March 18, 2020
On the advice of our Executive Leadership Team and Shepherd’s Campus Health Task Force, I have decided that beginning March 30, Shepherd University will complete the spring semester through online instruction. Our academic leadership, faculty and staff have been preparing for a distance learning solution to promote social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, which will allow students to successfully complete the academic year.
Given the situation we face; we must continue to restrict residence hall occupancy to those students who fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Students who claim Shepherd University as their only residence.
- Students holding a student visa/ have refugee status/ or other non-citizenship status — and Shepherd University is their only USA residence.
- Students who are U.S. residents and live a significant distance from campus and feel it is safer to stay on campus than to be at home.
- Students who do not have, and cannot obtain, internet access at, or near, their home residence.
- Other compelling student needs will be determined by Residence Life staff, and accommodations made, as deemed appropriate.
Shepherd realizes you will have many questions and, rest assured, we will be here to address them. Our residential students especially will need to know if and when they can access their rooms. Further information on this process will be delivered to on-campus residents from the Residence Life office, including how to collect personal belongings from one’s on-campus residence — if you do not fall into one of the above special consideration categories.
Shepherd is equally committed to the welfare of our employees’ health, and we are trying to balance this with the need to maintain administrative services for current and incoming students. At this time, Shepherd intends to continue its administrative functions and operations. We will conduct business safely by adhering to best practice guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. Some adjustments to work schedules will be made, taking into consideration employees with health issues or who have family members at home with health issues. Our Human Resources office has been distributing detailed information regarding options available to employees. Members of the Executive Leadership Team will continue to provide oversight to ensure that students receive essential services during this period of alternative academic instruction delivery. Obviously, if conditions in West Virginia change, we will further adjust our work schedule as necessary.
I am grateful to everyone in the Shepherd community who is working hard to help our students succeed. During this time of fewer individuals on campus, limited food service, and no face-to-face classroom instruction, Shepherd’s Facilities Team will be deep cleaning and disinfecting common areas. Based on other pandemics that have transpired, we appreciate that COVID-19 will pass and our Institution will remain strong. We have a profound responsibility to remain calm, well informed, and serve our students, employees and community to the best of our ability.
Thank you for your time, understanding and consideration of the information we have shared. Please refer to the Shepherd University website for the most up to date facts regarding the COVID-19-related issues.
A video of this message can be viewed here.
With continuing best wishes,
Mary J.C. Hendrix, Ph.D.