Officials at Grace College, Winona Lake, Ind., have taken steps to address concerns around the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, the decision has been made to cancel on-campus classes and to temporarily close the residence halls for the next four weeks. Below is communication from Grace’s president, Dr. Bill Katip, and instructions for the next few weeks. – from grace.edu
Dear Campus Community:
Please know that we take your welfare and safety very seriously. As we’ve communicated previously, we have been monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on our campus and in our community. Earlier this week, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a global pandemic. Additionally, we have had two students who have been tested for COVID-19, though neither of those cases, or any others, have been confirmed on campus.
After having multiple conversations with state officials, local health authorities, community leaders, and other college presidents; hearing concerns from parents and students; and an extended meeting with our Board of Trustees this evening, we have reluctantly come to the decision to cancel on-campus classes and to temporarily close the residence halls for the next four weeks.
We are not trying to act out of a spirit of fear, but to act responsibly and out of love and compassion for those around us. We know this will be difficult for each of you in a variety of ways and we lament with you that this semester at Grace will not go as planned or desired; however, this didn’t surprise our Lord: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways,” declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8). By being proactive—taking a thoughtful, faithful approach—we have an opportunity to care well for people even when we aren’t together.
You will have questions, but below is some initial guidance for implementation of these decisions. The situation is very fluid and more communication will be forthcoming.
In His service,
Bill Katip, President
Guidance for Faculty and Students Regarding Classroom Teaching
- Effective Wednesday, March 17, the College will transition to remote delivery of all classes through Monday, April 13 at 6:00 PM.
- Classes will be canceled from Friday, March 13 through Tuesday, March 17, to prepare for remote instruction.
- Professors will provide details to their students on how their class content will be delivered.
- Exceptions may include field work such as clinical activities, internships, or student teaching; in those instances, the deans and chairs of the respective schools and departments will provide direct guidance regarding which experiences will continue.
- All residential students should plan to check out of their residence hall by Sunday, March 15 at 6 PM.
- Our goal is to re-open the campus on Sunday, April 12, but we will provide you with additional guidance via email by Wednesday, April 1. The residence halls will not be accessible at this time and students may choose to move their belongings out of their residence hall room in case classes do not resume on campus as planned.
- On-campus room and board will be provided to those who have no other option, including those from countries with travel restrictions, those with other extenuating circumstances, and those with field work such as clinical activities, internships, or student teaching . Please fill out this online form by noon on Saturday, March 14 if you will need on-campus housing.
- Nonessential business travel will cease immediately. The respective Cabinet member will provide further guidance concerning College business travel.
- All international and domestic student travel will be canceled until further notice. As the landscape with travel continues to change, we will monitor and may make adjustments.
- We have reviewed all GoEncounter trips and Study Abroad travel and have put them on hold. We will provide further information in the coming weeks.
- The Crossroads League has suspended all competitions until Wednesday, April 1 (baseball, softball, track and field, golf).
- Grace College, therefore, will suspend all athletic and club activity (including practices) until Wednesday, April 1.
- The Athletic Director and coaches will be in contact with their teams with further guidance.
Guidance For Faculty
- Faculty should immediately begin preparation to deliver courses remotely beginning Wednesday, March 18 (Moodle, Google Meet, and other online platforms).
- Training sessions and workshops will be offered Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17 for faculty; more information will come from the Academic Affairs Office.
- Faculty may continue to use their offices and campus facilities while delivering courses remotely and are encouraged to meet virtually with students.
Guidance For Staff
- The college is open during this time period. Staff should still report to campus for work.
- Grace will provide work-at-home flexibility to employees who are at high-risk (i.e., chronically ill or immuno-compromised prior to this outbreak), or have a need to work remotely due to personal matters related to the COVID-19. Employees should talk with their supervisor to establish a work plan. HR will be developing procedures and will be communicating those procedures in the coming days.
- Paid time off should be used, per usual, for other matters.
- Cabinet members will communicate with their respective areas for additional work-flow plans.
Campus Events and Access
- We will abide by Governor Holcomb’s current guidelines for group gatherings and events (no more than 250). Generally, we are not going to have special events on campus during this period. Event coordinators will contact guests with additional information.
- Some schools have already canceled Commencement services. We will be reviewing this in the coming weeks and provide further guidance.
- For safety reasons, certain facilities may be closed.