I hope that you have seen the email this morning from President Knapp; I encourage you to read his message carefully so that you fully understand our plans for the continuation of remote instruction as well as plans for the remainder of the semester.
The unprecedented mandate from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf yesterday (Thursday, March 19) after the close of business ordered “non-life-sustaining businesses,” including colleges and universities, to cease operations in their physical locations at the latest by 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, March 21. This action, along with guidance from the CDC and DOH, have solidified the plan to commit to remote instruction for the duration of the semester. Although many of our faculty and staff have transitioned to working off-site, we will be operating remotely by Monday with the exception of campus safety, dining, and facilities. Faculty and staff will be accessible to you via email and/or through Sakai or Microsoft Teams for virtual meetings. Please know that the decision to not resume face-to-face instruction was not one that we wanted or hoped to make, but the health and safety of our campus community is of the utmost importance.
As you may know, a small group of students remain in residence on campus. For these students, travel or stay elsewhere is not a viable option. Limited services will be available and we will continue to support them to completion of the remote learning semester. If you live locally or find yourself in the area, I request that you refrain from coming to campus, as buildings and services are not accessible to other students.
Based on this announcement, I am certain you are wondering about logistics related to this decision. I assure you that we, at W&J, are thinking about these things as well. We are in the midst of adapting many procedures and processes so all of our students can complete the semester successfully and, for our rising sophomore-seniors, make plans for the fall 2020 semester. You will receive an email next week with information to help you navigate many of these items. Specifically, we are working on the following:
- Adaptation of accommodations in an on-line environment
- Course registration and advising
- Grading policy for Spring 2020
- Honors Convocation
- Plans for retrieving belongings and moving out of residence halls
- Forwarding of mail and packages
- Housing selection for 2020-2021
- Room and board credits
- Leadership selection for 2020-2021
- Health & Counseling information
- Commencement and Senior Marketplace planning
- Federal Work Study compensation
- First-year advising with Student Success Consultants
- Remote support services available to you
Please be mindful that it is critical that you check your W&J email regularly. Faculty and staff will be sending you information throughout the remainder of the semester, and this will become our primary means of communication. In most cases, campus phones are transferred to a staff member working remotely so you should have no problem connecting, should it be helpful. We will continue to support you as a student and a valued member of the W&J community. Please do not hesitate to reach out.
In order to maintain your connection to campus, services, and opportunities to engage with campus life, we are adapting the W&J Weekly into an interim publication called Your W&J Connection. Look out for this e-newsletter in your inbox next week.
The W&J community has come together during this difficult time to support radical and record-pace change to forces beyond our control. The passion to pivot in regard to course instruction and delivery of student services is based on our collective commitment to support the education and development of our students. You are our priority and we want to make sure that we continue to provide you with the resources, tools, and access to complete this semester.
As a reminder, please expect to receive specific information about logistics related to the remainder of the semester next week. Once you have received that information, do reach out to me or to others who can answer your questions and/or give you additional information.
Take care and stay safe. I wish you a smooth transition to remote instruction on Monday!