By: Meghan Hudson, Arts and Life Editor
Screenshot by Tim Klapac/ The Towerlight
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan held a press conference on Thursday morning where he announced that he has asked for all University Systems of Maryland schools to finish the rest of their semesters online.
Earlier this week, McDaniel College, Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University announced that they will be completing the academic year online in an effort to keep students, faculty and staff safe from Coronavirus.
“I have been in communication with the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland, and asked them to take the same steps for the entire University System,” Hogan said. “While the campuses will remain open, they should discourage students from coming back to the campus and to take their courses online for the remainder of the semester.”
Towson University issued a campus-wide statement following Hogan’s conference to address the next steps for USM schools.
“Shortly after the Governor’s news conference this morning, the University System of Maryland (USM), of which Towson University is a part, told The Baltimore Sun: ‘USM Leadership and the Board of Regents have been making plans for students to complete the semester and their studies on a remote/online basis without a physical return to campus. A final decision is expected this evening during a conference call by the Regents,’” the statement read.
Hogan revealed in his press conference that he will be virtually meeting with the USM’s Board of Regents later this afternoon to discuss this transition to distance-learning for the remainder of the spring semester.
“Upon the finalization of that decision later today, TU will immediately share further details regarding the impact that decision might have on a transition to distance-learning for the remainder of the spring semester, university events, housing, student services, and commencement,” Towson announced in their statement.
Hogan also announced Maryland’s first COVID-19-related death, a Prince George’s County man in his 60’s,and provided updated statistics regarding the spread of the virus.
According to the CDC, there are now over 10,000 cases in the U.S., and 150 deaths. Hogan revealed that in Maryland, there are now over 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and over 200 in the Maryland/D.C./Virginia region.
These numbers show “an 88% increase in the past 48 hours,” Hogan said. “Among these new cases is a 5-year-old girl in Howard County who has tested positive for COVID-19. The first child here in Maryland who has tested positive for the virus.”
These updates follow Hogan’s March 16 decision to close all bars, restaurants, cinemas and public gyms by 5 p.m. that night to at least March 30.
During the conference, Hogan said that he is adding an amendment to his previous executive order, limiting any public gatherings to 10 people. These additional measures are being ordered because many Maryland residents have refused to adhere to precautions already made by the state.
“Some people are treating this like a vacation or spring break,” Hogan said. “Let me be very clear, if you are engaged in this type of activity, you are in violation of state law.”
Students can visit towson.edu/coronavirus for more information on TU’s efforts to contain the virus.