Coronavirus Communication

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Updates

Weekly Update, May 27

Updated 10 a.m., May 27, 2020

Keeping the Stetson Community informed

This is a weekly status report on the work of the COVID-19 Budget Priority Working Group for the DeLand campus, the Safer Campus Task Force for both the College of Law and DeLand, and other ongoing academic, safety and health, student life and fiscal planning that may impact the Stetson community. Our next update will be Wednesday, June 3, at 10 a.m., but additional information may be released or posted as needed.

Webinars have been scheduled for Wednesday, May 27. A webinar for DeLand faculty and staff, occurred at 8 a.m., and College of Law faculty and staff in Gulfport begins at 10 a.m. A webinar for current students and parents is scheduled for Friday, May 29, at 3:30 p.m., and a webinar for new students is being scheduled for the following week.

The webinars are being recorded and will be posted to the Coronavirus Communications website.

Academic Planning

Academic planning at both the DeLand campus and College of Law is active and underway. The provost and deans, have formed working groups to tackle three primary issues facing Stetson University as it prepares to welcome students back:

Fall 2020 Schedule Working Group:The purpose is to address the fall calendar, examining everything from start date, end date, fall break, even values day, to determine the preferred schedule for the fall semester in scenarios that include residential and online education. The group will be chaired by Noel Painter and includes faculty and staff representatives from across the DeLand campus with experience, expertise and connection to academic calendar issues, including representation from undergraduate and graduate programs, the registrar's office, the Academic Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate and CLaSS.

Face-to-Face (F2F)/Socially Distanced Education Working Group:Assuming the university is able to have residential education in the fall, this group will discuss what needs to be put in place in order for that to safely occur for students, staff and faculty. Some questions to be addressed include: What does it look like to have in-person classes in a safe way? How do we build in the flexibility necessary for quarantined students or faculty in a semester, or international students who can't travel, or high-risk students and faculty who need to be accommodated? There are questions about technology that we may need to invest in now to facilitate the fall semester. The group will be chaired by Neal Mero and includes faculty representatives from each school and college, IT and facilities staff, a public health expert and a faculty senate representative.

Fall 2020 Special Policies Working Group:Knowing that the fall 2020 semester will involve remote or online learning to a greater extent than our current policies address, the Special Policies group will consider what revised policies, or newly created polices, may be considered in order to advance normal faculty processes (e.g., peer observation), ensure the best student experience (e.g., examining expectations for synchronous pedagogy in online classes), and other academic policies (e.g., pass/fail). The group will be chaired by Elizabeth Skomp and includes members of the Council of Undergraduate Associate/Assistant Deans; members of UCCAP and a faculty senate representative.

Special Summer Session

In addition to Fall 2020 planning, the DeLand campus announced special summer sessions for new students and special seminar experiences.

Starting June 18, Stetson is offering new students the opportunity to participate in one-unit, credit-bearing classes in a variety of courses specifically for incoming students including public speaking, psychology, health and wellness, digital arts, economics, history, math, or computer science. For this special session faculty also are offering students a chance to get an early start on our signature Stetson First Year Seminar. Some of the courses may apply to general education requirements, but all of them provide a great opportunity for new students to engage with Stetson faculty in learning, exploring and expanding their Stetson experience.

During the session, faculty also will be offering short, concentrated virtual seminar experiences of one, two or three partial days. These are non-credit, non-graded learning adventures and there is no cost to the student for participating.

Budget Priorities Working Group

The COVID-19 Budget Priorities Working Group is preparing to provide an interim report on budget priorities based on scenarios and potential budget shortfalls of 5%, 10% and 15% to President Libby and President-elect Roellke by Monday, June 1. A more in-depth set of recommendations are expected prior to a Thursday, June 25, special Board of Trustees meeting.

On Tuesday, May 26, the working group reviewed operating budget reductions provided by each department and research on potential savings from hiring freezes. There was also great support for ensuring recommendations are consistent with Stetson's mission and the working group's principles. The working group meets again on Thursday to review recommendations and remains on track to deliver their interim report.

Comments and questions can be sent to budgetpriority@stetson.edu. The working group can't respond to all the emails but will review the information.

Safer Campus Task Force

The Safer Campus Task Force continues its work on creating a safe campus environment and wants the Stetson community to know about its extensive protocol to respond to illness and potential COVID-19 exposure in the Stetson community. Stetson has an existing Infectious Disease Management Protocol that was launched in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, even though there weren't any known cases of the disease on campus at that time.

The protocol is designed to better ensure the health and safety of the Stetson community, to assist community members in receiving the services they need, and to mitigate the impact of infection if it is discovered on campus. It seeks to bring together all of the expertise from across Stetson into a unified team.

Stetson has instituted a series of steps that are followed to ensure that students -- living both on and off campus – will receive the support they need, from dining services to academic assistance and financial relief. Employees are provided assistance through Human Resources.

An outline of Stetson's response is available along with a list of frequently asked questions focused on health care and assistance. However, if you have additional questions, this group established SaferStetson@stetson.edu to gather community comments and feedback. We want to thank everyone for their comments. Though we cannot respond to each comment individually, we are reviewing the comments and questions received.

Weekly Update, May 10

Updated 11 a.m., May 20, 2020

Keeping the Stetson Community informed

Starting with this update, the university will report weekly on the status and work of the COVID-19 Budget Priority Working Group for the DeLand campus, the Safer Campus Task Force for both the College of Law and DeLand, and other ongoing academic, safety and health, student life and fiscal planning that may impact the Stetson Community. Our next update will be Wednesday, May 27 at 10 a.m., but additional information may be released or posted as needed. Planning is underway to schedule webinars for DeLand and at the College of Law either on Wednesday, May 27 or Friday, May 29. Dates and times will be announced as soon as they are available.

Budget Priorities Working Group

The recently formed a COVID-19 Budget Priorities Working Group is informed and guided by Stetson principles of integrity, transparency and confidentiality, and learning excellence. It is focused on the health and safety of our community, and the university’s financial stability and strength. Comprising faculty, staff and a student, it is co-chaired by the university’s Provost and Chief Financial Officer. The purpose of the working group is to make recommendations by early June to President Libby and President-elect Roellke based on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Stetson University with potential scenarios of 5%, 10% and 15% reductions in financial resources. These reductions would be focused in DeLand where the substantial financial strains are expected to occur.

The College of Law is projected to meet enrollment goals although the uncertainties with COVID-19 remain ongoing concerns for everyone. In collaboration with the President, the President-elect, the university's Provost, the Chief Financial Officer and all relevant constituencies, the College of Law continues to plan for all eventualities. It will continue to update and seek input from members of the community regarding key contingency plans and issues moving forward. More information about budget meetings and a schedule for the coming months will be circulated by the College of Law.

