Coronavirus: Latest News & Announcements

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Latest News

September 18, 2020

The Forward Together: COVID-19 Dashboard has been updated with current COVID-19 statistics.

September 17, 2020

The Forward Together: COVID-19 Dashboard has been updated with current COVID-19 statistics.

Methodist University has partnered with the Fayetteville State University School of Nursing and has the opportunity to offer testing for COVID-19 on Sept. 21. MU students, faculty and staff only may take advantage of this testing at no charge starting at 3 p.m., with testing closing at 7 p.m. The testing will take place at the traffic circle outside of Huff Concert Hall and participants may either drive through or walk up for testing. You must bring a driver’s license or Methodist University ID to be tested. For more information, please contact MU Health Services at 910.630.7164 or shc@methodist.edu.

September 14, 2020

The Forward Together: Student Involvement & Campus Recreation page has been updated with new hours and protocols for the Nimocks Fitness Center.

September 11, 2020

The Forward Together: Athletics page has been updated with an announcement concerning the postponement of activities and practices until at least Sept. 28.

Dr. Wearden shared a Presidential Update (below), announcing a return to in-person classes on Sept. 14, but extending the other provisions of our No Indoor Gathering Protocol.

The Forward Together: Quarantine & Isolation page has been updated with Housekeeping Guidelines.

September 9, 2020

The Forward Together: Quarantine & Isolation page has been updated with telephone numbers for support.

September 8, 2020

The Forward Together: Quarantine & Isolation page has been added with information about what you will need on quarantine or isolation, along with important information about health checks and ordering meals.

September 2, 2020

Dr. Wearden shared a Presidential Update (below), extending the No Indoor Gathering Protocol through September 12.

August 31, 2020

Dr. Wearden shared a Presidential Update (below), announcing the No Indoor Gathering Model.

The Forward Together: No Indoor Gathering Protocol page has been added, which will be in effect at midnight on Sept. 1.

The Forward Together: Health & Wellness Information page has been updated with new information about what to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive after hours and on the weekends.

August 28, 2020

Campus Recreation has updated the Nimocks Fitness Center hours of operation and list of equipment available for checkout on the Forward Together: Student Involvement & Campus Recreation page.

August 27, 2020

Dr. Wearden shared a Presidential Update (below) addressing COVID-19 rumors and sharing the Dashboard with the community.

The Forward Together: COVID-19 Dashboard has been added to track COVID-19 statistics within the Methodist University community, both on and off campus.

Methodist University Dining Services has updated its guidelines on the Forward Together: Dining Services page.

August 26, 2020

The Office of Alumni Affairs has announced on the Forward Together: Alumni Affairs & Homecoming page that Homecoming has been postponed from its original October dates, and alumni should look for new information coming soon about a spring event.

Mask wearing guidelines have been updated on the Forward Together: Mail Services and Forward Together: Student Accounts pages.

A section titled Guide for Specific Workplace Scenarios has been added to the Forward Together: Information for MU Faculty, Staff & Student Employees.

August 25, 2020

The Reeves Fine Arts Complex & Matthews Ministry Center guidelines for facility use have been updated on the Forward Together: Campus Events page.

August 24, 2020

The page Forward Together: MU Green Screen App has been updated with what to do in the case of users developing symptoms that are unusual.

August 17, 2020

Dr. Wearden shared a Presidential Update (below) highlighting the importance of wearing masks and the other things we can do to show that we care about our fellow students, professors, and Methodist University.

August 14, 2020

The page Forward Together: Davis Memorial Library has been updated to state that face coverings must be worn at all times while within the library.

August 13, 2020

A link has been added for students to schedule peer tutoring sessions on the page Forward Together: Academic Support & Study Abroad.

August 12, 2020

Dr. Wearden has released a Presidential Update (below) and added a video to the Forward Together page concerning the importance of, and misconceptions about, wearing face masks.

August 11, 2020

Information concerning the MU Green Screen App has been added to the Forward Together: Health & Wellness Information in the area concerning Daily Health Checks.

August 10, 2020

A new page entitled Forward Together: MU Green Screen App has been added, and the same information has been added to the material concerning daily health checks on Forward Together: Information for MU Faculty, Staff & Student Workers. The page Forward Together: New Student Orientation has been removed from the menu.

