Thursday, March 12, 2020
Dear members of the Wilkes community,
When campus leaders started meeting about COVID-19 several weeks ago, we could not predict the impact it would have on a global scale. And, I think we have all come to understand that we have no idea yet how this will impact our local community. This is an unprecedented situation and one that requires our ongoing attention, patience and diligence.
While there are no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 at Wilkes University, we face difficult decisions knowing it will inevitably reach our community and families associated with Wilkes. Guiding these decisions, first and foremost, is the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. Because COVID-19 is readily spread through human contact, and following CDC recommendations for social distancing, we have made the decision to suspend all face-to-face classes at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 13. Please read on for additional details about this new modality.
During the week of March 16, faculty will transition to remote learning formats. All classes will be underway remotely by Monday, March 23, and will continue through Friday, April 3. Faculty will communicate directly with their students on how and when coursework will continue.
During this week, faculty and staff are expected to report to campus. More information will follow in the days to come.
It is our hope that we will be able to return to face-to-face instruction on April 6; however, that will depend on campus and community conditions and guidance from state and local health officials.
Academic leadership will be in touch with students about clinical experiences, internships and student teaching. Special guidance will be provided to graduating students about how these requisite experiences will be handled.
Residence halls will close at 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 15. The University will provide an approval process for students who have special circumstances and for whom leaving campus is a hardship. If we are able to return to classes on April 6, the residence halls will reopen at 12 noon on Saturday, April 4.
We recognize that learning from home requires the appropriate technology and that not everyone has access to computers and wi-fi networks. The University will arrange for limited access to computers and computer labs (where special software is required) during this recess.
Effectively immediately, all University-sponsored events are cancelled through Sunday, April 5. We continue to assess our ability to host large-group gatherings through the end of the semester.
After discussions with the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC), all athletic contests have been cancelled through Monday, March 30. The department of athletics will be in touch with student-athletes and coaches with more information.
All official University-sponsored travel is suspended until further notice.
These are difficult decisions. Wilkes is a unique place and interrupting our time on campus is disappointing for everyone. To our students, please know that we are committed to helping you complete this semester as seamlessly as possible. We are dedicated to ensuring you receive the quality education that Wilkes is known for whether it be on campus or remotely.
We will continue to meet and monitor the situation and be guided by the advice of the CDC and the Pennsylvania and Wilkes-Barre departments of health. We will share updates as the situation evolves. Please continue to monitor this page. We will continue to add resources for teaching, learning and working from home.
This is a dynamic situation that will clearly test our systems, our creativity and our patience, but it will be met by the resolve rooted in our values and our care for one another. Thank you for your enduring support of Wilkes University.