In DeLand, the group recently established budgetpriority@stetson.edu to gather community comments and feedback. We want to thank everyone for their comments to date and wish we could respond to each one.

Like many institutions Stetson is grappling with the immediate and long-term financial shock of COVID-19 beyond the uncertainty of fall enrollment, and including the substantial loss of net revenue from the cancellation of programs, camps, housing and dining revenue during the summer.

According to the most recent entering enrollment projections for the DeLand campus, improvements in undergraduate fall recruitment over the past few weeks is encouraging, moving from a double-digit deficit to single digit, but the pandemic has introduced a high measure of uncertainty. To inform our academic program decisions and enrollment forecasting for this upcoming fall, Stetson has engaged the Art & Science Group, a nationally recognized research firm, to assess new and continuing student sentiment towards learning modality, preferences, and health and safety. Results will be available in early June and will sharpen our planning and forecasting.

The past few meetings of the Budget Priorities Working Group featured wide-ranging discussions with Melissa Peter, associate vice president for Budget & Financial Planning, examining the university budget, and potential reductions in operational expenses, salary and benefits, and capital expenditures. As we have seen recently announced by other small- to mid-sized institutions, these might include reductions in whole categories of operating expense such as travel and memberships, or in elimination of salary increases for the upcoming year, a graduated scale of pay reductions, reductions in retirement program deposits, and delays in renewal and repair expenses.

President Libby and President-elect Roellke will receive and consider the working group’s budget recommendations, along with guidance from our Safer Campus Task Force. These will inform decisions for the final 2020-21 budget due to be submitted to the Board of Trustees at a specially called meeting on June 25. That budget may include triggers for further reductions as fall enrollment, housing and dining revenue are solidified. The late June date was requested to allow as much time as possible for the university to fully understand the legal, regulatory and financial impact of the pandemic on the institution and community. Stetson remains committed to returning to an in-person, on-campus learning environment, but will make its final announcements on plans for Fall 2020 in June.

Safer Campus Task Force Update

Stetson University has been making plans for the return of students, staff and faculty to campus. The Safer Campus Task Force (SCTF) is tasked with advising university leadership on the operational elements and programs necessary to prepare Stetson University campuses in DeLand and Gulfport. We put health and safety at the forefront of all of our decisions, following protocols and guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Florida Department of Health (DOH). Additionally, the senior medical experts at the NCAA are working with the CDC to inform recommendations regarding athletic competitions and practices.

Bringing the community back together involves many decisions and moving parts – the volume is daunting. Nevertheless, the task force wants to keep the community updated as decisions are made and the work comes together.

We are committed to a phased-in return to campus for staff, faculty and students. We encourage your ideas and suggestions. Please send them to SaferStetson@stetson.edu. Because of the volume of work to be done, we will not be able to respond to all of your emails, but we appreciate your suggestions and feedback.

For now, below is a list of the work that has already been completed or is actively being developed.

Personal protection

  • One reusable mask will be provided to each person in the community. Masks should be washed after use. If you need more masks, please bring them with you to campus.
  • Appropriate additional PPE will be provided to workers whose jobs require it (Facilities, Public Safety, RAs, Health/Sports Health, On-Call staff) and student athletes.
  • Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer will be available through the University Warehouses and College of Law Facilities Department for daily cleaning of frequently used surfaces. Offices do not need to purchase these items on their own independent of the university.
  • Hand sanitizer will be placed throughout the university in commonly used spaces.
  • Location of installation of plexiglass barriers is under active consideration.

Cleaning

  • Increased cleaning protocols have been implemented by Facilities Management including
    • More frequent cleaning of surfaces that are touched often such as doorknobs, light switches, countertops, etc.
    • Increased frequency of cleaning bathrooms and use of EPA-registered disinfectant
    • Installation of hand sanitizers in common areas throughout campus
    • Review and modification of custodial schedules to manage increased cleaning frequencies as campus locations re-open

Health care

  • A detailed protocol is in place for community members who may have COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19. The protocol includes support from Health Service, the DOH, campus professionals, Residential Living and Learning and Human Resources.
  • Students, staff and faculty on all campuses have access to Health Service (386-822-8150) during regular office hours. After hours COVID concerns should call Public Safety at 386-822-7300. They also can use an online form at Stetson.edu/report-it.
  • Options for expanded testing for the presence of COVID-19 and/or antibodies are being considered.
  • A screening process for all university members and visitors has been established.

Information

  • Campus-wide signage will include (departments or other areas do not need to order their own):
    • 6-foot social distancing markings on floors in commonly used spaces
    • Door signage, yard signs
    • Social media messaging
    • Health messaging
  • An updated and re-designed COVID-19 website is being developed.
  • Videos are being created to help viewers understand how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, what to do if you feel sick, the importance of cleaning commonly used spaces, and other information.

Gatherings

  • Limits on the size of gatherings will be continually re-evaluated.
  • Options for various types of residential space are being considered.
  • A virtual FOCUS Orientation and new student check-in is being organized.
  • Guidelines for wearing a mask are being reviewed.
  • A social distancing policy is being developed.
  • Consideration is being given to re-opening some physical spaces for summer.

4 p.m., April 28, Important Update on the Impact of COVID-19

Joint Message from President Libby and President-elect Roellke

Planning, Fall 2020, Enrollment Planning, Community Involvement

Unprecedented times require unprecedented collaboration, cooperation and planning, and we thank all of our dedicated faculty, staff and administrators who continue to work through the many different facets of the COVID-19 situation to help ensure Stetson University remains strong and resilient. You are providing the best and safest learning experience possible, keeping students at the center of all we do and ensuring that the unique qualities that make us Stetson continue. Some of you are still working on campus delivering health, housing, dining, facilities, public safety and other services. Thank you to everyone for the excellence of your work and the strength of your commitment to our university, one another and our students.

Over the weekend we watched a number of states re-open some of their commercial establishments. We are hopeful that efforts to open our country back up will be successful and that we will see continued improvements in the statistics that reflect progress to better health and outcomes. Our planning, of course, is for the return to face-to-face learning as soon as we can without undue risk; the health of our community and the quality of our education remain our driving concerns.

Since February, there have been hundreds of hours devoted to weekly, even daily, meetings with administrators, trustees, the Emergency Management Team, and among faculty, deans and staff. In addition to meetings in DeLand, at the College of Law, Dean Alexandre has held multiple meetings and webinars with students, faculty and staff. The depth and thoughtfulness of the discussions we are having underscore how our decisions are consistently student-centered and focused on our values. 

We are in the fortunate position to have sufficient cash on hand to meet expenses for this fiscal year. On March 31, we instituted a hiring delay and suspended conference and meeting travel, along with a request that all non-essential spending be halted. We understand the substantial uncertainty surrounding the current economic and public health landscape. The future is hard to predict and so we are planning for the different futures we might have to face. 

