The University of Maryland announced Thursday it would begin spring break one day early as the novel coronavirus spreads across the state.
Minutes before the school notified campus of the development in an alert, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan had mobilized the national guard and announced that all of the state’s public schools would close from Monday until March 27.
Earlier that day, Hogan had announced the first case of community transmission of the virus in Maryland: a Prince George’s resident in his 60’s who hasn’t travelled internationally recently or come in contact with another person known to be infected. The state has confirmed 12 cases of the virus so far.
Three of the individuals who tested positive have recovered and passed their quarantine stage, said Fran Phillips, state health department deputy secretary. Still, Hogan urged the state to prepare for the number of cases to “dramatically and rapidly rise.”
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“We believe all of us need to take serious actions to limit day to day activities, and we all need to do our part to stop the virus from spreading,” Hogan said.
Hogan also enacted an executive order banning gatherings larger than 250 people. The state is also closing the cruise ship terminal in Baltimore, restricting access to public buildings including the State House, closing senior activity centers, and having all approved non-essential state employees telework, among other steps.
“It’s impossible at this time to know how long this threat will continue,” he said.
Classes and exams will continue at this university through Thursday night, but administrative offices will close Friday. Residence Halls will close Friday at 7 p.m., as previously scheduled, according to a university alert.
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