To help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, many institutions and businesses have had to make some rather tough decisions to protect those they serve.
Shippensburg University, one of the 14 State System universities, has canceled in-person instruction and closed the campus for the remainder of the spring semester. All students living on campus had until Saturday to move out of their residence halls. All instruction is now being conducted virtually.
SU President Dr. Laurie A. Carter issued the following correspondence to students on March 16:
“Dear Campus Community, Understanding the critical need to continue our support of community spread mitigation protocols to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Shippensburg University will suspend all in-person classroom instruction for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. Extended spring break continues through March 22 and all classes will transition to virtual delivery beginning March 23 to complete the remainder of the semester. As faculty work during the week of March 16 to transition face-to-face instruction to virtual delivery, they will also work to transition internships and field study for undergraduate and graduate students to alternative learning experiences. Faculty and academic leadership will receive additional information from Provost Tom Ormond later today. Students living in the residence halls are asked to remove their belongings and check out of their residence halls by 5 p.m. Saturday, March 21. More details about the move-out process will be sent to students later today by Dr. Donta Truss, vice president for enrollment management, student success, and student affairs. Dr. Truss will provide information about options for students who need to remain in university housing. We will continue to provide virtualized support systems to students. To be clear, the university is not closing. Beginning Monday, March 23, faculty will finish the semester’s instruction virtually. Staff members will work from off campus to the fullest extent possible, in accordance with recommended health guidelines. We continue to follow Gov. Tom Wolf’s directives regarding university-sponsored travel and group gatherings as shared by Dr. Scott Barton, vice president for administration and finance. Information about responses to the coronavirus continues to be updated rapidly. Please visit the Shippensburg University website for updates and continue to rely on official sources like the Centers for Disease Control or the Pennsylvania Department of Health for information about the virus, and Etter Health Centerfor updates specific to Shippensburg University. There are a number of questions that we don’t have the answers to yet. We update the website’s FAQ page regularly – please check it often. We are working on the mechanics of refunds for housing and dining. Please be patient with us as we determine those processes. This situation continues to evolve, and we are working to stay on top of the latest guidance about keeping our community safe. I know that these changes deeply affect each of you. Students, I am heartbroken for you. I understand how disappointing this must be for you not to be able to spend the rest of the semester on campus. I am deeply grateful to faculty, staff, and all of the Ship community working so hard to care for our students and each other. That kind of collaboration is what will make the rest of the semester a rewarding and safe educational experience. I am confident that our fortitude, patience, and understanding for each other will ensure our success.”
Junior Delaney Jean of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, was moving out of McLean Hall Saturday with the help of her parents.
“I think they’re doing the right thing by closing the campus,” her mother, Alison Jean, said. “But, it’s very emotional to abruptly end the school year and be separated from your friends.”
Raiders players Nasir Greer, sophomore from Philadelphia, and Nasai Moon, freshman from The Poconos, said they were disappointed because they have to miss spring ball.
“We’ve been working hard since winter break, doing 5 a.m. runs and practicing a lot. It’s disappointing to put all of that work in and then have to miss it,” Greer said.
Greer said he feels some of the precautions being taken might be a little extra, but it seems like it’s needed.
Kesean Roland, a freshman of Harrisburg, said they were sad to be leaving campus so soon.
“We’ve liked our experience here so far,” Roland and Vernamae Smith, also a freshman of Harrisburg, noted. “We’re going to miss the friendships that we’ve made.”
Randy Lecatsas and Mike Lysakowski of the Reading area were helping Randy’s daughter, Rebecca, a freshman, move out of her residence hall.
“I think it’s good. I really do. Keeping the kids safe is the most important part,” Lysakowski said.
“It’s the smart thing to do aside from the circumstances,” Lecatsas added.
For more information on Shippensburg University and coronavirus updates, visit: www.ship.edu.