March 11, 2020
Dear Members of the Methodist University Community,
We know and understand that there is some fear and anxiety on campus about COVID-19. We want to assure you again that our Epidemic Response Team is monitoring this situation very closely in North Carolina and nationally. Methodist University has two important priorities: 1. To ensure that our students receive the education for which they have enrolled and that they make continued progress toward graduation, and 2. To ensure the health and safety of our campus community.
We are aware that some North Carolina colleges and universities have decided to suspend their face-to-face teaching and go fully online for varying lengths of time. We also are aware that other North Carolina schools have decided to continue operating until health authorities indicate that they should do otherwise. Shutting down face-to-face classes is complex. Many of the schools doing this are sending students on spring break just this week or next. Our students have already returned from spring break, and we have absolutely no evidence of COVID-19 on campus. Students returning home across the state and nation may actually create a greater health risk than remaining on what continues to be a safe campus.
As of this afternoon, there are still only 7 individuals in North Carolina, all in the Raleigh area, who have tested positive. Governor Cooper has said, “While we do expect more cases, we can limit the number of people who get sick.” State health authorities are doing exactly that with the Raleigh-area cases. At Methodist University, we are canceling, until further notice, all non-essential gatherings that bring large numbers of people to our campus.
Methodist University is in continuous contact with the county and state health departments, which continue to assure us that moving courses fully online is not necessary. We will remain in normal operation unless health authorities advise otherwise.
While the fear and anxiety are understandable, they are not necessary, nor are they effective. Likewise, rumor and gossip are always harmful. We will continue to keep you informed. If you need to know the facts about Methodist University and COVID-19, please review the messages we are sending you, or contact us directly. Spreading false rumors can create unnecessary panic.
Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D., President
William H. Walker, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students