Wilkes University is actively monitoring the outbreak of a respiratory illness caused
by coronavirus (termed “COVID-19”) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province,
China. Though there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus at Wilkes University, we have
transitioned to online and remote learning for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. Below is official University information regarding COVID-19 and its impact on the
Updated Message on April 1, 2020
Dear members of the Wilkes community,
This weekend, national health officials extended guidelines for social distancing until at least April 30. Though we anticipated the need to maintain physical distance until COVID- 19 peaked in our area, this new timeframe provides unfortunate clarity about just how long this period of separation could extend.
It is becoming increasingly clear that we cannot hold commencement on May 16. This is not what any of us wanted, but it is the best option to continue to keep our campus community healthy and safe.
Throughout this situation, we have pledged to recognize our graduates at a commencement ceremony and our commitment remains steadfast. Therefore, we will work to identify an appropriate date that will allow us to celebrate with graduates and their families, on campus and in person, when we can safely do so. Unfortunately, we can’t name a date until we have more clarity regarding COVID-19, but we are considering a variety of options. Please know that your caps and gowns will be mailed to your home address.
Though our spring commencement ceremony will be delayed, the date in which degrees are conferred, May 16, goes unchanged, as long as students’ academic requirements are met.
To the class of 2020, our hearts are with you. There is no greater joy for me and my colleagues than seeing graduates cross the stage to receive hard-earned degrees. The sense of loss that this postponement will inevitably create is real and we experience it along with you. This is an unfortunate sacrifice we are all being forced to accept, but in so doing we are acting to save lives. Commencement and the events leading up to it mean so much to you and your families, to our faculty and staff, and to me personally. That is why we are absolutely committed to holding a ceremony – with all of the fanfare to which Wilkes students are accustomed – when it is safe to do so.
Please stay well.
Paul S. Adams
We know you have questions. We will be transparent by saying that there are some answers we simply do not have right now. Below are the answers we do have and we will continue to work on those we do not. You may also submit a question by clicking the button below. We will address common questions in a group email format, by adding answers here or responding to you directly.
Classes will not be held for students on Thursday, April 9 and Friday, April 10 in
observance of the spring holiday recess. Classes will resume on Monday, April 13.
Friday, April 10 is a University holiday for faculty and staff.
Face-to-face classes ended at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 13. We transitioned to remote
learning during the week of March 16, with all classes underway remotely on Monday,
March 23. Classes will continue in remote formats through the end of the semester.
As we continue to offer instruction remotely, the Provost’s Office, deans and members
of the faculty will continue to communicate with our students on academic requirements
and assessments, and ways we can support you during this extraordinary time.
Summer classes are occurring as scheduled. Please note that face-to-face classes may be conducted remotely based on University operations and the guidance of national and state health officials. Click here for the summer schedule.
We appreciate your concerns about grading in light of new learning modalities. Please
know that we are considering a variety of grading options, including the concept of
pass/fail. More will be shared with students in the upcoming days.
All residence halls, except those housing our international students, are closed. We know how eager some of you will be to collect your belongings from residence halls. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate requests to visit campus until Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has lifted the order for non-life-essential businesses to close. When we can safely bring you back to campus, we will do so with a plan that maintains social and physical distancing. Residential students will receive more information as we monitor the status of the Governor’s order.
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 from the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, the Passan School of Nursing and the School of Education will continue to contact students directly about experiential learning requirements.
Understandably you may have questions about whether you will be refunded for housing,
parking and meal plans that you will not use for the next several weeks. Right now,
our top priority is focused on COVID-19 and keeping our campus community safe. But please
be assured that Wilkes will offer prorated refunds or credits (based on your individual
situation) on housing, parking and meal plans. Though we will not reimburse tuition,
fees or out-of-pocket software costs, students who do not have access to required
software should work with faculty members on alternative arrangements. Graduation
fees are also nonrefundable, as the fee is not dependent on attendance at the ceremony
itself. The University will hold a graduation ceremony for our May graduates when
it is deemed safe to do so.
Due to possible financial aid implications, these are complex issues and we need some time to prepare accordingly. We will share more details as developed, including the value of monetary adjustments and when they will be administered.
