Dear North Central College Campus Community,
I am writing to inform you of significant changes the College will be making in the near-term with the goal of minimizing the public health risk to our campus community related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, while at the same time fulfilling our academic mission on behalf of our students. The College has a dedicated institutional response team that has been working tirelessly to monitor the latest developments related to COVID-19, along with guidance from local, regional and national health authorities, in order to establish contingency plans. These changes are as follows:
- The College is suspending in-person undergraduate classes as of Monday, March 16, through the remainder of the spring semester.
- The last day of in-person instruction will be this Friday, March 13.
- There will be no classes on Monday and Tuesday, March 16-17, as the College finalizes its preparation for remote instruction.
- Starting Wednesday, March 18, faculty will conduct undergraduate classes, assignments and exams remotely. Additional information for students and faculty regarding remote instruction is forthcoming.
- At this time student teaching placements and internship programs will continue as planned.
- A limited amount of graduate instruction may still occur in person and students from those programs should expect communication directly from their school, college or dean accordingly.
- The campus will remain open—including all offices and residence halls, limited dining services, the Dyson Wellness Center, Oesterle Library, computer labs and athletic facilities. However, we ask that members of the campus community practice social distancing to the extent possible and be mindful of gathering in large groups.
- Residential students who wish to return to their permanent residence for the remainder of the school year may do so. Refunds for residential students will be calculated on a pro-rated basis, adjusted for financial aid if appropriate. Please be patient as this will take some time.
- Students who wish to move out of their residence hall room can do so starting Saturday, March 14. Additional information regarding room and board is forthcoming from the Office of Residence Life.
- As of Monday, March 16, the College will restrict non-essential on-campus gatherings of more than 100 people until at least Friday, April 10. For additional information regarding hosting campus events, please reference the FAQ section of the website (info.northcentralcollege.edu).
- As was recently announced by the NCAA, upcoming NCAA championship events will be conducted with only essential staff and limited family in attendance. This will be in effect for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament game scheduled for this Friday at Merner Fieldhouse.
These decisions were not made lightly. Our goal is to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of students, faculty and staff—as well as others in the broader community—by decreasing the need to gather in large groups and in close proximity for prolonged periods of time. At the same time, we are allowing for a certain amount of flexibility for students to decide on the living arrangement that best suits their individual needs, and for faculty and students to collaborate in-person if they so choose. We are counting on our campus community to use their best judgement during these unprecedented circumstances.
As our team has monitored the COVID-19 developments over the past several weeks, our faculty and staff have been working hard to lay the groundwork for a successful transition to remote learning. Still, there will be bumps along the way as we adjust to this alternative way of working and learning together. But no matter the format, we aim to maintain the academic excellence and inspired instruction that our students expect from us, and to ensure that students are able to complete the current semester and maintain their academic progress. As this is a fluid situation, all members of the campus community should regularly check their College email for updates. You can also check the College’s COVID-19 Updates webpage for the most up-to-date information and for answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases within the Chicago area has been on the rise, including cases due to community spread, which is the spread of the disease without a known source of direct contact to someone else with the disease. We are currently in a position to take proactive measures to reduce the likelihood of exposure among our campus community, which is exactly what we are doing by taking these difficult but necessary steps.
We recognize that, given our deep commitment to an in-person educational experience that thrives in close community, this decision will have a significant impact on the North Central College experience. For our graduating students, we regret that the final weeks of your studies at North Central will not happen in a way you had anticipated. We look forward to returning to an in-person educational environment after this semester.
This is a moment in our College’s history when we are truly living out our mission of being a diverse community of learners dedicated to preparing students to be curious, engaged, ethical and purposeful citizens in local, national and global contexts—by focusing on the good of the broader community and particularly those who are at higher risk. Thank you for your understanding, flexibility and fortitude as we rise to meet this challenge together.
Troy D. Hammond
North Central College