Dear Campus Community,
The national emergency resulting from the Coronavirus outbreak has presented unprecedented challenges to our world, and higher education is one of countless sectors adapting quickly to the current circumstances. Our leadership team here at Grove City College has been closely monitoring this rapidly changing environment, considering the wisest course of action, and developing plans that will best protect the health and safety of our entire campus community. I know many of you have been praying for us. Thank you for that invaluable support.
After careful consideration of our risks and responsibilities and in consultation with the COVID-19 Action Committee of our Board of Trustees and with the support of the full Board, I’m announcing today that we will shift to online classes beginning Monday, March 23, and continuing to at least Monday, April 13, 2020. In addition, following the normal schedule of classes next Monday through Wednesday, classes will be cancelled on Thursday, March 19, and Friday, March 20, in order to facilitate this transition to the online delivery of courses. Online classes will run on the same days and at the same times as the current spring 2020 on-campus course schedule. Dr. Frank will provide additional details next week.
During this period of time, which may be extended beyond April 13 depending on the evolving risk environment, the campus will remain open to accommodate a limited number of academic needs. In addition, for some students, the risk of Coronavirus infection is higher in their home communities than in Grove City where we continue to be blessed with no confirmed cases. Also, travel requirements may present additional risk. Others, for various reasons including health-related challenges, will prefer to take online courses from home. The option to stay on campus or return home is a decision for students and their families to make based on health and safety considerations. Students will need to make this decision no later than Friday, March 20. Students who do not feel comfortable staying on campus for health reasons should email firstname.lastname@example.org and feel free to depart immediately. If a student elects to depart campus, he or she may not return until at least April 13 or a later date if one is announced. If the switch to online classes is extended to the end of the semester, departing students will have an opportunity to return and collect their belongings at a time to be determined by the College. The Office of Student Life and Learning will provide more specific information and instructions on Monday, March 16.
Further and beginning immediately, we are taking additional steps to reduce risk. Events involving more than 100 people will be cancelled during the timeframe stated above. This is certainly an unhappy decision given the hard work and self-sacrifice of students, faculty and staff in connection to these upcoming events. Live stream options may be available in some circumstances. Mr. Hardesty, Vice President for Student Life and Learning, will work with appropriate persons on a case-by-case basis. Chapel will also be cancelled beginning with Vespers on March 15, as well as Chapel attendance requirements until further notice. Chaplain Weaver will be exploring virtual programming to support students’ spiritual needs.
Other measures for reducing risk to our community will include canceling travel of students, faculty and staff, limited visitors to campus, and the cancellation of the Easter break that was scheduled to occur from Thursday, April 9, to Monday, April 13. College offices will be closed on Good Friday, April 10. These measures are in addition to the enhanced health and safety efforts previously announced, as available on the College’s COVID-19 information page.
With the College remaining open, all employees are expected to report to work as normal. Any employee with specific concerns about continuing to work on campus should contact Human Resources.
I know there are questions that I have not addressed in this letter. Please look for additional communications will be forthcoming, including a FAQ document.
A Grove City College education is a rich and transformative experience. Changing the basic nature of this experience truly pains the heart. However, if we sincerely strive to be a Christ-centered institution, then we are called to yield whole-heartedly to God’s perfect plans. I’m confident that our commitment to academic excellence will be well-served in this new structure and that exceptional learning will continue.
Thank you for your support and cooperation.
In His peace,