By: Tim Klapac, Senior Editor
Photo by Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight
Towson University students spent their Wednesday mornings packing up their dorm room belongings in order to comply with the new deadline to vacate set by the Department of Housing and Residence Life on Tuesday afternoon.
The original deadline to leave for spring break was Saturday at 9 a.m., but was moved to noon Wednesday after the University cancelled all remaining classes for the week as a precaution to the Coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
Caitlin Froom, a freshman mass communications student, said the process of packing up was nightmarish for her because she lives in New Jersey and wasn’t sure how she would get home.
“It was the worst experience of my life because I had no ride home,” Froom said. “It was extremely stressful and I never want to experience this again in my life.”
While Froom was able to get a ride home, freshman Karolina Mykhailova expressed concern over students who may not be as fortunate.
“What about other people that have flights and stuff like that?” she said. “I live close by and that’s fine, but I know there are people stressing out.”
Mykhailova was shocked by the sudden change in the deadline, even though she had been hearing rumors about the possibility.
“It was kind of a shock at the time,” she said. “There were a lot of rumors during the week, so everyone kind of already knew about it before the email went out.”
Mykhailova, who was moving her stuff out of Paca House, threw her belongings quickly into her blue cart that was provided by Housing and Residence Life. She said the experience of packing quickly has been exasperating, even though she only lives 30 minutes away.
“It’s been stressful for everyone because they told us last minute,” she said. “They let everyone know at 4 p.m. and we’re supposed to move out by 12 [p.m.] the next day”
The Towerlight made several attempts to contact the Department of Housing and Residence Life and were redirected to University Communications.
“We’ve been accommodating to any and all students who shared their needs for special accommodations around the departure from campus,” TU Communications said. “Our students, who were planning to depart for spring break after Friday, have been fantastic. And we appreciate the cooperation of the students and their families and recognize that in these extraordinary times, exceptional measures are required to deal with this unique and rapidly-changing health risk that affects us all. We look forward to having our students back on campus soon.”
While TU students are preparing for an extended spring break, other universities in Maryland have already announced plans to keep students off campus beyond the break. The University of Maryland announced on Tuesday that it will convert all classes on its College Park campus to online for at least two weeks after spring break, saying they will remain online until at least April 10.
Towson University has not announced any official plans as to what will happen after spring break to follow UMD’s decision, as of yet. In their statement to students on Tuesday afternoon, TU said, “we are preparing for the possible necessity of moving all teaching and learning online after spring break.”
Mykhailova said she expects the University to go online because she’s already heard her teachers discussing that possibility.
“Teachers are basically sending emails that they already know we’re gonna be online,” she said.
While some students might find staying away from school appealing, Froom doesn’t like the possibility of staying away from campus beyond spring break.
“I love it here and I don’t want to go home to [New] Jersey,” she said.