College Guidance on Coronavirus
Newberry College has transitioned to virtual learning amid the threat of COVID-19.
Please see below for previous guidance and updates on the situation as it relates to the well-being of members of the Newberry College community.
These pages are updated regularly.
Please contact ResponseTeam@newberry.edu with additional questions or concerns.
Wednesday, April 1Updated 10:38 a.m.
Residence Life Move-Out Instructions
Following the College's decision to finish the semester in the virtual learning format, the Office of Housing & Residence Life has provided instructions for retrieving students' personal belongings from the residence halls. For more information and FAQs, click here.
Tuesday, March 31Updated 3:36 p.m.
Update on Student Assistance during Virtual Learning
With the decision to extend virtual learning through the end of the semester, Newberry College has expanded its efforts to ensure students have all they need to be successful in an online education environment.
Every student who has requested to borrow a College laptop has received one. The count is 12 so far. The response team has heard from one student wiht internet access concerns, and the Center for Student Success is reaching out to acquire more information.
The College is also in the process of contacting each student to see how they are doing, generally and with regard to virtual learning. Students will hear from faculty, staff and alumni, and this effort will continue through the end of the semester.
Friday, March 27
A Special Video Message from President Maurice Scherrens
President Maurice Scherrens offers a few words of encouragement for these turbulent times.
Click the image to view on YouTube.
Thursday, March 26
Message from President Maurice ScherrensThis message was sent to faculty, staff and students at 3:49 p.m.
Dear Campus Community,
In the past few weeks we have seen events that most of us never imagined. Entire countries are under quarantine. In the United States we are doing everything we can to reduce person-to-person contact to slow the spread of this virus. We know this has impacted you and your families in different ways. I share with you today: We are here for you. We are continuing to offer the same level of support as we did when students were on campus. Our library, tutoring, student support and academic coaching, counseling, and student affairs offices are all open virtually and ready to support you. So far, we have no COVID-19 cases on our campus and only one in Newberry County.
Online Education Continuing through the end of the semester: Out of a continued abundance of caution, Newberry College will continue holding classes in the virtual learning format through the end of the spring semester. The health and safety of our community is our top priority, and I have full confidence in our students, faculty, and staff to finish this academic year strong.
Residence Hall Closures: In an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, most all of our students have moved out of the residence halls and away from our dining facilities. We are currently reviewing U.S. Department of Education guidance on reimbursements for this loss of use and will communicate our plan soon. Thank you for your patience as we work through these turbulent times. Also, when it is safe to do so, we will share a plan for all students to return to campus and get their personal belongings.
Academic Support: I am pleased to share that every student will have direct communication with someone in the College community — whether they are faculty, staff, coaches, or alumni — who will be in regular contact to make sure they have everything they need to be successful in this online learning environment.
Graduation and Commencement: Based on the most recent guidance from DHEC and the CDC, we have decided to postpone the on-campus commencement ceremony on May 9. This does not change the graduation date for seniors. Seniors who meet graduation requirements will receive their diplomas in the mail soon after the semester is concluded. We know this is a disappointment to our graduating seniors and are working on a plan to celebrate your accomplishments with you. In the next few days, we will consult with the Student Government Association (SGA) President and President of the Senior Class to determine the best options for our graduating seniors and families. A decision will be announced soon.
Registration for Fall, May and Summer: Students and faculty have been working diligently to adjust to a new mode of learning. We have delayed registration by one week. Sophomores and Juniors will begin registration on April 6. Freshmen will begin registration on April 13. Students will work virtually with their advisors to discuss their schedules. The registration process will take place online in Wolf Den as it has in the past. Be on the lookout for an email from Registrar Whitney Merinar with more information.
May and Summer: May Term and Summer courses will still be offered. If the situation allows, we will return to in-seat classroom instruction. If not, we will move those courses online as well.
Housing Selection: The Office of Housing and Residence Life has been working to move housing selection online. This has taken a little bit of time. Therefore, housing selection will begin April 13. Look for an email from the Office of Housing and Residence Life with further information to follow.
