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Washington College postpones commencement

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COVID-19 alert

CHESTERTOWN — Washington College has postponed commencement scheduled for mid-May, Provost and Dean Patrice DiQuinzio posted on the college's web page Friday, March 20.

A new date was not given, but DiQuinzio said, "We are committed to bringing all of our graduating seniors together for a proper send-off in person."

As part of the daily update, the college at 3 p.m. Friday reported that results for the student who had been tested for COVID-19 were pending.

The Kent County Health Department is reporting that the student's specimen was collected at the hospital in Chestertown and submitted to an independent commercial lab. The lab confirmed that they received the specimen, according to a Saturday, March 21 post on the health department's Facebook page.

In the same Facebook post, the KCHD reported that the lab was "over capacity and could not process it." So, the specimen was sent to a second lab.

"The first lab is reporting a new anticipated turnaround time for results of 7-10 Days," according to the health department's Facebook post.

The student, whom Washington College identified as a male living on campus in the Corsica residence hall, is feeling better but remains in isolation.

He was discharged from the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown on Thursday, March 19.

The student was hospitalized March 13 for flu-like symptoms after traveling out of state to an area with confirmed cases of community-transmitted COVID-19, according to college officials.

"We will let the community know as soon as we receive word from the Kent County Health Department," the college posted on its web page.

In the college's post on Friday, March 20, there was a message from Central Services that essential staff will be on campus Tuesdays and Thursdays only to handle incoming and outgoing mail and packages. Central Services staff will sort all incoming mail and packages into bins labeled by department and staged outside the Central Services Office so that staff members can retrieve mail at their convenience.

Outgoing mail and packages will be accepted between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and noon. Due to this schedule, some packages will not go out the next day, and may have a several-day delay for shipment due to these special circumstances.

"Please know we are doing everything to service the campus during this difficult time while keeping things as safe as possible," the post reads.

Classrooms have been shuttered for the remainder of the semester as Washington College transitions to remote-only instruction beginning March 23 and all students must vacate campus housing by March 31, President Kurt Landgraf announced at lunchtime Monday, March 16.

On Tuesday, a lockdown was imposed. The only entrance for the foreseeable future is from Washington Avenue, Landgraf told the Kent County Commissioners when he telephoned into their regularly scheduled meeting.

In an effort to support social distancing, the college has restricted faculty and staff to its academic and administrative buildings and curtailed public visits. The Johnson Fitness Center, Cain Gym, Casey Swim Center, the bookstore, GIS offices, Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall, the Public Archaeology Lab and Custom House are closed.

All of this is being done in an abundance of caution to limit the impact of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19.

The college has established a call center, Coronavirus Response Team at 410-778-7844, that will be manned between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

The Coronavirus Response Team is also monitoring a shared email box where you may pose questions, wcresponseteam@washcoll.edu.

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