Monday, March 16, 2020

Dear Students,

In order to provide you with the most up-to-date information possible, we want to share some new details that emerged this weekend and today.

The first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Luzerne County and an emergency has been declared by city and county officials. Just this afternoon, Governor Tom Wolf ordered all nonessential businesses in the state to close. The PA Department of Education has confirmed that institutions of higher education fall into the nonessential category. With this in mind, it is clear that we need to reduce the number of people on campus as quickly as possible. 

Residence Life:  Though we had hoped to accommodate students with extenuating circumstances, it is evident that can no longer happen. Therefore, all residence halls, except for those housing our international students, will close as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18. Students who cannot secure a flight by 5 p.m. on March 18, are asked to contact the Office of Residence Life at (570) 408-4350.

Building Access:  Effective Tuesday, March 17, students will only be able to access the Henry Student Center and the Farley Library with their Wilkes I.D. Only students with permission will be able to access their residence hall. Access to all other campus locations will be restricted.   

Health Services:  As of Tuesday, March 17, Health Services will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please continue to make appointments by calling (570) 408-4730. If you need medical advice between the hours of 1 and 4:30 p.m., please call Diane O’Brien at (570) 417-2107. The campus physician will be at Passan Hall tomorrow, March 17, and will cease regular visits until further notice. 

The Wright Center, located at 335 S. Franklin St., is also available for appointments from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Wright Center provides health care regardless of insured status or inability to pay. To make an appointment, please call (570) 591-5283.

Mental Health Resources:  During the recess, Health and Wellness Services’ CHAT line is available to students needing support for any mental health issue including those common during an emergency situation. Please call (570) 408-CHAT.

Diversity Affairs:  Staff from the Center for Global Education and Diversity will be available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Students may also call Georgia Costalas for assistance at (570) 408-7854.

Campus resources:  The Henry Student Center dining hall will continue to operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Access to all University buildings will be by swipe access only. All athletic and recreational facilities will close, including those previously listed with limited hours. The YMCA is also ceasing operations. 

Experiential learning:  There have been interruptions to student teaching and pharmacy and nursing clinicals at external sites. Pennsylvania k-12 schools have closed and some medical sites are no longer allowing students to report. Internships are under further review and many students are fulfilling their commitments by working remotely. Academic leaders will continue to contact students directly about experiential learning requirements.

Work study:  We recognize that many of our students depend on wages from work study positions to contribute to the cost of their education. We will continue to pay students who are eligible for work study based on the average hours that they have been working. We will be in touch with work study students about this soon.  

Athletics:  All athletic competition and practices are cancelled throughout the remainder of the semester. Face-to-face recruiting is also suspended.

We continue to prepare for a return to face-to-face classes in April; however, that will depend on so many variables that are beyond our control. We will continue to be guided by the CDC and the Pennsylvania and Wilkes-Barre Departments of Health. Please also know that we will not make any decisions about commencement until at least mid-April. 

Thank you again for your hope and optimism during these trying times. As always, please check Wilkes COVID Page for the very latest information.