to the start of the spring semester, which begins on Jan. 24.
McDaniel previously announced that all students would be required to have flu vaccinations for the spring semester.
Liz Towle, McDaniel’s dean of students, previously said public vaccination clinics would continue to be available during the spring semester to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, two Carroll County public schools made last-minute postponements today to previously scheduled events.
East Middle School in Westminster postponed its winter band concert until January because of a “large number” of COVID-19 cases at the school among band participants, Principal James Carver said.
“… We had a large enough number [of cases] that it would have affected the performance,” Carter said.
Carter said the school has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases during the last two weeks.
According to the Carroll County Public Schools’ COVID-19 dashboard, which updates every Wednesday, 16 positive COVID-19 cases were reported at East Middle School during the week ending Dec. 15, the most at any middle school in Carroll County.
Century High School in Eldersburg also postponed its planned Tuesday concert and alerted parents by email.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, tonight’s instrumental concert will be postponed. It will be rescheduled for after the holiday break,” the email stated.
Calls to the school requesting comment were not returned Tuesday.
Brenda Bowers, spokesman for the Carroll County public school system, said cancellation of school-related activities such as concerts is a school-by-school decision.
“Individual schools may cancel based on the impact on availability of the students and the staff,” Bowers said.
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The COVID-related changes come after Maryland health officials reported 6,218 new COVID-19 cases statewide on Tuesday, the most infections added in 24 hours during the coronavirus pandemic.