By: Tim Klapac, Senior Editor
Towson University issued a campus-wide statement Tuesday afternoon announcing that all classes March 11 through 13 are cancelled to prepare for potential remote teaching, learning and working after spring break.
Additionally, resident students in dorms were asked Tuesday evening to vacate by noon Wednesday for spring break. Originally, students were asked to leave for spring break by 9 a.m. Saturday.
The University is asking students to take all essential belongings, including medications, from their residence halls or work spaces in case access to campus becomes restricted over the next two weeks.
TU has also suspended all university-sponsored events and gatherings through March 22, which is the last day of the planned spring break.
“This is based on current best-practices regarding social distancing as a prevention strategy for disease transmission,” the University statement said. “We will seek opportunities to enable certain events through live-streaming or other platforms.”
On March 10, Housing and Residence Life alerted students that all non nine-month buildings will be closing for spring break.
“Students are expected to vacate their rooms by 12 p.m. (noon) Wednesday, March 11th,” the email read.
Dining information, including updated hours, were provided in the email. Au Bon Pain and Enactus Cafe were two of the six dining locations that will not be open on March 11.
Sophomore resident student Kewa Gray was very surprised about the decision for resident students to vacate dorms on short notice.
“I’m shocked to hear we have to be out by tomorrow,” she said. “It’s just so last minute. But luckily I only live 30 mins away. So it’s going to be easier for me to arrange a ride back home. I feel bad for those who live far away because it’s so unexpected.”
Newell Den, Outtakes, Panda Express, Paws and Piadina will be the last dining options to close on March 11, remaining open until 11 p.m.
“We understand that this is a quick turnaround and that these actions may create a significant challenge for you,” the email stated. “If you cannot vacate by this time, please submit a Late Stay Request by 11 a.m. on March 11, 2020, via the student housing gateway.”
The email also provided steps for students to complete as they leave their residences. These steps include emptying all trash and discarding perishable food, as well as setting thermostats to 60 degrees (or their lowest setting).
Students were also instructed to “Take medication, wallet, eyeglasses, clothing for all weather etc.” and were told to plan to “take more items than initially anticipated.”
According to the University’s email, policies regarding campus visitors are being reviewed. TU Events and Conference Services will have new restrictions on hosting any events during this cancellation period.
In addition to the suspension of all upcoming international university travel that was enacted on March 6, the University is suspending all non-essential out-of-state university travel.
“We also strongly advise against any domestic travel, for a 50-mile radius as a guide,” the University said. “Travel related to your commute is permitted.”
Areas outside of the 50-mile radius include nearby Washington, D.C.
The email stated that travel for Towson Athletics will be excluded from the suspension.
TU Olivia Bowley said these changes to spring break and travel recommendations have added stress.
“I’ve had spring break plans to fly to Texas with my friends and this has added another layer of stress to deal with on top of the challenges with Towson changing class and housing plans,” Bowley said.
Campus recreation facilities will also be closed from March 11 to 22.
“Campus Rec facilities plan to reopen on Monday, March 23, 2020,” a TU Campus Recreation email said.
– Editor-in-Chief Bailey Hendricks, Arts & Life Editor Meghan Hudson, and Assistant Arts & Life Editor Grace Coughlan contributed to this article.
– This article will be updated as more information becomes available.