Update – Gov. Wolf’s announcement from this evening
Dear Albright faculty and staff –
This has been a trying time for all of us as we adapt to the changes that the unprecedented public health situation of the novel coronavirus has presented. This evening, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close physical locations until further notice, effective Saturday, March 21, to slow the spread of COVID-19. Higher education was specifically listed as a non-essential business in the list of businesses.
What does this means for Albright College?
Albright College is moving into the mode of “community food and housing, emergency, and other relief services,” which counts as an essential business. As of noon on Saturday, residence halls will remain open only to those students who are unable to go home, feel unsafe going home, have no home to go to, or those who have food or shelter insecurities. Students who remain on campus will not be allowed to leave campus and will be held accountable to Community Standards if they do. The dining hall will remain open for carry-out of three meals a day for these students regardless of how many meals the student has signed up for.
What does this mean for faculty and staff?
Only personnel needed to provide essential services for our resident students in the areas of public safety, health center, facilities, dining, residential life, and the mailroom will be allowed on campus. Essential personnel necessary for the minimum maintenance of our physical plant will be allowed on campus. Online classes and telework for those who are able to work from home will continue as planned. Details regarding other workers, whom we are working to support through this, will be shared by their vice presidents or their supervisors.
Faculty and staff who need to retrieve items from offices may do so tomorrow, Friday, March 20, during the core business hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After tomorrow, buildings will be locked and no one other than essential personnel will be permitted on campus, as per the governor’s order.
You likely have many questions about how this will impact you, your work and your classes. You will be hearing additional details on specific information for each group of employees from the vice presidents, the athletic directors and the chief of staff.
What does this mean for our community?
This was not an easy message to either compose or send, and I know that it is not an easy message to hear. This new government order will likely evoke even more fear and anxiety. But, know that we are a stronger community standing together than we are apart — we are a pride of lions, even if we must be so from distant locations for a while.
We are urging Albrightians to continue taking all precautions recommended by the CDC. Keep a six-foot distance between yourself and other people; avoid contact with those who are sick; wash your hands often; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; cover coughs and sneezes; and clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces on a daily basis.
As this situation continues to evolve, the Cabinet and I are working through the many questions that have already been presented and doing all we can to continue to support the success of our students while addressing the health and safety needs of our community. We are committed to our faculty and staff, and are taking every effort to support the work and employment of Albright employees. Each of your divisional vice presidents, athletic directors, or chief of staff will be communicating with you soon to provide additional details. In the meantime, if you have questions, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My thoughts are with each of you as well as your families as we continue to navigate this unprecedented and emergent situation together. Be safe. Be well. Take care of each other. When this is over, we will emerge a strong community.
Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ‘82
President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry