Dear W&J Students,
I am writing to inform you that W&J College will be moving to online instruction beginning March 23 and continuing until at least April 13. Although we are aware of no campus-associated cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus), we are committed to the well-being of our students and believe you should have the option of completing your Spring Semester coursework from a remote location if you choose to do so. Those who wish to remain in campus residences will also receive online instruction. Regardless of which option you choose, you must inform us by completing an electronic form.
This was not an easy decision, nor was it made lightly. As I explained in yesterday’s update, we are actively monitoring the advice of CDC, WHO and our local health authorities, and are also in continuous communication with leaders of other colleges and universities in the region and across the nation. Over the course of the last 24 hours, many of these institutions have established policies similar to ours. The COVID-19 situation is developing quickly, so please be aware that our policies and plans may continue to evolve in the days and weeks to come.
As you know, W&J is a residential learning community that places the highest priority on face-to-face instruction. This is why we wanted to take time this week to ensure that our technological capabilities would support you and our faculty effectively in online learning. You will soon receive information on how to access and benefit from this technology. I personally thank you for your flexibility, patience, and support of our faculty as we make these changes.
A number of new measures are also being implemented to protect the health and safety of our full college community. Our facilities staff has added extra staff and increased its frequency of cleaning of common areas including doors, door handles, rails, door frames, desks, etc., that are in high-traffic, public areas. Hand sanitizer and soap will be available everywhere possible. And many campus activities and events are being suspended or changed based on CDC guidelines.
Our page with FAQs and other important information was updated this afternoon, so please take time now to read it carefully. Among the most important information is our revised academic schedule, summarized below:
- March 16-20. Students who plan to remain in campus residences may return during this week, but no class instruction will occur. During this week, our faculty will be working to finalize their classroom learning for remote instruction.
- March 23-April 13. Remote instruction will be begin via Microsoft Teams (Microsoft 365) and other software applications. You will get a tutorial on the technology and your professors will communicate with you directly regarding their expectations for coursework and assignments.
- The Week of April 6. The week of April 6, we will send a communication to students and parents with a decision as to whether we will continue online instruction or return to a face-to-face instruction for the remainder of the semester.
I am pleased that the College will continue to provide instruction, student support services, academic resources, residential accommodations, dining services, and recreation facilities throughout the semester. Your faculty and staff are working tirelessly to adapt your courses and make other changes to allow you to successfully complete this academic year.
Regardless of whether you remain on campus or opt to study remotely, I encourage you to make your personal health your top priority by following advice for COVID-19 prevention. Rest assured that our commitment to you is to provide a consistently excellent academic experience in the safest environment possible.
We will continue to update the W&J community as together we navigate unusually challenging times.
With deep appreciation for each of you,
John C. Knapp, Ph.D.
President and Professor