Date: November 15, 2020
Dear faculty and staff,
Late this afternoon, the Calvin leadership team was notified that key state agencies were announcing new statewide restrictions to combat COVID-19. Those restrictions were part of a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) epidemic order that was publicly announced this evening. This will influence many aspects of our operations. Given this notice, the increase in cases in the local community and at Calvin, and the burdens facing our local health care system, the administration has decided to accelerate our plans to move to remote instruction and adapt our on-campus operations over the next few days.
Here's what this means for you and for your students:
Remote learning begins Wednesday
Beginning on Wednesday, November 18, we are accelerating our pivot to remote-only learning for the remainder of the fall semester. (This represents a slight shift from our original plans of starting remote learning after Thanksgiving.)
While the plan is to begin remote instruction on Wednesday, faculty may switch to remote learning on Monday or Tuesday if they prefer this option. However, we ask that you communicate this change ASAP to your students. At this point, if students do not hear from you, they are planning for in-person instruction on both Monday and Tuesday of this week.
While many Calvin courses have been designed to accommodate remote learners, we understand that there are some classes, such as those requiring clinical placements or other in-person experiential elements, that may necessitate in-person engagement. If you teach one of these courses, please make sure to clearly communicate with your students as soon as possible about what is expected of them for the remainder of the fall semester. If you need help navigating this, please reach out to your department chair and dean for additional guidance. We have told students involved in laboratory courses, student teaching, and music ensembles that they will be given additional instruction in the coming few days.
You have building access, but work remotely if/when possible
We anticipate that some faculty and staff will continue to work on campus (for example, faculty members may facilitate an online course session from their regular classrooms, and staff members may need to be on campus to perform critical functions of their work), but faculty and staff who don’t have work that needs to be done on-campus should work remotely whenever it is feasible to do so.
For those faculty and staff who need to work on campus we are planning to keep building access to academic spaces and offices the same as it has been throughout the semester.
Updates to FAQ coming Monday
Please check the Frequently Asked Questions section on the Safe Return site on Monday. We are working to update the FAQs and add additional ones that will help provide you with as much clarity as possible.
Finally, it is important to remember that Calvin University is not 'closed.' We will continue to serve students who need to remain in residence with us as well as those who are learning remotely. Calvin University is grateful for the strong partnership we enjoy with our local health care providers, county and state public health officials, the governor, and our state legislators. Because of these partnerships, and the careful planning we have done together, we have been ready to adapt to circumstances as they have changed on the ground. We will get through this, and we remain committed to our mission to educate students and overcome the obstacles in our way. This is a time to remember God’s promises. I hope you find encouragement in the promise that “The Lord is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds” (Ps. 145:13b).
Michael Le Roy