Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information 3/13/2020
Westminster prides itself on being one of the most collaborative and experiential campuses in the country. Quality hands-on learning in a residential environment is a fundamental part of who we are, helping to drive the success of our students and alumni. During each major disturbance in American history since 1852, from past epidemics to world wars, the Westminster community has also proven itself to be adaptable and resilient. We have the spirit of Titans.
While no cases of COVID-19 have been identified on our campus, we are aware of the growing risks of spread. The health and safety of our community must be our first priority. Thus, we are electing to promote social distancing as a way to maintain the well-being of our campus and the larger community.
The following shall be in effect immediately following Spring Break (which concludes on March 15):
- Spring Break for students (not faculty and staff) is extended through March 18. During this period, faculty will be preparing online instruction for the coming weeks while we continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 nationally. Students who need to return to campus to retrieve books or other materials will be allowed into the residence halls Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday (March 15-17).
- All classes will be held online from March 19 through at least April 3. We will monitor the situation carefully; this period may be extended into April. Students should check email daily for updates from their professors. Students who do not have a computer/laptop should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
- We strongly encourage students to remain at their permanent homes through April 5, and to practice good hygiene and social distancing. ALL residential students should complete the Residential Plan Form. Nursing students, student teachers, and those who cannot return home may petition for permission to live on campus starting on March 15, but any students on campus will be asked to confine themselves to campus as much as possible. For the sake of public health, we want as little traffic back and forth into the community as possible. No off-campus visitors will be allowed in the residence halls.
- Nursing and education students performing clinicals and student teaching will be allowed to stay on campus.
- UPDATE: In response to the NCAA and the Presidents’ Athletic Conference decisions on March 13, 2020 to indefinitely suspend spring sports, spring sport athletes should remain in their permanent residences through April 6. If spring-sport athletes have another compelling reason to be allowed to remain on campus, they should email Vice President Vance as soon as possible at email@example.com to request permission to do so. Athletes returning from spring break trips will be allowed access to the residence halls to retrieve books or other material.
- All college-sponsored travel is cancelled through the end of the academic year, unless approved by the president or a vice president.
- Large meetings (10 or more people) will not be held on campus prior to April 6. It is recommended that small group meetings between faculty and staff be held digitally when possible.
- Announcements of further event closures will be posted on the College website, by email and through social media. Questions and requests for assistance can be directed to Public Safety at (724) 946-7777, 24 hours a day.
- The College and all offices will remain open otherwise. Meals for students who are approved to remain on campus will be provided in Galbreath Dining Hall.
Please know that these changes are offered in the spirit of keeping our community safe, while also allowing students to complete the semester and stay on track for graduation. We will continue to monitor the national spread of COVID-19 closely, as well as the recommendations of local, state, and federal agencies.
Dr. Kathy Brittain Richardson
As Westminster College continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to share two important updates with you:
In response to the NCAA and the Presidents’ Athletic Conference decisions to indefinitely suspend spring sports, spring sport athletes should remain in their permanent residences through April 6. If spring-sport athletes have another compelling reason to be allowed to remain on campus, they should email Vice President Vance as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org to request permission to do so. Athletes returning from spring break trips will be allowed access to the residence halls to retrieve books or other material. (All residential students will be allowed to access the residence halls on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday to retrieve materials.)
The College will announce its room and board reimbursement or credit policy by April 6 as we continue to monitor the virus and its impact on campus residency. The College’s policy and actions must comply with federal and state guidelines about financial aid during this unusual period. Determining our action is a priority, but we want to be more clear about time away from campus before we finalize and implement the policy.
Please check your email frequently during the coming days for information from your faculty and from the College.
Kathy Brittain Richardson, Ph.D.
President, Westminster College