Updates on COVID-19 for the Campus Community

Important Note

This site will be archived as of June 30, 2020.

Please visit the COVID-19 Response Team website for the latest news about our summer and fall reopening plans.

Previous Updates (March through May, 2020)

May 3 update:

  • Yesterday (May 2), Dean of Students Charles Kenyon shared an update with the campus community with information on how students can request grades of Incomplete (I) and/or extensions for spring courses. Please click/tap here to read his message.

April 24 update:

  • Dean of Students Charles Kenyon sent an update today to all students with guidance on retrieving their belongings, room draw, Collegiate Cabinet elections, and more. Click/tap here to see his full message

April 17 update:

  • The latest weekly COVID-19 briefing from health sciences student Elizabeth Champlin '20 has been posted at this link. This week's update concerns the latest guidelines from the CDC and New York governor Andrew Cuomo about the need for face masks and face coverings.

April 10 update:

  • This afternoon, President Gibralter announced to the campus community that two major annual events -- Commencement (originally planned for May 16) and Reunion (originally May 28-31) have been postponed and tentatively rescheduled for late summer. Commencement is now planned for Saturday, Aug. 8, with Reunion on the following weekend, Aug. 14-16. See his message for further details.

April 9 update:

  • Today, Wells College announced that all students who had room and board plans for the spring 2020 semester will receive a partial refund of those charges. Click/tap here to read more.

April 7 updates:

  • In a message today to faculty and staff, President Jonathan Gibralter thanked them for their continued dedication to our students and to Wells, and discussed the many questions that we are asking ourselves in light of the pandemic. Click/tap here to read his message.
  • Please note: due to the coronavirus pandemic, all candidate searches, interviews, background checks and related hiring/employment activities have been placed on hold until April 30, 2020. Individuals who are interested in applying to any open positions, however, are still welcome to do so at this time. Please see wells.edu/employment for more information, or contact the Office of Human Resources at hr@wells.edu.

April 3 update:

  • The latest weekly COVID-19 briefing by Elizabeth Champlin '20, a TA in our Health Sciences class, is now available. Click/tap here to read it.

April 2 update:

  • This afternoon, Wells vice president for advancement Larry Jerome sent a message to alumnae, alumni and friends -- the first of a series of weekly updates. Click/tap here to read the message.

April 1 update:

  • As of the morning of April 1, the College has not received any reports of positive or suspected COVID-19 cases among our students, faculty or staff, wherever they may be. As of Tuesday, March 31, there have been four cases reported elsewhere in Cayuga County.

March 31 update:

  • The Residence Life office announced today that applications for "special interest" housing options and medical accommodations for next year are now open to current students. All applications will be processed online, and are due by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 10. Details about the regular housing selection process will be shared soon. Please note that the deadline for paying the re-enrollment deposit has been waived, and paying the deposit will NOT be a pre-requirement for housing selection this year. If you have questions, please contact Emily Burt, director of residence life and student conduct, at eburt@wells.edu.

March 27 update:

  • Elizabeth Champlin '20, who is a TA in our Health Sciences class, has been producing a weekly COVID-19 briefing as part of her internship project. Take a look at today's edition as well as last's week inaugural edition.

March 26 updates:

  • This morning, President Gibralter sent a message to students with updates on Commencement, changes in grading policies for the spring 2020 semester, and more. Click/tap here to read his letter.

March 25 updates:

  • President Gibralter sent a message to faculty and staff thanking them for their dedication and hard work during the crisis. Click/tap here to read his update.
  • Cayuga County is making an urgent appeal to the local community for donations of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as unused masks, gowns, gloves and Tvvek suits. Please click here to read their message.
  • The registrar's office sent student an update regarding grading accommodations for the spring 2020 semester, including revised guidelines for the pass/fail option. Click/tap here to read the memo.

March 23 updates:

  • This afternoon, Dean of Students Charles Kenyon sent a message to students reminding them that Student Affairs staff is there to help students with any academic or personal concerns. He also gave notice that staff will be checking refrigerators starting tomorrow to dispose of any perishable items. See the full message here.
  • A comprehensive set of Frequently Asked Questions has been posted. Please click/tap here to see the FAQs.
  • Wells College can now confirm that all residential students have departed campus as of yesterday (March 22). The handful of students who were unable to return home have found temporary accommodations with family or friends.
  • We know many are asking about the status of room & board refunds, as well as about the status of major events including Commencement and Reunion. We will have more detailed information to share on these topics in the very near future.
  • Although Gov. Cuomo's March 20 executive order did not list colleges and universities as an "essential business," we have received further guidance from the state that essential functions of the College's operations -- such as mail delivery, trash pickup, critical telecommunications needs, etc. will be permitted to continue.
  • The College's mail room window will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from approximately 10 a.m. to noon for use by essential employees only. Call the mail room at 315.364.3371 if you have any questions or requests. If you are expecting delivery of a package or important mail and the mail room is closed, please contact Campus Safety at 315.364.3229.

March 20 update:

March 19 updates:

  • Amy Cerand McNaughton '86, president of the Wells College Association of Alumnae and Alumni (WCA), sent a letter to the class of 2020 yesterday. In her note, she told seniors that Wells College alumni stand behind them and are here to help. You can read the message in PDF form here or on our Facebook page.
  • Today, Gov. Cuomo announced that all businesses in New York state must reduce their in-person workforce to 25% of pre-crisis levels. This is an update of an executive order issued yesterday.
  • Spectrum has announced that it is offering two months of free internet and WiFi service to students' needs regarding remote education. Click/tap here for details. It is also opening its WiFi hotspots across their footprint for public use.
  • President Gibralter sent the following video messsage to the extended Wells family this afternoon. Please click/tap here to read it.

March 18 updates:

March 17 updates:

  • COVID-19 guidance from the White House has been posted in the "Resources and Links" section below.
  • Provost and Dean of the College Cindy Speaker issued additional guidance to faculty about preparing for remote teaching. In her message, she advised that faculty think of the situation as similar to that of the first week of a new semester, and that the faculty must "prioritize the work that needs to be done."
  • Cayuga County announced limitations and restrictions on a number of government agencies and services, including social services, county court, and the DMV.  There are still no confirmed cases of the virus in Cayuga County.
  • Tompkins County announced that all child care facilities will be closed starting Wednesday, March 18 until Monday, April 13. It also announced that a third case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Tompkins County.

March 16 updates:

  • This afternoon, President Gibralter informed students remaining on campus that they must vacate student housing immediately. Please click/tap here to read his message.
  • The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have ordered that all restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and other establishments must close by 8 p.m. tonight and remain closed until further notice; Pennsylvania has ordered similar restrictions. This means that our dining hall will have to transition to takeout-only service, and the fitness center and pool will be closed until further notice as well.

March 15 update:

  • This evening, Dean of Students Charles Kenyon notified the community that all students currently residing on campus must prepare to leave their on-campus house and depart as soon as arrangements can be made. Click/tap here to read the full announcement. Additional details will be shared tomorrow.

March 14 updates:

  • On the evening of Saturday, March 14, Cayuga County -- where Wells is located -- officially declared a state of emergency, like many other school districts in New York state have done. All public K-12 schools in the Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES district will be closed from March 16 through April 12. County officials have said they are taking this action as a precautionary measure, although no confirmed cases of COVID-19 have yet been reported in Cayuga County. (Click/tap here to see a copy of the county's full statement.) You can find more information at the Auburn Citizen, Syracuse.com and other local media outlets. This declaration by the county does not substantially alter Wells College's current operating status; however, given the fluid nature of the global health crisis and the United States' national state of emergency, please be prepared that the situation is subject to change in the coming days. Please read the latest updates below for additional details.
  • Tompkins County, where Ithaca is located, reported its first case of COVID-19 this morning. On Friday evening, the county declared a state of emergency, closing all Ithaca-area K-12 schools from March 16 through April 12.

March 13 updates:

  • President Gibralter shared the following message with the campus community this afternoon. Click/tap here to read the full text.
  • As of 5 p.m. today, there are still no confirmed cases in either Cayuga or Tompkins County, although several individuals are under observation.

March 12 updates:

  • Due to a decision by the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) to cancel all remaining conference activities and championships in the 2019-20 year, Wells College was forced to cancel all remaining conference and non-conference games in the spring 2020 season. Full Story >>
  • Given the spring break extension, Long Library will continue its spring break operating hours through the next week, until March 22. Hours are by appointment only, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

March 11 update: Wells College's spring break has been extended by one week, with instruction now scheduled to resume on Monday, March 23. Please see the March 11 statement for full details.


Click on a link below to open or download a PDF:

About This Site

We are encouraging everyone to take the appropriate level of precautions and be informed about the COVID-19 situation. It is important to note that, as of March 12, there are no reports of any member of the campus community contracting COVID-19. Wells College continues to monitor the situation closely, in partnership with the College's Community Medical Center, the Cayuga County Health Department, and the New York State Department of Health.

We will continue to proactively communicate with students, faculty, staff, parents and others about this important issue. Make sure also to bookmark our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for further updates.

Basic Precautions

COVID-19 has an incubation period of up to 14 days, meaning that individuals may be contagious without showing any symptoms or feeling sick. The following precautions are recommended for preventing the disease—and are the same common-sense practices that help prevent seasonal flu and other common illnesses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick—and if you are sick yourself, stay home.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, keyboards, mobile phones, etc.
  • Avoid large crowds and keep at least 3 feet from other people when outdoors or when someone nearby is visibly sick.

Resources and Links

Coronavirus Guidance from the White House (March 16, 2020)

U.S. Department of Education Coronavirus Guidance

Centers for Disease Control

World Health Organization

U.S. State Department

New York State Department of Health

Local Hospitals and Health Care Providers:

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