Hollins University is taking appropriate action in relation to the global spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. We are actively monitoring the outbreak and working closely with local and state public health authorities regarding response protocols if required.
This page is intended to provide information about our preparations for the coronavirus, steps that members of the campus community can take to protect themselves from illness, and resources for the latest precautionary measures, travel advisories, and other important news. This is of course a fluid situation that changes on a daily basis, and updates will be issued as circumstances warrant.
Update March 20, 2020
As we all adjust to changes required in how we teach, learn, work and live, I hope you are well and taking care of yourselves. I also know that many of you are eager to learn what we are thinking about online instruction for the remainder of the term.
We have wrestled with this very difficult decision. I had very much hoped that we would be able to resume in-person instruction in April. However, the pandemic continues to grow – it is now in Roanoke as well – and we are all being asked to do things we would not ordinarily choose to do. As a result, we have made the decision to continue online instruction for the remainder of the term.
I know this is a disappointment for many of you, just as it is for me. And I regret that we do not yet have answers to the many questions you have about refunds, campus access to retrieve your belongings, commencement, and other concerns. We will have more details for you hopefully by late next week, but we felt it was vital to share this decision with you as soon as possible. We will also regularly update information on the FAQ page on our website (https://www.hollins.edu/coronavirus-preparedness/frequently-asked-questions/). In the meantime, if you have questions for us to consider, please direct them to the President’s Office (email@example.com) and we will work to get answers for you.
This situation has been stressful and disruptive for everyone. We are deeply grateful that so many of you have stepped up in different ways to adapt to these unprecedented challenges and to help others in need. We can take great comfort and encouragement in knowing that the Hollins family is resilient and supportive. We must strive to practice empathy and compassion in our daily lives in caring for others as well as ourselves. Please keep your spirits up; check in on one another by phone, email, text, or social media; and stay positive. Let us remember our motto, Levavi Oculos, and lift up our eyes, especially in these uncertain times.
Nancy O. Gray
Update March 13, 2020
As we advised you yesterday, we continue to monitor information regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. According to this afternoon’s local press conference with authorities from the City of Roanoke and Carilion Clinic, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in southwest Virginia. However, in light of Gov. Northam’s announcement closing all K-12 schools in Virginia, and out of an abundance of caution, we are accelerating our plans.
We are committed to doing everything we can to protect our campus and reduce the risk of contagion. Therefore, our Spring Recess will begin today at 5 p.m. and continue through Sunday, March 29. We encourage all students to make arrangements to leave campus as conveniently and safely as possible.
To give students time to arrange and prepare for this transition, residence halls and the dining hall will remain open through Tuesday, March 17, at 5 p.m. Students needing additional time, or wishing to stay on campus during the remote instruction period, have been directed to the appropriate surveys.
The measures previously announced will remain in effect:
- Undergraduate and graduate classes will transition to remote delivery and other alternative modes of instruction beginning Monday, March 30, the first day of scheduled classes after Spring Recess.
- Remote instruction and residence hall closures will be in effect at least through the week concluding Friday, April 10.
- On or before Monday, April 6, the university will reassess whether in-person instruction can resume, or if we will need to continue classes remotely through the rest of Spring Term.
- The university will remain open and employees are asked to please report to work according to their regular schedules.
We are following developments closely so that we can make necessary changes, as we are doing today, to our plan of response. We will notify you immediately if circumstances warrant.
Thank you so much for your flexibility, cooperation, and understanding during this dynamic and rapidly changing situation.
Update: March 12, 2020
Over the past couple of weeks, faculty, staff, and administrators have been carefully considering the most effective ways to protect our campus from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Today, out of an abundance of caution, I am announcing the following measures to help safeguard the Hollins community:
- Residence halls will close on Friday, March 20, for Spring Recess; students are asked not to return to campus after the break.
- Undergraduate and graduate classes will transition to online delivery and other alternative modes of instruction beginning Monday, March 30, the first day of scheduled classes after Spring Recess.
- Remote instruction and residence hall closures will be in effect for two weeks through the week concluding April 10. At that time, the university will reassess whether in-person instruction can resume, or if we will need to continue classes online through the rest of Spring Term.
- The university itself will remain open, and faculty and staff should continue to come into their offices and adhere to their regular work schedules.
- Non-essential, university-related travel to professional conferences or other large gatherings is suspended.
