TU updates campus with guidance on grading, fees for spring term

March 27, 2020

TU is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak.

Towson University has announced new guidance on grading for the spring term. In addition, USM Chancellor Dr. Jay Perman shared the following statement regarding refunds across all USM institutions today.

In support of  students and in alignment with USM, Towson University will issue prorated refunds for student housing, dining, athletics fee and parking charges for the spring 2020 term.
 
Early next week, TU will share details regarding the prorated refunds for students. Additional guidance regarding prorated refunds for TU faculty and staff parking will also be shared next week.

Regarding the grading announcements, a letter written to students March 26 said, "In consideration of the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the spring 2020 semester and the rapid shift to a distance education format, the provost, in consultation with the executive committee of the academic Senate, SGA leadership, the academic standards committee, and the provost’s council has determined that the undergraduate Pass Grading Option will be modified for the spring 2020 term only."

The policy applies to undergraduate students only. Students retain the right to be graded under the traditional grading policy and faculty will continue to submit letter grades for all students.

More details about the process will be available in the coming days.

Students electing the Pass Grading Option, who:

  • Earn a grade of C or higher will receive the PS (pass) grade, which is not calculated into the GPA. This grade can be used for courses in approved majors as well as for minors, Core courses and electives for the spring 2020 term only. A PS grade will also satisfy prerequisites.
  • Earn a grade of D+ or D will receive the CRD (Credit) grade, which will earn credit but will not be calculated into the GPA. The CRD grade may not be used for major or minor courses or to satisfy prerequisites. It may be used for university electives and most Core courses (excluding Core 1, 2 and 9).
  • Earn a grade of F or FX will receive the NCR (No credit) grade, which will not earn credit and not be calculated into the GPA. The NCR grade will not satisfy any requirements. 

PAST CAMPUS COMMUNICATION updates

March 19

Towson University President Kim Schatzel communicated important updates on the spring term to the campus community Thursday evening.  Read her communication here.  In addition, get the latest TU COVID-19 resources.

The updates announced include:

  • The previously announced transition to distance learning for students beginning on March 23 will now continue through the rest of the spring 2020 term. There will be no on-campus, face-to-face classes or instruction for the remainder of this term, and all courses will be completed remotely. This includes all TU campuses and facilities.
  • Students will receive an additional email from the Division of Student Affairs today regarding student services for the remainder of the spring term. Students will also receive an email today regarding technology resources for remote learning for the spring term.
  • Students living in residence halls will receive a separate email today from the Office of Housing & Residence Life with specific directions for removing their belongings from campus.
  • All staff who are currently teleworking will continue to do so under the TU Temporary COVID-19 Telework policy unless otherwise directed.
  • Faculty will receive an email from the Office of the Provost that will detail specific instructions regarding the remainder of the spring term.
  • Under the leadership and guidance of the University System of Maryland (USM), a uniform policy, to be used by all member universities and regional higher education centers, is under development regarding prorated refunds for unused room and board, parking and meal plan charges. Any refunds will be subject to Federal Aid and Title IV guidelines and may vary depending on unpaid balances or other charges. TU recognizes the responsibility to students and families who have been disrupted during this unprecedented situation and with our USM partners we will develop an approach in keeping with this responsibility. We will communicate this policy with our campus community as soon as we can.
  • In following public health guidance around social distancing, all in-person university events for the remainder of the spring term are canceled.
  • Finally, we have made the very difficult decision to postpone our May 2020 Commencement ceremonies until this fall. To our graduating seniors: this is still your year and we are incredibly proud of your accomplishments. TU will celebrate the academic achievements of the Class of 2020 graduates with a fitting campus Commencement ceremony. But at this time, holding such a large gathering in May, as is tradition, conflicts with our priorities around health and safety and the national public health predictions that the virus outbreak could peak at that time. 
March 19
UPDATE AT 1:12 p.m.: Earlier this morning, Thursday, March 19, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced additional measures for the State of Maryland amid the ongoing COVID outbreak.
 
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."
 
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 term, university events, housing, student services and Commencement.
 
As we have said before, this is a rapidly evolving situation requiring all of us to remain agile. We appreciate your patience and your perseverance through these unprecedented times. Please continue to check your email for the latest updates.
 
We will continue to also share updates at Towson.edu/Coronavirus and via @TowsonU on Twitter. 
March 13

TU is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak.

Towson University president Kim Schatzel sent a message to the campus community Friday amid a week of significant action on campus.

“We all can agree these are indeed exceptional times for our university, the state of Maryland, our nation and our global community,” Schatzel said.

Read more from her message.

March 12

UPDATED: Towson University, in conjunction with the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and its members, will be canceling all remaining winter and spring varsity athletic activities for the 2019–20 academic year.

Read more on the announcement on TowsonTigers.com.

March 11

Towson University continues to actively monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and provide updates to the TU community. There are currently no known confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Towson University, and the campus remains open for normal operations for faculty and staff.

This update follows a Tuesday, March 10 announcement that classes would be canceled March 11, March 12 and March 13 in advance of spring break.

Towson University will transition classes to a distance learning format when the spring term resumes Monday, March 23. Face-to-face classes will resume on Monday, April 6. Additional messages to faculty and students on the roll-out of this educational environment will be shared in the coming days.

Students should not return to campus immediately following spring break. Residence halls that are closed during spring break will reopen to students on Saturday, April 4. Housing & Residence Life will continue to provide updates to all residential students.

All university-sponsored events and gatherings hosted at TU through April 4 are suspended—an extension of the previously announced March 22 date.

This continues to be a fluid and rapidly evolving situation. The university may take alternative action as appropriate.

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our primary concern. As communicated yesterday, we recognize that these are extraordinary times that require exceptional measures to deal with a health risk that affects us all.

For information and updates related to the broad set of actions Towson University is taking to address this public health situation, please visit towson.edu/coronavirus.

March 10

Dear Towson University community,
Towson University continues to actively monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and provide updates to the TU community. There are currently no confirmed cases at Towson University.

The TU Health Center will continue to provide updates for staff, faculty and students at towson.edu/coronavirus

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our primary concern. We recognize that these are extraordinary times that require exceptional measures to deal with a health risk that affects us all.

Each of us plays a role in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and TU is taking measures to better protect our students, our staff and our faculty. Today, we are providing updates in four key areas: 

Spring Break

Based on USM guidance and our shared desire to protect the health and safety of our community from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19),

Beginning Wednesday, March 11, TU is cancelling all university classes for the remainder of the week on all campuses (including TUNE, Shady Grove, College of Southern Maryland and Hagerstown) to prepare for potential remote teaching, learning and working after spring break. 

When preparing to leave for spring break, we ask students take all essential belongings, medications, and materials from your residence hall or work space in case it should become necessary to restrict return access to campus for at least two weeks. 

Remote Teaching, Learning and Working

We are also asking our entire community to help us prepare for social distancing measures that can prevent and reduce the spread and transmission of COVID-19. 

To that end, we are preparing for the possible necessity of moving all teaching and learning online after spring break. The campus will remain open even if in-person classes are restricted after the TU spring break.

Students are encouraged to download/update the Blackboard app onto your phone and other mobile devices. Towson University email and Blackboard will continue to function, so your professors will stay in touch with you using these technologies or email.  

Faculty are being provided guidance on ways to continue instruction and coursework with students remotely. Here are a few resources to ensure you are prepared for remote instruction and coursework:

Staff are also being provided guidance directly from their supervisors regarding remote work resources and policies.  Continued communications will come directly from your supervisor.

University Travel Guidance

The university is issuing the following updated travel guidance which applies to all upcoming travel, including any that has been previously approved.

On March 6, Towson University suspended all upcoming international university travel for students, faculty, and staff until further notice.

Today, Towson University is also suspending all non-essential out-of-state (including Washington, D.C.) university travel for all students, faculty, and staff.

Towson University has also recalled all faculty, staff, and students who are currently abroad. Concerns for the safety, well-being, and free movement of our students, faculty, and staff have guided this difficult decision. Our goal is to reduce the risk of members of the TU community being unable to return home, if further travel restrictions are put into place. The Study Abroad office has been in direct and ongoing communication with study abroad participants and will continue to do so. As previously shared, all individuals returning home are required to self-isolate and not return to campus for at least 14 days.

