The following is a message from the Shippensburg University President:
Dear Ship Family,
I hope that everyone is well and enjoying the weather during spring break. With the health and wellness of our students, faculty, and staff of paramount concern, I wanted to share with you some important updates regarding Shippensburg University’s role in mitigating the spread and threat of exposure to COVID-19. It is important to know that the university currently does not have any reported, confirmed, or suspected cases of COVID-19.
We recognize the COVID-19 Disaster Declaration signed by Gov. Tom Wolf and the Resources for Institutes of Higher Education provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In response to these guidelines, the university is committed to doing its part in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Based on our current evaluation with information available today, the following actions are being taken:
Student’s spring break extended; Classes will resume Monday, March 23
In service to our campus and surrounding community, spring break for our students is extended one additional week. During this time, faculty will receive training for online course delivery and other alternative modalities, both as an expansion and reinforcement of their skills, but most importantly to best serve our students should there be further delays with students returning to campus. We recognize that some students may not have the immediate ability to work in an online environment, and our Student Success team will work directly with students to ensure everyone can participate and excel despite any challenges that may arise. This may include the necessity of relying on technology for emotional counseling and academic advisement. We are all deeply committed to all aspects of our students’ well-being. The Residence Life team is working directly with our students to make sure that housing and nutrition is taken into consideration, and the Student Affairs team is working to ensure any financial hardships do not impede academic progress. Students are encouraged to use the Residence and Resources Access Request Form and visit the FAQ page at ship.edu/coronavirus.
University-sponsored travel canceled
University-sponsored travel for faculty, staff, and students, including (but not limited to) professional development and other non-essential business activities is canceled until further notice. Non-essential travel includes regional, statewide, national, and international travel. We are basing this decision on current social distancing best practices to limit and prevent transmission of COVID-19.
University and campus events
Whereas the extension of spring break is designed to permit the university to provide skills and preparedness training for students, faculty, and staff, campus will operate with limited activities. All Ship Raiders athletic events will be held as scheduled, in accordance with NCAA and PSAC guidelines. As this is a fluid situation, we will be reviewing events on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the CDC recommendations. Ship is a welcoming and hospitable campus, but if the need arises, we may be required to cancel events as part of a social distancing effort to limit community spread. We are confident that proceeding with an abundance of caution is in the best interest of all. When possible, we will turn to technology that may allow us to conduct events in new ways.
During the extended spring break, university offices will remain open for essential and non-essential personnel. This will ensure that the proper support and training is being provided to our students and faculty on alternate pedagogical modalities. Employees experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should remain at home and not report to work. The university has enhanced its disinfecting and cleaning protocols over the past month to ensure the health and safety of our community. Our Human Resources team is committed to working with all employees to ensure the health and well-being of our campus community is at the forefront of our decisions, and that staff members are not penalized for exercising an abundance of caution. Faculty and staff are encouraged to visit the FAQ page at ship.edu/coronavirus.
Due to the ever-changing nature of COVID-19’s impact, I encourage you to stay up to date on the latest developments at ship.edu/coronavirus where you will find daily updates from the Etter Health Center medical director, updates from the university throughout the day as the situation warrants, and links to the latest information from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.
Shippensburg University is dedicated to serving our community, while collaboratively and proactively working toward our mutual goal of staying healthy and completing a successful academic year. I am asking everyone to join me in doing our part in keeping our community safe. We will continue working closely with community partners and follow guidance of state and federal health agencies, and we will update the campus community as additional information becomes available.
Laurie A. Carter