Dr. Wearden has updated his welcome video on the main Forward Together page.

Videos for Classrooms, Dining, Housing, and Socializing have been updated on the main Forward Together page.

August 5, 2020

Information concerning Accessibility & Disability Services has been added to the Forward Together: Academic Support & Study Abroad page.

July 31, 2020

A recording of the Virtual Town Hall Meeting for Parents & Students from Wednesday, July 29, has been added to the Forward Together: Parent Programs page.

Updated Forward Together: New Student Orientation/Check-In to indicate that the virtual New Student Orientation has been updated on the New Student Orientation page.

July 30, 2020

The Federal CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions page has been updated (found below under Other Updates).

The Staffing and Expectations of Supervisors sections of the Forward Together: Information for MU Faculty, Staff & Student Employees page have been updated.

The Temporary Policy for Employee Recording of COVID-19 Leave has been updated in Other Updates below and on the Forward Together: Information for MU Faculty, Staff & Student Employees page.

July 29, 2020

An update to Frequently Asked Questions has been added to the Forward Together: Information for MU Faculty, Staff & Student Employees.

July 28, 2020

The President and Vice President & Director of Athletics released a statement today announcing that Fall USA South Athletic Conference sports seasons would be postponed until Spring. Methodist University is a member of the USA South Athletic Conference. Read the full statement on the Forward Together: Athletics page.

press release announcing the Forward Together: COVID-19 Resource Web Site has been posted.

A link to the Parent Programs Website has been added to Forward Together: Parent Programs so that parents may register their email address to receive our parents e-newsletter and MU Today Magazine. Also at this link, watch a video of a Virtual Parent Panel.

Information concerning Student Requests for Remote Instruction has been added to the Forward Together: Courses page.

July 24, 2020

A Zoom invitation to a Virtual Town Hall for Students & Parents has been added to the Forward Together: Parent Programs page, with a link added to the main Forward Together page.

A section on Virtual Employer Engagement has been added to the Forward Together: Career Services page.

A section has been added to Forward Together: Health & Wellness Information highlighting what one should do if one experiences symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive for the virus.

July 23, 2020

The Admissions Office has increased the number of appointment times available for prospective students from three to four appointments per day: 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm. For full details, see Forward Together: Admissions.


Past Presidential Updates

September 11, 2020

Dear Methodist University Community,

Outside of my office I can see the United States flag, hung at half-staff today in honor of the victims of 9/11. Though it was 19 years ago, I can remember vividly where I was that day and the feelings of anxiety, sadness and concern that I experienced. It was a day, which then became an extended period of time, which I will always recall in abundant detail.

Though not comparing 9/11 to our challenges today specifically, I do believe now is a time we will all remember quite vividly for years to come, as well. These times are unquestionably unique with the spread of COVID-19, full of both significant challenges and also quantifiable achievements.

At Methodist University, over the past several weeks, we have seen incredible teamwork and care from our students, faculty, staff and others. Compliance with safety guidelines from the vast majority has allowed us to remain open on campus, when dozens of other institutions have shut their doors. It’s a remarkable achievement.

We also do, however, have significant challenges ahead. To keep our students safe and our campus open, we must get the entire MU community to follow safety protocols. If we hold ourselves and others accountable, and are willing to sacrifice in the short term, we really do have a fighting chance in the long term. It takes some difficult decisions, with all of us on board and doing our part, but it is possible.

As I mentioned in previous correspondence, we are returning to in-person classes on Monday. Our detailed contact tracing is showing no signs of virus spread in classes, but we are seeing clusters in some residence halls. As a consequence — and the need for safety and the reduction of density in those particular halls — some students will be going home until it has been determined (based on safety analysis) they may return. Our goal is two weeks. I am sorry for the anxiety and inconvenience that accompanies this decision, and I am deeply grateful to those called to make this sacrifice.

For those heading home, thank you. Most of you have followed safety protocol, show no signs of contact or symptoms through your daily monitoring data, and are being moved for the reasons mentioned above. It’s against state and local directives to move those in quarantine or isolation, so while there are no guarantees with COVID-19, we are left with this as our most viable alternative for trying to keep the campus open. We want to re-iterate to everyone that remote learning from MU (which we did in the spring and have been doing for a week now) is the same high-quality instruction from the same top-tier professors.