Knowing that spring break is often a time of personal travel, please note that TU has prohibited university travel to any country that is under a CDC Risk Assessment Level 1, 2, or 3 related to COVID-19. So, we strongly advise against any personal travel to any country, regardless of CDC levels.  We also strongly advise against any domestic travel, for a 50-mile radius as a guide. Travel related to your commute is permitted. 

University Gatherings

In addition, effective immediately, we are suspending all university-sponsored events and gatherings, including events sponsored by any registered student organizations, through March 22.

This is based on current best-practices regarding social distancing as a prevention strategy for disease transmission. We will seek opportunities to enable certain events through live-streaming or other platforms.

We are also reviewing TU events and conference policies for campus visitors. As part of this change, TU Events and Conference Services will also have new restrictions on hosting visitors, events, groups to campus during any class cancellation period until further notice.

Stay Informed and Support Each Other

This continues to be a fluid and rapidly evolving situation, the University may take alternative action as appropriate.

For information and updates related to the broad set of actions Towson University is taking to address this public health situation, please visit towson.edu/coronavirus

Please also consider reaching out to the Counseling Center, if you need support managing anxiety related to the coronavirus outbreak. We recognize that these actions create significant challenges for students, faculty, staff and families, and we ask for your understanding as we respond to this unprecedented global public health issue.  Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other. Now, more than ever, we must all do what Towson University does best—support each other, and find solutions to move our community forward, together. We will emerge from this stronger than ever as a community. Thank you for all you do to lift up our great university.  

March 6

Towson University continues to actively monitor the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19). There are currently no confirmed cases at Towson University. The TU Health Center will continue to provide updates for staff, faculty, and students at towson.edu/coronavirus.  

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our primary concern. We know that the outbreak and spread of coronavirus is concerning to all members of the Towson University community both at home and abroad. 

On March 5, the Maryland’s State Public Health Laboratory confirmed the first three cases of coronavirus in Montgomery County, Maryland. The three patients are under quarantine and being closely monitored. They all remain in good condition.   

In response to the confirmed cases, Governor Larry Hogan declared a State of Emergency, in order to further mobilize all available state resources including enabling state and local agencies to fast-track coordination with state and local health departments and emergency management teams.

Campus Operations

The university is maintaining normal operations. All classes and all events will be held as scheduled. 

Updated Travel and Study Abroad Guidance

Based upon an abundance of caution and placing the well-being of our campus community as its highest priority, effective immediately, Towson University is suspending all upcoming international university travel for students, faculty, and staff until further notice. 

As announced on February 26, the university has been providing its assistance and support to any TU student studying abroad in the spring 2020 term who might wish to return to the U.S. Additionally, on January 30, the university suspended its study abroad programs in China and suspended its programs in Italy on February 29. Towson University will make decisions about the status of each of its study abroad programs with the health and safety of the TU community as the top priority.  

Finally, given the rapidly evolving situation with regard to coronavirus (COVID-19), the university advises all students, faculty, and staff to carefully consider any non-essential national travel. 

All Towson University decisions are based on the latest information available from the U.S. Department of State and recent interim guidance for Administrators of Institutions of Higher Education from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in consultation with TU’s international partners, affiliate providers, and the University System of Maryland. The CDC has issued travel advisories related to coronavirus and other disease outbreaks. Please visit this site for updates on all travel advisories.

No matter where you are traveling, if you have any underlying medical conditions, please discuss all travel with your healthcare provider. 

Guidance on Self-Isolation

Based on current guidance, University System of Maryland institutions are asking students, faculty, and staff returning to the United States from any country included in CDC’s listing or those with sustained community transmission of COVID 19 to not return to campus but instead return to their personal residences, self-isolate themselves for 14 days, and seek medical attention if they develop symptoms of COVID-19.  

What does it mean to self-isolate? Find additional information at USM.edu.

