October 16, 2020
Dear Moravian Community,
I just finished meeting with our Board of Trustees, and once again, I am honored to serve as the President of this wonderful institution! As other colleges are crumbling (due to COVID-19 outbreaks, financial hardship, among other things), we are standing strong.
But, I also worry. I worry everyday that if we let down our guard, we could end up like the myriad of colleges around the country that are experiencing COVID spikes. A recent case that scared me was at Keuka College in New York. Keuka, prior to last week, had only 1 positive COVID case during their first six weeks of the semester (they have roughly 900 students living on campus - similar to us), and then one off-campus party led to 70 positive cases in just a few days. They are now in “lock down mode” on campus, have moved to all virtual classes, and have chosen to send many of their students home. Please don’t let this happen at Moravian.
Students - I am so proud of you. You are showing the world that our campus culture of caring for each other is helping to keep COVID at bay on our campus. We have successfully navigated 8 weeks of our semester (that’s 53 days)!
We have 39 days until Thanksgiving Break. WE CAN DO THIS. WE CAN KEEP OUR NUMBERS LOW.
Keep wearing your mask (covering BOTH your nose and mouth), keep washing your hands, and practicing physical distancing.
October 5, 2020
Dear Moravian Community,
I am so proud of this community and our success in taking collective responsibility for keeping each other safe!
As many of you already know, we currently have zero positive COVID-19 cases in our community, no on-campus quarantine students, and only a handful of commuters who are quarantining. Not all colleges and universities across the country are experiencing this level of success; and locally that is true as well.
We are not immune to this virus and the reason we have been able to keep it contained is because each one of you is taking responsibility for keeping us open. Thank you! But, please, please don’t get complacent. One small mistake or event could pivot our whole campus in a direction none of us want. Keep vigilant and protect and support one another.
Many of you have already downloaded the COVID Alert App for PA, but I encourage everyone to consider adding this app to your mobile device. Tools like this contribute to keeping everyone on our campus safe and will help in contract tracing if that becomes necessary.
Residential Students - nearly two weeks ago we moved to Phase B in our residence halls and you have been doing a fantastic job. Keep it up! If our trends continue to be positive, I will consider authorizing a change to Phase C sometime next week.
We are nearing the halfway point of our Fall 2020 semester, and fall has definitely arrived in Bethlehem. The leaves on campus are changing colors, sides have been added to our outdoor tents (heaters will be arriving in those tents soon), and I spot pumpkins and other fall decorations across campus. Mo, Benny, Lea and I enjoy our walks around campus and I encourage everyone to spend some time outdoors: get some exercise and take in the beauty that nature provides. We all need to de-stress and to take some time for ourselves.
As always, be safe and kind - keep wearing your mask (covering BOTH your nose and mouth!), keep washing your hands, and practicing physical distancing. Believe me, I know this is tough, but I prefer being able to live this way over the other options colleges both locally and around the country are facing. You are all doing a great job at protecting the pack. Keep it up.
September 23, 2020
Dear Moravian Community,
Today’s update is about our Residence Hall experience. Effective immediately, I have authorized a change from Phase A (our most restrictive phase) to Phase B in the halls because our students have proven that they understand the seriousness of COVID-19 and they are abiding by appropriate safety measures. I believe this change will help the mental health of our students (including our Resident Advisors who have been doing admirable and hard work over the last 5 weeks).
This decision was informed by an analysis of trends that can be accessed on our COVID dashboard as well as by the low infection rate in our traditional residence halls - the population that will be most impacted by our change from Phase A to Phase B.
What does this mean?
- Residential students may visit each other within the same residence hall (Bernhardt-WiIlhelm, Rau-Hassler, Jo Smith, Inner Spang, Main and Clewell) but must adhere to these guidelines when approaching another resident’s space:
- Remain in the doorway, if possible
- Seek approval to enter from resident
- Wear a mask at all times
- Maintain physical distance
- Rooms (doubles and singles) may not exceed two individuals at a given time. Roommates should discuss expectations for visitors.
- Residents from other halls, commuters, and non-Moravians are not permitted inside the residence halls.
- Common spaces are now accessible (within occupancy limits). Masks need to be worn at all times.
- This change does not impact residents in suite-style (HILL, Townhouses, Hillsides, Spang Apartments, Nitschmann, Beck, de Schweinitz, and overflow spaces) and Greek chapter houses. Common areas of suites are still limited to the assigned residents of the suite. Access to Greek chapter house is limited to residents of the house.
- Questions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This does not mean that our residential population can be any less vigilant in keeping themselves and their hallmates safe - keep wearing your mask, washing your hands, and practicing physical distancing.
Finally, please understand that we could return to Phase A if current trends change; that will happen swiftly if we see our students not taking their responsibilities seriously. So students - please, please make good decisions! I am so proud of all of you. Keep it up.
As always, stay safe and well,
September 22, 2020
Dear Moravian Community,
This message will be a brief! I want to follow up on my email from last Friday regarding asymptomatic close contact testing and the Spring 2021 academic calendar.
Testing: After consultation with the Bethlehem Health Bureau and St. Luke’s University Health Network, we will be permitted to use the following “drive-through” locations for students who are identified as “close contacts” but are asymptomatic. Our Health Center will work directly with those students who will be impacted. If transportation to one of the testing locations is problematic, we will also assist our students with that need.
Spring academic calendar: This year, Spring semester undergraduate classes will start one week later than usual, on January 25th. The majority of residential students will be permitted to return on Sunday, January 24th (instead of Sunday, January 17th); but some students traveling from “hot spot” COVID locations may need to return to campus sooner in order to complete quarantine expectations. The Office of Housing will work directly with students needing an earlier accommodation. There will be no spring break, but Friday, April 2nd there will be no classes held and offices will be closed as part of “Easter Recess.” All other aspects of the calendar currently remain the same, such as final exams and commencement. As in the fall, we encourage on-campus residents to resist traveling to and from home to reduce the chances of COVID exposures.
Thank you again for your patience as we work through the ever changing landscape of this pandemic.
I hope you can find a minute to enjoy this warm fall weather.
Stay safe and well,
September 18, 2020
Dear Moravian Community,
I did not expect to be writing another community message this week. I write about two issues today.
Recent news stories, like this one in the USA Today, announced that the CDC made a change regarding testing of asymptomatic individuals who are identified as close contacts. The CDC website has just been updated to reflect this change, and we will continue to monitor that over the weekend.
We have already contacted our partners (St. Luke’s University Health Network and the Bethlehem Health Bureau) to understand our ability to obtain additional testing supplies and to meet local Health Department expectations. We will work on this over the weekend and update you on Monday regarding possible next steps and related campus protocol changes. Please understand that this change in CDC guidance does not suggest the need to test all asymptomatic individuals; rather, it is connected to close contacts of COVID-19 positive individuals (who are identified during contact tracing by our Health Center staff). Please also know that testing does not impact quarantine timelines, that remains at 14 days!
Switching topics from our physical health to our mental and emotional well being, I also want to take this opportunity to ask you to be kind to one another. Social media is a terrible way to engage in meaningful communication, and recent responses to posts about social justice and antiracism have pained me. Some of these responses have crossed a line—and hate speech has no place anywhere on Moravian’s social media accounts or on the physical campus.
No one knows the struggles others have faced in their lives and what perspective they have because of those struggles. Please choose to ask each other respectful questions to learn about and appreciate one another’s beliefs about social or political issues. We all can, myself included, be more understanding and caring of one another through these very trying times.
Please be safe and kind - keep wearing your mask, washing your hands, and practicing physical distancing.
September 16, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
We are in our fourth week of classes and compared to most institutions around the country, Moravian College students are doing an exceptional job at containing the spread of the virus. That does not mean that we can ease up on our efforts, it means they are working. Keep up the good work!
My letter today focuses on the following: clarifying the definition of personal space on campus, expectations related to mask wearing during outdoor physical activity, our continued practice of not testing asymptomatic individuals, and Family Day.
Personal Space on Campus
We define “personal space” as areas (rooms/offices) that you are in by yourself.
Here are some examples:
- Many employees on our campus have a private office. When employees are in that space alone and by themselves, they may remove their mask. When/If someone enters that space, a mask must be worn.
- Our residential students may consider their residence hall room their personal space (even in double rooms), and in those spaces, they may remove their mask. Our website includes more specific details about these spaces.
- Across campus we have a lot of classrooms and study areas. In locations with four walls and a door that may be closed, a person may remove their mask to study, participate in a Zoom, etc. As soon as another person enters this “personal space” in a public building a mask must be worn. In these “personal spaces” in public buildings we expect you to sanitize this space upon leaving. One should also assume when entering a space like this, they should sanitize it again just to be safe. Sanitization stations are available in the classrooms and throughout campus.
- Across campus we also have a lot of “open” spaces inside of our buildings; examples include the lobby of PPHAC, The Sally, and Reeves Library. Masks must be worn at all times in these open interior locations.
Mask Wearing during Outdoor Physical Activity
This has been an area of intense scrutiny on our campus; we need to be fair and consistent with our policy. Please do not take the easy route and cast blame on others, including our varsity athletes. I want to be clear, we ALL need to hold ourselves accountable and not blame “groups” of people in this situation. That said, here is some additional clarification:
- Our varsity athletes are practicing and are following all appropriate medical and safety guidelines. They will be wearing masks during their practices when they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance between their teammates and coaches. In some sports, considerable physical distancing (e.g. 10 feet or more) is easy to maintain (such as tennis or golf or throwing a ball back and forth); when that is the case, athletes will not be wearing masks. When they cannot maintain appropriate physical distancing, a mask is required at all times.
- Just like our athletes, all members of our community are expected to wear a mask when exercising unless 6 feet of distancing may be maintained.
The CDC and Health Departments do not support random testing on those that are asymptomatic; consequently, and in order to be good stewards of the limited testing supplies available, we are only testing symptomatic students in our Health Center. Anyone who wants to be tested, without symptoms, will need to explore off-campus options.
Recently, some students have lied about symptoms (saying they had symptoms of COVID-19 when they had none) in order to be tested in our Health Center -- because they were worried about being a close contact of someone positive for COVID-19. Some of these students tested negative; however, the Bethlehem Health Bureau classifies them as infected and orders them to be isolated. So we now have students who were not truthful about symptoms, received a test that said they were negative, yet they are now in isolation and are in our count as infected, because these are the (sensible) requirements the Board of Health uses for people who have had exposure and said they had symptoms, no matter what the test says. We believe the students who did this did so with good intentions, but I want to be clear that this is not helpful. If you don’t understand the quarantine, isolation, or testing protocols we have in place, please reach out to our Health Center staff about your specific situation and we will be glad to explain. We know it is complex - please know that our staff have fully vetted these protocols and I am confident in them.
As of the writing of this community message, we are still planning on holding Family Day on Saturday, September 19th. That could change between now and Saturday morning if we see disturbing trends in our community (see our COVID-19 Dashboard for more information regarding the data points we consider). Please understand that we are trying to balance the risk to our community with the mental health of our students. This year is harder than most as we have asked families not to take their students off campus, so we understand the need to connect even briefly. Please abide by all of our rules about mask wearing and physical distancing during Family Day.
Many families have been reaching out to us with questions about the event. We have reached capacity for both gathering times and must stay in compliance with current CDC guidelines. An additional confirmation email will be sent to all registered attendees and we will update the FAQ document on the Family Day website.
Please take care of yourselves and our community. Wear your mask, wash your hands, and practice physical distance. You are showing others that this can be done. Keep it up. I’m proud of all of you.
September 9, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
Unfortunately, I write to tell you that COVID infection has moved onto our campus. Most of you have been practicing mask wearing, physical distancing, and excellent hygiene. Most of you are also doing the daily COVID Qualtrics survey. Thank you for keeping up with this very important health measure. These actions continue to be your and our best lines of protection.
Nevertheless, we knew that it would be relatively impossible to escape without some infections happening during this semester. As I write to you, we have two residential students and two commuter students who have tested positive for COVID-19. They are in good health and we are monitoring them daily.
Contact tracing is underway and the people who have been in contact with those individuals have been found and informed about their potential exposure. You can always follow the most recent data on the COVID-19 Dashboard.
I believe it may be helpful to explain what some of the terms on the dashboard mean.
- Quarantine means that an exposure may have happened and we want the student to remain away from others while we are testing or waiting for the symptoms to appear.
- Isolation means that the person has tested positive and will be either moved to isolation housing on campus or will be taken off campus by their family and isolated at home.
Testing for COVID-19 is done on campus for our students in the St. Luke’s University Health Center. One of the data points that we are monitoring is whether there is a need for hospitalization. Currently and thankfully, there has not been an increase in hospitalizations with recent infections, but we will continue to monitor this throughout the semester.
Protect the Pack
Your mask protects me and mine protects you. We need each other to make this work! Wearing your mask (both inside and outside) and practicing good physical distancing are the most important things you can do to protect yourself and others so that we don’t have to take further steps to prevent further infection. Also, practicing good hand washing and using the sanitization stations and cleaning supplies in the classroom can greatly reduce contagion. I know it is a pain, but it allows us to enjoy the campus as we have it right now.
I want to also remind you that moving from campus to your house, or to off-campus events, puts everyone at greater risk. I also know that many students went home this Labor Day weekend, but I ask you to consider not going home, unless absolutely necessary, as it puts your parents, possibly your grandparents, and your community at increased risk. Public health authorities agree that the best thing that can happen for college students is for them to remain on campus through Thanksgiving and practice appropriate protective measures. Please reconsider that trip home so that everyone can be safer.
The way we slow down this first occurrence of COVID-19 on our campus is in each and every one of our hands. If everyone Protects the Pack by wearing their masks and by avoiding parties and large groups, particularly indoors, we can continue to operate as we have been. I ask that each one of you remember the pledge you took at the beginning of this semester and recommit to protecting one another.
September 2, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
I am so proud of all the care we have demonstrated for each other. While I remain very proud of the faculty, staff and students who are taking mask wearing, physical distancing, and hand-washing very seriously, I am very worried that our vigilance could lapse. It is hard to live with a mask. I know; I hear you. But if we don’t remain vigilant, our situation could quickly change. While I think we are markedly different from large universities, both independent and state-run, the situations at Gettysburg College and at Colorado College give me pause and worry.
My letter today is to remind you all to please stay the course. We want to remain on campus, doing what we are currently doing, being able to take some face-to-face classes, enjoying the outdoors with our friends, and using all aspects of our beautiful spaces. Please don’t take any of this away by losing our focus. Be vigilant, be supportive of each other, and protect the pack.
We have made a great start, but I need all of us to continue with these behaviors to make a lasting impact. Everyone out there thinks colleges will all fail. Let’s prove them wrong.
August 28, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
With a heavy heart, I acknowledge that we began the semester with another police shooting of a black man. A police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot 29-year old Jacob Blake seven times in the back while his children watched from his car. Blake is hospitalized in serious condition, currently paralyzed as a result of a police officer’s actions. This distressing news impacts all of us, and the stresses born by the black members of our community are especially heavy. I urge the members of our campus community to be respectful of and responsive to the disparate levels of pain racialized violence has in all of its forms on those with whom we live, study, learn, and work. And as an institution, we affirm that Black Lives Matter and commit ourselves to antiracism.
I am writing to update you on the work we are doing at Moravian College to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion and combat anti-Black racism and other forms of bigotry and discrimination. I am going to focus on four main areas:
- the search for an Associate Provost of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI);
- the Conversations on Racism that we began this summer and the Draft Action Plan that is emerging from it;
- the recent, unanimous decision by the Board of Trustees to support a list of immediate action steps; and
- our work with the consulting firm Inclusive Community Cooperative (ICC).
Associate Provost search:
During the summer, I announced my decision to appoint our new Associate Provost of DEI to the President’s Cabinet. I consider this to be a critically important move. All current members of the President’s Cabinet share a deep commitment to DEI. Soon an Associate Provost of DEI will be among us, and we are all excited that our new colleague will further guide our efforts to make Moravian a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive institution. In addition, the new Associate Provost will play a role at the future Board of Trustee meetings, so our Trustees can remain updated on, committed and accountable to our DEI work. I look forward to welcoming, virtually, the first of the four finalists for the Associate Provost position next week. You received an invitation with Zoom links to the four job talks of the candidates. Your participation is critical. If you cannot attend, each talk will be recorded and available for viewing by contacting Dior Mariano or the Office of DEI. The search committee members and Provost Kosso intend to take your feedback very seriously, and I encourage you to play a role in this crucial hiring decision.
Conversations on Racism and Action planning:
Over the course of the summer, we were fortunate to receive letters and petitions that have helped to guide our DEI planning. We are grateful to those who shared their hopes for and expectations of the College. We also thank those who participated in our “Becoming More: Conversations on Racism” Zoom meetings in July. The Office for DEI is creating a Draft Action Plan that includes the ideas and a proposal that emerged from the letters, petitions and Conversations. DEI is matching action items to appropriate offices/departments and will be proposing timelines for the action items and protocols for reporting progress towards goals. Some of the proposed changes have been or are already being carried out.
This fall, BRIT plans to host another round of Conversations on Racism that will focus on the Draft Action Plan. In order to achieve transparency and ensure accountability, DEI and BRIT will welcome your feedback on and responses to the Plan. We recognize that in order to effectively shift our campus climate and culture in ways that lead us to be a more diverse, equitable and inclusive institution, members of our community need to be involved, respected and heard -- and see genuine actions as a result. I hope that when the new Associate Provost arrives on campus, the collaboratively-generated Draft Action Plan will be a rich source of data that can inform their vision and leadership. I believe it will also serve as a testament to our community’s support for their important work.
Board support and immediate actions:
I also want to update you on the recent Board of Trustees meeting. Immediately following the meeting, the Board issued a unanimous vote of approval to support Moravian College’s transition to a more equitable, inclusive and welcoming working and learning environment. They fully support a list of critically important Immediate Action Items related to advancing DEI, to which you all contributed through conversations, emails, and petitions. The Immediate Action Items were compiled from those included in the Draft Action Plan that DEI is creating. They reflect the opinions and suggestions many of you proposed this summer and we believe are doable this academic year. The Board approved the items and also requested two changes. At the suggestion of one of the student members of the Board, they added ‘caste’ to the list of recognized categories of identity at Moravian that the College pledges to protect from discrimination, and they added their commitment to diversifying the Board itself in terms of race and gender. I am grateful for the Board’s support for the important changes we are committed to making at Moravian College.
Here is a link to the immediate actions: DEI Actions
Inclusive Community Cooperative will be submitting its final report in mid-October. Over the past seven months, ICC has been collecting information about the college, interviewing and meeting with campus constituents and advising our DEI team through a very tumultuous spring and summer. I am grateful for the support they have provided to our community and current DEI leaders, and I am looking forward to reading the report and acting on its suggestions. That report, like DEI’s Draft Action Plan, will be a critical document for our incoming Associate Provost. Rich in information about our community and our strengths and areas for growth, both documents will enable the new Associate Provost to hit the ground running as they assume leadership on campus. This is especially important now because we will soon begin preparing our next strategic plan. I expect DEI to be a priority in the plan, and I am excited about the critical role our new Associate Provost will play in the strategic planning process.
Related, our membership in New American Colleges and Universities (NACU) does offer us many benefits and one, a webinar, is worth sharing with you now:
- Dr. Tatum, President Emerita of Spelman College, is widely known for her expertise on race relations. She has authored several books including the best-selling Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? and Other Conversations About Race and Can We Talk About Race? and Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation.
- The webinar will address strategies for creating inclusive campus environments and spaces for having conversations about race and equity. Dr. Ruta Shah-Gordon, Vice President for Internationalization, Intercultural Affairs, and Campus Life at Wagner College, will serve as the moderator for the session. There will be an open Q&A at the end of the session.
For the webinar with Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum on Wednesday, September 30, from 2 - 3 pm ET. You can register here.
Even more timely, today is the 2020 March on Washington commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.:
- Fifty-seven years after Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington, the families of Black Americans shot or killed by police officers will speak on the same site, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and Jacob Blake will join Reverend Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III on Friday at the Commitment March: Get Your Knee off Our Necks. The march, organized by the National Action Network, calls for racial justice and police reform.
You can attend this event virtually!
Your constructive ideas, suggestions, and critiques are instrumental in Moravian College’s transition to a culture of equity. I am committed to listening and learning, and I am grateful for your engagement in our collaborative process of growth and change.
