First week at TU moved online after increase in COVID-19 testing positivity, move-in halted

By: Meghan Hudson, Editor-in-Chief
Photo Courtesy of Towson University

Towson University has moved to a completely remote format through Aug. 30, after an increase in positive COVID-19 PCR tests conducted by the TU Health Center in the past week.

A sample of 627 tests conducted on campus between Wednesday, Aug. 19 and Thursday, Aug. 20 as part of TU’s mandatory baseline testing initiative returned a total of 55 positive results on Saturday, Aug. 22,” an email from the University reads. “Individuals with positive test results are being contacted by phone, per established protocol and contact tracing is underway in coordination with Baltimore County.”

The email also discloses that none of the individuals who tested positive are on campus. Towson University’s positivity rate now stands at 1.63% based on data from the last two weeks.

“In alignment with remote learning, Burdick Hall will be closed and all in-person activities on campus are canceled from Aug. 23 to Aug. 30,” reads the email. “Move-in for residential students is temporarily suspended beginning Monday, Aug. 24. No visitors will be allowed on campus during this time.

Students living on campus have been given the option by Housing and Residence Life to either go home until in-person classes begin, or remain in their dorm

“Students who go home for this period will be required to provide additional evidence of a negative test result before being permitted to return,” HRL emailed residents.

Students remaining on campus will be offered grab and go dining options only, and are expected to submit a Tigers Care QuickScan daily.

Within their student housing gateway, students must inform HRL of their decision to stay or leave, and have the opportunity to postpone their move-in if they were planning to move in between today and Aug. 23.

Students are also still able to cancel their housing for the academic year, even if they have already moved in.

“The funny thing is I truly believe Towson planned this all along,” tweeted TU student Kirsten Elizabeth. “Get the kids here, make classes remote, collect a check. Simple.”

Students seem to believe that the online format will extend longer than one week.

“Fall semester hasn’t even started yet and Towson already moved all classes online for the ‘first week’ due to increase in COVID-19+,” tweeted TU student Sarah Baltimore “…when are universities going to take the hint and prioritize safety of students and faculty?”

In addition to questioning the longevity of the online format, students wonder whether they will see a return on tuition or fees.

“Am I really still paying the full tuition amount even with Towson University inevitably moving 100% online??” said TU student Scott Nowaskey “Or did I miss the email telling me I’d get like 20 dollars off or something??”

In their email, Towson University emphasized their commitment to safety.

“The temporary move to fully remote learning is critical for the continued health and safety of our community, which remains TU’s top priority,” the University stated. “These actions are being taken out of caution and concern for all students, faculty and staff.”  

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