March 13, 2020
Dear Members of the Methodist University Community,
As you are probably aware, the President of the United States has declared a national emergency related to COVID-19.
We remain confident that the Methodist University campus is still one of the safest places to be in the state of North Carolina. But, we are also aware that the cases of COVID-19 will continue to increase in the coming weeks, both in the state and across the nation. Medical experts are urging that we all take seriously the practice of social distancing, in addition to other measures for preventing the spread of COVID-19, flu, or any other communicable disease.
One important aspect of social distancing is to avoid large gatherings. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to suspend Methodist University in-person instruction, beginning Monday, March 16. We have made this decision both to protect the health and well-being of our university community and to ensure that we are good citizens in supporting efforts to reduce the spread of cases in our area.
Key details of this decision are listed below, including special consideration for our graduate health professions programs (PA, DPT, OTD). Because this is an evolving situation, we will continue to communicate details to our entire campus community throughout the next several weeks.
KEY POINTS ABOUT CHANGES TO INSTRUCTION
- Methodist University remains open. For all students who decide to remain on campus or for commuters who wish to continue using campus resources, residence halls will remain open, meals will continue to be served, and the library and other facilities will remain open.
- There will be no in-person MU classes from March 16 through March 20, with the exception of specific, graduate PA, DPT, OTD classes. Students in those graduate programs will receive details from their program directors.
- All clinical placements, student teaching, and internships will continue as long as the host sites remain open for student placements.
- Classes will resume via distance learning technologies and approaches beginning Monday, March 23, and will continue to be offered until further notice. We will reassess options for resuming in-person instruction on a weekly basis.
- Classes that are already being delivered fully online will continue as scheduled for the current semester.
- If residential students plan to leave during this time, they must notify their RAs.
KEY POINTS ABOUT ADVISING AND REGISTRATION FOR SUMMER AND FALL 2020
- We encourage students to keep or schedule appointments with faculty advisors next week as planned. These appointments can take place in-person, by phone, Skype, email, or other communication platform.
- Course registration for Summer and Fall 2020 will continue as scheduled through the MyMU portal.
KEY POINTS ABOUT CAMPUS EVENTS
- The USA South Conference Presidents have voted today to cancel all conference and non-conference competitions and all tournament play for the remainder of the academic year. All athletic competitions and practices are canceled.
- All MU events are postponed until further notice.
KEY POINTS ABOUT GRADUATION AND COMMENCEMENT
- The change in instruction does not affect a student’s ability to graduate. Grades will be turned in as scheduled, and all students who have met graduation requirements at the end of spring semester will graduate.
- Graduating and earning a degree is not dependent upon attending a commencement ceremony.
- It is impossible at this time to predict the state of public health on May 2, which is the date for commencement. We will notify the community about the status of the commencement ceremony no later than early April.
KEY POINTS FOR FACULTY AND STAFF
- All faculty and staff are to report for work on their normal schedules until otherwise notified.
- Daily University activity is expected to continue as usual.
- Faculty are expected to use the week of March 16 to prepare to shift in-person courses to a distance learning format. Faculty will receive further information about resources and support from the Office of the Provost.
- Until further notice, all domestic and international travel for university business and employee professional development reasons is canceled.
- We strongly encourage cancellation of non-essential personal travel.
As always, we encourage a calm and reasoned approach to decision-making regarding COVID-19. There is no reason for fear or panic. As noted above, we are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution, in keeping with the advice of health authorities. All media inquiries should be referred to the Office of the President.
We continue to hold the education, health, and safety of our students as our highest priority. We will ensure that students receive the education for which they are enrolled this semester and that they have access to the facilities and technology they need on campus. Another top priority is the health and well-being of our staff and faculty. We will continue to closely and regularly assess the steps we need to take to ensure the safety of our employees.
We thank you for your patience as we work our way through the constantly evolving information about COVID-19.
Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D., President
William H. Walker, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students