August 24, 2020
Subject: Return to Campus Update
Dear Moravian Community,
There were times this summer when the first day of the Fall 2020 semester seemed out of reach; I am pleased to report that we made it and had a great first day of classes! Over the weekend, we updated our FAQ page and our Safety Tiers (we are currently in Tier 2); I encourage you to look at these resource pages frequently.
Today’s email update has several parts and focuses on COVID and keeping our campus safe; please read the entire message. While we have been very focused on COVID related safety issues in recent letters, I want to assure you that we are also working on improving our own community, recognizing that assaults on Black Americans and issues of systemic racism that continue both in our country, community, and on our campus are unacceptable. We will be communicating on these and other critical issues in forthcoming letters.
I have said this many times and I will not stop saying it. Our ability to continue enjoying moving around the campus, eating outdoors, spending time with friends and not in lockdown in your dorm with all virtual classes relies on EVERY SINGLE PERSON in our community practicing proper mask wearing and physically distancing. Even more important, there are members of our college community, our pack, who are at significant health risk, and their lives are depending on your individual actions. I estimate that 90-95% of us are acting responsibly - wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and holding others accountable when you see them forgetting COVID-19 safety expectations. I am so thankful for those that are taking this seriously, but some of us are not. It takes 100% compliance and shared responsibility for this to work. Mitigation is all of our responsibilities. The safety of our community is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone needs to share in this, and I completely agree that this is not the way we want to live. I know it is a challenge. But for the time being, I’d rather us be able to have some type of college experience than be in lockdown. While I appreciate the 2 a.m. emails where you report that someone is out of compliance, that approach is not nearly as useful as YOU saying something at 2 a.m. to the offenders and calling Campus Police if you are unsuccessful. I mean it when I say that we are all in this together and there are those outside this community who expect us to fail. Let’s show them they are wrong.
The burden of COVID-19 compliance simply cannot be the responsibility of our Resident Advisors, Campus Police and other Student Leaders. That is not right. That is not Moravian. We must step into our shared responsibility to confront one another. We don’t have another choice.
And let me be clear, for those who deliberately choose to violate health/safety protocols, there will be consequences. Students - that means you could be suspended or expelled for your first violation; employees - that means job action.
This is required for all members of our community. Thanks to the 2,312 students (that’s an 89% completion rate!) and 420 employees who already completed this training. We are in the process of following up with all students and employees who failed to meet this morning’s deadline to talk about consequences of their non compliance.
Daily Symptom Screen
Again, this is expected for every member of our community, DAILY. We know some of you are accessing your education remotely (in other states or parts of the world as two examples); we are working to eliminate the daily screening for those who will not be accessing our physical campus. But, in the meantime, this is expected for everyone.
I mentioned this dashboard in my Tuesday, August 18 message. Again, we will use data from this dashboard to inform decisions regarding campus restrictions, changes in the format of course delivery, etc.
Orientation & Move-In
I am enormously grateful to everyone in our community who helped welcome the Class of 2024 to campus, as well as our transfer and returning students. It was so good to see campus filled with energy and vibrancy over the last three days. A special thank you to all of our students who serve as Orientation Leaders, Resident Advisors, and are so ably guided by Associate Dean of Students, Liz Yates and the Student Life Division, many of whom worked 17+ hour days to lead those activities for our campus. So many others staff and faculty also put in so much time and effort, including Greg Meyer, Kevin Hartshorn, Amy Saul, Stephanie Dillman, the IT team, and so many, many others: THANK YOU for all you did. I am truly grateful for your dedication to this college!
I want our College to remain open, clearly you do too since nearly 1000 residential students arrived on campus this weekend. We will not hesitate to suspend students who will not comply with health regulations, and I will initiate a lockdown of the campus and move us to virtual instruction and campus quarantine, if proper safety measures are not followed by everyone. The Governor has made it clear that he will not be closing colleges as he did in March. Instead, we could be in a lockdown situation that nobody wants and was forced on us by our own actions. Please, please take this seriously.
August 20, 2020
Subject: Return to Campus Update - August 20, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
My letters are increasing in frequency as the first day of classes approaches; thank you for your continued diligence in reading campus updates. Also, thanks to all of you who were able to attend today’s staff and faculty colloquium. Even if I could not see your faces, it was wonderful to see so many in attendance!
If there is one constant about COVID-19, it is that guidance is constantly changing. This letter brings you the very latest information that we have on our safety measures and requirements and recommendations for our community. To that end, I have two very critical updates about the types of masks that will be approved on campus and expectations regarding daily symptom screening.
Effective immediately, gaiters and bandanas will not be considered acceptable face coverings on Moravian’s campus. I know this is very welcomed news to some; I am also keenly aware that this will be unwelcome news to others. We made this decision based on the expertise of our infectious disease physicians at St. Luke’s University Health Network, our own faculty, and researchers at Duke University who recently shared a study that can be found in the Washington Post. The bottom line is that we are trying to keep everyone as safe as possible on campus, and gaiters or bandanas have questionable protection over standard masks.
For students who may have already returned to campus and only have gaiters or bandanas in their possession, disposable masks are available at the HUB desk for you; the Moravian Book Shop is also stocked in cloth masks.
Yesterday I asked our students to complete the COVID-19 online course (faculty and staff are also completing this required training). As of 3 p.m. today, I’m happy to report that over 900 students have already finished the course and submitted their Pledge to Protect the Pack! The pledges are all unique and have come in written, photo, and video form and truly express the seriousness with which our students are taking this situation. I’m extremely encouraged (though not at all surprised) at the commitment our students have to keeping our community safe.
Today, I have another important request. Although the Fall semester has not yet begun, we need to start practicing our new daily habit of completing daily symptom screens. Starting tomorrow morning, you will wake up (unless you’re a very early riser, it will go out at 4:00 a.m.!) to find an email requesting you to complete the screening.
All members of our community (faculty, staff, and students) must complete these screenings 7 days a week, even when not planning to come to campus. The first question in the screening will ask if you plan to be on campus and, if you respond no, the screening will end.
Keeping the campus safe is everyone's responsibility. This daily screening is an important and necessary part of our collective responsibility to each other.
Finally, I hope you will watch my “WELCOME BACK” to campus video.
Protect the pack,
August 18, 2020
Subject: Return to Campus Update - August 18, 2020
Dear Moravian Community,
It has been a joy to see students back on campus as the Resident Advisors staff has returned for training! I am eager to welcome all of our students back to campus later this week!
Today’s update focuses on four things:
- Required COVID-19 Education/Training
- Campus Pledge: Protect the Pack
- Symptom Reporting
- COVID-19 Dashboard
Required COVID Education/Training
- Our Post-Baccalaureate Cohort 6 Nursing students developed a comprehensive educational class about COVID-19 that is required for all members of our community. We had been interviewing vendors from around the country to provide our campus with the best training, and after that search, we found the best program developed by our own students and faculty! I am enormously proud of, and grateful for, their good work.
- We are putting the final touches on that training and we will send that to all of you within the next few days. Students and Faculty - this will automatically appear in Canvas as a course. You will be notified by email when the courses are finalized.
- Again, this is required for all members of our community. The deadline to complete this training is Monday, August 24, at 7 a.m. (the first day of classes).
Campus Pledge: Protect the Pack
We know that wearing masks, monitoring our health, washing our hands, and maintaining physical distancing are the best strategies to keep our community safe. Many thanks to the United Student Government for authoring our Protect the Pack pledge (this has been embedded in the training mentioned above); our shared commitment to each other!
All members of our community will complete a daily 5 question symptom questionnaire. We will begin using this by the first day of classes. As soon as that tool is ready, I will be sharing it via email.
By the first day of classes, we will be sharing a Moravian College COVID-19 daily dashboard. This will be located on the College’s website and will share information such as: total number of positive cases in our community; percentage of our population that is positive, percentage of our population in quarantine and much more! We will use data from this dashboard to inform decisions regarding campus restrictions, changes in the format of course delivery, etc. For example, a significant upward trend of positive cases on campus, in Bethlehem, or in our county will be used in conjunction with capacities of our local hospital systems to manage and treat COVID-19 patients to determine action plans for Moravian College. More information about all of the metrics used in our dashboard will be shared later this week.
Finally, I found this article very interesting and I share it with all of you: https://www.chronicle.com/article/facing-a-risky-fall-students-ask-how-much-do-i-trust-my-classmates
We are all in this together,
August 7, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update - August 7, 2020
Dear Moravian Community,
I hope this letter finds you safe and well and prepared for the beginning of the Fall Semester. This will be a long letter as we are updating you on all we know about the upcoming semester. I know that there has been some concern about residence halls and the closing of the campus. As you recall in March, we planned to remain open until we were told we couldn’t by the governor. The governor and his staff have repeatedly said to me that there will be no state-wide closing and that he expects colleges to keep the students on campus and deal with tracing, isolation, and treatment. Ideally, he wants residential students to come to the campus and remain on campus until the conclusion of the semester at Thanksgiving to minimize the risk of transmission.
We have changed many things on campus to protect the students, but one activity that we hope will make a significant difference in potential transmission is the increase in cleaning. In the traditional residence halls, all bathrooms and common areas will be cleaned every day, including weekends. In the suite and apartment-style residences, disinfecting all high touch areas will be included in the weekly cleaning and disinfecting supplies will be provided in all suites/apartments. We have increased weekend custodial coverage to include 5 academic/administrative buildings (HUB, the Sally, PPHAC, Collier, Johnston Hall, and Breidegam Fieldhouse). We have also prepared isolation housing for quarantining infected students when and if it occurs throughout the semester. Residential students are also protected financially by the federal government. Just as the CARES Act provided money to students for increased costs last semester, the HEROES Act currently working its way through Congress will again provide money for colleges to deal with the increased costs in dealing with COVID. So in the unlikely event that we must close by government order, we will be able to provide financial relief to our families for room and board, assuming the HEROES Act passes in its current form. None of this is available (the cleaning, the isolation, the government financial protection) if students rent off-campus housing.
Moravian is also committed to all of its students so, unlike other colleges, we are keeping all of our buildings open to all of our students, both commuters and residential students. While we are restricting visitors to our campus, we will not be restricting access to our campus for our students and families. We ask all of our community to remember, however, that leaving and returning to campus provides a greater risk than just remaining on campus throughout the semester.
Testing is also going to be crucial for a successful semester. We ask families to abide by the Pennsylvania Governor’s directive for quarantining if coming from out of state. We have been in discussion with the leading infectious disease doctor at St. Luke’s University Medical System, Dr. Jeffrey Jahre, and he, like the CDC and the PA Department of Health, does not recommend universal testing upon arrival. Since students are arriving in waves to prevent infection, universal testing really does not help us. Instead, we have installed the testing machine at our health center managed by St. Luke’s, and we have been assured that we will be able to quickly test all students presenting symptoms. Governor Wolf has also announced rapid testing sites in partnership with Walmart throughout the state to handle people presenting symptoms: our local testing site will be the Walmart in Allentown. We also hope to be able to conduct pool testing for our athletes so that they may continue to practice and play safely. We will be asking all students to complete a daily symptom screen. Students who report any symptoms will receive outreach from the Health Center staff to determine if quarantine, testing, and/or isolation are appropriate. We will then follow all guidelines for contact tracing and isolation. We also encourage anyone not feeling well to remain home or in their dorm room.
I’d like to also give some perspective on our academic offerings and where our college fits in relation to the larger number of colleges and universities. Currently, our course offerings are divided among online, hybrid, and face-to-face. These options allow us to meet a variety of needs -- some students want a completely online option and are choosing to remain home, so we can meet their educational needs through online. We also have to reduce density in our classrooms for safety, so a combination of online, face-to-face, and hybrid accomplishes that goal. No matter what educational delivery system is being employed, we have worked over the summer to ensure that the same learning outcomes and assessment measures can be met. Please remember that if you have questions about your course schedule, consult with your advisor.
To give you the current breakdown of the 2020 Fall Semester offerings, for 654 sections (excluding Honors, student teaching/field experiences, internships, independent studies, nursing clinicals, and performance):
- Online = 280 (42.81%)
- In-Person = 219 (33.49%)
- Hybrid = 155 (23.70%)
Currently, just under half of the colleges and universities in the United States are welcoming students back to campus. Locally, Moravian, DeSales, Cedar Crest, and Kutztown are all planning a residential experience. Lafayette and East Stroudsburg will be completely online, Lehigh and Muhlenberg will be welcoming only their first-year students and select upper-class students to campus. All others will be online. Moravian is also a member of the highly selective New American Colleges and Universities and of the 20 members, only 2 are completely online.
Music Instruction and Performances: Given the significant increased risk of transmission when singing or playing wind and brass instruments, there will be changes to our usual performances. We will not be having our beloved Marching Band for fall 2020. As a replacement, we will be offering Wind Ensemble instead of a marching band for fall 2020. Marching concepts and drill writing will be covered for those music education students enrolled.
We have invested in ways to do practices and performances online and through virtual means. Consequently, we will not have any live public concerts this fall. Moravian’s Choir, Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz Band will rehearse as hybrid courses (a mix of online and in-person) and will present online concerts. The Moravian College Vespers will also move completely online for the fall 2020 Holiday season. Other concerts that can be done safely will be offered as “Closed Recitals” or “Closed Concerts,” which we will live stream.
The Music Department has developed a list of protocols based on available research that specifically outlines how to safely use practice rooms and large performance spaces. We encourage our students to practice physical distancing and wear masks. We will regularly clean and disinfect pianos and other, large, college-owned instruments. Details of these protocols and policies will be published on the Music Department web page as a “Music Department COVID FAQ” document early next week.
For the fall semester, all community (MCMI) lessons will be offered virtually and non-college participants can ONLY participate in college ensembles online (not allowed on campus).
We will not stand still this semester, however, and if you play an instrument, sing, or dance, we invite you to join one of our outstanding Music Department groups. Non-music majors can participate in the Band, Choir, Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, or Dance Company and receive elective college credit. Auditions for these groups will be happening soon.
Any questions or concerns regarding music activities, classes or performance should be directed to email@example.com.
Homecoming and Commencement for the Class of 2020: From what we know at this moment, it does not look likely that we are able to hold Homecoming or Commencement. We have looked at a variety of in person graduation options for the Class of 2020, but all seem to put the campus at risk or violate the recommendations of the governor or CDC. While virtual graduation provides something unique for the Class of 2020, we feel that they are somewhat less than the graduates deserve. Therefore, we are planning to have two graduation ceremonies in May 2021: one to recognize the Class of 2020 and another to recognize the Class of 2021. More information about this will come out nearer to the time, but I would like to announce that Moravian College will purchase the robes for the Class of 2020 to thank them for all they have done to demonstrate resilience, flexibility and that hound’em determination.
With the health and safety of our alumni and friends being a top priority, we have decided to move Homecoming and Reunion Weekend 2020 to a virtual format. Please check moravian.edu/homecoming regularly for updates to our schedule of events and registration. The Office of Alumni & Parent Engagement will be hosting a variety of virtual events on Saturday, October 24th. Reunion years should look for emails relating to your class’s celebration in the coming weeks. Some years have decided to celebrate virtually while others will be postponing their celebrations until 2021. We look forward to celebrating in person with our entire community at Homecoming and Reunion Weekend 2021!
Family Day: We will celebrate Family Day on Saturday, September 19th. It won’t look exactly like it has in the past, but we are working on that schedule now. More information will be shared during the first week of classes.
FallFest: Sadly, we made the decision to cancel FallFest 2020. Many of us have enjoyed this community tradition since 2014 . . . a time when students, faculty, and staff and their families have joined together on a crisp fall Saturday to enjoy good food, games, music, pumpkin painting, a petting zoo, and more! We will look forward to restarting this campus tradition in Fall 2021. In the meantime, enjoy these albums from FallFest 2018 and FallFest 2019.
Drop Off & Go, Residence Life, and Dining: A reminder that information about Drop Off & Go for Transfer Students and the Class of 2024 can be found here. Information about Drop Off & Go for returning students can be found here. Finally, residence hall expectations and dining hall plans can be found here.
Move-In and Orientation: We will have the final Orientation Schedule for the Class of 2024 and Transfer Students ready next week! Watch for that email announcement. The schedules will also be posted on the Orientation Website
First Two Weeks of Classes: Student Organizations and Student Life Departments have been busy planning a full schedule of activity for the beginning of the school year. Tents have been installed throughout campus to provide outdoor areas for classes, socialization, and expanded dining. Here is a small sampling of the student-life activities: USG’s Club Fair, MAC’s WINGO, Greek Week, Res Hall Meetings/Programs on every floor, the popular DDD (Dinner, Dessert & Discussion) is now BYOD (Bring Your Own Dinner and Dessert), Career & Civic Engagement Open House, and dozens of Club and Organization meetings. In athletics, intramural sports will host a basketball horse & 3 pt challenge as well as a tennis-baseball competition (you have to see it to believe it!), and the fitness center will be open with special workout challenges and prizes.
If we all wear our masks, monitor our health, wash our hands, and maintain physical distancing, we can have a successful semester both socially and academically. The campus is ready to welcome you and to begin this academic year. Masks and physical distancing are required on campus. Please see our webpage for more details.
July 31, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update - July 31, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
It is so good to see people slowly returning to campus and we are looking forward to the student presence! As has been the case since February, the world continues to change. This letter is going to focus on the recent announcement about our athletic conference and state requirements for quarantine. Next week, we will be putting out a longer email providing information for our music students and their practice and performance plans, our plans for move-in, family day, commencement, homecoming, and the many, many other items that you have been asking about.
Varsity Athletics and Intramurals:
I am sorry to inform the campus that the Landmark Conference has chosen to not compete this fall. Each one of the conference members are dealing with a different set of variables regarding the virus. Our Conference covers three states, with three different governors, and significantly different availability to medical and testing resources. It was the unanimous decision that it was in the best interest of the Conference that we suspend fall play for this year. We are all committed to having the Fall Conference compete successfully during the Spring Semester.
That said, I believe that we can have athletic and intramural practices and scrimmages safely and effectively. We are exploring athletic masks created by Under Armour for practice and competition and are preparing our athletic protocols to meet all the recommendations of the NCAA, the CDC, and the PA Board of Health. Our plan is to have our athletes (both varsity and intramural) start practicing after reopening the campus and monitor how we are doing. If we are doing well, we will start scheduling scrimmages with other Landmark Conference Colleges and local colleges who are interested in competing. We hope to have up to six competitions per team over the course of this semester.
Quarantine For Students Who Have Been in States With High Numbers of COVID Cases and Returning International Students:
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has recommended that individuals traveling to certain states (a list of which is kept up to date here) quarantine for 14 days upon their return or arrival to Pennsylvania. The College started imposing this quarantine requirement on its employees earlier this month and will impose the same requirement on students arriving to campus. As we near the beginning of the Fall semester, we ask that all students planning to come to campus do the following:
- Monitor the list of states on the quarantine list and consider canceling travel to those states within 14 days of your arrival to campus to avoid the need to quarantine.
- If you will be in any of these states within 14 days of your arrival to campus (including if you live in one of these states or are a returning international student) e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to self-disclose your quarantine timeline and to discuss details around the following options:
- Early Return Quarantine: If you will need to quarantine, we encourage you to move to campus early to complete your quarantine in residence prior to the start of classes. If you would like to arrive early to quarantine, please e-mail email@example.com as soon as possible to make arrangements.
- Self-Quarantine At Start of Semester: You may also choose to complete your quarantine on campus after your arrival. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know that this is your plan and to provide the timeframe of your quarantine so we can best support you.
Our success in all of this is going to rely on each and every one of us being responsible. We must wear masks, physically distance, and wash our hands. We need to take our temperature daily and quickly provide information to help us contact trace if and when an infection occurs. If we all commit and practice these measures, we can have an effective residential college with rich academic, athletic, and social experiences. We have invested in additional cleaning and disinfecting and improved ventilation for our campus. The college has installed protective devices for students, faculty, and staff; tents for outdoor gatherings and activities; and created a dynamic curriculum that embraces the best in hybrid learning to help reduce student density in classrooms. We are ready for all of you to return, and I am confident that this community can rise to this challenge.
July 24, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update - July 24, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
Summer is fully in swing, and I am writing today with some updates and changes to report. Personally, I am enjoying seeing some people returning to campus and have been proud of our students, who are following the safety guidelines we have in place, maintaining physical distance, and wearing masks. Our students have been on campus since June 1, and teaching has been happening in the health science programs (300-400 students) and research students are on campus in many disciplines. We believe that the success of this group of students demonstrates that we are able to keep everyone safe and continue to meet the mission of educating the next generation.
Moravian is committed to following all the requirements and guidance from the Pennsylvania Board of Health and the Center for Disease Control regarding school openings. As long as these two entities continue to advise safe ways to reopen and have in-person education, Moravian will continue to move forward with our fall semester plans.
It will be imperative that we all uphold requirements to wear masks, adhere to physical distancing practices, wash our hands regularly and generally practice exceptional hygiene. These practices are proving to increase our safety and, as I have said before, we are responsible not only for ourselves, but for one another as part of the Moravian community.
Fall semester plans
I know that many of you have been asking about what the fall semester will look like, especially as some of our classes will be online. Faculty are continuing to work this summer to ensure that regardless of the form of the class — in-person, online, or a mix of both — we will continue to provide the same high quality educational experience you have come to expect at Moravian. Students schedules are still being adjusted. Many of our courses are moving from online to hybrid. Our Instructional Design Team, and our Teaching and Learning Center, with the support of the consulting firm Extension Engine, have all been working closely with faculty this summer to develop courses that will foster the sense of connection and provide the highest quality education for our students. Students with specific questions about their work online should reach out to email@example.com.
Even as some classes will be online, campus will continue to be open for those in-person experiences that have made Moravian such a special place to learn and work. The library, fitness center, and other such facilities will remain open. Classrooms that are too small for classes to follow reasonable physical distancing will be reserved as study spaces to allow individual students to engage in coursework that has moved online. We will continue to build community as only Moravian can: with outdoor MAC events, with the continued tradition of Family Day, with opportunities for those connections with peers that make college life a time for growth and engagement.
The fall still remains in some flux. The Centennial Conference has canceled competitions, and that affects football. The Landmark Conference is waiting to see if further guidance comes from the state, but will be making its decision in the coming weeks. Naturally, we would like to have some opportunity for sports activities and will keep you apprised as we work on available options for the safe playing of these important and engaging activities.
I am hopeful that this letter has provided reassurance of our commitment to starting the Fall semester in a way that meets the expectations of our students in a safe and responsible way. Because invoices were issued, and subsequently due, during a time of uncertainty, please know that we have extended the due date for those bills until Thursday, July 30th. You should have already received an email message from the Office of Students Accounts with more detailed information.
We are actively planning for your safety as well as a high quality educational experience. We will also be planning town halls to address the variety of questions that you all have about health, planning for the future, and diversity, equity, and inclusion actions.
Please stay safe, wear your masks!
June 25, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update-June 25
Dear Campus Community,
My hope is that you are enjoying the slightly cooler weather in Bethlehem! I also hope that you are finding some time to relax and recuperate with family as restrictions are somewhat loosened in the “green phase” for the Lehigh Valley. Remember that the virus is not gone and I urge you to continue to wash your hands, wear masks, and keep physically distant from one another. We are responsible for one another!
I also want to thank the faculty and staff for their exceptional work this summer as we prepare for the unexpected in the fall semester. Everyone has had to put in extra effort and that effort has been critical to our successes so far in preparation for the fall, scheduling, Summer Fair, readying classrooms, residences, and a myriad of other things.
Updates on schedules: Please remember that the schedules are still a work in progress. We are now working on ways to clarify our coding so that the mode (online, hybrid, face-to-face) is clear to both students and faculty. Currently, any courses identified as “OL” are planned as fully online and these are approximately 26% of our total courses. But also please remember that included in this percentage are a number of courses that are “lecture” sections, which have related face-to-face experiences, such as labs and problem sessions. Over the next two weeks we are updating our designations to include hybrid courses, all other listings should be understood as face-to-face courses. We realize these changes and updates are causing questions, angst, and additional concern. As we work through this, please understand that we are doing our best to meet your needs, while keeping you both safe and on track to graduate! Students, if you have questions about your schedule, please contact your advisors.
As our lives settle back into a more normal ebb and flow, I will be sending letters as needed rather than weekly. Please be assured that I will send updates and any important changes immediately. You won’t miss big news!
Regards and wishing you a safe and healthy summer,
June 18, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update-June 18
Dear Campus Community,
I sincerely hope you and your families continue to be well and safe.
Today’s letter includes several information items and links, so I appreciate your patience and willingness to read through all of this material. First, I am sharing the College Police Department’s “Use of Force” policy; I have also included a link to a letter I authored in 2017 regarding our support of DACA and an update on the status of these young people.
As the leader of our institution, I am committed to transparency, equity, and justice. As a first step in the process of transparency around the critical issues of our day, I am sharing our Police Department’s “Use of Force” policy. The Bethlehem Police Department became the first Lehigh Valley department to take such action; we support their action, and share our policy, unredacted, as well. As you can see, this was most recently updated in March 2019 and it includes much of the reform called for in 8 Can’t Wait. An area not specifically addressed in this policy, but will be added, is an explicit statement that, “...requires officers to intervene and stop excessive force used by other officers and report these incidents immediately to a supervisor.” This was an underlying principle already expected of all officers in our Police Department, but it will be included in the written code moving forward. Additionally, the Moravian College Police Department commits to being part of larger conversations, with the city and within our campus community, about how to prevent issues of racial discrimination.
I am truly pleased by the recent Supreme Court ruling to block cancellation of the DACA program (NY Times, 6/18/20: Trump Can’t Immediately End DACA, Supreme Court Rules.)
As many of you know, we signed the amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to protect DACA. I am very pleased that the Court ruled against the termination of the Dreamers Act. I strongly believe that we need to find a reasonable way for these young people to become citizens, some of whom are students and now, graduates of Moravian College. As Comenius wrote, “Let’s have but one end in view, the welfare of humanity; and let us put aside all selfishness in consideration of language, nationality or religion.” I am hopeful that after this ruling, the Department of Homeland Security and Congress will find a path to citizenship for the DACA as well as immigration reform for this country. We are always stronger when we are more diverse.
Important update on the fall semester:
As we noted on our Parents Facebook page we are working hard to make needed schedule changes and keep the best interests of our students and our campus community in focus. Our concerns are health and safety and making sure our students continue to make good progress toward their degrees. We are dedicated to the quality education Moravian has always offered.
In my last message, I said that some schedule changes would be needed to enable more time between classes. These changes have begun and will be finalized on or before July 2. Students will be notified, as will advisors, when changes are completed, and students will then be able to make any adjustments to their own course schedules and plans. In planning, we have, as I also said in my last message, sought to minimize the disruption. We have planned for six rather than seven class periods during the business day as well as 45-minute breaks between classes. Each class period will be 60 minutes in length. This change will allow time for the required cleaning of classroom spaces and more shuttles between our campuses at their necessary reduced capacity for health and safety. Please know that health and safety remain the primary concern for our community and return to campus, but our second concern is that our students continue to make good progress toward their degrees while receiving the world-class, personal education Moravian College has been delivering since 1742 and will continue to deliver in 2020 and long after.
We have put some courses entirely online, others are hybrid or HyFlex, others face-to-face. We are working to minimize the number of students with all online courses, unless at their request. As schedules are revised, if any student has a schedule question, they are encouraged to reach out to their faculty advisors and/or the student success leadership (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Based on faculty and student feedback, we will be moving forward with the following Monday-Friday schedule for Fall classes:
Period 1: 7:30-8:30
Period 2: 9:15-10:15
Period 3: 11:00-12:00
Period 4: 12:45-1:45
Period 5: 2:30-3:30
Period 6: 4:15-5:15
Morning labs: 8:00-11:00
Afternoon labs: 2:00-5:00
Finally, I am committed to our College and the success of our students, their families, our staff and faculty. I am committed to equity, access, and diversity. I am committed to you.
June 12, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update-June 12
Dear Campus Community,
Thank you for your patience as my Wednesday letter turned into a Friday letter. I have several important things to share with you including updates and reminders.
Included in this letter is a link to our Fall 2020 Guide for Reopening Campus. Here you will find information about how we will organize and meet the safety needs of the community. The Guide, and all the decisions we have made are based on both a commitment to and belief in, our collective responsibility for one another. Our success and well being depend on our willingness to commit to this shared responsibility. We need to commit to wearing masks, keeping a physical distance from one another, responsible personal hygiene, and, of course, monitoring any symptoms of the virus, communicating with our campus health services, and staying isolated should we be afflicted.
Students, we have some reminders and updates for you.
Earlier this week, the Office of Housing contacted all returning undergraduate students via email regarding housing options for the coming academic year. Resident students may request to change from a double to a single room or become a commuter. Commuters and off-campus students were extended an offer to reside in on-campus housing. Returning students who would like to modify their housing assignment should respond to Housing by next Wednesday, June 17. The Class of 2024 received information regarding these options on Wednesday afternoon and have until Monday, June 29 to revise their housing preferences.
As a reminder, we have canceled fall break and will be asking students to remain home after the Thanksgiving holiday. Any remaining class meetings, including final exams, scheduled after Thanksgiving will take place online. Some schedule changes will be needed to enable more time between classes. These changes will be made in the coming weeks. As soon as any necessary changes are made to your schedule, you will be notified with updated information about your courses. No matter when you receive this notice, you will have academic advising support to help you make any necessary adjustments, stay on track, and remain successful at Moravian College. We will make every effort to minimize the disruption to your hopes and plans for Fall 2020.
Everyone, as you know this coming semester will be different. We are starting on time, but ending in-person instruction after Thanksgiving. We will be taking many concrete measures to keep you all safe. You will be seeing masks, and we will be asking you to take care with physical distancing. We will have a wide variety of courses offered in various modalities including face-to-face. Over the course of the summer, we will be working to bring staff back on campus safely and in a carefully structured way. Currently, on-campus research has restarted and Reeves Library has opened with curbside service on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. See the Reeves Library webpage for details. One thing will remain unchanged: our commitment to offering a first-rate, Moravian, educational and residential experience.
Some good news, we announced the two Bethlehem Area School District Superintendent’s Scholarship winners this week and I’m excited to welcome two very deserving students to the Moravian family. In years past the scholarship winners were celebrated at both Freedom and Liberty High Schools, but the in-person celebration will have to wait until the fall. You can learn more about Amanda and Damian, two of the newest Greyhounds, here: Lehigh Valley Live: No party this year, but Moravian College is still giving full scholarships to 2 Bethlehem students. We also announced the launch of the Online MBA program.
In a recent letter, I said that “it is my hope that we find the cure to both the coronavirus and the twin viruses of prejudice and inequity.” Since then, there have been countless conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus with students, staff, faculty, and alumni. These conversations will continue and formal programs and changes are being developed. We all recognize that meaningful changes result from dialog, so there are several activities planned and in the planning stages to facilitate change on our campus. Included in this will be a multi-phased “Conversations on Racism,” which will be facilitated by staff and faculty and my team will listen. We will have workshops on trauma and what it means to be “anti-racist.” I believe that we have to listen to lots of voices and reflect on our behaviors. Over this year, we plan to review our faculty and student handbooks and will be working to add educational modules to our new faculty and staff orientations. We will examine our curriculum, employment, and hiring practices. There are many more ideas for how to effect change and we are committed to that process.
I have started reading the work, White Fragility, by Robin DiAngleo and How to be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi in an effort to advance my understanding of the racial tensions in America and for insights on how to have more meaningful and supportive conversations. I invite you to join me in this reading (and other readings that will follow). As we work to listen to understand, we enact our commitment to truly hearing marginalized voices.
Our leadership teams continue to meet and refine our planning regarding our responses to the Coronavirus and our commitment to social justice. So, I will continue to update you weekly. And, I continue to wish you well and hope you are healthy and finding at least some time to rest and reflect.
June 5, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update-June 5
June 5, 2020
Dear Moravian Community,
I hope everyone is safe and well. As many of you may know, Governor Wolf has issued guidance for reopening colleges and universities. We have been actively involved in the formulation of these plans, and our tiered reopening plan aligns directly with the Governor’s guidance. In addition, the Governor will move our counties to yellow as of today. Our team here at Moravian continues to work on all the details of what opening means to keep everyone safe and to continue to learn in the best way possible over the coming academic year.
Noticeable differences in the reopening plan from the Governor’s closing plan include being able to teach face-to-face classes in both the yellow and green phases, with colleges and universities continuing to mitigate, trace, test, and contain infection. We have begun face-to-face teaching for the rehabilitation science and nursing programs, following all CDC and DOH recommendations. We are waiting for the rest of the plan to be complete before we bring more students, faculty, and staff onto campus for summer face-to-face courses. Slowly bringing people back onto campus will prepare us better for the Fall semester.
Next week, we will be providing you with a much more detailed plan about the start of the academic year and what can be expected. Over this past week, members of the senior staff, in consultation with the President's Council, developed FAQs for the Plan for Fall 2020 that will begin to give you some idea of how we will be mitigating risk and returning students to campus over this summer and into the Fall semester. We will add to this document as new information becomes available and more questions are generated.
I know you all have lots of questions. We are working very hard at formulating the plans that will give answers to your questions. More will be forthcoming. Please remember that anything we are sharing at this time reflects the best of our thinking at this moment. So much may change between now and the start of the school year.
Wishing you all a peaceful weekend,
June 1, 2020 | 8:17 p.m.
Subject: Death of George Floyd
June 1, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
In an email that I sent to you this morning, I shared a quote from Comenius that I thought communicated my own and the college’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and my personal support of those who have been peacefully protesting the murder of George Floyd. The quote reads, “We are all citizens of one world, we are all of one blood. To hate people because they were born in another country, because they speak a different language, or because they take a different view on this subject or that, is a great folly. Desist, I implore you, for we are all equally human.” Comenius knew something about the hatred of men and was speaking to it in this quote urging us to be both equitable and just.
Also today, I had a sign attached to the Comenius statue on Main Street. As we did not put the entire quote on the sign, we said: “We are all citizens of one world, indeed . . . we are all equally human”. We have put that quote up on the statue over the past few years to show our support for DACA students and to oppose other instances of racial intolerance. In retrospect, the current social context requires more words rather than fewer. We need to be clear. And some of you are demanding that from me. I have received feedback about the sign that reflects the diversity of your views. I very much welcome all of this feedback, especially the critical feedback, because it invites us to do something that many find very difficult. It invites us to talk openly about race and to acknowledge the ways that members of our community are experiencing and processing the reality of racial injustice differently.
To be clear, the feedback I have received helped me to see that the abbreviated sign is incomplete, and some read it as reminiscent of “All-lives-matter” statements. As a result, we intend to replace the sign with a new sign that has the full quote to more accurately reflect our understanding of its message in light of recent troubling events. And we will save the abbreviated sign for those instances when it responds to the day’s events. Also, I want to reiterate my conviction that the protesters are right; Black lives matter. And those who abuse others based on their race or ethnicity are misunderstanding our basic human connections, rights, and responsibilities.
I understand how important it is to listen to voices that have been historically silenced and marginalized. I recognize my privilege and am committed to using that privilege in the service of racial justice. I thank those who sent valuable feedback. I hope I have learned from you and your perspective. This is how growth and change happen. I welcome and invite all of you to share your thoughts and criticisms with me on this or any topic so that I and the whole Moravian College community can continue to learn and grow from the diversity of experiences and perspectives among us. For those who have asked for ways they can help, I encourage you to click on this link.
Talking about racial injustice is challenging. But the only alternative to talking is remaining silent, which is not an option. I look forward to the fall semester, when we will continue to have hard but critically important conversations about justice. Higher education and Moravian College have important roles to play in forging the future we want to see.
June 1, 2020 | 11:00 a.m.
Subject: Death of George Floyd
Dear Moravian Community,
I hope all of you are well and safe in these very trying times. While we continue to work on the plans for reopening and will be sharing much more detailed plans with you in the coming days, it has become apparent that we continue to deal with a much more persistent and prolific virus that affects our country.
The death of George Floyd sickens every one of us who desire an equitable society. At a time when we are calling on the very best of our doctors, nurses, researchers, and public health officials, we need also to call on the very best of our police, judges, and government officials to end the plague of prejudice that continues to damage this country as it has for hundreds of years.
After the death of George Floyd, our Bias Response & Intervention Team (BRIT) sent out a campus email to all students, faculty, and staff. In support of all the protesters who are peacefully demonstrating for the fair and equal treatment of all human beings, I have asked our facilities staff to place on the statue of Comenius one of his most profound quotes. Comenius calls us to remember: “We are all citizens of one world, we are all of one blood. To hate people because they were born in another country, because they speak a different language, or because they take a different view on this subject or that, is a great folly. Desist, I implore you, for we are all equally human.”
Moravian College supports those in Bethlehem, the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, and throughout the country and the world who peacefully demonstrate for equal treatment because we are all equally human. Like most of you, I am appalled by the treatment of George Floyd, but I am also moved by the police officers and government officials who joined the protests and peacefully called for social change and justice.
It is my hope that we find the cure to both the coronavirus and the twin viruses of prejudice and inequity. I know that we can be better than this, and I know that Moravian graduates will be involved in the solutions to both plagues.
Posted May 28, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update-May 28
Dear Moravian Community,
I hope all of you remain well. This Thursday’s letter gives you some idea of how we are preparing for reopening and holding classes on campus in the fall.
I have been involved in numerous meetings with our Governor’s Staff and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The direction the Governor’s Office appears to be taking is that colleges and universities will resume at least some face-to-face classes in the fall. We plan to have our students back in their residence halls, living on our campus, and participating in course work, clubs, activities, and athletics. Classes may have many dual modalities (or “HyFlex”), some classes may be fully online, while others are in a physical classroom or many variations on that theme. The operative idea is we are enhancing our “flexibility”. Our faculty and staff are working with Apple and our partners at Extension Engine to build cutting-edge courses that employ the best in integrated pedagogies -- so that we will be able to deliver a great education while keeping students on track for their degrees.
The Governor's Office has indicated that they believe the ideal place for this age group (18-22 year olds) may be on residential campuses living with each other. Consequently, they recommend against students traveling back and forth to their homes and local communities unless absolutely necessary for academic purposes. Obviously, colleges and universities will continue to have commuter populations on campuses across the country and, at Moravian, there will be careful health monitoring for these students for the safety of their families, themselves, and our community. Colleges are being asked to prepare to provide regular and ongoing testing throughout the fall semester and to manage infection, if and when it occurs on campus, on the campus proper, and not to send students home. We are very grateful that our partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network brings us a level of expertise to our campus that is usually only reserved for universities who have a medical teaching hospital. To have such expertise partnering with our campus is truly a special benefit to Moravian College and generally unheard of for small colleges. Our mitigation, testing, isolation, and quarantine plans for next semester are in the development process with the faculty experts from our campus and the very best doctors and health-care professionals from St. Luke’s University Health Network. You will be receiving more information over the coming weeks as the plans become finalized.
Because the Governor’s direction suggests there is risk to public health by sending students back and forth to home when not necessary, we are moving to a semester without breaks so that students remain on campus as long as possible to limit infection to others who are more at risk. This means that we are planning no fall break and we plan on having undergraduates return to their homes for Thanksgiving and remain there until the start of the Spring term.
I have also been in discussion with our fellow presidents in our Landmark Athletic Conference and there is a general consensus among the presidents that we are planning on our student athletes practicing and playing our conference games during the fall, and conducting regular testing prior to visiting a campus for a game. We may not be allowing spectators, but since we broadcast our games, Greyhound fans can still cheer on our teams.
All of our planning remains very fluid, and it all depends on what the Governor’s Office will allow us to do and when. I encourage you to review the Plan for Fall 2020, which reflects the phases implemented by the Governor’s Office and how the College will proceed accordingly. We expect Northampton County to be in the yellow phase, possibly green, when campus opens for students in August. A more in-depth guide to reopening the campus is also in development now, which will address specific questions about policies and procedures planned in order to keep students, faculty, and staff safe as well as how public, residential, and classroom spaces will be used and disinfected.
No matter what happens in the fall, I want to reassure you that we’re ready! From faculty preparing to deliver world-class education; to advances in testing, tracking, and monitoring of infectious diseases; to the best thinking in managing college students in residential environments, we are ready to keep our students academically on track and physically safe.
Moravian has been around since 1742. We have seen a Revolutionary War, a Civil War, and two World Wars; we endured economic recessions and depressions; and we have survived more than one pandemic. We will see everyone through this one as well.
