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Towson University Sending Students Home

Towson University

Towson University is throwing in the towel and sending most of its students home for the remainder of the semester. Online classes will continue.

Towson President Kim Schatzel said in a letter Wednesday in announcing that residence halls will be closed that her greatest responsibility is to protect the health of everyone on campus.

“This has been a most difficult decision for me, but the safety of our campus community must be our priority and our utmost concern,” Schatzel wrote. “We have made this decision based on science and data with the support of our experts on campus, in the USM (University System of Maryland), and public health professionals.”

Dozens of people connected with the university, including students, have tested positive for COVID-19. This past weekend, Towson decided to move all classes online for one week and put the brakes on any more students moving on campus.

Wednesday came the word that most of those students who did move into dorms will have to leave by next Friday, September 4. Almost all classes will remain online.

Schatzel said none of the positive tests came from students living on campus. She said an around-the-clock assessment found nothing to link the positive tests, such as a party or a gathering of some sort.

Some face-to-face instruction and research will still be allowed in the College of Health Professions, Fisher College of Science & Mathematics and the College of Fine Arts and Communication as well as some graduate programs. Details are still being worked out. A small number of students in those classes will be allowed to remain on campus.

University spokesman Sean Welsh said there are usually around 6,000 students living on campus. That had already been cut by more than half for the fall semester.

"The reduction in the number of students living on campus was already under way by practice," Welsh said. "Now it's just a matter of working through that to get even more of those students back home."

Welsh said the plan now is for students to return in the Spring, but time will tell.

"As leaders of this university, we're not stubborn," Welsh said. "We're going to follow CDC guidelines. We're going to follow the federal, the state, the local best practices and we'll make determinations as we get closer."

Housing and meal plan costs will be refunded.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2