Planning

Stetson's finance staff members are using sophisticated modeling software to help assess multiple scenarios for fall undergraduate enrollment, graduate enrollment in DeLand and at the College of Law, and retention rates across campuses. Our aim has been to do the responsible thing: preview and plan for the various financial situations we might be confronting.

The recently approved federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) will help and we are working through U.S. Department of Education guidance on how these resources can be implemented to directly serve students and support the university. However, to protect the university’s financial strength in these uncertain times, we along with the university’s administrators and our Board of Trustees are reviewing the many scenarios we might face in the near future. These include 5%, 10% and 15% reductions in resources in DeLand and multiple possibilities at the College of Law. We have also recently received a series of recommendations from the DeLand Faculty Senate Finance Committee. Many of these align with the planning the administration is doing and will inform budgetary thinking as it proceeds.

Fall 2020

Without question, we remain hopeful for a Fall 2020 semester where we are together on campus in our buildings, classrooms, courtrooms, fields and recital halls. Whether in DeLand or Gulfport, Stetson is at its best as a people-to-people place of learning. With that said, we are planning for a face-to-face learning environment in Fall 2020, but realism and responsibility demand that we also plan for the potential of extended online experiences and education for the fall term if necessary. Given the current uncertainty for the virus’s mitigation by fall and the continuation of social distancing, we must plan for both a safe on-campus re-opening and an online semester or perhaps something in between. We expect to make a decision in mid to late June on this.

Enrollment

We are keeping a close eye on enrollment data and projections. College of Law deposits and retention are both strong. Much work is being done to strengthen and increase summer enrollment and we are tracking beyond budget expectations. Also, in DeLand, registration for the returning Fall 2019 cohort is within 1% of last year (80.5% vs 81.7%). Of the degree-seeking students who have not applied to graduate, 90.1% have registered for next fall compared to 91.5% last year. Residential housing commitments of sophomores, juniors and seniors are in line with last year.

So many of you were part of our all-virtual Hatter Saturday. Thank you for your willingness to give us your hours of planning and your presence on Saturday afternoon. Likely reflecting the national story, deposits from accepted first-time-in-college student numbers are lagging expectations. Students seem to be waiting to see what their fall experience will look like before making a commitment. Transfer deposits are on track. Stetson’s Enrollment Management and Marketing Departments are redoubling efforts to generate and encourage more deposits and would be pleased to talk with you about how you can assist in these critical efforts.

Community Involvement: Budget for 2020-21

In early May, a process for community consultation will be finalized, and we will name a COVID-19 Budget Priorities Committee of staff and faculty pulled from different areas of the Stetson community. This group will assist in the development of the budget for next year and possible contingencies under different planning scenarios. The exact composition of this group and the timeline for its work will be announced shortly. The first task will be to formalize and confirm a series of guiding principles that include integrity and transparency, learning excellence, focus on our staff and faculty (their health and security) and financial stability and strength.

We look forward to being able to announce budget guidance, but at this point we are withholding decisions until we have had ample opportunity to understand the landscape. Typically, the Board of Trustees approves our university budget in early May. We asked the Board for a late June approval date this year to enable us to sharpen our assessment of the new year before presenting a formal budget. Consequently, the Board of Trustees will meet in late June to review and approve budget recommendations for the 2020-2021 year. 

Thank you

This is a stressful time for so many. Thank you for your grace and generosity. We have raised nearly $150,000 towards financial support for our students. Additionally, many of you have supported the food pantries on our campuses through monetary gifts and pantry items. We have seen acts of philanthropy and kindness in every corner.

We know the end of the spring semester and academic year is traditionally a time we can take a deep breath and reflect on the accomplishments of the previous year while preparing for the expectations of the next. We thank everyone for their tireless efforts and adaptability as the university has moved forward through the past weeks and months. We cannot fully anticipate what the next few months will bring, but we know that together we can tackle the planning and preparation necessary to deliver a solid entering and continuing class, and a top-flight learning experience.

We have proven, time and time again, that Stetson University is a resilient teaching and learning community. We will navigate these challenges boldly, collaboratively and with compassion for all Hatters, and we pledge that we will continue to communicate with you as we move forward.

Stay strong and stay safe,

Wendy B. Libby signature

Wendy B. Libby, PhD, President

Christopher Roellke signature

Christopher Roellke, PhD, President-elect

1 p.m., April 22, Commencement Dates

Stetson Faculty and Staff,

It is extraordinary how the Stetson community has responded to the rapid changes the university has had to make over the past few months, but it is especially gratifying to see how our seniors have responded with grace and resilience beyond expectations. We are sorry we will not be together in May to celebrate their achievements, but through the hard work of students, faculty and staff on our Senior Experience committee we have been able to set a date for commencement weekend: Friday and Saturday, Dec. 11-12.

Based on student survey feedback, and in working with Facilities and Academic Affairs, we believe these are the dates that present the best opportunity to successfully gather together for a two-day celebration to mark our 2020 Commencement. Although we are optimistic that we can be back on campus together, as you know it is still uncertain how or when colleges and universities will be able to hold large events and whether there will be size restrictions. Stetson University continues to follow state and local guidance and recommendations from the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

These dates, Dec. 11-12, are for students who qualify for graduation as of July 2019, December 2019, May 2020, August 2020 and December 2020. Since this is an unprecedented, one-time event, December 2020 graduates will have an opportunity to participate, and the Provost’s Office will provide additional guidance for the eligibility of December graduates who would like to attend.

The university is scheduling two days in order to host a full celebration of their achievements and, given the size of the class, commencement will still be separated into College of Arts and Sciences, and Schools of Business and Music events at the Edmunds Center. Tickets will remain in effect for each ceremony and will be reissued to students at a date to be announced.

More information about Stetson’s 134thCommencement ceremonies, awards and celebratory events can be found at the Commencement website, which will be updated as more details become available. We look forward to celebrating with you in December!

Julie Hunter, Director of University Events

3 p.m., April 4, 2nd Student Tests Positive 

Stetson University confirmed today a second student has tested positive for COVID-19. The student had off-campus contact with a family member around March 21 and was living in a campus apartment with no roommates. In an abundance of caution, the university contacted all other residential students on that floor. The student visited university Health Service on March 26, moved off campus at that time and has not returned. The student learned of the positive test result today.

The university has confirmed the student had limited contact with one other student and one faculty member since March 21. They have been informed, are showing no symptoms, and are self-monitoring and maintaining social isolation for 14 days.

The university is taking extraordinary precautions and in addition to social distancing protocols, facilities staff have been cleaning and disinfecting common areas in residential spaces daily. 

What to do if you or someone else is sick or fears exposure:

Any member of the Stetson community who has been to campus in the last 14 days and feels they may have come into direct contact with the virus causing COVID-19 or is experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever over 100.3, cough, shortness of breath, possible nausea/diarrhea, possible loss of taste/smell) should alert Stetson immediately. Fill out this online form: Stetson University: COVID-19 Report a Concern Form. During business hours, call Health Service (386-822-8150). After business hours, call Public Safety (386-822-7300). If you are concerned about someone else’s exposure, also let us know -- don’t just tell them to do so. This applies to our College of Law students, faculty and staff.

7:45 p.m., April 1, Governor Ron DeSantis Stay-at-Home Order

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order today, Wednesday, April 1, for people in Florida to stay at home due to COVID-19. The order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, April 3, and will be in effect until April 30. The order limits movement and personal interaction outside the home.

Only essential services are allowed to operate. A list of essential services has been released, and private colleges and universities are considered essential, but activities are allowed only as needed to maintain or facilitate the online delivery of academic programs and to accommodate students who cannot return home.

Faculty
The executive order gives the university some degree of latitude to allow educators to leave their homes for purposes of facilitating distance learning. For those of you who rely on equipment and spaces that you do not have available at your remote location, you are still permitted to come to campus for the specific function of offering a distance education experience. However, unlike Stetson’s previous guidance, you should not come to campus to:

  • Conduct research that can otherwise be conducted off campus
  • Pursue routine artist endeavors (e.g. set-building, practice on portable instruments)
  • Complete office work
  • Prepare course materials
  • Perform tasks such as advising, hold office hours, or complete grading when those tasks can be performed remotely

Staff
Staff who do not need to be on campus for the continued operation and functioning of the university will work remotely as their job duties allow. All staff working remotely, no matter how much or little of their working day is spent online, must complete the remote work form.

Supervisors, vice presidents, athletic leadership and deans are responsible for having informed staff if they are considered “essential” under the current COVID-19 governor’s executive order, and are required, or allowed, to be on campus at this time. Personnel able to perform essential position functions with limited time on campus, i.e., health, student success, preparing payroll or other financial services, recording class sessions, are asked to continue to do so, but to limit their on-campus time to the minimum necessary.

The university is supporting online program delivery and auxiliary services for students and faculty, and the university is operating as normally as possible within government and health department guidelines.

In short, if you have continued to come to your office for the convenience of a familiar, quiet location where your educational and research materials are handy, you should now move that work to your home or other off campus location. If you can take your computer home in order to facilitate your online classes remotely, please do so. In a week, if you need to access a book, paper, instrument, or other item that you realize you now need, come to campus to pick it up and then return home. If you must come to campus because teaching your class requires a particular space, or a piece of equipment housed on campus, or for another absolutely necessary reason connected to distance learning, then come to campus for the shortest period necessary that is directly related to that activity.

Students are being informed in a separate communication from Campus Life and Student Success.

Additional information will follow as it becomes available and hours and access are defined.

6:45 p.m., March 31, Confirmed Case Announcement

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Stetson University received confirmation today (Tuesday, March 31) that a student has tested positive for COVID-19. The off-campus student, whose name will not be released, is in a hospital in Orlando. The university has been in touch with her family and they asked that this information be communicated to the community.

The student had not been feeling well and had limited her access and interactions with the campus since March 6, but attended a baseball game on March 11 at Melching Field as a student employee. She worked in the press box, but ran promotions and did interact with the crowd. Also, she attended a sorority meeting on March 16.

The sorority and Athletics Department have been notified. The City of DeLand Parks and Recreation Department also has been notified since Melching Field is a city property. The university is working with the Florida Department of Health (DOH), and is currently following its infectious disease protocol.

The university has identified individuals who may have been in contact with the student and asked them to monitor their symptoms per CDC guidelines and report any symptoms to Stetson University’s Health Service.

What to do if you or someone else is sick or fears exposure:

Updated on the morning of April 1: Any member of the Stetson community who has been to campus in the last 14 days and feels they may have come into direct contact with the virus causing COVID-19 or is experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever over 100.3, cough, shortness of breath, possible nausea/diarrhea, possible loss of taste/smell) should alert Stetson immediately. Fill out this online form: Stetson University: COVID-19 Report a Concern Form. During business hours, call Health Service (386-822-8150). After business hours, call Public Safety (386-822-7300). If you are concerned about someone else’s exposure, also let us know -- don’t just tell them to do so. This applies to our College of Law students, faculty and staff.

6:30 a.m., March 27, Essential Personnel Announcement

Dear Faculty and Staff, 

In anticipation of a potential shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order, Stetson’s Emergency Management Team has developed a protocol for essential staff on the DeLand campus. As you may know, our College of Law in Gulfport has already had to institute a similar protocol on that campus.

With approximately 2,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in Florida (as of Thursday, March 26) and several counties and cities issuing a stay-at-home or safer-at-home orders, the university is requiring all campus departments to reduce on-campus staffing to essential personnel effective Monday, March 30.

This in no way impacts the university’s commitment to supporting our employees through this tumultuous semester. All previous communications regarding pay, benefits and leave remain in place.

It is important in these circumstances to recognize there is a difference between what we have traditionally defined as “essential” personnel in a weather related or a hurricane situation and under COVID-19 circumstances. Our definition is wider than what we have considered in the past in order to support the nearly 500 students remaining on campus, our continued online delivery of academic programs and university business operations.

Stetson University is currently defining ‘essential” in the COVID-19 situation, as people who must be on campus to complete part or all of their job responsibilities in order to keep the educational and operational services of the organization going; and people who must be on campus in order to offer services that are necessary during this time.

Staff

Staff who do not need to be on campus for the continued operations and functioning of the university will work remotely as their job duties allow. All staff working remotely, no matter how much or little of their working day is spent online, must complete the remote work form.

Supervisors or vice presidents should inform you if you are considered “essential” under the current COVID-19 situation, and are required, or allowed, to be on campus at this time. Personnel able to perform essential position functions with limited time on campus, i.e., preparing payroll or other financial services, recording class sessions, are asked to continue to do so. The university is supporting online program delivery and auxiliary services for students and faculty, and the university is operating as normally as possible within government and health department guidelines.

Faculty

The guidelines for staff apply also to faculty, recognizing that you may be considered essential personnel requiring access to office, classroom, and lab spaces during times when you are doing work that facilitates online or distance learning, or performing critical research, that cannot otherwise be done remotely.

