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Towson University Moves Final Exams Online, Citing Increase In COVID-19 Cases

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Citing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases among students, Towson University is moving final exams online and shifting dining hall service to carry out.

The university's administration notified faculty, students and staff of the changes in an email on Friday, saying the decisions were made as part of an effort to limit large gatherings on campus.

"Health and safety on campus remains the top priority," Provost Melanie Perrault, the chair of Towson's COVID-19 Response Leadership Team, said. "We continue to closely monitor the individual cases and data trends of COVID-19 both on campus and in the surrounding community."

The university said it has been tracking a recent increase in positive cases, and over the last 24 hours the school's health center was notified of 112 new cases, most of them among students.

Besides exams and meal service, Towson is canceling all non-academic and non-essential indoor events where food and drink are served and capping large events to 50-percent capacity through Dec. 31.

In September, Towson announced plans to postpone December commencement until May.

Students, faculty and staff are required to wear masks in all indoor public spaces on campus, a mandate that will remain in effect the rest of the semester.

The University of Maryland canceled its winter commencement, along with some social events, and scaled back dining operations due to an increase in COVID-19 cases on campus. That means all indoor gatherings where masks can't be enforced will be canceled through Dec. 22, and meal service will be grab-and-go only.

On Thursday, the university reported 98 positive cases and 12 more self-reported cases since Monday, and the school said it expects that trend to continue.

"I am acutely aware of the impact COVID-19 continues to have on us all," University of Maryland President Dr. Darryll Pines said. "We're all grappling with the strain and anxiety of this surge. Our decisions will continue to be informed by diligent tracking and guided by health professionals."

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