Dear Seminary Community,
Every day brings escalating news of the spread of COVID-19 in our region, and these reports call us to respond rapidly and faithfully as responsible citizens and neighbors. We face increasingly significant restrictions on even local travel and basic public activities in the days ahead.
In order to promote the health of our students, employees, and the broader public, the Seminary will move to a state of partial campus closure beginning this Friday at 5:00 p.m. and lasting until at least April 6. For details, FAQ, and up-to-date information, continue to check the alerts site.
We remain focused on fulfilling our academic program online, while closing as much of the campus as possible so that the virus does not have an opportunity to spread here. This is yet another step to promote social distancing and to ensure that we have the least number of people on campus as possible, which in this public health crisis is good not only for our community but for the larger region.
- Our academic program will continue online, as planned, and we will fully support faculty and students with the assistance and digital infrastructure needed to complete the semester successfully.
- All employees who can fulfill their job responsibilities remotely will continue their work with a normal business schedule.
- Personnel who fulfill critical functions to campus operations will continue to report to campus.
- Otherwise, all of our employees who cannot fulfill their job responsibilities remotely will be asked to stay home and will continue to receive full pay and benefits. These employees should confer with their supervisor about whether and when they need to report to campus.
- While students have been strongly encouraged to leave campus to complete their semester online, we realize that many are not able to do so. We will be continuing modified services for those who remain on campus. Any student who needs financial assistance to return home should contact the Dean of Student Life.
- All students who live in the Alexander Hall or Hodge Hall dorms and have extenuating circumstances that do not allow them to leave campus will relocate on a temporary basis to apartments at CRW. This allows us to provide more social distancing, and to protect students in the dorms from potential exposure in shared bathroom and living facilities. Dining services will continue by daily delivery of meals to CRW for those students who are on the board plan.
The following buildings will be closed:
- The library will close on Friday at 4:30 p.m. All digital resources will continue to be accessible and reference assistance will be available online.
- Mackay Dining Room will be closed after lunch service on Friday, and dining services will continue to provide food to those on the meal plan through delivered services.
- The Erdman Center will remain closed for guest lodging.
- The gym and fitness facilities will remain closed.
- Alexander Hall and Hodge Hall dormitories will close at 5:00 p.m. on Friday.
- Faculty who wish to access their offices may do so with card access, but should notify security when they are in the building.
- Tiger Transit service will end on Friday at 8:00 p.m.
We are closely following the discussion among government leaders and will be prepared to move to this status earlier than Friday if necessary.
These changes are disruptive for all of us. But they are critical not only for the health and well-being of our community, but also for our neighbors across the region. As the virus escalates, we have no choice but to take the most proactive measures possible to slow its spread.
Amidst all of these changes, here is what does not change: we remain committed to one another and joined in one community, even as we face unprecedented challenges. This is because the center of our common life is Jesus Christ, and Christ will hold us fast.
Please be generous with one another and gracious with yourselves. We will find new rhythms in this season and new opportunities to extend expressions of care. You will be hearing more from Jan Ammon and the chapel team in the weeks ahead about ways that you can participate in acts of care and worship opportunities throughout the semester. As always, if you have questions or concerns, please reach out. We all need to support each other in this season.
In all seasons, it is the God of grace and love that will keep us.
I will stay in touch,
M. Craig Barnes