In summary,

  • Campus buildings moved to key or card access only as of Wednesday, March 25.
  • Visitor access to the university campus has been restricted as of Friday, March 27.
  • Human Resources will move to a reservation system to address HR needs and requests. To contact HR, 386-822-8710, Email: humres@stetson.edu or use the HR contact page.
  • Post office and finance services will remain running, but limited to essential business needs.
  • Housing, On-Call Staff and Public Safety personnel will continue their duties.
  • Facilities will be staffed at a level to meet the needs of the university.
  • Faculty and staff unable to perform their job duties remotely should refer to previous information posted on extended leave available to you.

Social distancing has been identified as a key weapon in fighting this virus. All of us can do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home. The university will continue to provide updates as we learn more.

12:00 p.m., March 25, Message from Provost Painter

Students,

I am incredibly thankful for your collective approach to moving our educational experiences online. At every turn, I have witnessed your resilience in the face of change, your ability to support your colleagues, and your willingness to work together with faculty as we continue to design an online experience that fulfills our promise to you for a great education.

I write today with specific information about a decision made regarding the cultural credit requirement. Following consideration by multiple faculty groups, as well as a full review and recommendation by our university curriculum committee (UCCAP), the cultural credit requirement will be waived for students who graduate at the end of the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 semesters. For students who graduate after Summer 2020, the current cultural credit requirement remains unchanged. There will be select virtual cultural credit events offered this semester, spring 2020, so that returning students have the opportunity to continue accumulating those credits toward their graduation in fall 2020 and beyond.

There are several other academic matters that remain under consideration, many of which I hope to resolve in the coming days.

Noel Painter, PhD, Executive Vice President and Provost

11:30 a.m., March 24, Updates About Services and Logistics on the DeLand Campus from Lua Hancock

Stetson DeLand community -

I know you have been hearing from me a lot, but I want to make sure you are as up to date as possible in this most unique time. The president’s cabinet, the vice president’s operational team, and the emergency management team meet often. Above my signature are some of the latest decisions we have made. Below my signature is a list of important information about Stetson operations, access to services, and updated dining information for new hours starting Friday. Whether you are on campus or not, we suggest that you read though this information and take advantage of the various programs and services that we will continue to offer you all throughout this Spring term. As always, see the Coronavirus Communication website for more details on the items below and all communications to date.

  • Following the statewide closure of libraries, duPont-Ball Library on the DeLand campus will close today, March 23, at 8 p.m. Library services can still be accessed online and by phone as well as curb service pick up for certain materials and electronics.
  • No parking tickets will be given out for the rest of the semester except for illegally parked vehicles (handicap spaces, loading areas, etc.).
  • Virtual enrollment tours begin Friday morning, March 27. There will not be on-campus tours at any Stetson campus.
  • Starting Friday, March 27, no visitors will be allowed on any Stetson campus unless approved by a Vice President or the Athletic Director. All visitors must fill out the Visitor Form prior to being approved to come to any campus.
  • Beginning on Wednesday, March 25, buildings on the DeLand campus will be accessible only by the Stetson community. By 9 a.m. tomorrow, all buildings will be on key or card swipe access only and open to all faculty, staff and students. If you need help with your card working please contact Beth Eaton, Public Safety administrative assistant at 386-822-7310. If you need a replacement card, please go to One Stop in the Welcome Center.
  • As previously reported, Lynn Commons, Einstein Brothers, BYOB and the coffee shop are take-out only, with curb-side pick-up. Lynn Commons is not accepting cash, and hours of operation and locations will change starting Friday.
  • A commencement survey will go out late next week to DeLand graduating students (July 2019, December 2019) and potential graduates (May 2020). Responses to that survey will inform the work of the senior celebration.
  • Additional leave may be available to employees whose family is negatively impacted by COVID-19 due to illness or the closing of childcare facilities. For more information on this benefit, please see the Faculty/Staff page on the Coronavirus Communication website.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Lua R. Hancock, Vice President, Campus Life and Student Success

1:30 p.m., March 23, Message from du-Pont Ball Library

Stetson Community:

The university continues to follow the guidance coming from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Health. On Friday, the university made changes to food services following the governor’s order to end in-house food service. As a result, students are now limited to take-out and pick-up services. Following recent restrictions on libraries throughout Florida, for the health and safety of our community, the duPont-Ball Library will be moving to virtual services effective Monday, March 23, at 8:00 pm. The Library doors will close as of today, at 8 p.m., Monday, March 23. This is a difficult decision for us and we look forward to the day when we open our doors to you again.

We plan to continue to support students, faculty and staff by offering library services:

Ask a Librarian Virtual Information and Research Assistance: libref@stetson.edu

Available:

  • Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Saturday: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Sunday: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Request Physical Items for Pickup:

Items Available for Pickup at Library Front Doors

  • Monday-Friday: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Saturday-Sunday: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Request Equipment Checkout: libadmin@stetson.edu

Interlibrary Loan Questions: circdept@stetson.edu

If you need help with Archives and Special Collections: archives@stetson.edu

The 24/7 Computer Lab on the Library Ground Floor is open to users but requires card swipe to enter.

Susan M. Ryan, Betty Drees Johnson Dean of the Library and Learning Technologies, duPont-Ball Library

9:30 a.m., March 21, Message from Campus Life and Student Success

Parents-

You have likely been following the state, national, and global COVID-19 situation as it continues to rapidly evolve. As it does, guidance for decreasing contact with each other and emergency orders to close gyms, restrict travel, and ban in-restaurant dining increase.

As a result, Stetson closed our gyms, is asking students to not gather in groups of more than 10, and has restricted on campus dining to pick up and to-go options only. In light of all these rapid changes I know you have been seriously considering what is the best location for your Hatter. If your child is still planning to stay on campus and has an option to travel home, please consider that option, and if they decide to travel home, please have them resubmit the “What’s my plan” form online.

Stetson has no positive cases of COVID-19 in our community, and I remain hopeful that the university will not need to make any additional restrictions based on government and health department directives. We have a plan to house and feed the students who have no other choice but to stay on campus, but like you, I note the additional restrictions several states, hard hit by COVID-19, have made as an indication of what may be yet to come.

At this time, our campus and our services remain open and the COVID-19 Stetson website https://www.stetson.edu/covid-19/ has all of our communications to date and FAQs.

We stand ready to answer any further questions you may have. We send you wishes of continued health and some sense of peace in this unprecedented time. I am so grateful for this amazing Stetson community.

Lua R. Hancock, Vice President, Campus Life and Student Success

5:00 p.m., March 20, Video Message from President Libby

I want you to know we are thinking of all Hatters in these uncertain times, and I hope you and your families are safe and healthy. Please know the university administration and Emergency Management Team are working very hard to ensure faculty, students and employees are safe. We have quickly made some significant changes in how the university works, and I am so impressed with how this entire community has rallied.

I recorded this message on Thursday, March 19, 2020. I say that only because in today’s environment, things can and do change quickly.

