Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
We are writing to summarize recent steps taken to protect our community in light of the spread of COVID-19, and to announce decisions reached today regarding actions to be taken going forward. In doing so, we wish to express our appreciation for the rapid response to this emergency by the entire campus. It should come as no surprise to anyone that our community has mobilized to gather information, consult broadly, identify precautions, and render decisions quickly and effectively. We are proud of you, and appreciate deeply the way that the YoteFam has pulled together in this time of extraordinary circumstance.
As you know from prior communication, the College will pilot a transition to online classes in all courses next week. This will be a complex process, of course, involving both technical and curricular challenges. However, we have confidence that the transition can be accomplished effectively and in relatively short order to enable us to move fully to online class meetings.
In light of this expectation, based on consultation with senior administration, faculty, and trustees, the College will shift exclusively to online classes beginning on Monday, March 30, and continue through the end of the spring semester, Tuesday, May 19. This will enable students to return home for spring break and to stay there for the remainder of the term as they complete their courses online.
Here are some of the implications of this decision:
- Residential: Students are asked to move out of their campus housing with the understanding that they will not return to campus following Spring Break for the rest of the Spring Term. Those students who cannot return home for any reason may remain in residence as they take their courses online, although they may be asked to move within campus in order to maximize social distance. Food service will remain in effect, with possible modifications due to the anticipated reduction in the number of students on campus.
- Financial: The College will provide a prorated credit for room and board cost based on each student’s current residence hall and meal plan arrangement. The credit will be computed starting March 30th for students not returning to campus and will be applied to the fall 2020 cost of attendance; seniors will receive a prorated cash refund. Since spring 2020 courses will continue in an online learning format, there will be no credit or refund for tuition or fees.
- Travel: All College-sponsored travel will be suspended through May, 2020. This includes faculty and staff travel to conferences and professional gatherings, as well as student travel for study-away and other high-impact programs. We strongly discourage all non-essential personal travel as well in order to reduce the chances of exposure.
- Events: All external-facing events (i.e., those attended by members of the community outside the College) will be canceled beginning on Monday, March 16 and continue through the end of the semester, Tuesday, May 19. All internal events (i.e., those attended only by members of the immediate College community of students, faculty, and staff) will take place as scheduled through March 20, and are canceled from March 21 through the end of the semester, Tuesday, May 19.
- Commencement: The decision regarding the commencement ceremony for graduating seniors will be announced no later than the end of next week, March 20.
- Athletics: All spring competition and practices are canceled from March 15 through the end of the semester.
We understand that these changes present significant hardship to our students, but we deem them necessary for the health and wellbeing of the entire campus community. Thanks once again for your patience and understanding as we work together to respond to new developments. We will continue to keep you updated and will post important messages on the College website.
Co-President Doug Brigham
Co-President Jim Everett