The achievements since the fall semester opened a month ago have been extensive, the sacrifices have been commendable, and the challenges ahead remain expansive. Yet, this community has shown the fortitude and resiliency necessary to continue moving forward together. As students have been promoting lately all across campus, “It’s In Our Hands!”

As many of you have, please continue using our Forward Together COVID-19 Resource Website (www.methodist.edu/forward). It has a wealth of information, contacts for everything from athletics and academics to the latest updates and dashboards. As always, if you can’t find what you need on Forward Together, reach out to us at forward@methodist.edu.

Sincerely,

Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D.
President


September 2, 2020

Dear Members of the Methodist University Community,

After careful consideration — and following two days of detailed analysis, conversation and coordination with health care officials — I have determined Methodist University is continuing its precautionary “No Indoor Gathering” protocols that were put in place Monday evening. Safety is our No. 1 priority and we remain vigilant in our efforts to stay ahead of any potential COVID-19 clusters.

All requirements in the “No Indoor Gathering” protocol — from remote classes to take-out dining only – will remain in place through Sept. 12 (see details below and on our No Gathering web page at www.methodist.edu/forward/no-gathering).

 Our goal is for the University to be back to our regular, on-campus routines, starting Sunday, Sept. 13. On Sept. 13, the goal is for the MU Dining Hall to be open for all meals, in-person classes to be resumed and residence halls (common areas and visitation rules) to be reopened to previous fall rules and practices. Toward the end of the week, I will send out another message with more detail on what happens next at Methodist University.

For you to be up to date with the goals and policies that are in place at MU, it’s extremely important that you look for (and open) any campus-wide emails, follow our official University social media and adhere to any direction or adjustments communicated by your instructors and coaches. We also post all of our latest information on the Forward Together COVID-19 Resource Web site (www.methodist.edu/forward).

As I mentioned in a previous correspondence, it’s important that everyone understands: Campus is not closed! In our current “No Indoor Gathering” model, students will be allowed to remain on campus, live in their residence halls and obtain their MU carry-out meals (dining hall, Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, etc.). However, we have put tighter restrictions on gatherings to limit risks. Student safety is our top priority.

Specifically, on-campus requirements during our “No Indoor Gathering” model include:

  • No indoor gatherings are permitted, including scheduled, in-person classes.
  • Day and evening instruction is fully remote. Students should go to Canvas course sites and check MU email for details from their faculty related to remote instruction and any modifications to courses, assignments and exams.
  • While in their residence halls, students must stay in their own rooms, may not gather in residence hall common areas, and are not permitted to visit other residence halls.
    • Based on our contact tracing data, students not wearing masks and/or social distancing in the residence halls is of great concern. Everyone, whether they are good friends or not, can be asymptomatic and share this virus. Please, look out for each other, remind each other, respect each other by being as safe as you can for each other. It just takes one person not adhering to safety measures to open the door for dozens of others needing to be quarantined or even being sickened with a sometimes-deadly virus.
  • Dining will be take-out only service. Students can eat in their rooms or at one of the many outdoor tables/spaces across campus.
  • Social distancing is mandatory at all times. Masks are required at all times when students are not in their own residence hall rooms (indoors and outdoors). Masks must be worn properly, covering from bridge of nose to beneath chin.
  • Students are encouraged to go outside and are permitted to gather in very small groups, provided that all individuals wear masks and maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet from all other people. Outdoor activities remain limited to small groups, which cannot exceed a maximum of 25 — in compliance with MU’s current Gathering guidelines. Smaller gatherings are preferred.
  • All intercollegiate athletic activities are on hold, but if you properly social distance and wear your mask, you may engage in non-contact, non-close-proximity activity, e.g. throwing a football, tossing a Frisbee or kicking a soccer ball.
  • Parents will continue to be allowed to visit outdoors or to pick up students from campus, but remain unable to enter residence halls.
  • Posted capacity restrictions will continue to be enforced in the Library and computer labs across campus. No group work or indoor study group gathering is permitted in those spaces.
  • Faculty and staff will continue to work on campus. Specialized teaching spaces will be open with strict capacity and “no-gathering” protocols in place.
  • Student workers may report to their jobs (social distancing is required).
  • As always, students, faculty and staff should be daily self-monitoring and reporting on the MU Green Screen app (www.methodist.edu/forward/MU-green-screen).

