UPDATE: AACC extends spring break another week, all classes online
AACC officials on Wednesday extended students’ spring break from one week to two and said they will convert most face-to-face courses to online classes on March 30.
The move is a response to growing concerns over the coronavirus, which the World Health Organization on Wednesday declared a pandemic.
12 Maryland residents have tested positive for the virus, and none have died. Colleges all over the country took similar steps this week.
“I want to stress the first criteria for every decision that we’re making is the safety of our workforce and of our students,” AACC President Dawn Lindsay said during a live-streamed video conference concerning the coronavirus. The college also suspended college-funded out-of-state and international travel and canceled all campus events of more than 50 attendees through April 30. The ban does not include athletic events.
Although students get an extra week to relax over spring break, staff and most faculty will return to the college on March 23. Professors will use the time to prepare their face-to-face for the transition to remote instruction.
“If it can be delivered in a remote way, we should be doing that,” said Vice President for Learning Mike Gavin, who noted that lab and studio courses are exempt from transitioning to an online setting.
Students taking courses that were already online also will get a two-week spring break and return to their classes on March 30.
Maddy Monti, a first-year communications student, said although she is disappointed she won’t be on campus as often after the break, she appreciates the administration’s concern over student health.
“I’m still grateful for AACC doing this for us because it’s protecting a lot of people from the virus,” Monti said.
LaToya Roland, a second-year nursing student, agreed that “online lectures, that’s probably the safest thing.”
Services at the Truxal Library and the bookstore will resume on March 26. Administrators will announce on Friday which campus restaurants will be open after the break.