I thank you all for your patience and support. Much more will be shared in the next few weeks, including more detail about the academic calendar, living and eating accommodations, testing and sanitizing plans, and curricular changes.
Wishing you all well and stay safe,
Posted May 20, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update-May 20
Dear Moravian Community,
This letter will be short as we are all catching our breath as we finish up last semester and start the planning for welcoming students to campus in the fall. We have already begun summer session online coursework and we are in the midst of much deeper planning for the Fall semester. Next week, we will be sharing considerably more detail about our planning processes and how we see future months unfolding. As I have said before, I appreciate your patience as we work hard to get the details right and provide the best and safest spaces for teaching and learning to occur.
In the meantime, we are monitoring all communications from the Governor’s office and the PA Department of Education, and I remain in frequent communication with them, as well as with college and university leaders from around the country. My leadership team is also in close contact with their peer networks. One remarkable part of this pandemic is the generosity colleges and universities have shown towards one another! We have been sharing letters, approaches, ideas, concerns, and solutions regularly. It appears to me that institutions of Higher Education are modeling generosity and community, all in the service of ensuring that our students can be educated, but educated safely.
This coming Monday is Memorial Day, a holiday with special poignance under these circumstances. It is a day to remember those who gave their lives in service for their country, but inevitably, we will also think of those that lost their lives in this recent pandemic -- those in service to others, but also those whom we cherished as family members and friends. Please take this day to reflect, remember, and appreciate all that we have.
My wish is that you remain healthy and safe this coming week and all those that follow!
Posted May 13, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update-May 13
Dear Campus Community,
Congratulations to the Class of 2020! As I have said numerous times, when I welcomed you home to Moravian at the Crossing Ceremony in 2016, I never could have imagined that this is the way your college experience would have ended. My heart aches that you did not get your senior spring semester, that spring sports did not get to compete, that classes needed to be online, that undergraduate research and musical juries had to be presented through Zoom, among many, many other events that were canceled or needed to meet online. I am so proud of each and every one of you because you demonstrated grit and determination as you worked to finish your coursework and degree, but you also did so by being caring, appreciative, and understanding of those attempting to make this very difficult situation the best it could be. Thank you! This class will forever be in my memory as one of the most resilient and most caring -- I think this is the true definition of hound’em! We will celebrate you officially and with great pomp and circumstance at your graduation on October 24 at Homecoming. I so look forward to that day . . .
As we finish out the Spring 2020 semester, my weekly letters are going to start looking forward to the next academic year and the preparation we are doing for the return of students to campus and the continuation of academic progress to degrees. To that end, I begin with a few updates and announcements:
Many thanks to the 85%+ of our campus residents who have removed their personal belongings and returned room keys since last Thursday. Your patience and support through this process has been helpful. Those who have not yet returned to your space, or communicated plans to return, please create a plan. Housing reached out to you earlier this week and reviewed options, which include identifying a day and time to return between now and Monday, May 18. You can sign up here. If you need alternative arrangements or assistance, please email email@example.com by next Monday, May 18. If we do not hear from you, your personal items will be considered abandoned property.
Updates on campus planning and activities:
We have moved through the first phase of our responses to the COVID-19 public health situation that we are all experiencing and we are deep into phase two. The findings from both phases will direct the way we work for the foreseeable future.
Phase 1: Response to Crisis (short term). In this phase, most students left our residence halls and returned home, we moved to remote work for faculty and staff, we moved all classes to remote formats, and we established safety standards, trained staff and ensured safe environments.
Phase 2: Transition (likely 12 - 24 months). We are currently in this phase. We are evaluating our academic and co-curricular programming, training our faculty and staff in new ways of pedagogy and work, preparing for new operational business models, and ensuring future investment strategies.
Phase 3: Revolutionary Transformation. Our findings from phases 1 and 2, coupled with consideration we’ve been giving to other strategic alternatives, will inform our long range planning and operations. We expect this to lead into our next Strategic Plan.
In order to facilitate and ensure that important work gets completed, we have developed several discrete, but collaborative, teams:
The COVID-19 Incident Response Team (IRT), chaired by President Grigsby and made up of his senior staff, has been meeting daily for months and continues to focus on anticipating and responding to immediate needs and actions related to COVID-19, with an emphasis on public health, safety and communications. This team advises on all college policies, practices, services, operations, and safety recommendations, naturally working in collaboration with state and federal health officials. The teams listed below share recommendations and strategies from their sub-groups to this overarching group.
The Financial COVID-19 Planning Team, chaired by CFO Reed, and working with staff in Finance & Administration, Enrollment, Academic Affairs and Human Resources, to construct various scenarios, options and contingency plans for the fall semester. These include everything ranging from “business as usual” to a totally on-line curriculum with no on-campus programming. The group is focusing on the operations needed to support both our academic and student missions.
The Faculty COVID-19 Planning Team, chaired by Provost Kosso and co-chaired by Dean Husic and Dean Jasper, is a multidisciplinary academic team drawn from across the college to ensure and advise on the quality of instruction, regardless of the mode of delivery, and maintenance of exceptional curricular standards under multiple COVID-19 and post COVID-19 scenarios.
The Student Life COVID-19 Planning Team, chaired by Vice President Loyd, is working with staff in athletics, dining, facilities, and others regarding the co-curricular activities that are woven through the fabric of a Moravian College student experience.
The Revolutionize Education (again) Task Force, co-chaired by Provost Kosso and Vice President Loyd. This group will re-imagine the strategic plan in a post-COVID world. The task force consists of two subgroups addressing academic issues and operations/services. The task force’s purpose is to continue advancing our strategic plan while exploiting what we’ve learned from COVID-19 about academic, operating and service models.
As these groups work together and with you to clarify our next steps, I will continue to keep you informed. My hope is that you are all safe and well and that the summer months change the rhythms of your lives to be somewhat more relaxing and restorative.
Posted May 4, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update - May 4
Dear Campus Community,
This message is my weekly email early, because I have wonderful news to share: the Governor’s Office granted us permission to open our campus under highly controlled and regulated guidelines for residential students to return and gather their belongings beginning on Thursday, May 7th. I know this is a long-awaited announcement!
This limited opening comes with significant restrictions. We have to ensure that strict social and physical distancing remains a priority during this move-out period. It will take cooperation from 100% of our residential population (and their families) in order to keep everyone as safe as possible. I know I can count on all of you!
I suspect many of you are already trying to figure out how you can get to the front of the line. I think it goes without saying that not everyone can return in the first available time slot, so please, be patient and let’s remember to extend courtesy and grace to each other in this process.
That said, we have a plan to accommodate ALL of our residential students; but FINAL EXAMS are your first priority. Please choose a day/time after the completion of your final exams, projects and papers.
Following this email, residential students will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org describing our plan. This includes directions for how to sign up for a move-out time. Here is a small excerpt of that message (for those who are curious):
- A limited number of residents are permitted to move out during each time slots:
- Suite and apartment style communities can have one resident per suite/apartment/house per four hour block.
- Traditional style communities are limited to 10% of the building occupancy per four hour block. For example, a building housing 100 residents can have 10 students return per four hour block.
- Select a day and time to return to campus. There is no rush! Again, please wait until final exams are complete. Time slots are first come, first served. We will continue to offer times until all residents have retrieved items.
Campus Police, Facilities, and Student Life Staff will be closely monitoring our buildings during this period. Card Access to our residential facilities will only be granted to students approved to return during their assigned day and time. Again, for the safety of everyone in our community, please follow all of the requirements of this move-out plan.
I personally promised the Governor that the Moravian College community would comply with social distancing during this move-out process. If we find that not to be the case, I will immediately pause the move-out process, cancelling all reserved time slots, until we can come up with a more restrictive plan. Safety remains our number one priority! I share that so you understand the importance of 100% cooperation. Thank you, Greyhounds!
Posted April 29, 2020
Coronavirus Update - April 29
Dear Moravian Community,
Over the last week, Lea and I have been calling students to simply “check in” . . . this is part of a larger College effort to call each and every Moravian student - undergraduates and graduates! As a community that cares deeply about one another, this is just one more way to stay in contact.
I have absolutely loved these phone calls! They have rejuvenated us and it has been great to connect with students and hear their stories. And I know the other faculty and staff who have been connecting with students feel similarly. We do have an amazing, caring, resilient, and thoughtful community.
I do this work . . . we all do this work . . . because we fundamentally love young people and the educational process. I miss daily walks from my office in Colonial Hall to the HUB where I knew I’d run into dozens of students and I would get to chat with them about their day, about their classes, about their life (and yes, I know that they are primarily happy to see Mo and Benny). I miss my office hours in the HUB, and sporting events on Makuvek Field. Most of all, I miss all the end of year events -- Midnight Breakfast, Baccalaureate, Senior Soiree, and, most importantly, Graduation. I can’t wait to have everyone get back to Bethlehem, but in the meantime, I will continue to cherish these phone calls and other moments, such as our In-Focus Symposium and Town Hall, when I can connect with our students.
Speaking of students - I know that finals loom and this is a stressful time under normal circumstances. I am wishing you luck as you continue to work to complete the semester!
Updates from the Governor’s office: The governor has issued an update on how the state will reopen. While he reminds us that he will be data driven in his decisions, his tiered reopening plan still has educational facilities last on the list of institutions to reopen. Even when we do reopen, there will likely be restrictions to the flow of movement, numbers of people allowed in certain spaces and a continued use of masks and other safety measures.
The Governor has remained resolute about clearing out dorms as a clear violation of his pandemic policy. I have a meeting with the Deputy Secretary of Education tomorrow morning and will try to get further guidance as to when they will allow our dorm rooms to be vacated of personal possessions, as I know that is on all of your minds. I will update you all accordingly as we have plans already formulated to protect everyone and maintain physical distancing.
Advice from Moravian's Occupational Therapy (OT) students and faculty:
From Ann Marie Potter, Ph.D., OTR/L:
Our OT students have been studying ergonomics in OT 516 with Dr. Sonja Burmeister. With the move online, each student assessed their home work area. The class has put together some tips that they learned through their experience for the campus community in honor of OT month. Thanks to them all for this great work! (And, upon a first look at the document, it seems I am doing some things ergonomically incorrectly... I will fix that!)
As always, take care of yourselves! Be well and be safe!
Posted April 23, 2020
Subject: A Message from the CFO about Student Board Plan Refunds
As Dr. Grigsby mentioned in his community message on Monday, I would be sending out a message this week to the students about options they will have to process the refund for the unused portion of their board plan. Please know that the email to those students was sent today, just before 3:00PM. The options available to the student will be to receive a refund of the amount due, to apply 105% of the refund to a future bill from the College or to donate some or all of the refund to the Moravian Scholarship Fund of the College.
Please contact your student if you wish to be part of that decision. Students have until noon on Monday to make a selection. The default selection, if a response is not received, will be to receive a refund.
If you do expect to select the refund option, I would strongly encourage you to enroll in the E-Refund program offered by the college. You can easily enroll in this program within the Student Account portal within AMOS. If you have any questions about enrolling in this program, please contact email@example.com.
Vice President for Finance and Administration, CFO
Posted April 22, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update - April 22
Dear Moravian Community,
I want to start by thanking all of you for your steadfast support of one another and the College. These have been difficult days for every member of our community and their families. Thank you to our students and families for your willingness to wait while we worked through the details of the financial relief that we can provide to you. If you missed Monday’s letter about room, board, and other expenses, you can find it here.
Thank you to our employees who bore the news of their furloughs with both dignity and grace. Thank you to the employees who will be taking on extra tasks while their treasured colleagues are not with us; and thank you to the faculty and staff who have taken pay cuts to relieve the pressures of the moment. Truly, we are a united community and you have demonstrated that over the last weeks and months in abundance. I greatly appreciate all the kind words of support from our families, alumni, students, staff and faculty . . . you are all amazing.
Monday’s letter was a long one, so I will be a bit more brief today. I want to share some great stories and videos as well as remind you where you can find answers to a variety of questions.
Stories, Videos and Websites:
- Moravian College in National Press: The Chronicle of Higher Education (4.21.20)
- Moravian College announces the 2020 Online InFocus Town Hall to be held 4/23
- Video: Campus Tour
Moravian Employee Information:
- Furlough FAQs
- Tomorrow our HR website will outline resources in the EAP (Employee Assistance Program). We will forward a message to all faculty and staff with the link tomorrow.
Also, beginning today, I will be shifting to a weekly newsletter; these emails will continue each Wednesday until further notice. Of course, you will hear from me more immediately if anything emergent related to COVID-19 occurs in our community or state.
I’ll remind you again to take care of yourselves! Be safe and well.
Posted April 20, 2020
Dear Moravian Community,
I hope you each found some time for rest and reflection this weekend. It has been a weekend of serious reflection for me and my staff. This letter is long and discusses student refunds and relief aid as defined by the CARES Act, and necessary personnel related cost reductions. We are still waiting on clear direction from the U.S. Department of Education; however, this letter represents our current understanding of the law and enables us to initiate some refunds now. The financial impact that COVID-19 has had on our College and on our families is significant and painful for all, and it looks like it may continue well through the summer. For this reason, the College needs to take significant action now in order to be prepared for what may lie ahead.
A few months ago, we could not have imagined how our lives would be disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Faculty, students, and staff alike have had to change the way they teach, learn, work, and connect with family and friends. I continue to be inspired by this community’s resiliency and I deeply appreciate your commitment and continued optimism. We will get through this.
Financial Relief for Unused Room and Board Charges
In previous messages, I have asked for patience as we worked through the complexities associated with providing financial relief to those families who expected their student(s) to be living on campus and/or participating in a College meal plan this spring semester. A big thank you to our students and families for their patience.
We continue to monitor the ever-changing guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education, which will be modified yet again this week, in relation to the aid given in the CARES Act and how it can be used. I am also sensitive to the fact that many of you may need the funds to help support your families now. My senior staff has been working diligently to develop this plan; the plan provides support in two very distinct, but helpful, ways. To that end, we offer the following guidelines for the release of partial board funding and this can happen immediately:
Meal Plan Refunds:
For those students who immediately vacated the campus as instructed, and had purchased a meal plan, you will be fully refunded for the 7 weeks that you were not able to use your 16 week meal plan. Your refund is calculated by multiplying the price that you paid for your meal plan by 7/16th. These pro-rata refunds will range from $70 to $1,479 depending upon the meal plan that you purchased.
Later this week, you will be receiving a separate email from our Chief Financial Officer that will provide more specific detail about the Board refunds, and it will provide several options including:
- Receiving an E-refund or check, now, for the amount of your calculated refund (net of any past due balances due to the College);
- Applying 105% of your calculated refund to your student account to apply toward your College bill in the future.
- Giving a gift to the Moravian Scholarship Fund - an unrestricted and immediate source of financial aid for academically qualified students to help make their education affordable and uninterrupted. Your gift may qualify you for the $300 tax-break for COVID-19 donations, as well as other charitable giving credits and benefits.
Your refund will be processed as soon as you select the option that best meets your family’s needs.
As mentioned in previous messages, unlike meal plans, there are very few variable costs associated with operating our residence halls. The revenues that we receive from room charges help to fund the overall costs of the institution, which helps to keep our tuition more affordable. That is the very reason our housing contracts state that room charges are non-refundable once the semester has started.
With that said, and while we still need further guidance from the Department of Education as to what we are allowed to do, we do understand that families are experiencing increased costs as a result of students living at home. To help defray these and any other unanticipated costs (such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care) the College will be administering grants to offset some of these costs. All students who signed a room agreement for the spring semester will receive a $1,000 Home Living Grant. In addition, for those students who receive any Pell Grant funds, you will be entitled to a $150 Living Expense Grant and a $50 Technology at Home Grant. And students who receive the maximum Pell Grant of $3,097 will also receive a Supplemental Living Expense Grant of $100.
As such, the student grants will range from $200 to $1,300 and these grants will be processed and paid to your student account. These grants will be administered by the Office of Financial Aid (and unlike the board refund described above, you do not need to take any action to receive these grants). Grants will be distributed upon final clarification from the Department of Education.
The chart below summarizes the financial relief that families can expect.
The Center for Global Education and Student Accounts is finalizing the refunds for various trips and portions of trips. They will be reaching out to all impacted students this week.
Preparing for an Unknown Future: Salary Reductions, Furloughs, and other Costs Savings Initiatives
With the financial effects resulting from the closure of our residence halls and suspension of food service, the inability to use the campus during the summer, the increase in technology costs and licenses to move all instruction online this past semester, and the unknown effects all of this may have on student enrollment for the Fall semester, the College needs to take drastic action to preserve its financial strength in the future. To that end, we will be making adjustments as follows:
Highest Compensated Employees
On May 4, I will be giving a month’s salary back to the College to fund the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and to help offset the budget. More details on the EAP and how it might assist you will be shared soon. Additionally, the Senior Staff and all individuals earning more than $100K in annual salary will forego the equivalent of three weeks pay. These tangible contributions demonstrate our personal commitment to all employees, as well as to the future health of Moravian.
Difficult Decisions Impacting our Faculty & Staff
When this pandemic began and Governor Wolf announced his stay at home order, we were committed to pay our employees through May 1, 2020. We stopped our contract services with CSI, Sodexo, and St. Luke’s when we could in order to save the most money possible. The vast majority of the faculty and staff have been working full-time (and more than full-time), albeit remotely, during this crisis faculty have been delivering classes and staff have been continuing the necessary business operations of the College (enrollment, student life, the business office, etc.).
We now have to make some difficult decisions that will affect our entire faculty and staff. There may be other steps that we will need to take in the future, depending upon the duration of the pandemic and the impacts of the economic downturn. Although we are modeling a variety of possible outcomes, we cannot yet predict what additional measures we may have to implement. We understand this is a challenging situation. We ask our faculty and staff to continue supporting each other during this unprecedented time. We are all navigating a situation with no road map and no definitive end date. The decisions we make today and how we choose to respond in this time of uncertainty will determine how Moravian College emerges from this worldwide crisis. With that said, we will be making the following changes:
- Contributions to Retirement: Effective July 1, we will temporarily reduce employer-funded retirement contributions from 8% to 1%. This move will provide the College budget with a reasonable cushion for the 2020-2021 fiscal year given the uncertainty of the fall semester revenues. Our hope is to reinstate this employee benefit as soon as feasible.
- Furloughs: We are grateful for federal funding through the CARES Act that helped us put money back in the accounts of our students and their families (explained above), but that funding was not enough to cover all of our losses. We will join many of our higher education peers in furloughing employees who are either not able to perform their core job duties at home or whose work can be temporarily stopped as we learn more about the impact that this pandemic will have on our College. Approximately 25% of our staff will be furloughed, beginning May 2 through July 31, 2020. Out of our gratitude for each individual affected, all furloughed employees will retain their current medical, dental, and vision insurance, and Moravian will continue to pay the employer portion of their insurance premiums during the temporary furloughs. Affected employees may file for state unemployment compensation benefits and federal support immediately. Unemployment compensation includes an additional weekly supplement of $600 through the end of July as part of the CARES Act. Temporarily furloughed employees will receive more information tomorrow. It is our intention to return our employees to their roles as soon as regular, sustained work is available back on campus.
Some of you have asked why we are not using funds from our endowment to tide us over. It is important to understand that endowments are established to stand the test of time. They are literally created in a way to last forever. As a result, there are two main reasons we simply cannot spend the endowment to cover our operating expenses: in most cases we are not permitted, and when it is permitted, it should be used only as the last option.
- More than 95% of our endowment represents gifts that were given to Moravian College to be held in perpetuity (forever), and only the earnings from those gifts can be used for a specific purpose, which were identified by the donor. These funds are not available for general use.
- For the remaining endowment that is not tied to a specific purpose, the market values of those investments are significantly lower than usual due to the state of the economy. It is simply not a good time to be liquidating investments to support general operations, and using these funds should be the very last option available to us.
These are challenging decisions made in extreme circumstances, but I pledge to you that I will do everything in my power to ensure that teaching, learning, and working takes place on this campus for generations to come.
Posted April 17, 2020
Dear Moravian Community,
This is Board of Trustees week “on” campus and we met with our three boards: Seminary, College, and Joint Board over the last two days. We had productive conversations with the trustees about current operations and how we are positioning our institution for a bright future post COVID-19. We’ve been doing this important work of educating our population since 1742… that won’t stop now!
