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University System Of Maryland Chancellor Says Schools Won't Hesitate To Shut Down If COVID-19 Cases Spike

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Less than 30 days from the start of the fall semester, the usual excitement on college campuses has given way to uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland described what the new school year will look like.

From Western Maryland, to the Eastern Shore and in between, the 12 institutions in the University System Of Maryland will have to juggle plans on how to educate students this fall.


"Nothing we do is without risk. We also talk about risk versus benefits," said Dr. Jay A. Perman, the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland.

Perman said some students will return to campus this fall, but others will have to continue online.

"Students that need to have some in person instruction are coming back. And in general, what we can do remotely, we do remotely, but there comes a time when there is a need for observation by the student or of the student, demonstration, hands-on, those students need to have the opportunity. Their education can't be delayed," said Perman.

Anyone who returns to campus will have to test negative for COVID-19.

"Fighting this virus will take robust, plus rapid testing," said Gov. Larry Hogan.

On The Today Show, Gov. Hogan said he's teamed-up with other governors to step-in where the federal government dropped the ball.

"We are purchasing four million rapid tests in a consortium of states because this wasn't done at the Federal level and it certainly makes more sense to do that in that capacity than to have 50 different states scrambling around trying to find those resources on their own," said Gov. Hogan.

The Health Department said Maryland has hit a record-low positivity rate of 4.03 percent.

Leaders also revealed that the governor is helping universities expand their testing.

As some of the system's 170,000 students prepare to move back to campus, Dr. Perman said they won't hesitate to shut things down if the virus flares up once again.

"We are all very sensitive to that and I would tell you that each institution within the system is finalizing the exit strategy that we are going to have to take if we find that what we are doing is not in the best interest in any point in time," said Dr. Perman.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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