Wendy B. Libby, PhD, President

11:00 a.m., March 19, Commencement Message from President Libby

To our graduating students:

One of my most anticipated moments each year is the honor and pleasure of presiding over commencement ceremonies for our graduating class in DeLand, and for our College of Law graduates in Gulfport. As your ceremony starts, I look over the assembled audience and consider how everyone's success comes together at that moment: students’ hard work and achievements; faculty members' inspirational teaching and mentoring; staff members' professionalism and commitment; and, your family and friends' investment in you.

Recent guidance from the CDC, restricting gatherings to no more than 10 people for the next eight weeks and practicing social distancing, makes it impossible for the university to celebrate your achievements at a formal, in-person graduation ceremony in mid-May. I am heartbroken but am writing to inform you, Class of 2020, undergraduate and graduate, that we must postpone your commissioning event, honors and award receptions and commencement ceremonies at this time.

You and your faculty have worked so hard for this, and you deserve every special moment that comes in your final semester and during commencement ceremonies. I promise you we will celebrate your commencement, and we will be in contact to ask for your feedback and input on the best way for those celebrations to occur. Additionally, we welcome your feedback on other senior celebratory activities that can no longer be held as planned. Thank you to the College of Law students for providing feedback to your dean about your thoughts on commencement. We will be reaching out to DeLand seniors as well.

Although the celebrations are postponed, your achievements are not. All students successfully completing their coursework and other requirements within the prescribed period of time will be graduates of Stetson University. Delaying the celebrations will not delay your degree. You will receive notice of the successful completion of requirements for your degree program and will receive your diploma in the mail.

I am profoundly sad about the need for this announcement. I am seeing evidence of Hatter strength and resilience everywhere I look. Our sense of love and community will help us weather the days until we come together for your commencement ceremonies in the future.

Wendy Libby, PhD, President

11 a.m., March 19, Commencement Message from President Libby

To our graduating students:

One of my most anticipated moments each year is the honor and pleasure of presiding over commencement ceremonies for our graduating class in DeLand, and for our College of Law graduates in Gulfport. As your ceremony starts, I look over the assembled audience and consider how everyone’s success comes together at that moment: students’ hard work and achievements; faculty members’ inspirational teaching and mentoring; staff members’ professionalism and commitment; and, your family and friends’ investment in you.

Recent guidance from the CDC, restricting gatherings to no more than 10 people for the next eight weeks and practicing social distancing, makes it impossible for the university to celebrate your achievements at a formal, in-person graduation ceremony in mid-May. I am heartbroken, but am writing to inform you, Class of 2020, undergraduate and graduate, that we must postpone your commissioning event, honors and award receptions and commencement ceremonies at this time.

You and your faculty have worked so hard for this, and you deserve every special moment that comes in your final semester and during commencement ceremonies. I promise you we will celebrate your commencement, and we will be in contact to ask for your feedback and input on the best way for those celebrations to occur. Additionally, we welcome your feedback on other senior celebratory activities that can no longer be held as planned. Thank you to the College of Law students for providing feedback to your dean about your thoughts on commencement. We will be reaching out to DeLand seniors as well.

Although the celebrations are postponed, your achievements are not. All students successfully completing their coursework and other requirements within the prescribed period of time will be graduates of Stetson University. Delaying the celebrations will not delay your degree. You will receive notice of the successful completion of requirements for your degree program and will receive your diploma in the mail.

I am profoundly sad about the need for this announcement. I am seeing evidence of Hatter strength and resilience everywhere I look. Our sense of love and community will help us weather the days until we come together for your commencement ceremonies in the future.

Wendy B. Libby, PhD, President

1 p.m., March 17, Staff Update from President Libby

Information also available on the Faculty and Staff Updates page.

Dear Staff Colleagues:

In an uncertain world, the most valuable thing I can provide is certainty. After meeting with the DeLand Staff Advisory Council, and with Dean Alexandre who held similar meetings at the College of Law, I’ve had an opportunity to hear about the issues that most concern staff in this rapidly changing situation. Here are some of the answers I can provide to you today:

  • The university is in a strong financial position and has the resources and strength to weather this storm and, with the support of our Board of Trustees, I am announcing today the university is committed to maintaining current work hours and payroll for all employees, exempt and hourly, through what I think we can all agree is a very atypical semester.
  • I have directed the vice presidents, athletics director and dean at the College of Law to work with their leadership teams to plan for maintaining operations and maximizing the ability for staff to telecommute or work from home while providing skeletal on-campus staffing where necessary. Leadership will ensure that offices accomplish their functions in a way that curtails time needed on campus while still meeting university needs. As you plan, please keep in mind that the university is still open, faculty are still working and students are taking full class loads. In addition, we have hundreds of students who have chosen to remain on campus.
  • All departments have been requested to use this week to put plans together, and by Thursday the Emergency Management Team will review the plans. Our intention is for them to take effect as of Friday, March 20.
  • University employees with medical or family situations that are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness should be in touch with their VP/AD/Law Dean or HR to make other work arrangements. The university will work on a case-by-case basis to address issues as appropriate. Some conditions that may be of concern:
    • Those with critical, acute medical conditions
    • Older adults and those with underlying medical conditions, i.e., heart or lung disease or diabetes as defined by the CDC who are at high risk
    • Those in close daily contact with family members who have these conditions
  • We recognize the impact of the local school districts in closing their schools, and we again ask those individuals impacted to work with their VP/AD/Law Dean to address their situations while still maintaining university services.
  • We recognize that working in a telecommuting environment may be new for some staff and supervisors, and that most of our facilities and public safety staff do not require computers for their work. HR will be providing guidance and will be available to consult with and advise supervisors as needed.
  • As for leave: while there will be flexibility in hours worked, staff members who are legitimately on vacation and not working should record the time as such. Likewise, if a staff member is sick and unable to work, the time should be recorded as sick time. This is also important for tracking of the short-term disability elimination period.
  • We trust our staff to do the right thing for Stetson and our students.
  • I am working with Public Safety and Facilities to meet in person today (Wednesday, March 18) since many staff members in those departments do not have computer access.
  • I have scheduled webinars on Thursday, March 19, for staff participation. We have already held these for students and parents and found them to be very helpful. The links were sent in an email directly to staff and includes participation from the College of Law.

Nobody knows how long this will last, and there may come a time when we must reevaluate; for now, I want to give our community some level of comfort and certainty. These are challenging times, it is also a time for Stetson to highlight what makes us Stetson – care for our students and each other, love of the institution and a commitment to Stetson’s future.