I would be remiss not to mention that even though this “No Indoor Gathering” model is precautionary — in an effort to minimize the risk of clusters and outbreak — our compliance with wearing masks (properly), social distancing, hygiene and limiting group gatherings is absolutely crucial to our ability to remain on this campus.

Our “No Indoor Gathering” protocols and guidelines, plus direct contacts in various areas if you have any questions, are posted in detail on the Forward Together resource web site mentioned earlier. From Housing to Athletics to Academics, there is information (and contacts) there to assist you. We also share our current status related to COVID-19 quarantine and isolation (on and off campus) on our Forward Together Dashboard (www.methodist.edu/forward/dashboard). If you still can’t find what you’re after, please, never hesitate to send a question to forward@methodist.edu.

As we continue through this week, with some choosing to travel for the Labor Day weekend, I hope all of you will — as I have — carefully consider your actions and fellow Monarchs as we strive to advance through this fall semester on campus. During a holiday, it can be easy to let your guard down. Please continue to keep yourself safe with social distancing and masks. As proven with the “No Indoor Gathering” model, we are ready and able to adjust if necessary, but our goals are to remain vigilant and walking alongside each other (always 6-feet apart!) on this campus.

Sincerely,

Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D.
President


August 31, 2020

Dear Members of the Methodist University Community,

For several months, Methodist University has been looking forward to the return of our students to campus. We believe very strongly in the value of what MU has to offer and have been very encouraged by the efforts put forth by the entire MU community to make this 2020 fall semester a reality.

During these same months, we have also been meeting with health-care officials on a regular basis, we have created a Pandemic Response Team, we have offered guidance and PPE for healthy living across campus, and we have devised contingency plans for a great number of circumstances related to COVID-19 and its potential for outbreak.

Though, at this time, we have just two residential students and seven non-residential students (and no faculty or staff) who have tested positive for COVID-19, it’s out of an abundance of care and precaution that we are making the decision to immediately put the on-campus community on a “48-Hour No Gathering” model effective at Midnight tonight (8/31). The adjustment is preventative, to allow for specific contact tracing and to mitigate any possible clusters of positive cases, as we evaluate the information we have at this moment.

It’s important that everyone understands: Campus is not closed! In this model, students will be allowed to remain on campus, live in their residence halls and obtain their MU meals (dining hall, Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, etc.). However, for a period 48 hours, we are putting tighter restrictions on gatherings to limit risks. Student safety is our top priority.

Specifically, and to reiterate this is effective at Midnight tonight, on-campus requirements include:

  • No indoor gatherings are permitted, including scheduled, in-person classes.
  • Evening and night instruction will be fully remote for the next two days. Students should go to Canvas course sites and check MU email for details from their faculty related to remote instruction and any modifications to courses, assignments and exams.
  • While in their residence halls, students must stay in their own rooms, may not gather in residence hall common areas, and are not permitted to visit other residence halls.
  • Dining will be take-out only service. Students can eat their rooms or at one of the many outdoor tables/spaces across campus.
  • Masks are required at all times when students are not in their own residence hall rooms (indoors and outdoors). Masks must be worn properly, covering from bridge of nose to beneath chin.
  • Students are encouraged to go outside and are permitted to gather in very small groups, provided that all individuals wear masks and maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet from all other people. Outdoor activities remain limited to small groups, which cannot exceed the maximum of 25 in compliance with Governor Cooper’s most recent Covid-19 order. Smaller gatherings are preferred.
  • All intercollegiate athletic activities are on hold, but if you properly social distance and wear your mask, you may engage in non-contact, non-close-proximity activity, e.g. throwing a football, tossing a Frisbee or kicking a soccer ball.
  • Parents will continue to be allowed to visit outdoors or to pick up students from campus, but remain unable to enter residence halls.
  • Posted capacity restrictions will continue to be enforced in the Library and computer labs across campus. No group work or indoor study group gathering is permitted in those spaces.
  • Faculty and staff will continue to work on campus. Specialized teaching spaces will be open with strict capacity and “no-gathering” protocols in place.

This is not a “lockdown” or “freeze-in-place” model you may have heard about at other universities. During this “No Gathering” model – as we carefully assess the scope of current cases – students are encouraged to go outside (with masks and social distancing, of course).