That said, we have all been concerned about the budgetary ramifications of the virus and its economic impacts on all of the members of the community. I will be sharing more information about our plan to provide money to families (e.g. meal plans, etc.) and other actions the College will be taking to address budgetary issues, for the near and long term, in Monday’s update.
- This week, April 13-17, is National Student Employee Appreciation Week. Prior to the impacts of COVID-19, there had been a series of on-campus events planned to celebrate our student employees. While this week has turned out differently, and many of the student work schedules have been disrupted, we want you to know how much we appreciate all of your contribution to the Moravian College community. With over 500 student employees on campus, your contributions are vast! THANK YOU for all you do for and with the Moravian College community. We appreciate you!
- Despite the impacts of COVID-19, our Center for Career and Civic Engagement stands ready to help you translate your on campus student employment experience to your resume and/or interview. Please reach out to them at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a virtual appointment. And check out their website for even more information!
- I hope you enjoy this video - Thank You FMPC!
- Two members of our community recently appeared in a piece produced by PBS39: Some College Students Returned Home, Some Couldn't: What It's Like On Campus. Thank you Benitta and Liz!
A weekend is upon us once again. I hope you take some time to enjoy the outdoors and recuperate from the stresses of this past week.
All my best to you and your families, be well,
Posted April 15, 2020
Dear Moravian Community,
It is a beautiful, sun-filled day in Bethlehem. We are at the start of our Board of Trustees’ April meetings. This year, like everything else, we are virtual. Over the next two days, the Board will examine the financial health and well being of the campus as well as its strategic direction forward. We take great pride in being the sixth-oldest college in the country. Over the decades, we have weathered Revolutionary and Civil Wars, World Wars, Depressions and Recessions, the Spanish Flu, and Yellow Fever and many other storms over the last 278 years. We will manage the COVID-19 storm as well.
Moravian College is still benefiting from our MacBook and iPad campus initiative. We are one of a few select Apple Distinguished Campuses and many of our faculty are Apple Certified Educators. That means we are ready and able to keep all our students, both graduate and undergraduate, progressing in their academic programs no matter what the recommendation is for social distancing.
We are well prepared, and while we may have to make some difficult choices over the next few weeks and months, we will come out of this stronger and more resilient than ever. I will continue to share budget and other updates in my letters to you as we work through this with the Board of Trustees.
Moravian College alumnus and MSPA adjunct faculty member, Kevin Brown has created an interactive COVID-19 dashboard, visible only to those that have the direct link; the data source, Johns Hopkins University, is set to auto refresh daily. Note: it is not searchable within Tableau Public. Congratulations and many thanks to our outstanding alum, Kevin!
Our Athletic Training programs continue to excel! The following Moravian College students have won National Athletic Trainers' Association Scholarships: Morgan Duggan (1st Year MSAT), Jessie Vallorosi (1st Year MSAT), Kellie Wanamaker (2nd Year MSAT) and Alexandra Vladyka (1st Year DAT). These outstanding students were awarded 4 of 63 available national awards! In addition, Moravian College AT students captured the most national scholarships of ANY program in the country, with four!
More good news:
Please join me in congratulating William Pelletiers (majoring in Public Health, minoring in Political Science and German) and Shianne Reimer (majoring in History and German Studies), who are now Fulbright Finalists to Germany. They will be excellent representatives of Moravian College in Germany because their work and ethos elevates the discourse across our campus and beyond.
These stories are excellent reminders of the important work you are all doing! Thank you for everything you do! Their selection as Fulbright scholars continues the work of Moravian's Fellowship Program, which has also seen other recent winners. Here is a link to some of the Fellowship Program's recent winners: https://www.moravian.edu/fellowship-program/winners
And one more: History students may have been disappointed not to be able to cook, but that did not stop them. They created a Virtual Cookout Cookbook, assembled from the work of about 100 students: https://sites.google.com/view/historycookbook/ Enjoy their work!
Even more good news:
- Career & Civic Annual Report press release
- Class of 2019 - Annual Report (98% are employed or in grad school)
Please stay well and continue to help flatten the curve.
Posted April 13, 2020
Dear Moravian Community,
It is a rainy, windy, day in Bethlehem! I hope you managed some time to rest and be with your family over the slightly extended weekend. Some of you may be experiencing intermittent power interruptions because of the winds, but I hope you all remain safe and are still able to work on your classes or other remote work!
In the news:
All Pennsylvania counties remain under a stay at home order through April 30. We are all hopeful that the curve is flattening in New York, as has been recently reported. Everyone is encouraged to wear masks when going outside.
In higher education news:
Over the weekend, we started to get some greater clarity from the Federal Government on how the allocation to higher education in the CARES Act and how it can be applied to help our students and families. As you all are aware, the forced closure of our dorms did not reduce the costs to operate the facilities in any significant way. The banks still expect to be paid for loans issued to build the buildings and we still have to pay utilities and for people to maintain the buildings. Over this time, the College also had increased costs for licenses for Zoom and online laboratories and other software expenses as we went completely online. Finally, we lost any further use of our buildings for the summer which helps to offset tuition. The direct and indirect effects of this pandemic continue to have a significant financial impact on the College. At the same time, families' costs have gone up as their students have returned home. The Cares Act is designed to help both colleges who are struggling with the costs to maintain their nearly empty dorms caused by the COVID-19 and the families who now have college students home with them.
We hope to receive our allocation of this money some time this week and to get further guidance on how it can offset the costs we are all facing. It is far from what all of us need, but it is a start that hopefully can help keep all our families and colleges afloat during this pandemic.
We hope to finalize all of this by our Board of Trustee meeting at the end of this week and be issuing refunds by early next week.
There is an opportunity to be Safe Zone Trained! Register here!
We are limiting this online training to 10 participants. If we get more folks interested, another training will be scheduled. Please email email@example.com if you have any questions!
The Limited Planned Power Outage that was scheduled for today has been postponed due to the heavy rains and high winds expected. It has been rescheduled for next Monday, April 20. As a reminder, this planned outage, to address a necessary maintenance concern, will impact Colonial Hall, Bahnson Center, Collier Hall of Science and 1206 Main Street. The planned down time for next Monday will once again be from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m..
Members of the Math and Computer Science Department, led by Jeff Bush, have been using our 3D printing lab to create materials for local organizations in need. On Friday, they dropped off the first 40 stethoscopes to St. Luke's Hospital and the first 100 face shields they’ve printed will be delivered today to the Bethlehem Township Volunteer Fire Company.
They're documenting these efforts on their website here: https://3d.moravian.edu/covid-19-prints
Members of the community have been making face masks for one another! Those with sewing machines and the creative ability are helping out those without and we are all grateful for that community spirit and care! Feel free to send photos of your creative endeavors (email: firstname.lastname@example.org ).
With all best wishes for a creative and satisfying week,
Posted April 8, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update-April 8
Dear Moravian Community,
With spring flowers come storms and there was an exciting one in the Bethlehem area last night! I hope everyone is safe after the storm and continues to remain in their homes. We will be taking a break from our letters this week by allowing our staff to be off on Good Friday. We will pick up with updates to our letters on Monday, April 13. I hope all of you are able to spend time with your family, and if you celebrate religious holidays have a peaceful and restful Passover and Easter.
For many of us, the loss of our normal rituals of life is what is most difficult to deal with during this time: be it a Passover Seder or Easter Morning Sunrise Services. We long for the normal and for being in community with others. Because of the continued uncertainty of stay-at-home orders and the need for our families to plan, I am officially postponing graduation to October 24th. Graduation is an important right of passage for our students, and I do not think it can be done virtually or simply forgotten. I am amazed by the resilience of the Class of 2020, and I hope each and every one of you return to walk across the stage in October as we all welcome you officially into the pack of hounds that call Moravian College their alma mater, their nourishing mother.
Posted April 6, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update-April 6
It is good to be back with you virtually this week! Spring has definitely arrived on campus -- the trees and flowers are blooming. I hope all of you had some time to walk outside over the weekend and to take care of yourselves, to do things that bring you joy. The Comenius statue on our front lawn and the Benigna statue in the Pleasure Garden are now all reminding us to take appropriate precautions when outdoors, as they have started wearing masks as a public service statement.
I ask that you bear with us on the issue of refunds as we still have not received direction (nor the actual funds!) from the Department of Education on how and when that percentage of the allocation can be spent. Please know that refunds are coming, but we need to have clear directions from the federal government before we can proceed.
The next two weeks, we will be busy working with our Board of Trustees on college business and preparing us for our future. We will be zooming in and out of meetings regularly. So please know that if we are a little slower than usual responding it is because we are zooming (much like all of you!). Today our topics include: in the news, student info, good news and the reach of history, and mindfulness.
In the news
On Friday, the Governor added to the safety recommendations adding the wearing of masks in public. Over the weekend we saw many people complying. Although masks are hard to come by, many websites and social media outlets have directions for making them at home.
Many of you may have seen the story in the Morning Call this weekend (April 4: Lehigh Valley colleges opening dorms for doctors and nurses on frontline of coronavirus fight) about how we’re preparing some on-campus housing options, ones that are currently unoccupied, for medical personnel in need. Please note we will not be moving anyone into residence hall rooms that were previously occupied by students this spring semester. In summary, we will not be moving your personal items from your room in order to house medical personnel.
- Housing Selection: Late last week returning students slated to participate in general housing selection received information via email regarding our revised timeline and online process that will take place Friday, April 17, Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19.
- Academic Policies: Reminder to students about changes in academic policies -- talk to your advisor and visit the Academic Advising web page for details.
Good news and the reach of history…
Our colleague, Hilde Binford, along with her Canadian husband, sent us a story: The Inuit in Canada are clearly concerned about the coronavirus devastating their communities. Some, however, are bringing out the Moravian stars! Dr. Binford was reminded of the idea of sending stars to our students who have had loved ones die ....
"Some Labrador Inuit have tried to ease their anxiety by hanging Moravian stars in their windows. In the villages established by Moravian missionaries in the 1700s along this rugged northern coastline, that faith still holds tight. The stars, normally reserved for Christmas, are seen as a sign of hope."
Coincidentally, according to Paul Peucker, the Moravian Archives recently began collaborating with the Nunatsiavut Government on a digitization grant. The Archives hold the records of the Moravian churches along the Labrador coast and received a grant from CLIR to do this work.
Tips for mindfulness have also been abundantly shared online and in our email boxes, but it is good to remember that in times of stress: stay calm, focus on your purpose, stick to your routines, be kind, and be grateful…
With all best wishes for a mindful and effective week,
Posted April, 3, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update-April 3
Dear Campus Community,
I hope this weekend brings some moments of relaxation and personal enrichment to you and your family. I know I’m looking forward to some peaceful time outdoors (and fewer Zoom calls).
Today’s message is a bit shorter than most, but I’ll resume Monday with the “in the news” and “good news” sections. And, I already know that there will be housing selection information (for returning residential students), I know that is on the minds of many of you!
We will be shifting this section in future letters to COVID-19 Community Update.
We will discontinue the practice of sharing case numbers. With so few people remaining on campus, the “spread risk” on campus has been limited and we acknowledge that most of this has shifted to your homes and local communities. We also know that as you and your family navigate this illness, contacting the Health Center is not your first priority.
That said, we still continue to encourage all members of our community to communicate with the Health Center (email@example.com) so we may assist in notifying close contacts and so the team can provide support.
We acknowledge that this is a time of great loss: loss of lives, loss of jobs, loss of normalcy. Please practice good self care and reach out for support when needed. We are all in this together.
I’ve been told that many of you missed our VIRTUAL BACKGROUNDS from campus, so I am including them again. Enjoy!
Thank you again and stay well.
Posted April 1, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update-April 1
Dear Campus Community,
Good afternoon to you all. It was gratifying to see the sun shining this morning and hear the birds singing! Many of you have been sharing humorous, musical, and artistic creations with me and I thank you for these. There is real talent out there in our community. I encourage people to tag them with @moraviancollege on social media so they can be enjoyed by others. You have also been sharing ideas for solving problems and supporting our community; I thank you for all your ideas.
Topics today include: In the News, Housing, Case Updates, and A Message from the Editor of the Comenian, and Graduation.
In the News
The federal government is still working on the way the money from The CARES Act can be distributed and allocated once we receive it. We are hoping for further directives by the end of this week. These directives impact areas such as refunds and reimbursements, increased costs incurred by moving online, and other general financial hardships that colleges face now that our campuses are closed. As we get clearer directives, we will be able to share those with our community.
Students: When the governor lifts the order to shelter in place, we will contact you and then work with you to collect your belongings. If you need a particular item from your room in order to complete your coursework, of course, please let us know (contact Greg Meyer, Associate Dean of Students, firstname.lastname@example.org).
We have 3 individuals in our college community who have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results. We have had 7 people receive a negative test result, and we have three positives - two confirmed positive results and one presumed positive result (someone who remains untested, but was categorized as a presumed positive by medical professionals) in our community. Close contacts have been notified.
From Elizabeth Horn, Editor-in-Chief, The Comenian:
The Comenian, Moravian's student newspaper, is looking to have a collective space for the Moravian community to share experiences, responses, frustrations, and concerns in this strange time of quarantine during a global pandemic. Students, staff, and faculty alike can utilize this forum as a public history project to document our experiences living in this historic time. All responses can be published on the Comenian's website for public access and study, both now and in the future. The website is in the process of being archived in Reeves Library, so any responses could be possible sources for future study of this historic time period.
To move this idea to a larger scale for more interaction, I created a poll that students, staff and faculty can use as a sort of container to share stories and experiences: https://forms.gle/PHKuBYmnhWvqVovP. It is possible to be submitted anonymously, and it is also possible (actually encouraged) to be submitted multiple times with different experiences. All formats are welcome, from short responses to longer pieces. Visual and audio files are acceptable too. Students do not have to log in to Google to fill out the form, so it should be fairly free to access.
Saturday May 9, 2020 is still our commencement date. However, as announced last week, if a new date is needed, we will host an on-campus graduation ceremony on Saturday, October 24, 2020. Please read the message posted earlier, Commencement 2020 Update, for more information about activities that weekend.
I hope you’ll use and enjoy these Moravian College backgrounds (for all those Zoom meetings and classes).
Best wishes to you all,
Posted April 1, 2020
Subject: Commencement 2020 Plans
Earlier today I shared a letter directly with the Class of 2020 about their graduation celebration; below are some excerpts from that letter:
Saturday May 9, 2020 is still our commencement date. However, as announced last week, if a new date is needed, we will host an on-campus graduation ceremony on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
Colleges and Universities around the nation have been faced with the difficult decision of “what do we do about commencement?” - most have chosen one of 4 options:
- Cancel entirely (most have chosen this option).
- Cancel on-campus and hold a virtual graduation on the original 2020 date.
- Merge on-campus graduation for the Class of 2020 with the Class of 2021 in 2021.
- Choose a date and time in the future for an on-campus celebration (for us this was in October during Homecoming).
We are committed to having an on-campus graduation for the Class of 2020. This Senior class has been at the very front of my mind since this pandemic began.
There has been a lot of discussion among college presidents, just in the last few days, about whether or not it is realistic to believe that commencements in July and August 2020 will be permitted. Some are already rescheduling… Given that uncertainty, combined with our need to be open for varsity athletes, the band, and others who return in mid-August to begin their seasons, we thought it best to provide a realistic date in October. The last thing we all need right now is more uncertainty; so we thought it best to choose a firm date in order to provide time for our students and families to plan.
Furthermore, we thought a July or August date would be problematic for graduates in new jobs and graduate programs to take time off to attend their Class of 2020 graduation. Consequently, we thought a summer graduation ceremony would have fewer students and friends returning, making it feel significantly lesser than other graduations.
The Current Plan:
- Friday, 10/23 (the first 2 events follow a “typical” graduation schedule):
- Intercultural Graduation
- Instead of “45 days until graduation” we invite you to participate in “45,000 seconds until graduation” and join your classmates in this annual tradition
- Saturday, 10/24
- Commencement on Makuvek Field (or the ARC, depending on weather). This ceremony will include all the speakers and recognitions that have traditionally been a part of this special day.
- After commencement, the Class of 2020 will lead the Homecoming Parade down to the Steel Field.
- At Steel Field we will provide a large tent in the tailgate area for our graduates, families and friends to celebrate together.
- At halftime of the football game, we will invite the entire Class of 2020 to be recognized on the field.
- After the football game, the Class of 2020 will return to the tent for another class celebration (with food and music).
I know it is very difficult for some of you to imagine that something so different could be as good or better than something you all have known and looked forward to all these years... but remember that celebrating with so many graduates, who have walked across that stage before you could be amazing. They get it, unlike anyone else, and many have already told me how excited they are to help us CELEBRATE YOU.
This has the potential to be our most memorable graduation ceremony in 278 years because it will bring together generations of hounds who all care about you and Moravian College.
You deserve an on-campus graduation.
You deserve to have hundreds/thousands of alums cheering for you.
You deserve to have this day to celebrate with your friends and family.
The Class of 2020 is resilient. You demonstrate that every day as you face this pandemic with leadership, integrity, and grace. Let’s continue to see the best in each other, our intentions, and our alma mater.
Posted, March 30, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update-March 30
Dear Campus Community,
Good afternoon. Welcome back to the work week! I hope you were able to find moments of tranquility over the weekend as we shelter and have time to reflect on who and what are the priorities in our lives. The pace of life is changing as our focus changes, more hectic in some areas, less hectic in others, and this weekend I continued to be mindful of self care. I did some Yoga and took regular walks with Lea, Pippa, Mo and Benny. We did some bike riding and I completed one of my guilty pleasures by finishing a Stephen King book that I had been reading on and off for about a year. I also plan on returning to another one of my favorite authors by rereading Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being, which I haven’t read since graduate school. I now feel very drawn to this book given the time and our new life experiences. This Sunday, Lea, Pippa, and I also participated in Central Moravian Church’s worship ceremony held on Facebook Live by Bishop Hopeton Clennon, who helped add some normalcy and peace in our very trying time. All of my children are starting to adjust to online learning, just as many of you are. My immediate family remains healthy, but I continue to worry about you and yours.
The dogs are just glad to have everyone home all of the time!
Today's topics include: In the News, Case Updates, Campus Updates, and Good News.
In the news:
The federal government recommended extending social distancing guidelines throughout the month of April. Many news outlets are starting to share ideas for what to do, make, eat, or watch at home during this time of physical isolation from one another. Here are a few: NYT, USA Today, WPXI, Parade, and last, but definitely not least, Livescience.
We now have 4 individuals in our college community who have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results. We have had 7 people recently receive a negative test result, and we have two positives - one confirmed positive result and one presumed positive result (someone who remains untested, but was categorized as a presumed positive by medical professionals) in our community. Both people are on the mend. Close contacts have been notified.
- After conversations with many students this weekend, I will share a more detailed letter on Wednesday regarding our thinking and plans for commencement (if we need to move to the alternate date of October 24, 2020).
- Visit https://www.moravian.edu/counseling for Counseling Center news, events, self-help tools and mental health resources. Follow the Counseling Center on Facebook and Instagram for more mental well-being tips and strategies. To receive announcements about upcoming events email CounselingCenter@Moravian.edu and ask to be added to our email list.
I am pleased to report that the Time of Caring campaign raised over $142,000 for the College and Seminary from 350 donors and counting. Thank you for participating in this initiative and demonstrating your care and concern for our students. It is heartwarming to see the community come together in solidarity during times like these.
A few years ago some Seminary graduates got together with others in the Moravian Church and started an online community, “Church without Walls”. On Sunday, they offered an online service, led by four other Seminary graduates—including Chaplain Jennika Borger who brought the week’s message. The service drew over 400 people from around the world and will continue to be offered each week, led by various leaders located in different parts of the globe. If you are interested, on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, the service is available here.
Are you thinking about ways to help people in our community? Here are a few things that might be of interest.
Best wishes to you and your families,
Posted March 27, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update - March 27
Dear Campus Community,
We now have completed our second week in our new normal. This has been a tough time for all of us and that we made it to this point… that is a success in and of itself! Congratulate yourselves!
Remember that next week, I will be moving to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, email schedule for our updates. Of course, I will let you know if there are any urgent announcements or changes in policies and procedures. Today's topics include: In the News, Case Updates, Campus Updates, and Good News.
In the News
Congress plans to vote on the senate’s bill today. There is a likelihood that this bill will pass. On another note, it has been heartening to see that our larger community is, like our Moravian community, actively seeking to help others. This morning, our local paper, The Morning Call, had several stories about manufacturers retooling, as well as how community members have stepped up their donations and have provided help for seniors and those who are totally housebound.