Wendy B. Libby, PhD, President

7:30 p.m., March 12, 2020, Important Message from President Libby

Stetson University has been working diligently to keep the personalized class experience we value in place, while planning and preparing for the potential disruption to our typical modes of education. We recognize that the classroom experience and interaction with faculty and close-knit groups of students are core to the transformative education we as an institution, as educators and as students truly value. Given the rapid changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, even within the last 24 hours, I believe that our responsibility to students, their families, and our amazing staff and faculty requires that we put in place a different approach to learning for the remainder of the semester.

With that in mind, we are taking the following proactive measures on all of our campuses:

  • Saturday, March 14 will be the last day for face-to-face classes for undergraduate and graduate students.
  • In DeLand and Celebration, classes are canceled on Monday and Tuesday, March 16-17 to allow faculty and students to pause and prepare for the transition to online classes.
  • In DeLand and Celebration, our normal class schedule will resume via remote instruction Wednesday, March 18.
  • Following spring break in Gulfport, all classes will resume on Monday, March 23, via remote instruction.
  • All classes will continue in an online format through the end of the spring semester on all Stetson campuses.
  • Stetson Athletics announced today the ASUN conference is suspending athletics competition through April 5, and will make a decision regarding any further competition this semester on Friday, March 13.
  • The university has not made a final decision on the handling of commencement and will continue to review and assess the situation, but will strive to provide a decision and announcement by March 31.

College of Law students should consider taking their academic materials, laptops and books with them as they leave for spring break.

In DeLand, on-campus housing remains open to students currently living in the residence halls. Students will have the option of continuing to stay, and the university will continue to assess any health risks to the community in line with the current coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. Students will need to decide by Friday, March 20, whether they will remain in the residence halls throughout the remainder of the term and should indicate their plans on the Housing form. Students who decide to leave should vacate their residence hall by Monday, March 23. Students remaining on campus may be moved to single or suite-style rooms and will be offered some assistance with moving.

Additionally, the library will remain open and services such as dining, counseling, health service and tutoring on campus will continue; however, the hours those services operate may become more limited depending on the volume of students who choose to stay. The Office of Residential Living and Learning will be in touch with students with more information about these changes.

College of Law Campus Housing also remains open to students. Follow up instructions will be sent by the Assistant Director of Residential Life.

The university is providing a suite of collaboration tools, including Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft OneDrive and Blackboard. You should become familiar with these tools if you haven’t already done so. Provost Painter and the deans will be directly in touch with faculty directly regarding planning, training and logistics.

All campuses will remain open until further notice, and we will be in touch with more details about campus operations in the coming days. Staff and faculty will continue to meet their administrative and educational responsibilities moving forward and will continue to report to work as normal until further notice. We urge staff and faculty to consult the HR guidelines published earlier this week. Vice presidents will be in touch with staff in their areas to clarify obligations and plans.

Other details about this decision will be found in the FAQ section that we are putting in place on the Coronavirus Communications site. Check back often as new information may be added daily.

In summary, please know that Stetson University remains committed to our students’ success and to the health and well-bring of everyone in our community. Our promise to provide students with an excellent education has not wavered. We will continue to learn and work together even with a different kind of learning delivery. We remain committed to the Stetson educational experience and face-to-face, hands-on education we are known for. We look forward to being able to return to our in-class learning environment during the upcoming summer and fall terms.

Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., President 

11 p.m., March 11, 2020, Message from President Libby, Restrictions on Travel, Events and Visitors

Dear Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff,

The university administration, College of Law, and Emergency Management Team, are continuing to meet to address the issues related to the outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19. As we are all aware it is a rapidly changing, and challenging, situation. The decisions the university faces are not easy, as we seek to balance the safety and welfare of our students and Stetson community against our educational mission and community partnerships. After considering multiple issues and possibilities, we are making the following announcements. All of them are effective immediately.

  • All non-essential Stetson-sponsored domestic and international travel are cancelled through the end of Spring term. The university cabinet, which includes vice presidents, the athletics director, deans and the President are responsible for defining essential and non-essential travel for their areas and questions should be directed to them.
  • Stetson University is postponing, rescheduling and cancelling events hosted on all campuses that are primarily attended by external visitors (conferences, advisory boards, open houses). This is effective through March 31, 2020.Event organizers may choose to adjust the audience to be primarily internal to the university, move it online or postpone the event to a later date.
  • The Athletics Department is restricting home game attendance to Stetson students, faculty and staff with a current Stetson ID, immediate families of Stetson athlete-scholars and officials.
  • The University is requiring all visitors to postpone their planned campus visit if they have been in any of the international areas impacted by COVID-19 in the past 14 days, have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days or are exhibiting flu- or cold-like symptoms.
  • Screening documents must be completed prior to arrival by prospective students planning shadow visits or overnight visits, and invited guests and speakers planning on being in the classroom or at an event. External faculty or staff candidates selected for on-campus interviews will also be asked to fill out screening forms. A link to the document will be provided. If visitors are found to be at high-risk, they will not be allowed on our campuses. Invited guests, speakers, and performers prohibited from coming to campus may be able to present their content in a streaming, video conference or online format.

Late Wednesday, the university received communications to the DeLand campus from the local Trinity United Methodist Church warning that a church member may have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 . The church has asked that any members of the Stetson community that have attended services at this church to please monitor your health status and report health issues tothe Florida Department of Health at 1-866-779-6121 or notify Stetson Health Service at 386-822-8150.

We will continue to keep the community informed as decisions are being made that impact us all, students, parents, faculty and staff. I personally ask all members of our community to treat each other with kindness and respect. We are in this together and we will come through it together.

Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., President

1:15 Update from President Libby 

UPDATE: The two non-Stetson University people who traveled with Stetson students and faculty member to London and Paris have tested negative for COVID-19.

12:30 p.m., March 11, 2020, Message From President Libby

The international outbreak of COVID-19 has created some uncertainty for all of us, and I want to ensure that members of the Stetson community are informed on the decisions and direction of the university. Every morning brings a new headline or update. Just yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus, and the university continues to receive ongoing guidance from national, state, and local health officials.

The university has been informed that two non-Stetson University people who traveled with Stetson students and a faculty member during a Stetson trip to London and Paris over spring break are currently being tested for COVID-19, and one has been hospitalized. At this time, the illness has NOT been confirmed. We informed all members of the trip this morning of the situation, and we are keeping the community informed as well. Students have been advised to self-monitor and contact Health Services if they develop any flu- or cold-like symptoms.

We will keep the community informed as we learn more about the situation.

TRAVEL

As has been previously indicated (see Health Measures and International Travel update), the university has suspended all university-sponsored travel to Level 4 or Level 3 countries as defined by the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories through the spring term 2020.