Health Center Recommendations

With the evolving spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the TU Health Center recommends the following precautions:

Keep your immunizations up-to-date including an annual flu shot.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular. household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water following the CDC’s handwashing guidelines.

If you exhibit fever or symptoms of upper respiratory infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that individuals call ahead and notify your health care provider of your symptoms and recent travel history. Contact with others should be avoided until a healthcare provider has provided an evaluation. 

Towson University will continue to actively monitor the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) for any potential further impact on our academic programs and university operations while keeping the health and well-being of our community as TU’s highest priority. 

March 3

Towson University continues to actively monitor the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19). There are currently no confirmed cases at Towson University. The TU Health Center will continue to provide updates at towson.edu/coronavirus

Towson University is suspending all study abroad programs for spring break 2020 and the summer 2020 term. 

This decision is based on the latest information available by the U.S. Department of State and recent interim guidance for Administrators of Institutions of Higher Education from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in consultation with our international partners and affiliate providers. The CDC also provided guidance on student foreign travel.

The University has already taken the following actions:

  • On January 30, 2020, Towson University suspended all study abroad programming and all university-sponsored and university-related travel to China for spring 2020.
  • On February 26, Towson University suspended any and all upcoming university-sponsored and university-related travel to Italy and Japan for spring 2020, out of an abundance of caution.
  • On February 29, Towson University began recalling all faculty, staff and students who are currently abroad in Italy for the spring 2020 term.
  • Based upon CDC travel advisories, Towson University will not recall faculty, staff or students currently abroad in Japan for the spring 2020 term at this time.
  • The university will provide assistance and support to facilitate the early return home for any TU student studying abroad anywhere during the spring 2020 term. The TU Study Abroad office is in direct communication with all spring 2020 term study abroad participants.

Towson University will continually evaluate this rapidly evolving situation based on the recommendations of both host country and U.S. public health authorities and will take alternative action as appropriate.

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our primary concern. We know that the outbreak and spread of coronavirus is concerning to all members of the Towson University community both at home and abroad.

Guidance on self-isolation

Based on current advice of our experts, University System of Maryland institutions have asked students, faculty, and staff returning to the United States from a country included in CDC’s listing of those with sustained community transmission of COVID 19 to return to their personal residences, isolate themselves for 14 days, and seek medical attention if they develop symptoms of COVID-19. We are asking these individuals not to return directly to their USM institutions. 

What does it mean to self-isolate? Find additional information at USM.edu.

Spring travel recommendations

As Spring Break approaches with the evolving spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), whether you are personally staying local, traveling within the U.S., or traveling abroad, the TU Health Center recommends the following precautions:

  • Keep your immunizations up-to-date including an annual flu shot.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water following the CDC’s handwashing guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that individuals call ahead and notify your health care provider of your symptoms and recent travel history. Contact with others should be avoided until a healthcare provider has provided an evaluation.

The CDC has also issued travel advisories related to Coronavirus and other disease outbreaks. Please visit this site for updates on all travel advisories.

No matter where you are traveling, if you have any underlying medical conditions, please discuss all travel with your healthcare provider.

February 29

Towson University continues to actively monitor the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19). There are currently no confirmed cases at Towson University. The TU Health Center will continue to share information on its website as it becomes available.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have just upgraded Italy to a Level 3 Warning – Avoid All Nonessential Travel. Based on the latest information available to us including current recommendations by the U.S. Department of State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in consultation with our international partners and affiliate providers, Towson University is recalling all faculty, staff, and students who are currently abroad in Italy.

The nine TU study abroad students as well as all faculty and staff recalled from Italy will not be returning to campus and instead will self isolate, in an abundance of caution. All TU Study Abroad students will be fully supported by the Office of the Provost to ensure the completion of their coursework of study.

Any and all upcoming university-sponsored travel to Italy was suspended as of February 26, 2020.

The University has already taken the following actions:

  • On January 30, 2020, Towson University suspended all study abroad programming and all university-sponsored and university-related travel to China for spring 2020.
  • On February 26, Towson University suspended any and all upcoming university-sponsored and university-related travel to Italy and Japan, out of an abundance of caution.
  • Based upon CDC travel advisories, Towson University will not recall faculty, staff or students currently abroad in Japan at this time. However, the university will provide assistance and support to facilitate the early return home for any TU student studying abroad anywhere during the spring 2020 term. The TU Study Abroad office is in direct communication with spring 2020 term study abroad participants.