We have 7 individuals in our college community who have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results. We have had two people recently receive a negative test result, and we have two positives - one confirmed positive result and one presumed positive result (from someone who remains untested, but was categorized as a presumed positive by medical professionals) in our community. Thankfully, both people are recovering. Close contacts have been notified.
- Undergraduate students may continue with graded courses, but will also be given the option to switch to a Pass/No-Credit rubric option for their courses. Students will have until May 2 to make this decision and should do so in consultation with their advisor. Details on the process will be provided by the end of next week. Over the next week, faculty advisors will receive more detailed information to help guide students in their choice.
- Housing Selection: Room Retention continues through 8:00 a.m., Monday, April 6; we encourage students to consider this option. Admission tickets for General Selection will be emailed on Thursday, April 9 to eligible returning students. The Residence Life & Housing team is still working to transition our General Selection process online; we will share details about timing as soon as we can.
- May term and summer term classes will be online. If we are able to be fully open, we will still offer all classes online, though students and faculty may be able to enjoy interacting in classrooms on campus as well.
- Faculty, please be sure to read the email from the Provost also coming out today regarding faculty-related matters.
- Commencement - Currently, Saturday May 9, 2020 is our commencement date. If a new date is needed, we will host an on-campus graduation ceremony on Saturday, October 24, 2020 (Homecoming Weekend). We are still working on the timing for that ceremony and the other events that will be incorporated into that day. I promise that this will be a very special day as we welcome home all our 2020 graduates into the entire pack of Moravian Hounds. I continue to ask for your patience; we need time to coordinate all of these potential shifts in plans and activities. I will share more information about commencement celebrations next week.
Many thanks to all of you who have participated in the Time of Caring campaign. Your generosity means so much to our students in this difficult time. Our staff and faculty are still finding resources to share with our medical facilities in the valley. And, many of you are giving back to the community every day.
The weekend is here and I hope you take some time to rest and recuperate from the stresses of this last week! You have more than earned some respite!
All my best to you and your families, be well,
Posted March 26, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update - March 26
Today’s update will cover what has become our traditional topics: the news, case updates and good news from our community.
First, I wanted to share a message we put together this week for the Moravian College community. Please take a moment to watch the video and know that we’re keeping every one of you in mind as this crisis continues. Video: President Grigsby-Spring2020
In The News:
Last night Lehigh and Northampton counties were added to the stay-at-home order by the governor and Moravian College is mandated by that order. We are already complying with the order, so there will be no changes to our processes and procedures at this time.
We have 7 individuals in our college community who have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results. We have had two people recently receive a negative test result, and we continue to have just ONE confirmed case in our campus community.
The federal government is working on a bill that would provide economic relief to citizens, small businesses, airlines, hospitals, and colleges. We are still working on the details of this relief bill and how it would impact our campus in relation to refunds for room and board. Even though Moravian is in the top quarter of colleges in the country, this pandemic has significant economic impact on our school. College buildings still need to be maintained and debt services still are expected to be paid to our lenders. Additionally, summer revenue from campus buildings seems unlikely this year. The move to online has also caused an increase in technology costs with the need for hundreds of Zoom and other software licenses to help keep our students progressing academically. This economic relief we hope can cover our current losses, provide refunds to our families, and keep our workforce fully employed. We will continue to update you as we find out more information.
The financial and health crises will have an ongoing impact on students, their families, and the community. In order to be responsive, a decision was made to shift our Day of Giving, originally scheduled for today, to the Time of Caring campaign. The Helping Hounds and Seeds of Hope Funds were established to allow the College to be immediately responsive to our students. The Time of Caring campaign kicked off on Sunday, March 22 and will continue through Sunday, March 29. To date, 161 donors have shown their support to the College and Seminary with gifts totaling over $89,000 and counting.
Yesterday, the staff from Career & Civic Engagement delivered 3 full boxes of left over t-shirts from Heritage Day, America Reads, and Alternative Breaks to the St Luke’s Emergency Center on Brodhead Road in Bethlehem. St Luke’s had a team of seamstresses waiting for the t-shirts to be delivered. They will use the t-shirt material to make safety masks to assist with the needs of the emergency medical workers in the Lehigh Valley. The masks will be distributed locally as soon as possible to help protect medical workers in the fight against COVID-19.
In addition, our Computer Science and Science departments are working with local medical facilities lending a hand to utilize Moravian’s 3-D printer to do some initial printing tests for face shields.
As we settle into a rhythm in our work, and as the surprises slow down, I will start to share communications three times a week -- unless the unexpected occurs, of course. Please look for my messages on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Thank you again and stay well. Rest and exercise are both important!
Posted March 25, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update-March 25
Good afternoon, all!
It is the middle of our second week of our all online and remote experience. I hope that some normalcy of work and study and self care is now part of your lives. We are continuing to support our academic mission, while working carefully to preserve and protect the health and well-being of our community. I continue to be awed by the empathy and caring of the Moravian College community.
In the news:
The White House and Senate leaders agreed on a deal today “to jolt the economy struggling from the coronavirus pandemic.” We do not yet know how this will impact small private colleges, but I will be in a meeting at 3:00 p.m. to find out the details as it relates to higher education.
Lehigh and Northampton Counties are being added to stay at home order as of 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25. The guidance document states: “The virus that causes Coronavirus 2019 Disease (“COVID-19”) is easily transmitted, especially in group settings, and it is essential that the spread of the virus be slowed to protect the ability of public and private health care providers to handle the influx of new patients and safeguard public health and safety. The intent of this STAY AT HOME policy is to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling life-sustaining services to continue.” See the guidance document for what the shelter in place means for you.
We continue to have 7 individuals in our college community who have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results; again, all close contacts of these individuals have been notified. As of today, we have ONE confirmed case in our campus community.
After having been on many calls with other college presidents, all are concerned about our families’ ability to afford high-quality education in light of this pandemic. We are also concerned about keeping our employees employed throughout this event. The impact of refunds and loss of future revenue, now and throughout the summer, could greatly hurt the college’s ability to keep tuition costs from escalating.
In response to these issues, we pivoted our Day of Giving scheduled for March 26th to a Time of Caring initiative in an effort to be responsive to the current state of affairs. The Helping Hounds and Seeds of Hope Funds are the new vehicles driving this campaign. The Time of Caring campaign is not only about giving, but also a call to action for the Moravian community to come together during the global pandemic. By sharing inspiring messages of support, calling a friend, staying in touch with the elderly, and cheering on our students, the Time of Caring initiative is a way for the community to stand in solidarity and show we care for one another. The campaign has been well received by the community and we have heard from many alumni, friends, and parents who have shared positive feedback. To date, the campaign has raised over $73,000 with 82 donors.
Faculty and staff are also continuing to make the world a better place, volunteering to give out school lunches, finding more supplies to donate to our local valley hospitals, and finding other ways to help our neighbors and their families. We really are all in this together!
With deep appreciation for your determination and dedication,
Posted March 25, 2020
Subject: Positive COVID-19 Case
Dear Campus Community,
Today, the College was notified that an undergraduate, commuter student was tested over the weekend for COVID-19 and received a call today confirming that he is positive for the virus.
The student was not on campus at all during the time he could have exposed others to the virus (3 days prior to the presentation of symptoms). He has no close contacts inside of the Moravian College community. Most importantly, this student is now under a doctor’s care. He is experiencing moderate symptoms and we wish him a quick and full recovery.
This was not one of the seven cases we’ve been monitoring, and the College thanks this student for notifying us promptly after learning his results. As a reminder, we ask anyone who is being tested for COVID-19 to please let us know by emailing email@example.com as soon as possible. Our staff is monitoring that account throughout the day and evening, 7 days a week. This will allow us to help with contact tracing and ensure that appropriate facilities are cleaned thoroughly.
Later today, I will be following up with additional information concerning our campus, but felt that our community needed this information quickly.
Thank you and stay well,
Posted March 24, 2020
It is my hope that this latest update finds you as well and settled as possible! Today’s update covers several important issues as well our normal updates. The topics today include: The latest News Alerts, Case Update, Student Housing Selection, the National Census, and Refund Requests.
In the news:
Governor Wolf issued a stay-at-home order for seven counties in Pennsylvania (Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe, Montgomery, and Philadelphia). In addition, the Department of Education (PDE) announced that all educational institutions in the commonwealth will remain closed through at least April 6 as a result of the COVID-19 response efforts. The closure order could be extended beyond April 6 if necessary to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.
We continue to have 7 individuals in our college community who have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results; again, all close contacts of these individuals have been notified. As of today, we have zero confirmed cases in our campus community.
Housing Selection for Returning Students:
We know that our returning students are eager to know where they will be living next year! The Housing team is working on the best plan to move our “in person” General Selection nights, originally scheduled for April 7 and 8, to the online environment. Like many things, we need some additional time in order to plan a process that will be the most accommodating (and the least anxiety-provoking) for our returning on-campus students. I will share information in a future email update about that process and the new dates for General Selection. Please visit our Residence Life & Housing website for more information.
Recently you and your family have been hearing a lot about the 2020 Census. As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the Census is conducted every ten years to get a complete and accurate count of every person living in the United States. The results of the Census will determine how billions of dollars in federal funding get distributed to states, counties, and cities as well as the number of congressional representatives and electoral votes allocated to each state.
With the current COVID-19 situation which caused most of our on-campus students to move home, we thought that we should remind you of how students are counted.
Students Who are Normally On Campus Residents: The College will be submitting basic directory information directly to the Census Bureau. It is important that you communicate with anyone that lives at your permanent address that you should not be counted on that Census form. You will be part of the Moravian College residential count.
Off Campus Residents: If you are living in private off-campus housing, regardless of whether you own or rent the property, you will submit a Census form for your off-campus household. If multiple people live in a private off-campus house together, the group will need to choose one person to be “head of household” for the purpose of submitting the form. All individuals living in the house will need to be included on the same form. It is important that you communicate with anyone that lives at your permanent address that you should not be counted on that Census form.
Commuter Students: You should submit your information on the Census form connected to your permanent address where you reside.
Additional information about the Census 2020 can be found at https://census.gov/.
If you have questions about the College’s participation in the Census process, you may contact Elaine Deitch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance for your participation.
Many offices have been receiving frequent requests for, and emails and calls asking questions about refunds for room, board, parking, travel and study abroad (among others). Please know that my leadership team and I take your concerns extremely seriously and we will be contacting you as soon as possible when we have arrived at a reasonable solution. I’d ask that you refrain from sending questions to specific offices as they are all awaiting instructions from me. Again, I take this seriously and you have my word I will share more information soon.
Thank you as always for being part of this generous, creative, and patient community!
Posted March 23, 2020
Dear Moravian community,
It is Monday and I hope you are starting to get into a routine that includes self care. I can’t reinforce how important self care is for your well being. Over these past weeks, I had not been taking care of myself. This past Sunday, I chose to work out at home, take a walk with Mo and Benny, and spend some time reading a fiction book that I started but haven’t been able to find time to finish. All of this made a world of difference for me, and I felt so much better afterward. So find a routine that works for you that balances work and school, but always remember to take care of yourself during these times by exercising and doing things that you enjoy.
Case update: We have 7 individuals in our college community who have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results; all close contacts of these individuals have been contacted. As of today, we have zero confirmed cases in our campus community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Muhlenberg College and Lehigh University who have recently had cases impact their campuses.
Graduation: We know that this has been one of the things that is on the minds of most of our seniors and graduate students. I commit today, to all of you, that we will have an on-campus graduation ceremony sometime in the near future. I need a little more time to work on some behind-the-scenes logistics with my leadership team, but hope to announce a date later this week. Currently, May 9, 2020 is still our commencement date; the new date will only be needed if we cannot proceed as planned.
Some good news and good deeds to share.
We are hearing more stories of the efforts you are all making to help our larger community. The departments of Biology and Chemistry and Rehabilitation Sciences have all chipped in with medical supplies (e.g., masks, gowns, gloves, and disinfecting wipes) and are donating these to Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) and St Luke's University Health Network (SLUHN). Our Rehabilitation Sciences department donated a large number of supplies specifically to SLUHN Physical Therapy so they could continue to treat patients in the outpatient clinics. Thanks to them all for their quick and thoughtful responses!
Gloves in Collier for donating (photo by Alison Holliday)
Just a reminder, for students having difficulty with online education delivery, please contact Dean Kevin Hartshorn (email@example.com) in the Student Success Center and for faculty, please contact Associate Provost Bernie Cantens (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We are all in this together. Take care of yourselves.
Posted March 22, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
I have a few updates to share and some good news.
Case update: no changes since yesterday’s note.
Some good news and good deeds to share.
As most of you know, George Washington came to the Moravians to ask for assistance in the war against England. The Moravians chose to turn their dorm into a Revolutionary War hospital, and Brethren's House treated more than 5,000 American, British, and Hessian soldiers, including Lafayette. Today, we continue in this history of service to our country as we face new challenges: The Breidegam School of Nursing faculty collected their supplies (masks, gowns, and gloves) and are donating these to LVHN Muhlenberg ICU and the St Luke's Bethlehem ER. Thanks to them all for their quick and thoughtful response! It is moving to see how quickly people are springing into action to help others!
We have heard from many that you would like to donate to our food and resource pantry on campus, called Mo’s Cupboard. The Cupboard can support student needs remotely as well as those who remain on campus. You can find ways to donate to Mo's Cupboard here.
We welcome information from others on how you are reaching out to the community in this time of need!
Online and remote work
Moving into this next week of the virtual college experience, we have all now experienced classes in an environment where we have suddenly needed to know Zoom and Canvas and Lockdown. We have been buying software licenses and increasing bandwidth to assist faculty and students as we become completely virtual. We are identifying the rough spots and difficulties and finding solutions to these issues. Feel free to make us aware of these as you encounter them so that we can continue to troubleshoot. Please continue to send your concerns to email@example.com.
Both faculty and students have begun discussing the potential impact of the online move on grading and the policies surrounding these (and we are, unfortunately, seeing these ideas being shared in mainstream and social media). At Moravian, we are committed to remain in dialogue and discussion with each other as we figure out solutions to difficult problems. Our mission is to provide a first-in-class academic experience rooted in humanity, dialogue, and reflection. We have been meeting with faculty and our student leadership about grading policies during this time, and instead of choosing social media as your outlet, we encourage you to engage with those stakeholders. We will continue our conversation about these topics (and many others) over the coming days and weeks. We will report back to you on the topic in future emails.
Students, please keep in touch with your faculty. Keep them apprised of how you are doing and what barriers you are having with your coursework. Work with your advisors as you plan your final weeks of the semester. We will work with you to find ways to successfully complete the academic semester even under the current circumstances.
Faculty, please keep in touch with your chairs, deans, and provost with how you are faring in this new environment and how we can ease the stress of this transition as much as possible. Share ideas too!
The stresses and anxieties at home, created by COVID-19, will be with us for some time. We are built as social beings; so in this time of social distancing (which is really about physical distancing), please find ways to connect with others as you study, work, and play. I remind you that finding routine is essential as we navigate the weeks ahead.
Finally, I want to acknowledge that some of you are still working on the “front lines” of the COVID-19 crisis, and I, among many, am humbled by your service. Thank you for the sacrifices you are making to care for our local communities!
Remember to take care of your own health!
All my best wishes,
Posted March 21, 2020
Hello Campus Community,
I write today with three major pieces of information: a case update, a response to refund questions, and some resources for how we can better understand and respond to the COVID-19 crisis from our homes.
All of the faculty and staff on our campus have been working around the clock, literally, since March 6 when I shared our first community update to keep the continuity of the student's education. That was 16 days ago. We have been strategic and deliberate in planning our response so that we can act in ways that benefit the whole of our community and that can be sustained for the duration of this pandemic. I hope you can also understand that we, like you, have families to care for and support at home this weekend and in the coming weeks ahead.
Case Update: On Thursday, March 20, I reported that we had test results back from two members of our community who tested negative, and that we had three more awaiting results. Those three continue to wait for test results. Additionally, we have one more commuter student who has been tested. As of today, we are waiting on results from four members of our community and we have zero confirmed cases in our community.
Questions about refunds: I have seen an influx of questions regarding Moravian’s policy about room and board refunds since yesterday’s article published in The Morning Call at 10:05 p.m. about other Lehigh Valley schools and the actions they’re taking. Many of the issues we have been asked to manage in the last two weeks have been more complex than they first appeared (and many thanks to those parents and others on social media who have urged others to give us some additional time - we do notice those posts and it helps more than you know). I’ll do my best to explain:
Unlike some schools across the nation, we chose not to evict our students immediately. We believed (and still believe) that we have a moral obligation to be a safe haven for those with no other place to go. Originally, this meant anyone could remain in our residence halls. We continuously urged students and their families to make their own choices about staying or going. We did not want to impose this choice on anyone, realizing that everyone’s personal and family circumstances are nuanced and unique. Eventually, we were directed by the Governor’s Office to increase restrictions, but ultimately we are still providing food and shelter to students on our campus and plan to continue this practice. I am proud of our decisions. I stand by them and would take the same action again.
There will be refunds, but it will take a good deal of time to figure out how much it will be for each student. For room refunds, both the federal and state governments realize that colleges have to continue to pay their debt covenants and the upkeep for the residence halls, even without anyone living in them. They realize that the colleges' fixed costs did not go down simply because students are not in the residence halls. Whatever legislation is decided upon, we will be passing those refunds onto our students and/or their families. We do know that we will be able to give refunds for board, but we have to work with our service provider, Sodexo (who has been outstanding at providing us service through this unprecedented event) to arrive at what those numbers are for all our students.
The bottom line is that I need additional time with my staff to make the best decisions that we can - for our current students and their families, for the health and longevity of Moravian College, and for the 500+ employees for whom I am (with our Board of Trustees) ultimately responsible. I am very appreciative of the countless parents who have already written to me and said that whatever the refund is, please count it as a charitable donation. This truly makes me proud of my alma mater and the people who love her.
Many of you have asked: How can I help? or Where can I learn more?
How can we connect and help those, in and out of our immediate community, that are especially struggling? The New York Times has had a couple of good articles. How can we help? Helping while social distancing.
For those interested in the science of and public health responses to COVID-19, there are a number of up-to-date online resources available. See the article from Evergreen Hospital in Washington state. The American Medical Association (AMA) also generously shares information, as does Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
As always, you have my commitment to continued updates and sharing of information.
Posted March 20, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update - March 20 Evening
Dear Campus Community,
I am pleased to share with you that I had a very informative conference call with representatives from Governor Wolf’s office and with other private college presidents in Pennsylvania at 4:15 pm today.
What I learned is that everything we have already put into place is in full compliance with the governor’s expectations.
The Governor’s staff has asked me to emphasize one main point as it relates to our residential population. For those of you heading home, this is not the time to move out all of your belongings, this is the time to take essential items and travel safely. As I have said repeatedly, your belongings will continue to be secure in your residence space; and you can get them when the time is right.
We believe we have heard from all current residential students who have no place to go, but if not, please complete this form as soon as you finish reading this message, so we can help you.
I will continue to keep you informed as we navigate this unprecedented time.
Again, please be well and I hope you find some time this weekend for rest and recovery from this roller coaster week.
Posted March 20, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
It is Friday. So much has happened these last two weeks that first and foremost, today, we should recognize the weekend that is upon us. I understand, and know from experience, with everyone working from home, that “work” and “home” can blur together. Now, more than ever, if it is possible for you, try to embrace the weekend. We need to take this time over the weekend to absorb what has happened. To rest. To prepare for another week of fulfilling our educational mission.
- Thank you to the residential students who have already indicated that they need to stay on campus because they do not have another place to go. We are working with all of these students to keep them safe.
- If you are a residential student who has already contacted us and submitted information via this form, you will be receiving additional information via email from firstname.lastname@example.org within the next few hours.
- To all the residential students who are planning to leave by Saturday, thank you to you and your families for complying with the Governor’s mandate. We know this has been difficult for you. Please do not take everything from your room with you, take what you need and travel home safely.
- To all residential students who have already left campus, please do not return to campus now, this is not the time to return and gather additional items. Thank you for complying with this.
- To any current residential student who has not yet completed the form, but has no place to go, we need to hear from you immediately. Please complete this form, as soon as you finish reading this message.
