College Updates Re: COVID-19
Spring classes have concluded, and Newberry College is looking ahead to the 2020-2021 academic year.
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, June 24
Campus Update from President Maurice Scherrens
This message was sent to students at 3:23 p.m.
Dear Students and Families,
These continue to be the most unprecedented of times. We are preparing as best we can to reopen the College with classroom instruction effective Aug. 17. We do so in the midst of great uncertainty, but also great hope in this new normal.
We will announce later this week that we will extend the cancellation of all on-campus summer activities (primarily camps and clinics) through the month of July. We will allow small campus tours for prospective students and their families. These tours will be limited to no more than 10 individuals in any given group. The best way to summarize our summer activities is that we are doing everything we can do to prepare campus to be as safe as possible for reopening, and a part of that strategy means eliminating large numbers of visitors from being on campus prior to the actual opening of school. Students, faculty, and staff will wear protective masks and practice social distancing.
It does appear that international students will need to arrive two weeks prior to the beginning of classes because they need to be isolated for 14 days prior to their re-socialization. Some of our student-athletes will begin their onboarding at the same time since the NCAA allows them to begin practicing 10 days before the beginning of classes.
I hope the following overview is helpful in providing you a general update on the College.
FACULTY & STAFF:
The faculty are spending the summer either teaching a summer course remotely, doing their research, or preparing for the fall semester. Hopefully, they are all getting some well-deserved vacation time as well. Their ability (within a matter of two to three days) to transform their classroom instruction to virtual learning this past spring semester was incredible.
The staff is working hard to maintain operations, especially to maintain communication with our students, and to prepare campus for their fall semester arrival. All staff, with the exception of six to eight of the senior leadership team, teleworked from mid-March until mid-June. The first of three phases of our return-to-work program began on June 15. The entire staff, assuming no significant coronavirus issue, will return from telework no later than Aug. 1.
In terms of our incoming class, we are tracking right on schedule, and it appears, based on traditional benchmarks, that we are on course to welcome a class of about 450 new students.
Given the lingering uncertainty regarding what the next weeks and months will bring, we know and understand that many students and families have had to reevaluate their college plans. However, the Center for Student Success is leading an effort to make sure returning and incoming students have everything they need to be successful as we return to campus. Meanwhile, the entire College community is working to ensure a safe, effective learning environment, with the value and accessibility our students and families have come to enjoy.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs and his staff are working closely with facilities as we are designing classrooms to achieve social distancing, and classes are being reassigned to more effectively match room capacity with the number of students enrolled. Further, we have also identified new spaces to hold classes other than our traditional classrooms.
The time between classes has been increased from 10 minutes to 15 minutes to achieve classroom sanitization. The academic calendar has been changed so the fall semester now ends prior to Thanksgiving. This is a strategy being followed by many schools to return students home prior to the heaviest flu months of December and January. Similarly, the spring semester has been pushed back to Feb. 1. The spring break has been eliminated and commencement will still occur in mid-May. The College will initiate an online January term (J-Term), where students will be able to take one course during the month of January at summer school rates. We will continue to offer the May Term as an experiential learning opportunity.
The faculty will utilize part of their pre-semester in-service professional development days in August to become more effective in teaching their courses online. It is certainly a possibility that we might need to make this transition again, and with this training we will be able to do so in an even more seamless manner.
It is clear that in order to achieve and maintain social distancing in classrooms, there will be limitations placed upon faculty members in terms of prescribed locations in the classrooms designated for the instructors. Likewise, we will ask students to sit in the same seats for each class period for a given course. This will assist the College and health care professionals immeasurably if contact tracing is required.
The survey results from students and faculty on the virtual learning experience of the spring semester were generally positive. Some students had difficulty with internet access from their homes, and most students thought they were required to do more work with the courses online than with classroom instruction. There was an overwhelming preference to return to classroom instruction in the fall.
Student Affairs is working closely with Facilities and Dining Services to prepare all of our student spaces, and with Enrollment Management and the Center for Student Success on retention and recruitment efforts. We have had two virtual orientations (Wolf Pack Welcomes) thus far, and both were well attended. We have had more than 120 students attend each of these events. There are three more orientations scheduled in July and August.
Most returning students have been assigned a room and have registered for fall classes. Some of our biggest challenges have been achieving social distancing in the residence halls and in dining venues. All College staff have been working with Sodexo and Aramark on a daily basis to address these issues. The Dean of Students is heading up our task force on developing our health protocol for reopening. This committee includes outside professional health care providers. She also co-chairs with the Vice President for Academic Affairs our Diversity & Inclusivity Task Force. This latter group comprises a number of faculty, staff, students and alumni.
