As of 11 a.m. Monday, March 16, eight Maine residents have been confirmed positive and nine others are presumed positive for the coronavirus, according to the state. Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which the BDN has made free for the public. You can support this mission by purchasing a digital subscription.
Thomas College in Waterville has become the latest Maine school to close its campus as the response to the coronavirus pandemic ramps up across the globe.
Thomas College President Laurie G. Lachance announced Sunday that all in-person classes have been suspended at the school. Daytime classes will resume remotely on March 30, while evening classes will immediately make the switch, she said.
Lachance also said that all student housing will close at noon Wednesday and remain so for the rest of the semester. She asked that all students who are able to should “pack and depart campus immediately.”
The college will make exceptions for those students who face extenuating circumstances. Those will be decided on by Tuesday.
“It is difficult to not feel sadness and perhaps frustration at the circumstances that compelled us to upend, what will be for our graduates, the last weeks of their college journey. As we all process these emotions, we must pledge to do our part to protect and care for ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities,” Lachance said.
It’s not clear yet whether students and their families will receive refunds, as other universities are providing, but Thomas College said it is “finalizing the terms and policies that will guide financial implications for students and their families.”
Thomas College’s decision follows that of several other Maine universities — including Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Colby College in Waterville and the University of Maine System’s seven campuses — that last week suspended in-person classes and asked students to vacate on-campus housing.
On Sunday evening, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills declared a civil emergency in the state. She also asked that schools suspend in-person classes, as many have already done, and halting gatherings of more than 50 people or 10 people if seniors are involved. On Monday, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that eight Mainers have the coronavirus, while another nine people likely have been infected.
Watch: Symptoms of the coronavirus disease