Health Center: In line with the Governor’s directive, the Moravian College Health Center will physically close at 4:00 p.m. today; however, the staff will continue monitoring phone calls and emails from their homes (email@example.com). They will continue with necessary protocols to assist those who have already been tested for COVID-19, who may be tested in the future for COVID-19, and notifying appropriate close contacts of those individuals.
Communications streams: In addition to our all campus messages, we will begin to communicate more systematically with our specific constituencies as we continue to plan for the future and adjust our practices in the days and weeks ahead. That means that we will begin sending specific messages just to members of the faculty, others to just our staff, others to our alumni and other community partners, and finally messages directed entirely to our student body.
Are we “closed” or “open” for business: We are getting emails about whether we are “closed” or “open.” I hope these regular updates are beginning to clarify the complexity of the situation. All non “life-sustaining” businesses have been ordered to stop activity on site; and as part of our compliance we have switched campus operations online, so our campus as of midnight Saturday is closed. Classes and business operations continue online for the indefinite future. However we have not been ordered to abandon our institution, so minimal care will still be required (e.g. some buildings will continue to be heated and cooled as normal for safety purposes and our Police Department will remain on campus). Moravian College has thrived and adapted as the world has changed -- since 1742! The College plans to continue its long and storied history as a physical, intellectual, and emotional place for its students, faculty, and staff well into the future.
At 4:15 p.m., I will be in a conference call with the Governor’s office and all Pennsylvania private college presidents about what this means for our campus and our most at risk students. I will be updating the campus after that call.
If you have a safe place to go, please go. Please do not clear out your dorm. The time and people it would take to do that would put others at risk. Take only your essentials. Your belongings will be secured and you can get them when the time is right.
Your steadfast support of one another is making a difference in the lives of our students and each other. Thank you.
Very sincerely yours,
P.S. This message was recently shared by the United Way: The latest information on UWGLV’s community response, including information about PA-211, meal availability, and educational resources for families and children. In addition, employees can visit the FamilyWize for their free Rx prescription card, to save money on prescription drugs.
Posted March 19, 2020
Subject: IMPORTANT UPDATE for STUDENTS and FACULTY
Dear College Community,
As we have noted repeatedly, things regarding COVID-19 are very fluid and there is breaking news. Earlier this evening, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf instituted further restrictions on the citizens of Pennsylvania, meaning that we have reached Tier 5 in the Tiered Mitigation Plan shared earlier this week. Per the letter and spirit of the Governor’s order we need to avoid one-on-one human contact.
We must be in compliance with the Governor's directive by Saturday, March 21, 2020
These state directives require us to make the following updates to the restrictions and adjustments that have already been put in place:
- The order Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced on Thursday evening requires us to close our residence halls by Saturday, March 21.
- Businesses that fail to comply risk citations, fines or license suspensions, and "forfeit their ability to receive any applicable disaster relief and/or may be subject to other appropriate administrative action," Wolf's office said in a statement. Criminal prosecution is also a possibility, with violators subject to fines or imprisonment, Wolf's office said.
- All students that have a place to stay long-term (e.g., your family’s permanent residence, an apartment or house off-campus with friends or extended family), please go there within the next 24 hours. We recognize the hardship this places on you and your families, but the College is required to comply with the Governor’s order.
- This is not the time to move all items from your room (again, we are still expected to practice social distancing), this is the time to take what you need and travel home safely. There will be ample time in the future when you may return to campus and remove the rest of your belongings.
- If you have a friend or family member driving to campus to take you home, please do not invite them into the residence hall. We need them to remain in their vehicle or outside of the building.
- For those of you who are without a home or other safe place to go (international students and other individuals), please know that we are in the process of actively determining what we can do to ensure your safety and well being. We will have a solution by Saturday. If you fall into this category, please fill out this form as soon as possible. In the meantime, please begin using your networks to have a “back-up” plan if we are unsuccessful in getting a waiver from the Governor’s Office or determining another legal solution.
- Dining will continue with to-go options for our on-campus residents on Friday, March 20, 2020
- Dining on Saturday, March 21 will be addressed in tomorrow’s update.
- All classes and programs of study will continue online for the remainder of the semester. We will work with students and faculty to support the academic mission in every way possible. Concerns should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Academic support, including PASS support, drop-in tutoring, subject tutoring, and the writing center, have already been transitioned to online.
- Advising and registration for the fall semester will continue online.
This came as a surprise to all of us and we recognize that this message does not address all issues, but we wanted to get time sensitive information in your hands as soon as possible. We will be in touch tomorrow with additional updates.
Moravian College has made a commitment to serve our college community as ethically and wisely as we know how. Even in the virtual world, we are all hounds and we will continue to face these trying times together!
With my most sincere hope that you all remain safe and healthy,
Posted March 19, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
I write this note as a follow-up to my most recent message that included updates that three commuter students were recently tested for COVID-19. My office has received numerous phone calls and emails requesting more information.
Out of respect for the students' privacy and HIPAA guidelines, we cannot directly address some of the most frequently asked questions like: What are the names of these students? When were these students last on campus? Who did they have classes with? Did they ride the shuttle? We did not provide that level of detail with the prior two cases (that came back negative) and it would be inappropriate for us to do that now. In addition, we continue to follow established protocols and have already communicated with any close contacts (faculty, staff, and students) that may have been exposed and we are counting on individuals to contact those outside of our campus community that may have been exposed.
We know these are scary and uncertain times. We know that everyone is concerned for their own safety and the safety of the people they care about. And we know that there are reasons that our country, our state, and our city have taken drastic actions to reduce person-to-person contact. The CDC reports that . . . ”the virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably . . .”
Our facilities teams continue to sanitize surfaces in public and private spaces, including the shuttle where our drivers begin and end their shifts by sanitizing the spaces within the shuttle. And even though many of the public gathering spaces on campus are now less frequently used, there are numerous hand sanitizing stations located throughout campus.
Thank you for your careful reading of my emails! I do appreciate your concern for our community.
Posted March 19, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
Welcome to the daily message. It is Thursday! In this message we will update you on the COVID-19 case status in our local community and update you on our decisions around events. We also share a few words of support for our students.
Covid-19 Case Update:
- First, some good news. The second member of our community who was tested last week received a negative COVID-19 test result! That means the two individuals we have been reporting about in these daily emails have now received negative test results. We are so happy for them and their families.
- Second, we have had an additional 3 members of our community (all commuter students) recently be tested for the virus. The College Health Center staff has already communicated with faculty/staff/student “close contacts” of those three individuals. We are hopeful they, like our original two, will receive good news in the future; but for now our thoughts are extended to those 3 students, and their families, that they will test negative as well.
- As always, we will continue to be transparent about the number of cases involving members of our Moravian College community.
- See the CDC Prevention and Treatment page for more information on close contact and ways to keep yourself and your loved ones as safe as possible.
- Events over 50 people should be cancelled through May 4.
- Many of you saw this in our note yesterday about commencement (“The CDC is currently advising an 8-week moratorium for events of 50 people or more.”) but we wanted to emphasize this point again.
- Thanks to those of you who have already begun cancelling, postponing, or transforming events to virtual spaces through May 4.
Navigating the digital world:
- Students, you may be struggling to engage in classes as much as you should. We know this change has been tough for many of you and we also know it is not ideal for every kind of class!
- Do reach out to your professors or our student success team (email@example.com). They are here to help!
- It really will benefit you if you keep on a regular schedule with your classes and study times. Get plenty of rest and exercise.
- Trust that we all have your best interests at heart. Be as patient with yourself as you are with others!
Finally, tell us your stories! How are you coping? Has anything gone particularly well for you? Or did your cat step on the delete button after you wrote the best paragraph of your life? Do you have any advice for your fellow students or faculty or staff on life lived remotely? We want to hear from you! Send your stories, pictures, and videos to firstname.lastname@example.org and if you’re already posting on social media, make sure to tag @MoravianCollege and use #MoravianCollege so we can see them and share some lighthearted moments that can help us all get through this tough time. Make sure to follow the College’s social media channels on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to stay connected to students, faculty, and staff.
Remember, we are in this together, and we will come through this together.
Posted March 18, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
Good morning. I hope this note finds you all taking care of yourselves and successfully navigating the online and Zoom world that we are currently living in. Today’s message contains three main areas of focus:
- An update on COVID-19 cases
- Our commencement plan
- How to take care of oneself and others during this stressful time
- There are no changes in Lehigh and Northampton Counties regarding the number of positive cases: COVID-19 statistics.
- We have no confirmed cases on our campus.
- We are still waiting for results from one of the two people in our community who were tested, as reported on Monday, one of those individuals tested negative.
The graduation ceremony is obviously important to our campus and we hope to hold a graduation ceremony for our graduating students and their families. The current CDC requirements for social distancing, however, may require us to postpone or transform the graduation experience if the current moratorium is extended. If that were to happen, then the planned graduation ceremony cannot take place in the normal fashion on May 9. Please note: We are actively working on a virtual graduation plan as well as a time where all of us can come back to campus in person and celebrate your accomplishments, should we need to consider other options.
THE CURRENT DATE FOR GRADUATION IS SATURDAY, MAY 9, 2020
- The CDC currently states an 8-week moratorium for events of 50 people or more.
- If the CDC recommendation holds, that moratorium expires on May 4.
- Graduation is scheduled to be held on May 9.
A student’s true graduation is based on the date they finish their program of study. The ceremony is a celebration of that achievement. Whatever happens with our community celebrations, students will be able to apply for jobs or graduate school as a college graduate!
We will provide an update to this plan by April 15, 2020 (if not before).
Taking Care: Advice from the World Health Organization
As I have mentioned in nearly every email, I continue to be in awe by the fortitude of the Moravian College community. We are in this together. Thank you for your continued care of one another and your patience as we face these unprecedented times.
Posted March 17, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update - March 17
Dear Campus Community,
Currently there are no changes to the COVID-19 statistics from the PA Department of Health that we shared last night. If there are updates, we will share them in the next "All Campus" note.
Effective today, many campus buildings are locked and those that are on card access will still be accessible with your college ID. We are trying to limit unauthorized people on our campus, and believe this step is necessary to best protect our campus community and the community as a whole. The HUB will be open limited hours (9:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.) to accommodate on-campus dining and access to the mail room.
A special thank you to our resident students who quickly complied with our request to submit residential housing plans; we appreciate it! By 8:00 a.m. today, we had over 400 responses! If you submitted a form, you are approved to stay on campus unless contacted directly by the Office of Housing or Office of Residence Life. And for those who have not yet completed this form, please do so ASAP.
We will continue to communicate as often as needed to answer the questions that you will undoubtedly have over the course of the next days and weeks. We remain committed to providing daily email updates, but as happened yesterday, sometimes you may receive multiple messages in a day. We continue to ask for your patience and understanding as we continue this journey together.
For faculty and staff, we will communicate separately to address issues specific to your work lives. Students, your responsibility is to continue to learn and protect your health and the health of others.
Posted March 16, 2020
Subject: URGENT Coronavirus Update - March 16
Dear Campus Community,
Earlier today Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a two week closing of non essential businesses. What does that mean for us? The Department of Education understands that all colleges have student populations that need to remain on campus for their and their family’s health and well being. Nevertheless, we need to enact further precautions for our community, including what we do on campus and who has access to campus so that we can best protect all in our community.
Our online courses will continue regardless of open/closed status… most faculty and students can participate from their homes. Our goal is to finish the semester for the seniors especially, but for all students to make progress towards their degrees.
What changes are we making on campus for the next two weeks (through 3/29):
- All co-curricular activities will cease.
- The Athletic Complex (Johnston Hall, ARC and Fitness Center) will be closed.
- The Library will be closed.
- For the remainder of today (March 16), dining will continue to operate as announced in the email sent at 1:50 p.m. today.
- Beginning tomorrow (March 17) all food will be provided in a “to-go” style:
- The Star and Clewell Dining hours:
- Breakfast: 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
- Lunch: 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
- Dinner: 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
- The Blue & Grey Cafe will be open for grab and go from 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
- The dining halls will not be open for seating.
Further limiting access to campus for the next two weeks (through 3/29):
- All non-essential staff: please work from home starting tomorrow.
- Commuters: you should not be on campus at this time.
- Residential Students who have already gone home: please stay home.
- Residential Students who are still living in residence halls: we are restricting access to the campus and services on the campus. Please fill out this form by Noon on Tuesday, 3/17, in order to register to stay in on-campus housing.
- Work Study Students: please do not report to work.
- Essential staff should report to campus tomorrow and these include the President’s senior staff, campus police, dining services, health center, select student life personnel, custodial staff, and IT (more specific information for these groups will be shared by supervisors).
We will continue to update you as we have further information, but no later than 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.
I continue to be impressed with your flexibility and creativity in this uncertain time, thank you.
Posted March 16, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update - March 16
Dear Campus Community,
Welcome back to the daily update. I sincerely hope that the first day of online instruction is going well for all of you. I suspect there have been some glitches along the way, but we will only get better at this as time continues!
The number of cases continues to grow in our geographic area. There are 76 cases statewide and 1 case in both Lehigh and Northampton Counties. We have two people under testing and in isolation off campus, and one person who was under testing is now negative. We have no confirmed cases on our campus. Please continue to check the PA Dept of Health website for information.
Even though our nursing students were playing a critical role in assisting with this outbreak, all nursing clinicals at both Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s will cease at 5:00 p.m. today (March 16). We will have simulation clinicals occur in the Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Center for Health Sciences to help keep nursing students on track for graduation. If you are a nursing student, please contact your faculty members.
My message today is also about trying to create a “new normal” for yourself. The next two weeks (or longer) will be even more difficult if you don’t create a routine. It’s important to set times for working and times for self care as well as maintaining normal sleep and eating patterns. If you get into a rhythm, work and study is easier, and this event will be a lot easier to manage. Students, if your courses are now asynchronous, I recommend that you continue to study during your normal class and study times.
All of us also need to make time for self care. The CDC shares the following information:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
On-campus dining update:
- The Star is open. It will close tonight at 7:00 p.m. and plans to re-open at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday. Simple Servings, The Grill and Hometown remain in operation.
- Clewell Dining and Clewell retail are open. This location will close tonight at 7:00 p.m. tonight and plans to re-open tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. All meals at Clewell are made-to-order.
- The Blue & Grey is open until 8 pm tonight. Crush and Take-out remains available. Opening on Tuesday is to be determined.
- DeLights Cafe will be closing for the next two weeks.
If there are any updates today about the virus on our campus, I will notify our community immediately; otherwise, the next update will be Tuesday, March 17. Again, at the moment, there are no additional individuals being tested and no one reporting symptoms of the virus from our campus community.
I understand there are many questions out there about commencement and my leadership team will be meeting (by Zoom) tomorrow to discuss contingency plans for this very important rite of passage. I will update you as soon as possible, but know that I am committed to holding graduation as long as we can do so safely.
Let’s continue to extend grace to members of our community who are juggling family schedules as they also are managing work responsibilities.
Thank you all for your extraordinary efforts in this extraordinary time.
Posted March 15, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update - March 15
Dear Campus Community,
Good morning. This is our daily update on the COVID-19 about what we know locally and on campus. As of now, we know of no additional individuals being tested and no one reporting symptoms of the virus from our community. We currently have no one infected on campus. Additionally, the number of cases stands at 47 for Pennsylvania and zero cases in Lehigh County and one case in Northampton County.
Please remember that many people of college age can carry the virus with no symptoms. Since older adults are more at risk, it may make the most sense for college-age students to stay on campus rather than traveling to home where you may have contact with parents and grandparents. You should work with your family and make the best choice for your health and the health of your family. It is also important to remind you that most people who do show symptoms do in fact recover from this virus. That does not make it any less real or its socio-economic impact less concerning. But I am reminding us that we will get through this together, helping and supporting one another.
We are committed to continuing the education of our students even as we ensure that we follow safe health practices and social distancing. As an all-Mac campus, we are well situated to support our students as we shift to a virtual class environment through March 29 (longer if necessary). For our faculty, our Teaching and Learning Center is providing a range of resources and supports for this transition. For our students, the Student Success Office has provided information so students can Keep on Learning. Together with our Information Technology and Instructional Design teams, these groups demonstrate Moravian’s dedication to the education of its students.
Please continue to follow healthy hygiene habits. Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them carefully with a paper towel. Do this often. Practice social distancing (recommendation is a minimum of 6 feet between people). Do not shake hands. Clean your technology as well!
Again, tomorrow begins our move to all online classes and coursework. I know this is disappointing for some of you; I know others have been teaching and learning online for years so this is just a continuation of current and past experiences. I am asking that we work together, as a united Moravian community, to make the most out of these unprecedented times. I know I can count on you!
Posted March 14, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update - March 14
Dear Campus Community,
Welcome to the daily message and update. The circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 remain fluid and dynamic. As you may know, the governor has closed the PA K-12 Schools for the next two weeks. Many of your families may have been affected and you and they are in our thoughts.
As I mentioned yesterday, two members of our campus community are being tested for the virus (that number has not changed in the past 24 hours). We still have no confirmed cases associated with the campus. The campus remains open, as of this writing, but as always please review the COVID-19 Moravian webpage.
We have added the Moravian College Tiered Mitigation Plan to our website as well. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with that document. We are currently at Tier 3 (out of 5).
As much as possible, we encourage all members of our campus community to practice social distancing. More specifically, our current recommendation is:
Group Meetings: We recommend that you try to use Zoom or Google Hangout technology for all gatherings (realizing that that will not be possible in all circumstances).
1:1 Meetings: We recommend that if you need to be in the same space/room, please try to be at least 6 feet apart.
For those of you interested in more reading about risk assessment, please refer to the CDC webpage.
Keep up hand washing and social distancing!
Posted March 14, 2020
Subject: Update from Seminary Dean's Office
To Students, Faculty, and Staff,
I hope that you are well and taking care of yourselves and those around you during this unusual and rapidly changing time. The Seminary has been a place of teaching and learning for over two centuries, and in that time has carried out its mission in the face of many challenges. As we face this challenge together, I want to remind you of a few key details.
Keep checking your campus email at least daily for updates from the Office of the President and other campus offices. The Seminary is part of the College, so announcements about the College apply to Seminary students, staff, and faculty the same as they do to everyone else.
As is true for the whole College, Seminary classes will be taught online for the next two weeks (March 16-29). By March 26, a decision will be made and communicated to you about the course of action after that.
Seminary faculty and instructors will be in touch with you soon about what "online" means for each of your classes. Check Canvas and your email for those messages. Be sure to check each day since this is a fluid situation and things can change quickly. One thing has changed since yesterday. It is no longer the case that a Seminary class can be held with some students present on campus and some joining by Zoom. Students should not come to campus to attend class but should connect online or by Zoom. If you do not have the ability to connect remotely, contact your instructor, and we will work together to find a solution.
Although classes are not meeting on campus, campus facilities are open--Bahnson Center, Reeves Library, the HUB, etc.
The changes and uncertainties of these days call for patience, resilience, kindness, and collaboration. Complicated challenges are often resolved with simple measures. So, eat, pray, love ... and wash your hands multiple times each day. And let me or faculty or staff know how we might support or assist you during this time.
God's peace be with you,
The Rev. Frank L. Crouch, PhD
Posted March 13, 2020
Subject: Nursing Students and Clinicals
I certainly understand this is a time of uncertainty as we have more questions than answers. Please know the faculty in the School of Nursing continue to use evidence-based information and science to guide our decisions as we navigate these challenging times. Please be sure to educate yourselves and families regarding the most current information on the CDC and WHO websites as your sources of evidence-based information.
In this profession it is important to remain calm and educated in your approach to facing these crises. The leadership team and nursing faculty are all involved in national conversations with leaders in academic programs across the nation. Although these guidelines remain fluid and can change at any moment, our experts in nursing education support and validate the decisions that are being made by Moravian College regarding student placements in clinical agencies. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) acknowledge the vital role of nursing students as members of the healthcare team that can provide meaningful care. These students have been educated and trained in how to care for patients with communicable diseases. In general, nursing students will NOT participate in the direct patient care of a patient exhibiting symptoms or diagnosed with COVID -19.
The Moravian College School of Nursing will continue with your clinical placement assignments and we will continue to follow the guidelines from our professional leaders. If these guidelines change, we will certainly continue to modify our curriculum plan. Our students will not take care of patients or screening of patients experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Please do not attend clinical experiences if you are sick or develop symptoms of COVID-19.
