Letter to Beloit Students from President Scott Bierman
Latest COVID-19 Update - Spring Semester Changes
We are all learning to be newly nimble with our plans. Last week, I wrote to you about steps that the college was taking to ensure the health and well-being of our campus community as we planned for challenges posed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). In light of new information, expert advice, and a rapidly unfolding situation, it is now necessary to take additional steps.
We understand that what follows will change your immediate plans; however, this is an extraordinary situation. Our decisions are based on current knowledge from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the State of Wisconsin concerning the continued emergence of COVID-19 in the United States and abroad. The best actions we can take are those that are focused on providing you with an excellent continuing learning experience while, at the same time, taking a proactive approach to protecting the health and safety of all members of the campus community and the surrounding Stateline area.
At this time we have made six key decisions:
- Spring break will be extended through the week of March 16 - 22. During that week, faculty will be working with the Provost’s office and the Library & Information Technology staff to move their courses online and/or develop other remote learning experiences.
- Classes will resume on March 23 and will be offered only online or otherwise remotely between March 23 and March 27 (one week). Your faculty members will be contacting you next week with more details. You should reach out to Library & Information Technology Services if you need IT help/access to resources.
- Students will return to campus with the reopening of student residences on Saturday, March 28, at 5 p.m. The college is carefully adhering to CDC guidelines regarding cleaning protocols and will continue to do so going forward.
- Students will resume in-person, on-campus classes on Monday, March 30, with some instruction potentially taking place online throughout the semester.
- All on-campus events until March 30 are canceled. This includes the Weissberg and Ferrall Residencies planned for the week of March 15 as well as Advising and Career Day scheduled for March 27.
- All athletic events, whether on or off-campus, are canceled until March 30.
At this time, Beloit College is not asking students who are studying abroad to return home. The college is actively working with its study abroad partners to monitor changing conditions and is following the Centers for Disease Control information for travelers as well as World Health Organization country updates.
Additional information from the Task Force about changes to activities and policies will be posted to the COVID-19 website on an ongoing basis. Please check the site daily for updates that might affect you. This is an official avenue of communication.
We recognize that, due to the cost of changing travel plans or for other reasons, some of you cannot delay your return to campus or will need to remain on campus during the weeks of March 16 and March 23. We will make accommodations on a case by case basis, taking personal circumstances into account. Please complete the Student On-Campus Residential Needs form by Friday, March 13 and we will respond as soon as possible.
Of course, some of you will have left things in your rooms which you would like to have with you. We ask you to be as resourceful as possible in making do. We fully understand there will be instances in which you absolutely need some items (e.g. medications). In those circumstances please contact Ryan Schamp at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work with you to figure out a solution.
These decisions, which have been difficult, reflect our latest knowledge regarding the emergence of COVID-19, and will continue to be evaluated as circumstances change. They were made in keeping our commitment to your learning, your health, and your safety, as our primary focus. With online courses, the faculty will continue to engage your intelligence, imagination, and curiosity. If you need technology equipment that you do not have, plans are being made to make it available to you on a loan. Please send an email to email@example.com.
The risk to our campus remains low. We have not had a case of the virus on our campus; cases in Wisconsin, thus far, are few. Fourteen days is the identified incubation period for COVID-19, and the extended time away is intended to help us limit the spread of the virus. We also recognize, however, that the situation could change and we may need to re-evaluate our current plan. Please continue to monitor the campus COVID-19 website and we will continue to communicate directly with you if the situation changes.
Between now and your return to campus in late March, we are asking you to be careful about limiting your exposure to COVID-19. This means not traveling outside your local community unless necessary. We also know from public health authorities and our own professionals in the Health and Wellness Center that it is possible that the virus will eventually reach our campus community. All of us have an obligation to continue to protect ourselves and each other. Please remember to practice the following now and when you return to campus:
- Follow social distancing guidelines; whenever possible maintain a distance of 3-6 feet from anyone sneezing or coughing.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Cover your cough with your arm, elbow or shoulder.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home if you are sick, especially if you have a fever.
- Be kind to those who are worried or fearful concerning this outbreak.
My personal thanks to each one of you for your understanding and patience during this challenging time. We may be experiencing an extraordinary situation, but together we are an exceptional community of students, faculty, and staff. Beloiters care for and support Beloiters - turtles all the way down.
If you have questions or concerns, please send them to the task force at COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive a timely response from them.
Take care of yourself, take care of each other, and we look forward to seeing you back on campus at the end of this month