Just a reminder to check the FAQ website for answers to other questions not addressed in this letter.
In closing, I just want to say how thankful I am to all of you for all you’re doing, and how optimistic I am for what we have yet to do. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” And we’ll get it done together.
Maurice W. Scherrens
Office of Admission to Streamline Admittance Process
Added 12:05 p.m.
The Office of Admission has announced changes in the admittance application to help streamline the process for prospective and transfer students who have been affected by the ongoing spread of COVID-19. Click here for the full story.
Sunday, March 22Updated 1:40 p.m.
Tutoring online, via Zoom, has begun. For more information on Zoom and details regarding how tutoring will work while classes are online, go to the question, "Will tutoring be available during virtual learning?" on the FAQ page.
The staff at Wessels Library knows there will be questions and is available to answer them. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the following people with any concerns you have.
Friday, March 20
Statement from President Maurice Scherrens
This message was sent to students at 5:03 p.m.
Yesterday was a bold, new day for Newberry College: our first full day of virtual classes. Wherever you are, we hope you are safe, healthy, and adjusting to this new learning environment. The faculty and staff have confidence in you. You can do this! Our faculty and staff are here to help you all along the way.
Many of you have asked whether we will return to campus this semester. Honestly, that answer has yet to be determined. We are monitoring this constantly evolving situation, and we remain committed to making a decision by March 31.
As a reminder, residence halls are closed. Students who have left campus may not return at this time. If you have a need to retrieve something from your on-campus room, please contact Amanda Halfacre (Amanda.Halfacre@newberry.edu) to set up a time. Someone will meet you at the outer door of your residence hall. No one should be in the residence hall without notifying Amanda Halfacre.
Many of you have also asked what happens if and when classes physically resume on campus. What if circumstances prevent your return? We understand that some students may not be able to return to in-seat classroom instruction this semester for a number of reasons. But if we do return to in-person classroom learning, students will also be able to finish the semester online.
What about May Term? A decision on May Term has not yet been made. May Term courses will be offered. If the situation allows, we will return to in-seat classroom instruction. If not, we will move those courses online as well. Whichever happens, students needing a May Term course to complete graduation requirements will be able to take it this May.
The last two questions we have received focus on tuition, fees, room and board. First, regarding tuition and fees: The College intends to continue all classes through the end of the semester. You will complete your work and receive full credit for all of your courses. There will be no reimbursements for tuition and fees.
The College understands residential students have had to leave campus and wish to know about any possible reimbursement of room and board. Many of our students utilize federal funding to help pay for their room and board. The U.S. Department of Education has not yet given guidance on how the College must handle these funds. Additionally, most of our students receive institutional aid, and many receive athletic aid or other assistance from third parties to reduce cost. These factors will all be considered, plus the pending guidance from the Department of Education to determine each student’s reimbursement. We will move as swiftly as possible to make these reimbursement decisions.
For any questions you may have, we have updates on our FAQs page, which is regularly updated as new things come up. I encourage you to follow our social media platforms for breaking news. Also be sure to continue to check our COVID-19 information page for all the latest updates on College operations. If you don't see an answer to your question, please email ResponseTeam@newberry.edu.
Thank you and take care.
Maurice W. Scherrens
Updated 1:45 p.m.
To minimize exposure and risk for all involved, Newberry College asks that students do not to return to campus at this time. Instead, students are encouraged to wait to gather items from rooms until further notice. A follow-up decision should be issued by Tuesday, March 31. If a student has an absolutely urgent need to access their room, please call 803.321.5328 or 803.944.1344 at least 24 hours before the time of an intended visit.
Thursday, March 19Updated 1:40 p.m.
The campus bookstore is closed to the public through Sunday, April 5. Store Manager Michael Toole will be available for limited services, including faculty textbook adoptions and processing online orders, at Michael.Toole@newberry.edu and 803.321.5144. Free ground shipping and access to free ebooks can be found on the bookstore website. For faculty, the textbook adoption deadline remains unchanged. For students, rental books are due Friday, May 8, and the grace period returns has been extended to 15 days after the deadline to accommodate mail-in returns.
