A Washington College student has been hospitalized in Chestertown and is awaiting test results for COVID-19, the college’s president has announced.
“We have reported to the Kent County Health Department that a Washington College student who has traveled out of state to an area with confirmed cases of community-transmitted COVID-19 is exhibiting flu-like symptoms,” President Kurt Landgraf wrote in a message to faculty, staff, students, and parents. “After contacting the College’s Health Services, this student has been hospitalized in Chestertown and is awaiting test results for COVID-19.
“According to the protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control, this student’s traveling companion and the student’s suitemates are also in isolation.
The college had previously strongly recommended that all students return home if at all possible and said only those students who have received approval through the Office of Residential Life are permitted to be on campus.
Washington College students were on spring break March 7 to 15. With concerns mounting about containing the spread of COVID-19, the college initially had extended spring break until March 23, then announced Friday plans to limit the number of people on campus through the end of March.
In a Friday statement, Landgraf said:
“Yesterday Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a series of steps to protect public health and limit the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, including the closure of public schools and senior centers, and restricting gatherings of more than 250 people. This directive spans from March 16 to March 27.
“Earlier this week, I announced that we are extending Spring Break by one week. After consultation with state and local officials and with the leadership of the Board of Visitors and Governors, it is clear now that the most prudent course of action is to limit the number of people on campus for the remainder of the month. While Washington College prides itself on engaged, hands-on learning, these are extraordinary circumstances. We have made the unprecedented decision to implement stringent social distancing measures through April 3, including moving much of our coursework online.
“The Provost and Dean of the College is meeting with department chairs to determine which classes can be taught remotely and how our students might compensate for missed learning experiences like labs and field research, face-to-face musical instruction, and theater rehearsals.
“Faculty members will communicate directly with students the details and expectations for their online coursework. Faculty are encouraged to teach from home and limit their travel.
“We encourage all students who are able, to return home as early as possible. For students who are currently at home or living off campus, we ask that you remain where you are. Students who do not have the ability to easily return to their permanent address should follow the instructions from Residential Life to request approval to remain on/return to campus or pick up belongings from their rooms.
“Staff whose duties do not require them to be on campus are also encouraged to work from home. Confirm all plans with your supervisors and supervisees accordingly.
“This situation is still developing, and we ask that you remain patient as we determine next steps. We have not made any determination about the remainder of the semester; we will re-evaluate at the end of March. I ask that you do not speculate or pass along rumors regarding future decisions about the College. As soon as our further plans are formed and events become clear, we will notify you immediately.
“Above all, I ask you to remain calm; we will get through this together.”