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Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

As announced by Dr. Pinson on March 13, the college is adjusting its academic schedule as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. Rather than returning to campus on Monday, March 23, as planned, students will remain at home and conduct their courses online. Faculty will return to campus on March 23 for in-service training regarding remote teaching and learning. Courses will resume online on Wednesday, March 25.

At this juncture, on-campus classes and residence in residence halls (with limited hardship exceptions) will not resume until April 8. We realize, however, that this is subject to change, and we will keep you updated as changes are made.

The Special Committee compiled the following Frequently Asked Questions to update the campus community with important information related to the unprecedented event. Both the Special Committee and the Provost’s Office will issue updates as necessary; thus please monitor campus email. The Special Committee asks that all stakeholders direct questions to covid-19@welch.edu.

The Special Committee appreciates patience as both the committee and the Provost’s Office continue to monitor this global phenomenon and plan for a successful transition to remote learning that both preserves academic quality and fosters community.

Special Committee on Coronavirus,

Members, in alphabetical order:
Matthew Steven Bracey
Greg Fawbush, Co-chair
Dr. Jon Forlines
Russell Houske
Dr. Greg Ketteman
Craig Mahler, Co-chair

See the following pages for Frequently Asked Questions. Please bear in mind that reviewing other announcements from Welch College regarding COVID-19 may be helpful. Those include:

February 19 (Initial statement from the Special Committee to review Coronavirus outbreak)
March 2 (Statement announcing Welch College’s intent not to sanction planned international trips)
March 7 (Letter to FORUM20 attendees)
March 10—including a list of important FAQs
March 12 (Statement from Dr. Pinson)
March 13 (Dr. Pinson’s statement announcing remote teaching and learning)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

CAMPUS OFFICES

Are campus offices open?
Yes, though both faculty and many staff are out of the office currently for spring break and will return on or before March 23. Office hours remain 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Faculty report to campus on Monday, March 23 (see other FAQ and future Provost’s Office communiques for more information). Staff report as normal. Welch College will announce any adjustment to either office hours or employee work arrangements, when and if necessary.

STUDENTS

When will students begin classes?
Spring break is extended by two days (i.e., from March 23 to March 25), and students begin remote learning on Wednesday, March 25. At this juncture, on-campus courses and residence in residence halls will not resume until April 8; however, that is subject to change. Welch College is offering limited hardship exceptions for living in residence halls. See FAQs below.

What does remote/online learning mean for students?
While both the Provost’s Office and/or faculty will communicate specific details soon, generally, remote/online learning utilizes Populi and/or other technology to provide lectures, class discussion, assignments, etc. Though a number of technological resources are available, both the format and technology used is by discretion of the Provost and/or faculty and may look different by class or faculty member. However, both the Special Committee and the Provost have emphasized the importance of maintaining the same academic quality to which Welch College students are accustomed. The Special Committee will find ways to support the Provost’s Office, faculty, and students during the online experience and is confident in the college’s quality faculty and capable students.

Are residence halls open?
Residence halls are closed and, therefore, unavailable for living, with limited hardship exceptions. However, if students need to visit the residence hall to gather only their belongings, they should contact their Resident Director to make arrangements.

How do I request a hardship exception for living on campus?
Complete the form linked here. Hardship exceptions are limited and considered only on a case-by-case basis by the Special Committee, which will respond to requests as soon as feasible.

What does remote learning mean for graduate students?
Graduate students will receive important details regarding their courses from either the Provost’s Office and/or the respective Program Coordinator/Dean.

Will library services be available to students during the remote learning experience?
Though we are still finalizing the details, we expect that library services—especially electronic resources—will be available to students. More information is forthcoming from the Provost’s Office and/or Mrs. Thornsbury.

What is the status of commencement? See the FAQ in the EVENTS section below.

GENERAL

Does the college continue to discourage international travel?
Yes. As reported previously, any faculty, staff, or student who travels internationally is subject to a fourteen day quarantine prior to returning to Welch College to complete the spring semester.

EMPLOYEES

If an employee has a hardship, can he or she request to work from home?
Yes; the request will be reviewed. Requests from faculty may be submitted to Dr. McAffee, while requests for staff may be submitted to Mr. Mahler.

Will training be available for faculty?
Yes. All regular faculty report to campus on Monday, beginning at 10:00 a.m., for orientation. Training (corporately and individually) and class preparation continue Monday and Tuesday, March 23–24. Remote teaching and learning begins on Wednesday, March 25.

Though the Special Committee will share important updates to faculty (due to their being employees), the Provost’s Office will communicate specific academic-related details moving forward. Faculty, please direct all academic-related questions to the Provost’s Office.

Where can employees find important information regarding sick time and other employee benefits?
Please see the Business Office, which is currently compiling an Employee Resource Guide with this and other related information. NOTE: Though we understand that this transition to remote learning will be an especially busy time, any employee who is ill should seek appropriate medical treatment and remain home until well PRIOR to returning to the office. 

Are employees allowed to travel for college purposes?
Employee travel for college purposes is suspended until at least March 31, and the Special Committee will review it at that time.

EVENTS

What is the status of upcoming events? (This list is fluid, which the Special Committee will update to include other events as necessary.)

  • With a Voice of Singing! Welch College Choir Tour: cancelled after March 13
  • Community Worship Service for Area College Students/March 28: cancelled
  • State of Sumner County; Hendersonville Chamber/April 7: TBD
  • Rejoice! Travel: postponed until students return to Welch
  • Spring Musical/April 15–18: postponed until later date due to inability for rehearsal
  • Welcome Days/April 16–18: TBD

Will commencement and related activities continue as planned?
Though we hope that commencement will occur on Friday, May 8, as originally planned, it is subject to change, depending on how the COVID-19 situation unfolds and impacts Welch College.

For the latest information about coronavirus, visit welch.edu/coronavirus

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