Wednesday, March 18
Statement from President Maurice Scherrens Regarding the Closing of Residence HallsThis message was sent to students, faculty, and staff at 4:13 p.m.
Dear Newberry College Family,
Based upon the most recent COVID-19 pandemic information and our commitment to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff, Newberry College will close all residence halls effective Friday, March 20, at 5 p.m. This closure of the residence halls will continue through Friday, April 3. A decision will be made and communicated to all by March 31 if and when the residence halls will re-open.
For those students who cannot leave campus due to extenuating circumstances, a Campus Stay Request Form must be approved by the Office of Residence Life. This form is available online here. Student exceptions to this directive to leave the campus will be very limited.
The campus is taking this measure to move students off-campus in an effort to ensure the on-going health and well-being of all members of the college community. We are being guided daily by advice and counsel from the S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control, the Centers for Disease Control, and the network of South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU).
Students are not required to remove all personal belongings from their rooms at this time. If there is a decision to extend the closing of the residence halls beyond April 3, an official plan regarding the removal of personal belongings will be shared after that date.
Effective immediately, the library and all recreational facilities will be closed. Campus dining will continue, but will be limited to take-out-only service effective with breakfast on Thursday, March 19. After Friday, a revised dining plan will be shared with all students authorized to remain on campus. This measure is consistent with recent guidance from the Governor’s Office relative to eliminating group dining venues.
As we complete the transition to virtual learning, the College has a limited number of laptops to loan to students who otherwise would not have access to the online instruction, beginning on Thursday. Students should contact ResponseTeam@newberry.edu to request a loaner laptop.
Please continue to monitor our COVID-19 information page for daily updates on College operations, and regularly visit the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page for the most recent information. If you have any questions that are not answered, do not hesitate to contact ResponseTeam@newberry.edu and an answer will be provided as quickly as possible.
I know every decision we make is causing a disruption in the lives of each and every member of the College family, and I regret the necessity of having to take such actions. I can only hope that you understand that these decisions are being made to do whatever we can to lessen the spread of this disease, and to keep the members of the Newberry College community as safe as possible. By working together, we will get through this state of emergency. Thank you for your patience and your support.
Tuesday, March 17Updated 6:03 p.m.
Summary of Student Meeting with President Scherrens
On Monday, President Scherrens held a mandatory meeting with residential students still on campus. The meeting served as a personal update from the president on the work the College is doing to keep students safe and on track to finish the semester, and he also took questions and received helpful feedback from students.
- The president encouraged students to go home if it would be safe and feasible for them, and as long as they would be able to complete coursework in the virtual learning setting.
- Regarding staying on campus:
- College officials are working to keep the College as safe as possible. Residence halls, dining services, and academic and non-academic spaces will remain open, but with reduced services. Newberry, like all schools in the state, is limiting the number of students on campus to minimize the risk of the spread of illness.
- There is a residential exception authorization process being implemented at this time. For those students who are allowed to remain, visitors are not allowed.
- For those students who have left campus, they may return to collect their belongings only with the approval and assistance of the Office of Residence Life. Those students may not resume on-campus residence until further notice, to reduce the risk of the spread of illness.
- Regarding virtual learning, the president stated that faculty and staff are making every effort to ensure students meet course requirements and finish out the semester.
- The College is in the process of moving coursework online, with the future possibility of hybrid classes — online and in-person — depending on how the situation unfolds.
- In this transition to a virtual learning environment, the College will support students as they learn how to become online learners, but President Scherrens emphasized that students will need to put in the effort to succeed.
- The president also pressed the vital need for social distancing, in addition to common-sense hygienic actions, to keep people healthy. This involves
- avoiding large gatherings
- maintaining approximately six (6) feet of distance between individuals
- no hugging or handshakes
- avoiding unnecessary travel
- This is necessary to ensure the slowing of the virus’ spread so that fewer people need to seek treatment at any given time, thereby “flattening the curve” of the pandemic.
Students and parents: Comcast / Xfinity is now opening up free Wi-Fi hotspots for anyone who needs them, through the Comcast / Xfinity Internet Essentials Program. This program will be offered for free to qualifying households for 60 days. Comcast / Xfinity will be working with all customers to ensure there are no disconnections or late fees, offering flexible payment options. For more information, click here.
Students: The last day to drop a class and receive a grade of "W" (Withdrawn) has been extended to Tuesday, March 31, ahead of the original March 18 deadline.
Monday, March 16
College Begins Transition to Virtual LearningUpdated 5:02 p.m.
On Monday, faculty and staff began on-campus meetings to put into motion plans to transition to a virtual learning environment, beginning Thursday, March 19.
President Maurice Scherrens will hold a mandatory meeting with students still on campus tonight at 7 p.m. The meeting will serve as a personal update from the president on plans moving forward, as well as a Q&A session with students.
The 2020 Athletic Club / Football Annual Golf Classic, originally scheduled for Thursday, April 16, has been postponed until Thursday, June 11.
All academic tutoring will be available online, via Zoom, beginning Sunday, March 22. See the Coronavirus FAQ page for more information regarding tutoring.
Friday, March 13
Statement on Changes in Newberry College Operations
College to transition to virtual learning beginning March 19
Newberry College’s chief responsibility is protecting the health, safety, and well-being of its students, faculty, and staff. While there are no known cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the Newberry College campus, out of an abundance of caution, President Maurice Scherrens has announced the following changes in College operations, effective immediately:
- From Monday, March 16, through Wednesday, March 18, classes will be canceled as campus prepares a transition to virtual learning, with classes convening online beginning on Thursday, March 19, through Friday, April 3.
- The College will make a decision regarding plans moving forward by Tuesday, March 31, at 4 p.m., based on how the situation unfolds.
- Students will hear from professors regarding the specifics of each course’s remote operation, but should make sure they have access to their Wolf Den accounts. All online classes already scheduled will continue as normal.
- All residential students must fill out this online form with the Office of Residence Life to determine the best course of action for each individual student.
- Residential students may elect to go home if they are able to do so safely, and if doing so would not impede their ability to fulfill their academic responsibilities. In any event, residence halls, dining, academic support, and other limited services will be open and available for those who remain.
- All structured student and campus activities have been canceled until further notice.
- Newberry College and the South Atlantic Conference have canceled all athletic competitions and practices for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year, including all spring conference championships.
- Faculty and staff will continue to work on campus as normal.
- More specific information regarding residence life, on-campus dining, or other campus services will be provided as necessary.
- In all on-campus interactions the College encourages the practice of social distancing, in addition to other common-sense hygienic actions, to prevent the spread of germs. This involves
- avoiding large gatherings
- maintaining approximately six (6) feet of distance between individuals
- no hugging or handshakes
- avoiding unnecessary travel
Throughout the coming days, the College’s emergency response team will continue to monitor the situation, maintaining constant contact with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and other health and safety officials. The College will regularly reassess the situation and decide the best course of action moving forward.
In the meantime, students, faculty, and staff should continue to monitor their official email accounts, this information page, and the College's COVID-19 frequently asked questions page for regular updates regarding College operations.
Newberry College recognizes the difficulties and inconveniences associated with this temporary change in operations. Thank you for your patience and prayers while we work to keep our campus community healthy and protected.
Wednesday, March 11This message was sent via email to students.
News of the spread of the Novel Coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19, has become a growing concern for many over the last few weeks. We've heard how it is affecting people across the globe, whether through contraction of the illness itself, through imposed quarantines and travel restrictions, or for many here in our community, through simply having friends and loved ones affected or threatened by the illness' expansion. As an institution of higher education, we have a responsibility to be prepared for what may come our way, and to keep our community informed and updated throughout. Please read this entire message.
Let me begin by saying that the College is closely monitoring the situation, and as of today, there are no changes in College scheduling or operations. College administration is in constant contact with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), which is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If there are any changes in College operations, we will notify you via email, social media, the College website, and other means as necessary. You can also find all published guidance and official communications related to coronavirus on our website, at https://www.newberry.edu/subpages/index/guidance-on-coronavirus.
For now, let me offer some additional advice and updates regarding the prevention of illness and alarm here on campus.
First off, there is no reason to panic. Now is the time to simply watch, prepare for the potential, be mindful, and carry on.
That being said, you may notice some minor ongoing changes to service in the Kaufmann Dining Hall, including employee plate preparation on hot food lines, and we are encouraging all servers to wear gloves while handling food. I ask you to be patient and understanding in the course of this.
Physical plant and facilities personnel have also been asked to regularly sanitize all frequently touched surfaces across campus, such as doorknobs, focusing on high traffic areas.
These measures are out of an abundance of caution, as it is also flu season, and Newberry College is committed to ensuring that our students, faculty, and staff are healthy, safe, and able to learn, work, live, and play.
As has been said before, and as with any illness, you are encouraged to wash your hands often and avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Also, do not wear face masks. If you are well, the CDC does not recommend wearing a mask to prevent catching illness. If you are sick, they may help prevent the spread of germs, but they may also create undue alarm among your fellow students. If you are indeed unwell, notify your professors and coaches, do not go to class or practice, and call ahead before seeking medical attention.
Again, do not panic, and take common-sense preventive measures, as you would with the flu. Moving forward, please refer to the special coronavirus information page on our website for updates and previous communications on College operations.
In the meantime, have a productive remainder to your week.
Maurice W. Scherrens
Tuesday, March 10
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday that it has confirmed two COVID-19 cases in South Carolina. One case is in Kershaw County, and one in Charleston County. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is also investigating five presumptive positive cases.
Currently, no members of the Newberry College community have exhibited symptoms of COVID-19.
Sunday, March 8This initial message was sent via email to students, faculty and staff.
The new coronavirus has dominated the news, along with confusion and misconceptions about the virus and the potential risks posed. Newberry College has prepared this update to dispel fear and rumors while protecting the campus community against the spread of disease.
This message is not intended to be comprehensive and should not be considered medical or legal advice.
Per the Centers for Disease Control, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The risk of getting COVID-19 in the United States is currently low, and there are presently no confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Carolina. Risk of infection with COVID-19 is higher for people who are close contacts of someone known to have COVID-19, such as healthcare workers, or household members. Other people at higher risk for infection are those who live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. Click here for information related to confirmed cases in the United States. Click here to view the CDC's coronavirus risk assessment by country.
The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illnesses with symptoms of
- shortness of breath
There is currently no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19, nor is there currently a preventive vaccine. The best protection against coronavirus, as with colds, the flu, and other contagious and respiratory illnesses, is with everyday preventive actions:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, and keyboards before and after each use.
If you are sick, with any illness, you should
- Notify the following individuals at the onset of symptoms:
- Students: Dr. Sandra Rouse, Dean of Students, Sandra.Rouse@newberry.edu, 803.321.5146
- Faculty: Dr. Sid Parrish, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Sid.Parrish@newberry.edu, 803.321.5263
- Staff: Bobbie Sides, Chief of Staff, Bobbie.Sides@newberry.edu, 803.321.5102
- Remember to also alert your professors and immediate supervisors when you anticipate being absent
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces, such as doorknobs, pillows and bed sheets, desks and countertops.
- Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
The CDC does not currently recommend the use of face masks by well individuals to prevent the spread of illness.
Faculty and staff: alert administration to large increases in student, faculty, and staff absenteeism due to medical reasons.
Newberry College will continue to monitor the situation over the coming weeks, and will notify you via email and RAVE alert system if there are any changes in College operations.
In the meantime, remain calm. Regarding prevention, treat COVID-19 as you would the flu, taking similar common-sense preventive actions. Almost as equally important, do not stress. The key here is to simply prepare for the potential while carrying on as usual.
Welcome back and have a great start to your week.