The Facilities staff is working diligently with every department on campus to prepare all campus facilities. We are establishing sanitization stations throughout campus and providing wipes in every classroom so students and faculty can wipe down desks, tables and chairs between classes. All students will be wearing face masks and we have purchased a few thousand disposable masks to help in this effort. A few hundred washable masks have been purchased for faculty and staff.
Every classroom, every restroom and every residence hall is being sanitized and will be on a regular basis once we open. All athletic facilities are being sanitized. In addition to this preparation, several projects are underway to improve the safety of our campus, as several of our older residence halls do not have the proper ratio of showers/toilets to occupants. These projects should reduce crowding in restrooms.
- (2) Portable restrooms/showers units will be placed next to Brokaw Hall
- (1) Portable restroom/shower unit will be placed next to Cromer Hall
- (1) Portable restroom/shower unit will be placed between Kinard Hall and Derrick Hall
- New permanent restrooms/showers will be built in Smeltzer Hall
- Dining facilities will expand onto the outdoor deck and the bookstore
- Bookstore will be moved to the former Dopey’s location on Luther Street
- Tent will be located outside Kaufmann Hall (for dining and student lounge)
- Upgrades are being made to the adjoining College-owned properties
- An isolation building has been identified for any students who test positive for COVID-19
The College is in discussions with West Development to lease approximately 15 apartment units on the Oakland Mill retail side of the facility. These beds will be needed to meet the projected demand for on-campus housing.
These have been especially difficult times for our Athletics program and our student-athletes. The spring season came to an abrupt end just as it was beginning, and our winter sports student-athletes were denied the opportunity to compete in their championships. Recruiting activities have been curtailed throughout the past few months and there remains doubt about fall sports. Our plan is to compete on time, as planned, in the fall. We are in continuous contact with the South Atlantic Conference and all of our conference colleagues.
We have developed a student-athlete return protocol that will include testing prior to arriving on campus and stringent rules on numbers of individuals in the training room, the strength and conditioning center, and locker rooms. In an effort to achieve satisfactory social distancing, we have determined that we will lose approximately 70% of the seating at Setzler Field and the same will happen at Eleazer Arena.
Teams will have to use the locker rooms in shifts to reduce the number of athletes in the room at one time. Transportation will change significantly as we must limit the number of students who can sit on a bus, thereby requiring us to lease more busses as our teams travel. Due to the seating limitations at our competition venues, we will be implementing a seating priority system to ensure that students, faculty, staff, and general supporters are afforded an opportunity to be part of the excitement. At this time, we have not been able to create a seating plan of more than 800 seats at Setzler Field. The atmosphere will be different.
I believe that, all things considered, the morale of the faculty, staff and students is high. There is a general understanding that we are all in this together. There is also an understanding that this adversity presents opportunity.
The College also understands that this is not a time to engage in short-term strategies, non-recurring savings, or solutions that do not address the need for systematic change and innovation. As a small college, we must take advantage of our institutional agility. We are looking at different management structures within the organization, and we are looking at new academic programs and new NCAA sports, such as women’s triathlon.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs and I are looking at a potential partnership with a consortium of similarly sized colleges to offer new and attractive undergraduate and graduate programs. We will also be visiting the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, which has campuses in Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana and Spartanburg, S.C. They are looking for schools willing to expand their existing health science programs and create new programs as a joint venture.
Similarly, every day we have to give serious consideration to revisiting the viability of large student gatherings. This is a difficult task, because most higher education professionals and the students they serve are here on campus exactly for the purpose of interaction with other people of diverse backgrounds. Our challenge is to be able to create a similar environment with social distancing requirements. Convocations, Homecomings and commencements will need to be reimagined.
It is important during these times to provide our students with a safe environment where they feel they can speak their minds without any fear of retaliation. We must create a welcoming environment that embraces diversity and inclusivity, that facilitates dialogue, no matter the level of discomfort. We want our students to know they have the power to bring about change.
These are the strangest of times, and together we will emerge better than ever. There is much to be done, the uncertainty of the times adds complexity, and unintended secondary consequences are unavoidable. The good news is, we are guided by who we are and what we are here to accomplish. We will maintain focus. We are here to create a student-centered learning environment, safe and full of opportunity and hope. We are ready. We are NEWBERRY COLLEGE STRONG!
Take care, and see you soon,
Maurice W. Scherrens
Thursday, May 28
A Message from President Maurice Scherrens
Dear Newberry College Community:
I hope you, your families and friends are doing well and staying safe as we work to emerge from the coronavirus.