You have chosen and are a part of a profession that will be called upon, and needed, to support a stressed healthcare system. We need to remain professional in our interactions, vigilant in our infection control procedures, remain educated on the latest updates, and avoid the spread of inaccurate information. It is vital that you take care of yourselves and each other. Please feel free to reach out to your faculty or myself if you have any questions or concerns. I thank you for your patience and professionalism in working with our faculty as we follow the latest guidelines for the safety of our students and patients we serve.
Dr. Dawn Goodolf
Associate Professor and Chairperson
Department of Nursing
Posted March 13, 2020
Subject: Student Weekend Expectations - COVID-19
I know that the last few days have been confusing and frustrating, and perhaps scary for some of you, regarding COVID-19 and your Spring 2020 college experience. We have been doing everything that we can, within the context of CDC guidelines, to keep you (and your families) safe and healthy and yet keep our College open.
That said, I continue to be concerned that you are disregarding advice to protect yourself and take care of your friends, particularly as it relates to this weekend. Some of you have been great, others have not.
Accordingly, here are some *new* weekend expectations to help you with social distancing:
- If the police find groups gathering outdoors, they will immediately suspend the gathering.
- If non-Moravian visitors are found in residence halls, they will be asked to leave campus immediately and the host will be held responsible.
- Students found hosting parties and/or gathering in large groups may lose the privilege of remaining on campus for the next two weeks and will face additional disciplinary action.
Please take your responsibility as an adult in our campus community seriously. All around the nation events are being cancelled, SOCIAL DISTANCING is the very best action you can take right now for you and your family. Please do your part as we face this pandemic.
Posted March 13, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update - March 13
Dear Campus Community,
Thank you for your continued trust and patience regarding the College’s preparedness and response to COVID-19. We also appreciate your willingness to share your creative ideas. I have been impressed by how the community has come together to support one another.
For the time being, it will be my intent to send daily emails to our community in order to maintain transparency as we all navigate these challenging times.
Over the course of the next few weeks and possibly months, we will be dealing with people who are feeling ill, and we will always err on the side of caution. Consequently, as of 12:00 p.m. today, two members of the Moravian College community have been sent for testing for COVID-19 at local hospitals. It could take up to five days for these individuals to receive test results. All of these individuals are off-campus at this time. A lot is still unknown about this virus, but at the moment, nearly 90% of individuals being tested are negative. You can access public information from the PA Department of Health about COVID-19 in PA here.
I will continue to update you as I have information: at this time we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our college community.
One change regarding athletics since yesterday’s message - the Landmark Conference has decided to suspend practices and games for all spring varsity athletes until further notice. See the Landmark Conference announcement here: Landmark COVID-19 Update.
Students: I think it is important to remember that your greatest risk in this infection is in your carrying it to other people who are older than you. Only 3% of the cases worldwide are under 20 years old. Mortality of those infected under forty is 0.2%. Most symptoms in children are mild and go unnoticed, and 80% of us will have no symptoms at all. It is for these reasons that the recommendation is social distancing for this age group, which includes moving classes online and lessening or restricting activity on campus to prevent this group from infecting older, more at-risk populations.
I also wanted to share our current thinking regarding actions Moravian College will take IF we have a confirmed positive or presumed positive case on campus. Please understand that we are following CDC recommendations and that guidance has been and will continue to be fluid. To review the updates to the current protocols in place if we do have a confirmed positive or presumed positive case on campus, please visit the COVID-19 Information page FAQs.
I want to thank all of you again for your patience and understanding. We will continue to share as much information as possible as soon as we can, and we will do our best to answer any questions that may come up.
Posted March 12, 2020
Subject: Classes Moving To Remote Instruction For Two Weeks
Dear campus community,
Thank you all for your patience and understanding as we all monitor, plan for, and respond to the current public health situation. Here are the most recent updates and decisions pertinent to Moravian.
Classes Moving To Remote Instruction For Two Weeks
- From March 16 - 29, Moravian College will hold all classes and coursework online. Classes will not meet face-to-face. We appreciate that our faculty and staff have been preparing for the possibility of moving to online classes. Additional information will be sent to students in the coming days.
- Advising and registration for summer and fall classes will continue as normal, with advisement meetings conducted online. Students will receive additional information soon.
- Each day we will review the situation, and by Thursday, March 26, we will make an announcement about whether we will indeed resume full campus activities and instruction on Monday, March 30.
Clinicals, Practicums, Off-Site Placements and Internships
- In some cases these experiences may be able to proceed as scheduled; in others, they may be conducted remotely or be postponed, canceled or limited.
- Students impacted will receive communications from placement coordinators in their programs; in these areas, we will be relying on guidance from accreditors, school systems and health systems.
The College Is Not Closed
- Until further notice, administrative offices and services — including the library and dining halls will remain fully operational. Faculty and staff should continue to work on-site; for those who have underlying health concerns, we will work with each individual and supervisor to devise a plan for working remotely.
- If faculty have any concerns or questions, please contact the Office of the Provost. If staff have any concerns or questions, please contact your supervisor.
Can Students Remain In Campus Housing?
- Yes. This is a choice for all residential students to make.
- The residence halls will remain open, but we know that many may choose to go home.
- At this time, all Dining Services operations will remain in full operation.
Postponement Of College Events
- Moravian College will cancel or postpone all large event gatherings (100+ people) and many smaller events, on campus effective immediately until Monday, March 30. Details on these changes are under development and will be shared once finalized.
- Students: As I mentioned in my email to all of you yesterday, parties and similar gatherings are not permitted on campus; nor are non-Moravian visitors allowed in our residence halls.
Status of Athletic Events
- At this time, all Landmark Conference competitions will cease until April 6th.
- Non-conference competitions may continue as planned today and tomorrow, but will stop on Saturday, March 14th.
- Student athletes have a choice regarding their participation in athletic activities through April 6th. Other decisions concerning practice schedules will be made by the athletic department/coaches as the situation evolves.
- Please check the Moravian College Greyhound Athletics site for more information.
If you are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19
- Anyone who is experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) or who thinks they have been exposed to the virus via travel or contact with others should call and talk with a medical professional as soon as possible. Call the Health Center at (610) 861-1567 or your personal health care provider before going to the office.
- Everyone should continue to practice preventive measures such as covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, using social distancing as much as possible, and avoiding contact with sick people. Additional and updated information can be found at Moravian’s Health Alerts page.
Some Additional Thoughts
- This was not an easy decision to make, but I feel it is the best one for the health and safety of our college community and is the best path to assure that students can continue toward their academic and career goals.
- I would like to thank the teams from across the College who have been working incredibly hard over the last few weeks, and who will keep working hard to make this transition as smooth as possible.
- Please continue to monitor the college’s status on our Moravian College website.
Finally, I thank all of you for your patience and understanding. Put simply, Moravian College has never encountered something quite like this. There is no road map that applies to all 5000+ colleges and universities that is perfect for managing a pandemic.
And even though we are in this together, I recognize that the impact has been and will continue to be uneven. I have enormous faith in this community - your willingness to do your part to keep others safe, your ingenuity and creative solution seeking, and your ability to make the most of a very difficult situation.
Let’s continue to be compassionate and kind in our interactions with others, and I hope you will continue to put your faith in this College in that we are trying, as we always are, to do the very best for all members of our community!
Posted March 11, 2020
Subject: Change to Residential Visitation Policy
As of 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, Moravian College will temporarily be changing our residential visitation policy. Students who live on campus won’t be permitted to host non-Moravian visitors in the residence halls during the day or overnight. Please begin adhering to this change as soon as possible.
Visitors are still welcome on our campus in our public spaces, but your residence hall is your home, and we want to limit guests in your home.
We believe this change is necessary to most effectively mitigate risks in our halls concerning COVID-19. Allowing visitors, who are not the primary responsibility of Moravian, to enter our residence halls creates additional health risks for students who live in these spaces.
There are exceptions to this policy. We will continue to allow college-sponsored visitors to stay overnight on campus. For example, if a varsity athletic team is hosting a recruit, those individuals are pre-registered and pre-screened to determine if they bring increased risk to our campus. If there is an elevated risk, that visitor will postpone their visit.
Since my email earlier this afternoon, I’ve been hearing a lot of “rumblings” about St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this weekend. I want to be more clear - registered parties and gatherings are not permitted on campus and will not be approved by the Office of Greek Life.
I suspect some of you may disagree with these two decisions; but I know I can count on all of you to care for your classmates. We have something special at Moravian; it was here when I was a student and it remains today… we care about each other and our campus. We put aside individual wants to help our friends and our college. We want to be able to remain open throughout the rest of the semester.
I have heard from many of you that you appreciate that we are keeping the College open at this time; since many colleges are closing. We need to stick together, please do your part by cooperating with these two current changes in policy so that we can ALL remain on campus this spring!
Always a hound,
Posted: March 11, 2020
Subject: Coronavirus Update
Dear Campus Community,
Over the last several weeks our response team, administrative staff, and faculty have been monitoring the spread novel Coronavirus COVID-19. Our goal remains the health and well being of our community, while providing an excellent academic experience. During the last several days, conversations have increased in intensity. This note is the most recent update on Moravian College’s plans for the next steps in our responses to COVID-19.
FACTS, NOT FEAR
We are committed to sharing factual and timely information with the Moravian College community. You can assist in the COVID-19 response by stopping the spread of rumors and avoiding speculation. To that end, today’s email update includes important information about:
- Current Status of COVID (on campus and in PA)
- Reliable information sources
- Taking care of our campus community
- Taking care of of yourself
Current Status of COVID:
- We are not aware of any case associated with members of the Moravian College community.
- There are still no suspected or confirmed cases in the Lehigh Valley.
- Per the PA Department of Health on March 11, 2020: there are 13 presumptive positive cases and two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania
- Moravian College is continuing normal operations to support our academic mission; even as we plan for the possibility that we could be affected on campus at some point in the future. Please pay attention to email announcements and updates on our webpage for additional information.
- Our faculty have been encouraged to teach an online course next week. This is one way for us to prepare. This week and early next week, we will work with individual faculty to ensure they are ready for whatever comes next. The benefit of this careful training is that it will serve our faculty and staff now, but also in any circumstance where the faculty or students are unable to physically attend the class in the future.
Reliable Information Sources:
- Moravian College COVID-19 Information
- PA Department of Health-COVID-19 Update
- World Health Organization
Taking care of our campus community:
- We are not cancelling large (100+ person) on-campus events. However, I ask that those large gatherings that could happen through alternative delivery methods be considered.
- STUDENTS: I need your help to prevent possible infection by enforcing good social distancing. This means that I am asking you to cancel all parties this weekend (I know it is St. Patrick’s Day, but your health and well-being is more important than one party) and I hope you will continue not hosting parties and large social gatherings through Easter Break. I need your support in this social distancing effort to enable all Moravian students to effectively continue their education and for our seniors to have a great conclusion to their undergraduate college experience. We are all in this together...and I am calling all Hounds to do their part.
- FACULTY & STAFF: please consider cancelling all activities that are not critical to the core of our academic mission.
- We are not cancelling travel off-campus (academic field trips, athletic travel, etc.), but, we do want you to cancel trips that are traveling to areas with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and/or in high population density areas (like New York City). If you have questions about this, please contact your advisor or supervisor.
- Continue to reinforce the same health habits that helped our community through the mumps outbreak last fall and are also useful during the flu season we are currently experiencing:
- In general, there are several ways you can increase your chances of remaining healthy. Minimize close contact with others, a precaution that is considered an important measure for slowing contagious diseases. Avoid shaking hands, and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid contact with sick people, and if you are sick, please stay home. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Regularly use the hand sanitizer stations that are in College buildings and dining halls.
- Dining Facilities:
- We will temporarily eliminate the self-serve stations (Hometown, Sustainable Table, and Salad Bar) in The Star; members of the dining services team will serve students and guests.
- Refills using personal travel mugs and cups will not be permitted in dining facilities.
- Social Distancing (definition from CDC): Social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.
Taking care of yourself:
- Every member of our community should be thinking about their own health and well-being. If you believe you fall into an elevated risk group, please practice social distancing, stay home, and/or do what you believe is necessary to take care of yourself.
- Students: If you feel at risk being on campus and attending classes, please contact the Office of Student Success (email@example.com) who will work with you to determine a personalized academic plan.
- Faculty: If you feel at risk being on campus, please contact the Provost’s Office for assistance.
- Staff: If you feel at risk being on campus, please contact your supervisor for options.
Last fall, we weathered a different outbreak and came through it stronger and better prepared for the next challenges. The next challenge is here, but we have the experience and an exceptional community willing to help one another through this crisis, and whatever comes next.
We will continue to monitor this situation very closely and will provide information as things change. Please remember to check for updates on our webpage.
Posted: March 6, 2020
Subject: Novel Coronavirus Update
Dear Moravian Community,
The COVID-19 situation continues to be fluid and many people have questions. In this note we update you on the latest protocols, decisions, and recommendations.
As we respond to the continuing challenge of this virus, please know that we are committed to the safety and health of the entire community, ensuring the integrity of the academic experience, and providing helpful and supportive guidance to the college community.
Many in our community are experiencing concerns and fears about COVID-19. Moravian College has a response team that includes administrators, health-care providers and faculty experts. The team is actively monitoring the situation and will continue to update the campus regularly. And we have staff at Moravian who have helped colleges through past health challenges.
During times such as these, it is also important to take time to reflect on how we treat one another when we feel vulnerable and scared. On college campuses across the country, students who are from or who are perceived to be from countries with high rates of COVID-19 are being targeted for hostility. In addition, students and others who have recently traveled overseas, regardless of where they are from, also have found themselves subjected to stigma. At Moravian College, it is on each of us to make sure that such behavior does not happen here.
As of now, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in Bethlehem. This is a good time to anticipate how we might react calmly to individuals who appear sick once our community members return from spring break. Allergy season is upon us, for example, and we need to remind ourselves not to overreact to common cold and allergy symptoms even as we follow recommended preventive precautions in light of COVID-19. We also need to practice compassion and empathy should members of our community fall ill, and we need to be considerate of those who might be worried about family and friends who are vulnerable.
The CDC now recommends that all travelers from Italy and other Level Three countries (South Korea, China, Iran) self quarantine upon their return from travels. After careful consideration, we have chosen to invoke the CDC recommendation. This guidance applies to all faculty, students, and staff who recently traveled to these countries. Please understand that we are not alone in this line of thinking; for example, we have already been contacted by several of our community partners confirming that they, too, are limiting access to their facilities.
For students who will be under quarantine and those who are curious about our response; the mumps outbreak this fall helped us to prepare for how to assist students who have to be off campus due to potential or real exposure to communicable diseases. The student success team is already working on an academic plan for each student who we know falls into this category.
We are aware that any decision we make will satisfy some members of the community but not others. We ask for your continued patience as we work through this unprecedented situation -- one that is affecting colleges and universities across the globe, not just Moravian College.
Finally, we hope that this global issue will not affect your thoughts about traveling internationally in the future. There is so much to see and do in the world, and Moravian College hopes that you will embrace your role as citizens of the world.
Posted March 4, 2020
Subject: COVID19 Follow-up Message on travel
Dear Moravian Community,
As you know, Moravian College is closely monitoring the global spread of the COVID-19 virus and the College is taking steps to prepare for the students’ return to campus from spring break and planning for the rest of the semester. These steps are intended to secure everyone’s health and well-being. Our highest priority is to minimize risk and exposure of members of our campus community.
On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended that colleges and universities cancel upcoming exchange and travel abroad programs due to the COVID-19 virus. Moravian College has decided to follow this recommendation: all upcoming study abroad is cancelled through the end of May term (upcoming study abroad programs include: Cities of Europe, Greece, Spain, and Japan). We will re-evaluate towards the end of the Spring semester as to whether we will extend the cancellation to any other travel in the coming months.
Local and federal response recommendations concerning the virus continue to evolve. We will do our best to keep you informed and up-to-date, always with concern for your well-being.
Also, we are mindful of the potential stigmatization of students and colleagues who are from, or who are perceived to be from, affected countries and of students who recently traveled internationally during the spring break. Moravian College is enriched by our diverse population and by the experiences our students and faculty gain during international travel, and we remind the community to uphold our commitments to diversity and inclusion.
Students, please contact your professor and the Center for Global Education with your questions and/or concerns about study abroad plans. We are committed to your global education! Remember, this is a temporary and short-term measure. Students currently enrolled in May term programs will be allowed to participate in the program next year. And of course, there will be other opportunities in the future for study abroad.
Also, we ask that all Moravian employees and students who are planning to travel, or have travelled on your own, to take precautions to remain safe and keep our community members safe. I recommend that you check in with the Moravian College Health Center to understand what you must do in order to return safely to campus. And if you have recently travelled on your own to areas at high risk, please let the Health Center know and take their advice regarding your well being.
- Also, generally, continue to follow good health practices:
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
Dr. Cynthia Kosso
Provost and Dean of the Faculty
1200 Main Street
Bethlehem, PA 18018
Posted March 3, 2020
Subject: Novel Coronavirus Update (SPRING BREAK NOTICE)
This is an update to the message sent on February 25 regarding the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. At this time, there are NO suspected cases on our campus or in the Bethlehem area.
Spring Break is in process and a number of students and faculty are traveling. We are aware of reports that the coronavirus has spread to other countries and continue to monitor the situation.
If you choose to travel, the CDC recommends the following:
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
- It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
Students traveling from Italy will be screened upon leaving Italy. In addition:
- Students coming from Florence will be asked to self quarantine.
- Students coming from Rome will not, unless something changes between now and Thursday (3/5). Nursing students will still be subject to the rules of any hospitals that they may need to visit in the next few weeks and should self disclose their travel.
At this time, the CDC has only recommended screening individuals returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran. However, the Coronavirus has expanded to more countries, including the US and is now present and expanding into many states. As the situation evolves, the College may need to screen individuals returning from other countries in accordance with updated CDC Travel Guidelines.
All travelers will be asked to follow CDC guidelines for taking care of and monitoring their health.
Bryon L. Grigsby
Posted February 25, 2020
Novel Coronavirus Update (SPRING BREAK NOTICE)
This is an update to the message sent on February 5 regarding the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. At this time, there are NO suspected cases on our campus or in the Bethlehem area.
Spring Break is upon us and for some, that means travel. We are aware of reports that the coronavirus has spread to other countries and continue to monitor the situation.
If you choose to travel, the CDC recommends the following:
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
At this time, the CDC has only recommended screening for individuals returning from China and South Korea. However, as the situation evolves, the College may need to screen individuals returning from other countries in accordance with updated CDC Travel Guidelines.
We will continue to communicate with the entire campus community if/when CDC guidelines change.
STEPHANIE DILLMAN RN BSN
Moravian College Health Center Coordinator
250 W. Laurel St
Bethlehem, Pa 18018
Posted February 5, 2020
Community Health Information: Coronavirus
The College has been monitoring the recent coronavirus outbreak since it was first reported and has been in communication with the Bethlehem Health Bureau. At this time, there are no suspected cases reported on campus or in the Bethlehem area.
What is the College doing?
- Screening all individuals visiting the Moravian College Health Center for recent international travel.
- Communicating directly with those individuals who may have been in China recently (such as those home for Winter Break).
- Continuing to partner with the Bethlehem Health Bureau to ensure awareness and implementation of Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines as they evolve.
What should I do?
If you recently traveled to China and have not already received direct communication from the College about the coronavirus, please reach out to the Moravian College Health Center.
If you begin to experience symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), contact the Moravian College Health Center or a local Emergency Room immediately.
The CDC has not recommended any additional precautions for the general public at this time. Everybody should continue to practice everyday preventive action to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- Wash hands often with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Get a flu vaccine
Is there a coronavirus vaccine?
There is not currently a vaccine for the coronavirus but we want to remind everyone of the importance of getting the flu vaccine. The CDC reports that, in the United States, the flu is currently a far bigger threat to public health than the coronavirus.
Up-to-date information about the current outbreak can be found on the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html
Posted: September 17, 2019
Updated: December 5, 2019, 5:00 p.m.
December 5, 2019
The Bethlehem Health Bureau has “closed out” our mumps case which means OUR MUMPS OUTBREAK IS OVER!!!
But, it IS FLU SEASON, so please continue to practice good health habits!
Best wishes on the end of classes and final exams!
STEPHANIE DILLMAN RN BSN
Moravian College Health Center Coordinator
250 W. Laurel St
Bethlehem, Pa 18018