Please understand that this is not Step 1 to fully remote learning and sending students home. Though the realities of such a decision may become necessary at some point, the decision to move to the “No Gathering” model is strictly precautionary. We are dedicated to not get into a scenario where we are beyond our capacities or abilities to respond before making such an important decision. To the best of our abilities, and through our carefully constructed plans, we are attempting to stay in front of any potential clusters or outbreak.
We understand there may be many questions, and we’re here to support our entire community. We encourage you to visit our Forward Together resource website www.methodist.edu/forward, and our special section related to the “No Gathering” model (www.methodist.edu/forward/no-gathering). If you still have questions, you can send them to forward@methodist.edu.
While COVID-19 continues to place hurdles before us, MU is focused on advancing and prepared to adjust as necessary for the safety of our students. I’m confident in our plans, I’m confident in our community and I’m confident we will continue to move Forward Together.

Sincerely,

Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D.
President


August 27, 2020

Dear Members of the Methodist University Community,

I have recently heard of rumors that we have numerous cases of COVID-19 on our campus. I am writing to tell you that these rumors are completely false and unfounded.

Here is the true situation:

  • We know of only two students, both off-campus, who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are now in isolation and being monitored by medical practitioners.
  • As a precaution, we have tested 21 students. All of these tests have come back negative, which means that they showed no evidence of the virus. These students were all put on quarantine per public health guidelines and out of an abundance of caution. Thirteen of these students are in quarantine on campus, and 8 are in quarantine off campus.
  • We know of no faculty or staff members who have recently tested positive or are currently being quarantined.

If you want to know the actual facts about COVID-19 at MU, please look at the dashboard on the Forward Together website: https://www.methodist.edu/forward/dashboard

Rumors are not unusual at times of stress and uncertainty – it’s just human nature. But not everything about human nature is good or healthy. Rumors are caused by fear and uncertainty, and sadly, sometimes by cynicism and a desire for attention. Whatever the cause, rumors can gradually rot out the hearts, the minds, and the souls of human beings. Rumors can kill trust and hope. They can even destroy our faith and our ability to love one another.

The good news is that there is a widely available cure for rumors – knowledge. Let’s not forget that Methodist University is an institution of higher learning. We focus on knowledge, facts, and critical thinking about rumors of disease and conspiracy. We are here because we believe deeply in the liberating and transformative power of knowledge. In addition, we are at Methodist University specifically because of our commitment to truth, virtue, justice, and love.

We are Monarchs! We’re better than rumors. I am confident we will continue to Move Forward Together … in knowledge and in taking care of one another.

Sincerely,

Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D.
President


August 17, 2020

Dear Members of the Methodist University Community,

In just the past week, several schools that tried to reopen their campuses for in-person learning and residential life have had to send their students back home and move to fully remote teaching and learning. This has happened both in North Carolina and across the country.

I know none of us want that to happen at Methodist University, and there is a lot we can do to keep it from happening. It requires that each and every one of us make a personal commitment to keep MU open and to do our part all day every day to move Forward Together.

What can we do?

  1. Wear masks anytime we are around other people other than roommates or people living in our immediate residence hall area. This applies whether we are indoors or out. Masks are proven to dramatically reduce the spread of COVID-19. Even if we feel OK and the people with us seem OK, we will wear our masks! COVID-19 is a sneaky disease that spreads even when people feel fine.
  2. Use the Green Screen app every day. Stay home if we have symptoms or just don’t feel so good. Go to the Health Center or see our own health care provider if we are concerned that we might have COVID or even if we are just feeling a little ill.
  3. Practice social distancing. Stay a minimum of 6 feet from other people. Respect the entry and exit signs on doors and staircases. Even if we can practice social distancing, though, wear a mask when we are around other people.
  4. Wash our hands, for at least 20 seconds, and do it frequently.

Methodist University is a special and caring place. Monarchs take a lot of pride in being successful in the classroom, on the playing fields and courts, and in every other area of campus life. We can succeed at this too if we all do our part, all the time, to move Forward Together.

As I walk around campus, I see many of you wearing masks. Thank you for doing that! By wearing masks, you are showing that you care about me and all your fellow Monarchs!

Let’s show the world that Methodist University is one school that can keep its doors open and its students on campus. We can do this because Monarchs are willing to do whatever it takes to show how much we care.