I am so proud of how our faculty, staff, and students have handled the transition to virtual learning this past spring and the College community efforts to keep our campus safe. I’m especially proud of our 135 May graduates, our resilient Class of 2020, who overcame numerous obstacles at the end of their undergraduate careers to earn their degrees and the rank of Newberry College alumni. Though we haven’t had the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our seniors yet, their day will soon come, and I can’t wait to celebrate with them.
I am happy to announce that we will hold special commencement exercises on Saturday, Sept. 19, for our spring and summer graduates. It is Lutheran Day on campus, and it will likely be a late morning ceremony. Later that same day, our football team will play Lenoir-Rhyne University in our second home game of the year. Specific information regarding location, time, and tickets for Commencement will be announced in late July. Anyone unable to attend the September commencement is invited to participate in the December commencement.
Summer 2020 Plans
Right now, all dining services, athletics and other events, summer camps and other structured activities have been suspended. All summer session courses will be taught online, at a reduced cost and with an expanded variety of course offerings. I encourage all incoming and returning students to check out the expanded summer courses here.
Fall 2020 Plans
We are truly looking forward to beginning the fall semester in August as scheduled. In preparation, we are taking measures to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff in this ‘new normal’ of the coronavirus era. This means learning, living, and dining in a clean, socially distant environment. Our small and secure Newberry College campus is conducive to this.
- We will reconfigure residence hall rooms and common areas, and we will create a number of small living-learning communities in several of the College-owned houses that adjoin the campus
- We will most likely stagger dining times in the cafeteria, eliminate self-serve meal lines, expand the dining area, and utilize outdoor dining space
- While the majority of classes will be taught in-person, we will also hold some courses online, in a hybrid format to reduce the number of people in classrooms at one time
- We will also work with our partners, Aramark and Sodexo, to ensure regular deep cleansing and sanitation of all our campus spaces
As a way to end on-campus classes by Thanksgiving, there will be no fall break. Holding final exams may occur before Thanksgiving or we may have final exams virtually immediately after the holiday. This revised academic calendar will allow us to reduce unnecessary travel for our students and the semester break will begin earlier.
J-Term 2021 Announcement
The College intends to re-introduce a J-Term, a month-long semester, with classes beginning on Jan. 4, 2021. More information on this new opportunity will be forthcoming later this summer.
We expect to have more information from the NCAA and the SAC about resuming our fall sports soon. Currently, it is our intention to have all of our fall sports compete as scheduled. We will do whatever we can to offer our student-athletes the opportunity to safely play their sport this fall.
Planning for Possibilities
While we remain vigilant as the situation continues to evolve, and while we plan for possible changes, it is our plan to reopen on time. We will come back safe and strong. While we are doing everything we can to ensure a safe campus environment, changes in circumstances and official guidance may mean changes in the plan. Dr. Sid Parrish and Dr. Christy Wendland and others have prepared an academic calendar for the fall semester that begins on Aug. 17 and ends on Nov. 24.
I want to emphasize that Newberry College is known and loved for its in-person, personalized instruction, and assuming health and safety can be maintained, we will reconvene with classroom instruction in August as scheduled.
Easing Student Financial Burdens
The reality and the lingering uncertainty of the coronavirus crisis has caused many students and families to reevaluate their financial situation. Newberry College is doing everything possible to ease financial burdens during this time, and to provide access to other means of financial assistance as they become available.
Over recent weeks, we have distributed reimbursements to spring 2020 on-campus residential students, reduced the price of tuition associated with summer session courses, and temporarily lifted financial holds on student accounts to allow them to register for summer and fall courses on time.
We have also received additional aid through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), provided by the U.S. Department of Education. This fund offers assistance through direct grants to eligible students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. For more information on the program and the simple application process, please visit the College’s Coronavirus FAQ webpage. The deadline for applications is Monday, June 15, 2020.
College Fiscal Burden
This pandemic has created a financial challenge for the College. I announced just a few weeks ago the Board of Trustees has reviewed a number of different scenarios regarding the fiscal recovery of the College. At a recent town hall for faculty and staff members, I reviewed three budget scenarios based on student enrollment. Recruiting and retaining our student body is, by far, the top priority for the fiscal health of the College. Under all budget scenarios, we will initiate several cost-containment strategies to ensure maintenance of a sound sustainable business model. Similar to other colleges across the country, if the student enrollment for the fall drops by 15-20 percent (which is our worse-case scenario), a significant number of positions will need to be eliminated and operating budgets reduced. We are projecting a better fall opening, but we are prepared.
A State of Becoming
In closing, as an institution and as a society, we are always in a state of becoming, and we are positioned well to weather this setback and emerge strong. I am comforted by the thoughts that, "when nothing is certain, everything is possible," and "out of adversity comes opportunity." Together we will lean on each other. We will keep the faith and make smart decisions. Our fortitude and persistence will show us the way. I hope this update gives you some comfort that we will have the campus ready for your safe return to college life.
Stay safe. See you soon!
Dr. Maurice W. Scherrens
Thursday, May 7
Newberry College Board of Trustees Reviews Reopening Game Plan OptionsThis news release was published the morning of May 7.
Newberry College’s Board of Trustees has reviewed a preliminary action plan for the start of the 2020-2021 academic year this fall, following a spring semester marred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If the spread of the disease continues to decline and the campus receives advice and counsel from the health professionals that reopening is allowable,” said President Maurice Scherrens, “Newberry College will be ready to enter into this ‘new normalcy’ with a safe and secure environment, committed to creating an effective and exciting learning and co-curricular experience. We will open Newberry strong.”
The college plans to begin the fall semester with classes on campus as scheduled in August, with modifications to ensure social distancing and other provisions for the health of students and employees. The administration also presented models with differing enrollment levels and with different semester start dates. While no cases of COVID-19 have been identified on campus, the models were presented amid uncertainty regarding the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential effects on student enrollment and operations.
The college intends to offer some courses online to ensure a safe campus environment, however most courses will be taught with fewer than 20-25 students in the classroom with adequate physical distancing. In addition to redesigning living spaces in the residence halls to increase social distancing, the college will create a number of small living learning communities in several of the college-owned houses that adjoin the campus. The college will also reconfigure the cafeteria and increase dining space by utilizing outdoor dining and enhancing the indoor dining venue.
“Out of adversity comes opportunity,” said Rob Best, 1971 Newberry graduate and chair of the board. “And we see a perfect opportunity for the College to emerge from this stronger and safe.”
The board also reaffirmed the college’s capability to continue social distancing protocols, in large part due to its 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio, compared to larger universities. College officials have already initiated cleaning and intense sanitation of campus facilities and are developing a health clearance protocol for all incoming and returning students, faculty and staff.
“Uncertainty requires institutional agility and a state of readiness for a number of different options. We are prepared for these different scenarios, but today, we fully expect to start on time in the fall under a ‘new normal’ brought on by COVID-19,” said Scherrens. “Newberry College is well suited to maintain a safe environment for students, faculty and staff. College life will be different, but the learning environment will remain vibrant and the social life of our students will be re-imagined.”
Monday, May 4
Message for 2020 Graduates from Dr. Sid Parrish
Updated 12:55 p.m.
Members of the graduating class of spring 2020:
This is a big week for you all. While we cannot celebrate with you in person on Saturday, this does not diminish your accomplishments. This is a major milestone and we are all proud of you.
You may have some questions about how you will receive your diplomas, regalia, and Alumni Association memberships. Here are our plans:
1. Diplomas and regalia may be picked up by appointment at the registrar’s office starting next week. Please email Cindy Shealy at Cindy.Shealy@newberry.edu for an appointment. In order to ensure social distancing, only one graduate is permitted in the office at one time. No guests please. For those of you who can’t make it to campus, diplomas and regalia will be mailed to you. Please keep your regalia in good condition, as you will need it to participate in your upcoming commencement ceremony.
2. Newberry will host a special commencement ceremony on Sept. 19. Specific information regarding location, time, and ticket procedures will be announced in late July. Anyone who can’t make the September commencement is invited to participate in December commencement.
3. Students planning to graduate pay a graduation fee to cover the costs associated with graduation and commencement. Since you are graduating on Saturday and commencement exercises will be held in September, there will be no refunds of graduation fees. There will be no added cost associated with mailing diplomas and regalia.
In the future, please remember to stay in touch. You will soon become alumni, and Newberry will always remain a home away from home.
Stay safe and congratulations on your academic achievement.
Dr. Sid Parrish
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Wednesday, April 15
Freshman Registration to be Paused for Wolf Pack WelcomeUpdated 10:25 a.m.
The course registration portal will be temporarily closed for 24 hours, beginning at midnight on Friday, April 17, to accommodate virtual Wolf Pack Welcome orientation. Freshmen will be able to resume registration on Saturday, April 18.
Tuesday, April 14
Message from President Maurice Scherrens on Spring ReimbursementsThis message was sent to students, faculty and staff at 4:11 p.m.
Dear Students and Families,
I hope each of you are doing well as you study off campus. Last week we made several updates to our operations in response to COVID-19, including that May and summer courses will be offered online, new grading options are available, and financial holds have been lifted as fall registration gets underway. I write to you today with updates regarding reimbursements and a summer session tuition pricing change.
Last week the Board of Trustees approved a plan to reimburse students for unused room and board. Reimbursements will be based upon each student's financial aid package. If a student owes a balance to the College, the reimbursement will first go to pay off the balance. This reimbursement will appear as a credit on the student's account. Students who are in good standing may request to have this credit: (a) applied to a future semester such as summer or fall; (b) sent as a reimbursement check; or (c) made a tax-deductible gift to the College.
We encourage returning students to carry forward any credit for the following reasons:
- Your credit will reduce the amount of loans you will need to borrow for the fall 2020 semester
- Your credit may be used for your payment plan and applied toward fall 2020 semester tuition and fees
- Your credit may be applied toward May and summer 2020 terms
Specific details about how to make your choice regarding reimbursements will be available on your Wolf Den page on Thursday, April 16, along with answers to frequently asked questions on the Coronavirus: FAQ website.
Summer Session Tuition Price Reduction
For summer 2020 terms, the price for courses will be $300 per credit hour. We are eliminating the standard $125 common fee previously associated with a three-hour course. We hope this reduction makes enrolling in summer courses more accessible for our students. Some federal financial aid may be available for summer sessions. Please contact the financial aid office for details.
Summer Session Courses
To continue supporting your academic needs, we are offering numerous new courses for our summer sessions. Each course will be taught online. We encourage you to take advantage of the lower costs, as well as the expanded variety of course offerings, to aide in your academic endeavors this summer. Please take a look at the summer session course offerings here.
Stay safe, healthy, and Hail the Scarlet & Gray,
Dr. Maurice W. Scherrens
Thursday, April 9
Message from President Maurice Scherrens
This message was sent to students at 9:46 a.m.
Dear Students and Families,
In these last few days, there have been a number of new developments and we have made some very important decisions in our ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic. I am reaching out to thank you for your continued support and patience as we work through these difficult times. What I have witnessed during these coronavirus days has been the unbelievable ability of Newberry College Wolves to adapt to an ever-changing environment, while exhibiting an unwavering commitment to academic excellence and a genuine concern for the welfare of others. Here is what is new:
- Our May Term and Summer courses will be taught online. I know this news may be disappointing to some, but the courses will continue to have the same academic rigor as when taught face-to-face in the classroom. We will continue supporting students in the online environment through the Center for Student Success, virtual tutoring, and expanded academic coaching. The Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) will work with faculty to ensure course seats are available to all students who need a May Term course. The VPAA will also be working with faculty to increase the number of courses that are offered in Summer I and Summer II.
- The College is sharing a room and board reimbursement plan with the Board of Trustees this week and the details of the plan will be released on Tuesday, April 14. Thank you for your patience on this matter.
- On Tuesday, the faculty voted to adopt a pass/unsatisfactory grading option for students. This option is applicable for students taking courses during the spring 2020 semester. This policy will provide students with the flexibility to choose a final grade option that best meets their academic and career goals at the end of the semester. Our academic advisors will help students determine the best grading strategy. Additional details are available at Coronavirus FAQ.
- With the change in the grading scale, some students may want a little extra time to make a decision about dropping a class. Therefore, the last day to drop a course with a grade of “W” has been extended to Tuesday, April 28.
- As we continue to navigate these uncharted waters, our thoughts are especially with those who are in need of a little financial relief to continue their college journey. In that spirit, we have lifted all financial holds on student accounts at this time, thereby allowing all returning students to register for fall 2020 classes at their designated time. This is a one-time allowance, reflective of the difficult times faced by many families. Students registering under this exception know their account balance and payment in full, or a signed payment plan, must be finalized prior to Monday, June 1, to avoid class schedule cancellation. It is our hope that this delay of payment allowance helps ease the financial hardship felt by some of our families. Our Student Accounts and Financial Aid Office staff is available to help students. We want you to return, so please resolve this as soon as possible.
- Summer camps and other summer activities that bring large numbers of people to our campus are also canceled.
In closing, I continue to be impressed with the adaptability and the resilience shown by our students, faculty, and staff. Every day I see more examples of the genuine concern that is being shown for others. To the Wolf Nation, I am proud that we are all in the same pack as we defeat this virus and make Newberry College better than it has ever been. We are Newberry Strong.
Take care and stay safe,
Dr. Maurice Scherrens
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.