Dear North Central College Students, Faculty, and Staff:
We continue to monitor all developments regarding the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, assessing and adapting our plans with a focus on the health and well-being of the campus community and a commitment to helping limit the spread of the virus.
While we had hoped to keep the campus completely open, that no longer seems possible given the rapidly changing circumstances. In recent days, the announcements from Governor Pritzker closing all K12 schools, asking all organizations to allow people, when possible, to work from home, and closing all bars and restaurants requires additional adjustments. For the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and potential visitors, the following changes are being implemented:
- Campus residence halls will close. All students are asked to return to their permanent residence as soon as possible but no later than 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18; students who cannot return to their permanent residence, and other students for whom exceptions are necessary will be allowed to stay on campus. All resident students will receive an email from the Office of Residence Life with many additional details, including the process for requesting an exception, and all check out procedures.
- Kaufman Dining Hall will continue campus food service, but will be implementing some changes. Beginning today, rather than a self-service model, all food will be served directly to students, and the dining hall will use disposable products. These steps are being taken for health and safety reasons as part of the plan to minimize the spread of illness.
- Late last week, the College canceled all remaining winter and spring athletic competitions, practices and activities, including the non-traditional season, and closed the Merner Field House weight room and the Residence Hall/Recreation Center fitness center. Effective immediately, all other athletic and recreational facilities are closed.
- The Dyson Wellness Center (DWC) will move to a telehealth model, and additional information from the DWC will follow.
- Oesterle Library will close to the campus community and general public, but the one-button studio and synchronous classroom facility will remain open for faculty use. Later this week, additional details will be shared with the campus community regarding which additional campus facilities will remain open to continue the College’s academic mission.
- Each of the College’s vice presidents will work with their respective divisions to establish plans and expectations for a temporary remote work model, which will begin later this week; the remote work model will be reevaluated in 2 weeks and adjusted as conditions warrant. I remain grateful for the efforts of our staff and faculty as we continue to support our students during this challenging time.
- All remaining in-person club and organization meetings and events are cancelled for the remainder of the spring semester.
- All academic fine arts events are cancelled for the remainder of the spring semester, and event organizers will communicate with their respective constituents accordingly.
We understand that being asked to leave campus may pose a serious financial hardship for certain individuals. Students with serious financial need are encouraged to complete the Cardinal Operation Hope and Help Financial Assistance Application to request emergency funds for food, clothing, shelter, transportation, or educational needs.
Local, regional, and national health agencies continue to stress the importance of social distancing and avoiding large groups of people, and we are taking additional actions to do our part toward slowing the spread of the coronavirus. We will continue delivering courses via remote instruction for the remainder of the semester, with the exception of certain graduate courses and programs that will continue in-person as was previously communicated. Students concerned about their ability to complete all course requirements as a result of limited or no off-campus Internet access should contact their instructor regarding potential course assignment options, and/or should contact the Office of Student Affairs regarding alternative Internet access options.
Sadly, the circumstances will also prevent us from hosting this year’s Honors Day and Commencement events as currently planned. In the coming days, we will evaluate our options for celebrating the scholarly achievements of our students and the Class of 2020, and will communicate accordingly. Please visit the College’s website (info.northcentralcollege.edu) for additional information, resources, and a continually evolving list of FAQs.
We find ourselves in an unprecedented situation. I join you in feelings of loss. I will miss seeing the normal pace of campus life; the interactions that occur between students and faculty; the buzz of activity along the campus walkway; academic, artistic, and athletic events of all kinds that create the vibrant and enriching culture that uniquely defines North Central College. I sympathize with students, particularly our seniors, who didn’t anticipate this kind of conclusion to the academic year or their time as North Central students. The ongoing navigation of the coronavirus outbreak, and the difficult decisions that come with it, are painful for all of us at the College. Yet, I’m grateful to all of you for your flexibility, understanding, and care for one another. At a time when we are all processing so much intellectually and emotionally, I have witnessed extraordinary things from all of you and I could not be more proud to serve as your president.
Troy D. Hammond
North Central College