Thank you for caring!

Sincerely,

Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D.
President


August 12, 2020

Dear Members of the Methodist University Community,

I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity to walk across the Methodist University campus each day and see first-hand the aspects of MU that make it unique. Those of us who have spent time at other universities can plainly see how special MU is, whether it’s in the classroom, on the ball fields or in the positive fellowship that is so abundantly present throughout the Berns Student Center and elsewhere on campus.

That special drive for excellence, that singular ability to care for and encourage one another, are as evident – and perhaps even more important – as ever before. COVID-19 has challenged all of us in ways we never would have imagined at this time last year, yet here we are at the beginning of a new semester eager to learn, grow and accomplish our goals as always.

This year, however, to achieve that excellence and follow our mission, it’s crucial that we show commitments to each other like never before. We have worked tirelessly for months, partnered with experts in the healthcare field and prepared comprehensive plans and procedures, but it is up to the MU community to work together for success. Simply put: To move Forward Together, we must first accept our responsibilities individually.

In addition to the Forward Together web site (www.methodist.edu/forward), which is full of information, videos, direction and contacts, I’d like to highlight a few individual action items that are not only crucial to your success this semester, but to all MU students, faculty and staff.

Masks = On a residential campus, our lives are so intertwined that it’s imperative – for the respect and care of your fellow Monarchs – that we follow all the required policies and procedures related to face coverings. Specific guidelines are available online (www.methodist.edu/forward/health/), but please also watch this comprehensive video addressing the importance of masks, types of masks, misconceptions about wearing masks and more (https://youtu.be/MUF3yMBO4e4).
MU Green Screen App = Daily health monitoring could not be more important, and MU has created an easy, fast way for you to do a “check-up” on your own each morning. All students, faculty and staff are asked to download the app from Google Play or from the App Store and to use this tool for confidential self-screening immediately and daily. To get step-by-step instructions on downloading, plus a video and contacts, visit: www.methodist.edu/forward/mu-green-screen/
A Pledge to Each Other = To keep our campus safe, to show we’re committed as one to conquering the foe that COVID-19 has become, we are asking each member of the MU community to sign a Stay Safe Pledge. Our individual health affects everyone around us, and we want to show we’re in this together. The pledge is contained within the MU Green Screen App and is a great way to show your intentions to help protect each other. I have signed the pledge myself, and I encourage each of you to sign it, as well.

We have a very special community here at Methodist, and I am confident we will continue to lead by example, support each other and fulfill the individual commitments necessary to overcome the hurdles COVID-19 has put before us. As teammates, committed to excellence, we will accomplish our goals not by ourselves, but by moving Forward Together.Sincerely,

Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D.
President


June 8, 2020

Return-to-Work GuideTo Methodist University Community:
Face masks/cloth face coverings: Face masks or face coverings must be worn by all employees, students and visitors on campus when in the presence of others and in public settings (e.g., common work spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.). Appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The mask or cloth face covering is not a substitute for social distancing.
Dr. Stanley T. Wearden, President
Dr. William H. Walker, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

June 1, 2020

Dear Members of the Methodist University Community,

As I announced recently, Methodist University plans to reopen with in-person classes, residential students, athletics, and campus events on as normal a schedule as possible in the fall. After consulting with health officials and other university leaders around the state and nation, we have decided that, for campus undergraduate students only, we will move the first day of class up one week and begin the Methodist University fall 2020 semester on August 10. We will cancel fall break this year, and the semester will end on November 24, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Students will be encouraged to remain off campus after Thanksgiving. Any students who feel they need to reside on campus after Thanksgiving will be required to petition the Dean of Students with an explanation of their needs. The Methodist University commencement remains scheduled for Saturday, December 12. Graduating seniors who reside on campus will be permitted to leave their belongings in the residence halls and retrieve them when they return for commencement.

Because graduate students typically are not residential on campus and because of issues related to health care clinical residencies this summer, the graduate student semester start and end dates will remain as originally scheduled.

We are taking these extraordinary measures for two reasons. First, until there is an effective vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, effective social distancing will remain important. Having members of our community return to campus after traveling over Thanksgiving break and being in the presence of many other people may create a greater likelihood of virus transmission on campus after the holiday. Second, there is at least some preliminary evidence that the coronavirus may be seasonal in nature. Consequently, it is advisable not to have students return at the beginning of the traditional influenza season. Although the virus that causes COVID-19 is not an influenza virus, there is reason to believe that it may behave similarly in terms of seasonality.

