The health and wellbeing of our faculty, staff and students is my number one priority. In recent days, there have been significant and concerning developments regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus, also known as the coronavirus. Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared this health emergency a pandemic, and has strongly advised that people avoid gathering in large groups. Out of an abundance of caution, not only for our college community but our community at large, we have decided to take steps to help mitigate the spread of this virus.
Effective Friday, March 13, all of our college locations will be closed to students and visitors until April 3, and all classes will be taught remotely beginning next Wednesday, March 18. All other functions of the college will remain operational, however, we ask that business be conducted either by phone, email or through our website, www.pdc.edu. Faculty, staff and employees will report to campus as usual, but all group activities, including on campus classes, athletic events and special events will be cancelled or postponed until a later date. Faculty and staff will work with their dean and the IT department to help facilitate the migration of classes to online platforms. Provisions for students without devices suitable for online learning are being explored, and options will be communicated as soon as possible. Pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act, students with special needs will also be accommodated. It should also go without saying that if a staff member either feels ill or is uncomfortable coming on campus, they should contact their supervisor and make arrangements for staying at home.
In addition to limiting on campus activities, we will be limiting college related travel as well. Any student involved activities requiring travel, including athletic events, are suspended until further notice. Travel for faculty and staff outside of our service area is also suspended unless approved by a supervisor or our public safety office.
This situation is very fluid, and new details regarding this pandemic are emerging on an almost moment by moment basis. The plans we have outlined here are certainly subject to change, and we will do our best to keep you informed as the situation evolves. We will be launching a new page on our website soon that is dedicated solely to information regarding updates to this unique situation. I encourage you all to visit it frequently to stay as current as possible.
While I understand that these changes will create inconveniences for some, every effort is being made to mitigate them. Again, the safety and welfare of our college family as well as that of our entire community is of the utmost importance. Those who are required to come on campus should feel confident knowing that every effort is being made to maintain a clean and safe working environment. As soon as health officials indicate it is safe to do so, we will resume normal campus activities. Until then, we will continue taking steps to be a community leader in promoting public health.