I wanted to provide you with an update on a number of extremely important topics, so I encourage you to read this message carefully.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered today that all “non-essential” businesses must close by 8 p.m. Sunday. This means that Wells College’s campus will officially be closed with only a minimum number of essential employees on duty. Thus, effective immediately, students are not authorized to return to campus at this time, for any reason, until further notice. If you have a critical need for one of your belongings, such as medication, please contact Campus Safety at 315.364.3229.
Starting at noon this Saturday, March 21, all outer locks to the residence halls will be changed to limit unauthorized access. Students already approved to remain on campus after Saturday at noon have been notified directly, and will continue to have access to their residence hall. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Emily Burt, director of residence life and student conduct, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Given the latest information about the spread of the coronavirus and the length of time it will impact communities across the country, the College has determined that it will not be possible to return to in-class instruction for the rest of the spring semester. You should, however, still prepare to begin remote instruction this Monday, March 23, as planned, without returning to residential living on campus.
Also, we ask for your patience in regard to billing, payment schedules, and possible refunds of room & board costs. We will be communicating more on the topic soon but our first priority is to ensure everyone is home and safe.
Many of you have inquired about the status of your personal belongings on campus. Please note that, at this time, students may not return to collect their belongings, even if you have received previous approval from Residence Life. We are in the process of securing residence hall rooms and doors, and even if you are not able to return to campus by the end of the semester, we will ensure that any items that need to be removed from residence hall rooms at a later point will be put into secure summer storage, at no cost to you.
If we all do not effectively practice social distancing, the government projects that there would be a surge of critically ill people eight times larger than our health care system could possibly handle—even if we still practiced smaller-scale mitigation techniques like quarantining only the sick or exposed individuals.
And one of the most important things to know about this virus is that infected individuals are at their most contagious when showing zero symptoms, often for several days. Let me be clear: this is not an “old folks’ disease.” Gov. Cuomo has said that nearly 40% of all hospitalized COVID-19 patients are ages 20 to 54.
Even though there is still no confirmed case of COVID-19 on campus, please do not attend parties or other large gatherings, ride in your friends’ cars, or go to other peoples’ houses. You will be putting both your health and the health of those around you in danger.
We know the transition to remote learning has created significant stress for everyone. The Community Medical Center will offer limited phone/Skype counseling sessions for the rest of the spring semester for students, wherever they may be located. Students should call the medical center at 315.364.3388 to schedule an appointment.
Note: for any student who has a previously scheduled counseling session—please call the medical center ASAP to tell them if you would like to 1) keep the session via phone/Skype, or 2) cancel your appointment so that another student can use that time slot. We want to be sure these critical services continue to be available to those in need.
Students should be aware that the Wells College Honor Code remains in effect, whether you are on campus or off. Please continue to uphold your pledge to be honest and trustworthy in your collegiate life.
If you held a work-study position this semester, and if you are interested in continuing work remotely, please be in touch with your supervisor. Students who have not yet reached the maximum amount of yearly pay may have the opportunity to gain more hours between now and early May, at the discretion of the supervisor.
It is too early for decisions about Commencement and summer activities. Once we know more about when the return to normal operations can be made, we will let you know what to expect.
Regular communication with all of you during this difficult period remains a priority. The College will use students’ wells.edu email addresses to provide updates and information, and students should feel free to email their faculty and staff who might help with an issue. The administration will also hear from the Collegiate Cabinet about student concerns, especially concerns that are reported on social media accounts that may not be accessible to administrators. The Collegiate officers have agreed to serve as a bridge between students and the College to make sure we are informed of issues that need to be addressed. You can reach them at email@example.com
Again, we know this is a difficult time for us all—but we are here for you and want to help in any way that we can. Please do your best to stay healthy and safe, and reach out if you need help.