Wilkes University has made the difficult decision to postpone the May 16 commencement
ceremonies. We are working to identify an appropriate date that will allow us to celebrate with
graduates and their families, on campus and in person, when we can safely do so. Unfortunately,
we can't name a date until
we have more clarity regarding COVID-19, but we are considering a variety of options. Caps and gowns will be mailed to your home address.
Though our spring commencement ceremony will be delayed, the date in which degrees are conferred, May 16, goes unchanged, as long as students' academic requirements are met. We welcome your inquiries at email@example.com.
Counseling services are available by phone for the rest of the spring semester. If you would like to speak to a counselor, please email us and we will get back to you to arrange a time to talk. If you feel your situation needs immediate attention, please contact our 24-hour chat line at (570) 408-CHAT.
The more information that we receive about COVID-19, the more it can fuel our thoughts, feelings and reactions to this situation. Campus Counseling would like to provide you with helpful information and resources to assist you in navigating this new societal concern.
Library and I.T.
The Farley Library will be closed until further notice. This includes lower-level
24/7 access. Wireless internet is available in the parking lot behind University Center on Main.
Students, faculty and staff can park anywhere in this lot to access free, high-speed
internet. This allows users to maintain social distancing while accessing wi-fi right
from their vehicles.
Help Desk employees are working remotely. As a result, we ask that all requests be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. ITS staff will reply via email or by phone during normal Help Desk hours:
• 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday
• 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Fridays
• 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday
• 12 noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays
As a reminder, Comcast and other internet providers are offering lower-cost services for those in need of connectivity at this time. Learn more here.
Only employees and students with permission granted by supervisors and deans will be allowed into campus buildings until further notice. Deans and supervisors
have been instructed to email email@example.com with all permission requests. Please contact your dean, supervisor or vice president.
Access to University buildings will be granted only for urgent needs or critical personnel. Examples include:
- Students with special housing arrangements
- Faculty or staff caring for animals or lab equipment
- Facilities personnel who clean and disinfect campus
- Preapproved staff members from departments maintaining critical operations
- Faculty uploading critical course content that is imperative to the student experience
The Henry Student Center dining hall will move to takeout only. Lunch pick up is available from 11 a.m. to 12 noon and dinner pickup will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Dinner will also offer breakfast options for the following morning. Patrons will collect to-go food and drink containers and select their meal choices.
Health Services will be closed until further notice but staff are available remotely for routine questions. The Wright Center, located just a block from campus at 335 S. Franklin St., is available for appointments from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. To make an appointment, please call (570) 591-5283. Click here for a list of pharmacies, clinics and urgent care centers where you can seek medical assistance. In the event of a medical emergency, call 911.
Many religious congregations have suspended in-person worship services due to COVID-19; however, many have made the transition to streaming their services online. Click here for a list of Wilkes-Barre churches and synagogues who are providing an increased presence via their websites and social media.
Staff from the Center for Global Education and Diversity are available remotely to discuss any student needs. Contact Georgia Costalas for assistance at (570) 408-7854.
All athletic competition and practices are cancelled throughout the remainder of the semester. Face-to-face recruiting is also suspended. All University athletic and recreation facilities are closed until further notice.
Colonel Food Pantry
The food pantry will be available for students who need it. Please contact Kristin Osipower at ext. 5904 for assistance.
All events are cancelled through the end of the semester. All tours, admissions, alumni and special events on and off campus are cancelled.
Work-study students who can work remotely or at off-campus partners should do so. They should continue to log their hours in TimeTrak. Students who are not working remotely or at community partners, but were working in work-study positions prior to the transition to distance education, will be paid an average number of hours based on their prior work history. This estimate will be entered in TimeTrak by the Student Employment and Payroll departments. Federal work-study positions will end when federal eligibility limits are reached. Questions can be directed to Jean Eckert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Administrative offices will continue to operate remotely until further notice and are available to students needing assistance. All events are cancelled through the remainder of the semester.
Previous Messages to the Campus Community
- Feb. 28, 2020 - Travel recommendations to the campus community
- March 6, 2020 - New procedures on campus
- March 11, 2020 - Preparations for remote classes and events
- March 12, 2020 - Announcing the suspension of face-to-face classes
- March 16, 2020 - Telecommuting information for faculty and staff
- March 16, 2020 - Revised procedures and recommendations for students
- March 18, 2020 - Reflections from the Interim President
- March 20, 2020 - Revised operations on campus; Remote assistance available
- March 25, 2020 - Extend remote learning through the end of the semester
- April 1, 2020 - Spring commencement ceremony will be delayed
Information You Need to Know
• Wilkes University has made the difficult decision to postpone the May 16 commencement ceremonies.
• We are working to identify an appropriate date that will allow us to celebrate with graduates and their families, on campus and in person, when we can safely do so. Unfortunately, we can't name a date until we have more clarity regarding COVID-19, but we are considering a variety of options.
• The withdrawal deadline has been extended to April 29, the last day of spring classes. Students wishing to withdraw from a course electronically may do so electronically by logging into Rosters and selecting “withdraw from a course.” You will then be prompted to select the course from which you would like to withdraw. This action will automatically send requests to your instructor and academic advisor for approval. You will be notified when the process has been completed.
• The Office of Technology for Teaching and Learning has developed a plan to deliver classes remotely. They are also offering one-on-one advising sessions should you want additional assistance.
• The mailroom will operate from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays only. Members of the campus community must pick up all mail and packages from the mailroom. Mail will be ready for pick up by 9 a.m. each day. Outbound mail must be dropped off no later than 1 p.m. Please note that you will need a swipe card to enter the Henry Student Center. We are also asking that the campus community refrain from ordering perishables. If you must order these materials for critical academic research, call Jim Yeninas at 570-408-4123 to coordinate the delivery of those items.
• Parking fees will not be charged for the rest of the semester.
• The withdrawal deadline has been extended to April 29, the last day of spring classes. If you have a student or advisee wishing to withdraw from a course, you can direct them to login at https://rosters.wilkes.edu/student, where they will be guided through this process. If one of your advisees or students initiates a withdrawal from a course, you will receive an email notification with a link. This link will prompt you to login to Course Rosters, where you will be taken to a screen that shows any requests for your approval, as well as the status of others who are required to approve a withdrawal. On that page, there will be an icon next to each approval that is awaiting your decision. You can click on this icon, and select either "yes" or "no." If you were the instructor of the course, you will be prompted to enter the last date of attendance. If both instructor and advisor select "yes," the registrar is automatically notified to process the withdrawal. If either the instructor or the advisor select "no," the appropriate dean will be automatically notified.
• Exempt employees will continue to work remotely until further notice.
• The ITS Remote Resource Guide is a valuable resource in the event staff needs to work from home. Consult with your supervisor for more information.
• Some nonexempt employees are unable to work remotely due to the nature of their duties on campus. Due to these are extraordinary circumstances, full- and part-time nonexempt employees who cannot work from home will be guaranteed their full base pay through Thursday, April 30, without the need to use vacation time. This policy is retroactive to the issuance of the Governor's order that closed the campus on March 19. Therefore, any vacation time used by nonexempt employees since that day will be restored.
• Externally funded employees will be paid according to their specific program guidelines
and the availability of work that can be accomplished at home.
• All University-sponsored events are cancelled through the remainder of the semester.
Mailroom and University Operations
• The mailroom will operate from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays only. Campus mail delivery is suspended and members of the campus community must pick up all mail and packages from the mailroom. Mail will be ready for pick up by 9 a.m. each day. Outbound mail must be dropped off no later than 1 p.m. Please note that you will need a swipe card to enter the Henry Student Center. We are also asking that the campus community refrain from ordering perishables. If you must order these materials for critical academic research, call Jim Yeninas at 570-408-4123 to coordinate the delivery of those items.
• Parking fees will not be charged for the rest of the semester.
Information & Resources
For confirmed COVID-19 infections, reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill. Symptoms can include:
- Shortness of breath
If you have recently returned from China, South Korea, Japan, Italy or Iran, the CDC recommends you stay home for a period of 14 days from the time you departed these heavily impacted areas.
The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Routinely updated information and mapping of the numbers of confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in China and all other affected countries can be seen under the following links:
- World Health Organization Myth Busters
- Live Map Updated by Johns Hopkins University
- The U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)'s Global Map
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's Geographical Distribution of 2019-nCoV
- The World Health Organization's Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Situation Reports
- The U.S. Department of State
- The Pennsylvania Department of Health
For questions regarding information on this page, contact:
Assistant Vice President of Operations & Compliance
Dated April 3, 2020