No decisions have been made regarding Spring Break, summer, or fall university travel at this time. 
 
These decisions are based on the latest information available to us including current recommendations by the U.S. Department of State, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in consultation with our international partners and affiliate providers.

Towson University will continually evaluate this rapidly evolving situation based on the recommendations of both host country and U.S. public health authorities and will take alternative action as appropriate.

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our primary concern. We know that the outbreak and spread of coronavirus is concerning to all members of the Towson University community both at home and abroad.

Together with our international partners, Towson University is taking all necessary precautions to provide for the health and safety of our students abroad and to allow for the continuation of academic programming in case of possible temporary closures. We remain committed to supporting our students during their study abroad experience.

Spring travel recommendations

As Spring Break approaches with the evolving spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), whether you are personally staying local, traveling within the U.S., or traveling abroad, the TU Health Center recommends the following precautions:

  • Keep your immunizations up-to-date including an annual flu shot.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water following the CDC’s handwashing guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that individuals call ahead and notify your health care provider of your symptoms and recent travel history. Contact with others should be avoided until a healthcare provider has provided an evaluation.

The CDC has also issued travel advisories related to Coronavirus and other disease outbreaks. Please visit this site for updates on all travel advisories.

No matter where you are traveling, if you have any underlying medical conditions, please discuss all travel with your healthcare provider.

January 30

The TU Health Center continues to actively monitor the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (termed “2019-nCoV”) that was first detected and identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. There are currently no confirmed cases at Towson University.

On Wednesday evening the TU Health Center was informed that a Towson University professor has come in contact with a family member currently being tested for Coronavirus.

Health professionals have evaluated both the professor and family member and determined that both individuals are at low risk for the virus. However, out of an abundance of caution, the professor — in conjunction with the university — has decided to not return to campus pending the family member’s final test results expected in the next few days from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The university has communicated to the students in the professor’s class and offered support. Additionally, we are keeping them as well as the TU campus community updated on this situation.

At this time, the current risk to the Towson University community remains low, and the university has been advised that additional precautions are not necessary.

Towson University currently has no students studying abroad in China, and there is no study abroad programming in China for spring 2020. Until further notice, the university is suspending all university-related and university-sponsored travel to China.

The university is maintaining normal operations, all classes and events will be held as scheduled.

The TU Health Center remains in communication with local county and state health officials.  Please continue to follow the guidance recommended by the CDC shared by the  TU Health Center earlier this week. 

We will continue to carefully monitor this situation. As new information becomes available it will be shared via university communications email and on the TU Health Center website

January 27

This message was sent Monday, January 27, 2020 on behalf of the Towson University Health Center:

Dear TU Students, Faculty, and Staff: 

The TU Health Center is actively monitoring the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (termed “2019-nCoV”) that was first detected and identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

There are currently no confirmed cases in the State of Maryland or at Towson University. The TU Health Center is in communication with local county and state health officials and will share information on the TU Health Center website as it becomes available. 

Despite the low health risk, we are providing information on Coronavirus from the Center for Disease Control to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

If individuals have traveled to Hubei Province of China in the last 14 days and are experiencing fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, they should seek medical attention right away from a healthcare provider. The CDC advises that individuals call ahead and notify your health care provider of your symptoms and recent travel history. Contact with others should be avoided until a healthcare provider has provided an evaluation.

Additionally, flu activity is high in the U.S. and expected to continue for weeks. Anyone who has not received a flu vaccine this season should consider getting the vaccine. Flu shots are still available at the TU Health Center.

Contact the Health Center at 410-704-2466 for more information.

Thank you, 
Matthias Goldstein, DHSc, PA-C
Director of Health Services

Communications contacts

Follow our social media accounts at @TU_Health and @TowsonUNews for updates.

All media inquiries should be made to Sean Welsh, AVP, Communications & Media, at

Note: this message has been updated from the original version.