Maine college reverses decision to keep students over spring break, moves classes online

A major university in Maine reversed a decision Wednesday to send thousands of students home over spring break over coronavirus fears.

The University of Maine is moving to distance learning when classes resume on March 23, at the end of their spring break, stepping in line with a growing number of colleges -- like UCLA and Yale -- sending students home and holding classes remotely.

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The reversal comes in large part because university officials cannot police where students travel and though there are no confirmed cases in Maine, officials say it is just a matter of time.

The Bowdoin College campus is nearly empty during spring break, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Brunswick, Maine. The school has announced that it's asking students not to return to campus following spring break and will hold classes online due to concerns about the coronavirus. Maine still has no confirmed cases of coronavirus. 

The Bowdoin College campus is nearly empty during spring break, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Brunswick, Maine. The school has announced that it's asking students not to return to campus following spring break and will hold classes online due to concerns about the coronavirus. Maine still has no confirmed cases of coronavirus.  (AP)

A university spokesperson said on-campus residential students will be notified that they must depart campus by March 22, while housing and meal options will be open to students who much remain in campus housing due to personal circumstances.

The University of Washington and Stanford became the first major universities to close classrooms, moving online, Friday. Since then, dozens of colleges have fallen suit.

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This is coming at a time when prospective high school students and their families are making admissions decisions and the March 14 SAT test is still scheduled despite being canceled in China, Italy, South Korea, and other countries due to coronavirus fears.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.