State universities throughout Maryland have begun canceling classes this week due to concerns over the coronavirus.
And they say students and faculty need to prepare for the possibility that classes will have to be taught online rather than in person for at least two weeks after spring break, which is next week.
Towson University announced Tuesday it is canceling classes for the rest of the week, beginning Wednesday. The University of Maryland Baltimore County and Salisbury University announced they would cancel classes Thursday and Friday this week.
In a statement posted online, UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski said he expects online instruction to be in place for at least two weeks following spring break.
The flagship University of Maryland College Park canceled classes the week of March 23, following spring break. Then from March 30 until at least April 10 classes will move online.
Salisbury officials announced on the university's website that canceling classes later this week would give faculty time to prepare online instruction and said students should not return to campus until April 4, but take classes online.
Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, a Jesuit Catholic university, is ending all "face-to-face" instruction on Wednesday through March 31
Johns Hopkins University is canceling all in-person classes through at least April 12.
University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay Perman on Tuesday urged every university throughout the system to prepare its students for the possibility they will remain off campus for at least two weeks following the end of spring break.
“During those two weeks or longer, all USM universities should be prepared to deliver instruction remotely,” he said in a statement.
Towson University officials said there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus on campus. But in a statement on its website, the university said that “these are extraordinary times that require exceptional measures to deal with a health risk that affects us all.”
Towson spokesman Sean Welsh said, “We’re asking students to take all essential belongings, medications, and materials from your residence halls or work spaces in case it should become necessary to restrict return access to campus for at least two weeks.”
Towson University also is suspending all university-sponsored events and gatherings through March 22. All non-essential out-of-state travel is also suspended, with the exception of athletics.
The University System of Maryland has more than 175,000 students at 12 institutions statewide.