I realize this email will raise many additional questions. Further details on the return to campus will be released in the very near future. We are still working on such details as testing of returning students (as well as faculty and staff), process and timing of return to residence halls, social distancing in classrooms and other campus spaces, fall athletics, requiring face masks or other effective facial coverings, etc. As we make decisions on these issues, we will announce them broadly. In the meantime, please address questions to the following individuals:

  • Dr. Suzanne Blum Malley, Provost – Course and final examination/project scheduling, social distancing in the classroom, classroom health and safety issues. (smalley@methoedist.edu)
  • Dr. William Walker, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students – New Student Orientation, residence halls, dining, student events on campus, intramural athletics, student health center, student counseling center (wwalker@methodist.edu)
  • Mr. Dave Eavenson, Vice President and Director of Athletics – intercollegiate athletics, athletic practice, athletic travel and lodging (deavenson@methodist.edu)
  • Mr. Rick Lowe, Vice President of Enrollment Services – New student admissions and expectations of new students, financial aid (rlowe@methodist.edu)
  • Ms. Sheila Kinsey, Chief of Staff and Vice President for Planning and Administration – Campus facilities, campus environment, general health and safety issues (skinsey@methodist.edu)
  • Ms. Dawn Ausborn, Vice President for Business Affairs – billing, budget, finance, and human resources (dausborn@methodist.edu)
  • Rev. Kelli Taylor, Vice President for Religious Life and Community Engagement and University Chaplain – Religious life on campus, worship, community engagement (ktaylor@methodist.edu)

We have three major priorities as a university at this time: 1. Doing our best to protect the health and safety of all members of the university community, 2. Providing a high quality and rigorous academic and co-curricular experience for our students, 3. Protecting the immediate and long-term financial health of MU. We will continue to do everything we can to offer our students the on-campus Monarch experience they desire, while closely monitoring public health issues locally, nationally, and internationally and adapting as necessary.

I thank you for your patience with Methodist University as we work through how best to respond to the extraordinary challenges of this time. And I will ask for your continued patience as well. COVID-19 is only beginning to be understood in the scientific and medical communities. There are likely to be unexpected outcomes in the days and months ahead. As a university, we will do our best to monitor and anticipate change and to protect our community. So, while we hope we are making firm plans now, as educators we have great humility about emergent knowledge and we recognize that we may need to change some of these plans, and these changes may sometimes need to happen quickly to maximize the effectiveness of our response to COVID-19.

Again, we will continue to communicate regularly as plans become finalized and as we see the need to adapt to changes in public health.

I wish you all good health and a happy summer.

Sincerely,

Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D.
President


Other Updates

This webpage will be a one-stop resource where our community members can find University updates, FAQs, and University and government resources pertaining to COVID-19. Please refresh this page to ensure you are getting the most current updates.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a coronavirus?

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are “a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.” COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus, meaning it is a new strand of coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, and fever. Symptoms can also include severe acute respiratory syndrome and pneumonia in more serious cases.

How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is a communicable disease that can be transferred from person to person by having close contact with someone who has the virus, or from respiratory droplets that are spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Who is at the most risk for contracting COVID-19?

Those who have been traveling near areas already impacted by COVID-19, as well as the elderly and people who are immunocompromised are at a higher risk of contracting this virus than others.

What preventative measures can I take?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 infections can be minimalized if the following preventative measures are taken:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then discard the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect objects frequently.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • The CDC doesn’t recommend people to wear a facemask to protect themselves from COVID-19. Those who are showing symptoms can wear a facemask to avoid spreading the disease to others.

How is Methodist University preparing for a potential case?

Methodist University is currently planning and tracking COVID-19, and taking appropriate steps to assure that the campus is well-equipped to help anyone who presents symptoms associated with the virus.

How can MU students, faculty, and staff get assistance if they are presenting symptoms of COVID-19?

Health Services asks that anyone who is presenting symptoms to call prior to visiting the Health Center. If you feel you are presenting symptoms, please consult our medical professionals at 910-630-7164. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to seek out their primary physicians.

Helpful Links

Campus Face Mask & Social Distancing Signage