Ending in-person classes and closing our residence halls in the middle of an academic session, even temporarily, is one of the toughest decisions we’ve ever had to make because we so value the importance of our in-person teaching and learning environment. I deeply regret the stress and disruption this process will no doubt cause for many of us. However, I hope that these decisions underscore our profound level of concern about this situation and our commitment to doing everything we can to reduce the risk of contagion and protect those who are most vulnerable.
Understandably, you may have a lot of questions about this decision. This letter is intended to address those questions.
At this point in time, it is uncertain when residence halls will reopen after closing on March 20. Therefore, we recommend that students take as many of their belongings home as possible when they leave for Spring Recess. Don’t forget textbooks or other materials that you will need when remote instruction begins on March 30.
The decision regarding our residence halls was made in order to promote social distancing, a key component in mitigating the coronavirus. However, international students and limited others with mitigating circumstances may petition to remain on campus. Tomorrow morning, Housing and Residence Life will email students with more details about this procedure along with other important information.
Hollins is providing every resource possible to facilitate online and other instructional delivery platforms for faculty and students to prevent any disruption to academic or creative work. Next week, faculty will review with their classes how they will communicate with students and deliver the course content when online instruction begins.
University Operations and Employees
Academic and administrative departments and offices will remain open and employees are asked to please report to work as always. One-on-one meetings with individuals from outside of campus are still permissible. Nevertheless, using Skype or Zoom to conduct meetings is encouraged whenever possible.
Faculty and staff members who are ill should stay home from work.
Additional guidance will be forthcoming related to leave policies in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Campus Events and Activities
Effective immediately, all public events on campus that have been scheduled on the university calendar between now and Sunday, April 12, are cancelled. The Office of Admission is reaching out to prospective students and their families to offer other options such as private visits or online communication.
The Wyndham Robertson Library and Eleanor D. Wilson Museum will remain open for individual use.
At this point in time, we are not cancelling or postponing major events scheduled for later in the spring such as Honors Convocation, Commencement, and Reunion, but will continue to assess their feasibility as we get closer to their respective dates.
A Note of Thanks
I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kerry Edmonds and Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Patty O’Toole for their tremendous leadership over the past couple of weeks in helping us deal with this unprecedented public health issue. I also want to thank the members of our COVID-19 task force for generously sharing their time and considerable expertise. You brought many crucial perspectives to our discussions.
Finally, I want to end on a note of assurance and optimism. We can take great comfort in knowing that the Hollins community is strong. We are resilient. And we support one another. For more than 175 years we have time and again overcome difficult circumstances and emerged with the unshakable confidence that we will move forward. As one of my colleagues said, “A community can take many forms.” I have no doubt that the strength of our community will sustain us in the days ahead.
Again, let me stress that these procedures are currently in place through the week concluding April 10, and the campus community will be notified immediately if any changes are required based on rapidly changing developments related to the coronavirus. In the meantime, we will continue to assess the situation thoughtfully and thoroughly, and make an informed decision on our next steps and keep you informed.
Update: March 10, 2020
Last week, we shared with you that we are actively monitoring the latest information surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus. The spread of this illness is why Hollins, similar to other colleges and universities around the country, is considering its potential impact on our campus and preparing to effectively maintain operations under a range of circumstances. Above all, our mission is to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff; to do so with thoughtfulness and compassion; and ensure every measure we take serves the common good.
A task force is presently reviewing our response protocols and contingency plans and revising them as needed to respond to potential disruptions, including impacts to the academic program, university-related travel, and residential housing.
One of our highest priorities is to make certain our academic community still thrives in the event a particular situation, from public health matters to weather-related incidents, causes disruption. If necessary, we will take advantage of all available resources to ensure teaching, research, and advising are ongoing. Our faculty is in the process of developing instructional continuity plans for delivering our curriculum online and via other delivery platforms should the university decide to suspend in-person classroom instruction.
Yesterday, members of the campus community received a survey about university-related or personal travel plans, if any, for Spring Break and the remainder of Spring Term. If you have not yet done so, please complete this survey by noon on Friday, March 13: https://hollins.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cZqOqxv5SwbWpYp.
This information will help Health and Counseling Services monitor those destinations for news of possible COVID-19 cases. We can then focus accordingly and appropriately on the health of the campus.
To date, we have seen no suspected cases of coronavirus, nor have we identified any specific risk to any individual here on campus. Nevertheless, it is important to take preventive measures to protect yourself and others. Please keep in mind and practice the following:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol-based.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Avoid close contact, including handshakes and hugging.
- Get proper rest, nutrition, and exercise.
Your cooperation is deeply appreciated as we work collaboratively to safeguard everyone’s health and safety. We will continue to update you as new details become available or information changes.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer