William King, Maine’s first governor, announced the state’s newly-achieved independence in this broadside from March 16, 1820. Courtesy of Pejepscot History Center

BRUNSWICK —  Bowdoin President Clayton Rose has instructed students not to return to campus after spring break due to concerns over the coronavirus.

Students will finish their semester via online courses beginning March 25, the Portland Press Herald reported on Wednesday.

In addition, college administrators announced that a community bean supper scheduled for Saturday, March 14 has been canceled.

“While there are currently no known cases of COVID-19 on campus or in Maine, Bowdoin College has made the difficult decision to cancel” the event, timed to align with Maine’s bicentennial celebration weekend, the college said in a statement.

“The College reached the decision in consultation with both on- and off-campus medical providers in order to protect those most at risk from COVID-19.”

This strain of cornoavirus, designated as covid-19, is a flu-like disease initially detected in China. It has now been found in more than 100 locations across the world, including the U.S. Given the outbreak in Italy, where there have been more than 9,000 confirmed virus cases, six Bowdoin students who recently returned from studying there were told by the college not to return this semester, in order to exercise caution in the face of that outbreak, The Times Record reported.

Still, one student returned to Bowdoin for 24 hours late last week, violating school orders, the college confirmed, which led to the school sanitizing buildings the student visited to lower the risk of exposure, according to the newspaper.

College staff planned to follow up with the more than 400 people registered for the supper to issue refunds for pre-purchased tickets. People were asked to contact Bowdoin’s Office of Events and Summer Programs at [email protected] or 725-3433 with questions.

As of Wednesday, a bean supper planned the same day in Bath was still on.  The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, Maine’s First Ship, and the Merrymeeting Gleaners are hosting it at the Bath Freight Shed, 27 Commercial St., from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

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