Bowdoin College has announced that it's asking students not to return to campus following spring break and will hold classes online due to concerns about exposure to COVID-19 — the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
President Clayton Rose announced the decision to students in a letter Wednesday morning. Rose said that the campus doesn't have the ability to allow for recommended "social distancing." Rose adds that if groups of students or faculty were forced to be isolated, it would also likely require the college to close.
Last week, the college sent out a letter saying that a student who had been studying in Italy had recently been on campus, but officials did not believe there was a "significant risk" that students were exposed to the new coronavirus.
Bowdoin is asking students who are still on campus to be out of their rooms by March 18, and is also restricting visitors and ending spring athletic events by this weekend.
Rose says administrators are also working to create a plan to help students and faculty adapt to the new online learning format for the rest of the semester.
There have been no cases of COVID-19 reported in Maine so far.
Updated March 11, 2020 at 9:51 a.m. ET.