The university is looking at the possibility of suspending all or some university-sponsored domestic travel to events or conferences, but at this point, we continue to operate as normally as possible. We encourage all of our community members to take necessary precautions. There are no recommendations from federal or state health officials that Stetson make any changes to domestic travel, class schedules, or events at this time.

VISITORS, GUESTS AND CANDIDATES

Stetson University is asking all potential visitors including prospective students and families, visiting scholars, community members and guests, athletes and athletic teams, and guest speakers to postpone their planned campus visit if they have been in an impacted area in the past 14 days, have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or are experiencing flu- or cold-like symptoms. 

Additionally, prospective students planning shadow visits or overnight visits, invited guests and speakers planning on being in the classroom or at an event, and any persons selected for on-campus faculty or staff interviews will be required to fill out a screening document prior to their arrival on campus. High-risk individuals will not be allowed to come to campus at this time.

NEXT

The university administration has been discussing issues associated with the COVID-19 outbreak since January, the Emergency Management Team (EMT) has been meeting, sometimes daily, since mid-February and contingency planning is actively underway through a variety of small action teams coordinated by the EMT.

Provost Painter has asked all faculty to speak with their students about the potential for continuing their Stetson education in a distance-learning or online environment, and he has informed students of the planning and efforts underway should that become necessary.

Finally, this is a question that is being asked, so I wanted to repost it to help guide your actions:

What do I do if I’m concerned about my health or someone else’s in the community?

All members of the Stetson community (DeLand, Celebration, Gulfport, and Tampa) who feel they may have come into direct contact with the virus causing COVID-19 or are experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever over 100.3, cough, shortness of breath), should alert Stetson Health Service (crinehar@stetson.edu, 386-822-8150) for assistance. After business hours, please contact Public Safety (386-822-7300). You can use the “Stetson University: COVID-19 Report a Concern” form to report any direct concerns you have for yourself or others regarding COVID-19. 

To reiterate, the above instruction and contact information applies to all members of the Stetson community on all campuses: DeLand, Celebration, Gulfport, and Tampa.

Thank you all for your commitment to the safety and welfare of our students and the Stetson community. I truly appreciate the incredible efforts across our campuses as we face this quickly changing situation together.

Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., President

9 a.m., March 8, 2020, Welcome Back

Now that Spring Break is coming to a close, we look forward to the Stetson community returning to campus and getting back in the academic rhythm. In regard to coronavirus COVID-19, the university continues to follow recommendations provided by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) regarding students, faculty and staff returning to campus from Spring Break travel, travel abroad, athletics events, music performances, conferences and other events.

We ask students, faculty and staff who have been out of town to follow all of the established guidelines we have stated in our communications to date. Any member of the Stetson community who feels they were in a situation during break where they may have come into direct contact with the virus and any member of the community that is experiencing flu-like symptoms when they are at Stetson should alert Stetson Health Service (crinehar@stetson.edu, 386-822-8150) or their healthcare provider for assistance. After business hours, please contact public safety (386-822-7300).

Stetson’s Health Service office is in continual contact with the Florida Department of Health and the Volusia County Health Department, and was informed Saturday that there are two new presumptive cases in Florida, one of which is in Volusia County.

In the event there are any significant changes in the medical and public health guidance Stetson is receiving, the university will communicate that to the campus and take all necessary steps to help keep you safe.

Lua R. Hancock, Vice President Campus Life and Student Success

6 p.m., March 6, 2020, Health Measures and International Travel 

Dear Stetson Community,

Although there is still much unknown about the eventual impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) on our nation and the world, work is underway at Stetson University to help graduate and undergraduate students, families, parents, faculty and staff make appropriate decisions about their education and health.

Health Measures:

The university’s Health Service office is connected to the Florida AdventHealth system and is able to access support and resources. It is following guidance provided by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Health Service office and Emergency Management Team have an infectious disease protocol that is ready to be activated if it becomes necessary. For now, we have been implementing the preventive guidelines we have outlined in the plan. As has been reiterated by the Department of Health and the CDC, the most effective precaution is to practice good hygiene through hand washing and covering your mouth with the crook of your arm when you cough or sneeze. Obviously, given the spread of COVID-19, anyone exhibiting flu- or cold-like symptoms (e.g., cough, fever, shortness of breath) should stay home from class and/or work, avoid others for the duration of the symptoms and contact your health provider for guidance. We have implemented additional preventive measures in areas such as Dining, the Hollis Center and Residence Halls.

Stetson Health Service (SHS) has received the AdventHealth coronavirus protocol, along with clear direction from the Florida DOH regarding screening and testing for the coronavirus. ALL patients coming into the clinic will be asked to answer a two-question screening tool. If the responses warrant testing, our provider will be in contact with the state health department, who will make the determination for testing and follow-up. Testing consists of a throat and nasal swab. While test results are pending, and depending on symptomatic/asymptomatic presentation, the individual will be in isolation/quarantine, preferably at home. The university has a comprehensive plan to address infectious diseases on campus and is ready to implement it to maintain individual and community comfort, safety and health.

The Stetson Health Clinic is open to students, faculty and staff, and can be reached by calling 386-822-8150 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1-4:30 p.m.

Health care options for those who need it when Stetson Health Service is closed include:

  • AdventHealth Hospital DeLand, 386-943-4650
  • Centra Care Urgent Care, 2293 S. Woodland Blvd., 386-279-7010
  • MedExpress Urgent Care, 1328 N. Woodland Blvd. 386-738-0574

Communication and Updates:

As information becomes known to the university, it is being shared as soon as possible through updates on Stetson Today, or here on the Coronavirus Communication website for the DeLand campus, and through emails from Dean Michèle Alexandre to the College of Law community.

International Travel:

The university’s W.O.R.L.D. (World Outreach, Research, Learning and Development): The David and Leighan Rinker Center for International Learning manages the university’s study abroad and exchange programs. We have no students, faculty or staff on university-sponsored travel in “hot zone” or “Level 4” areas or countries. We do have students, faculty and staff abroad on university-sponsored work, but they are all in lower-level risk areas.

Stetson’s decisions on travel are informed by the United States Department of State Travel Advisory levels of risk, as well as from other reputable health information sources (CDC, State of Florida). We have decided the following for Stetson-sponsored international travel for Spring 2020:

  1. Stetson does not support any university-sponsored travel to a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level 4 region or country. Students, staff and faculty are required to return to the U.S. at any point when Level 4 is declared.
  2. Students, staff and faculty currently on Stetson-sponsored travel to U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level 3 regions or countries are urged, but not required, to leave the affected area immediately.
  3. Any student, staff, or faculty returning from a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level 3 or 4 region or country must contact Stetson’s Health Service Coordinator, Cathy Rinehart, RN, at crinehar@stetson.edu to complete the return-to-campus process. This is applicable regardless of whether the country’s designation occurs before departure or during the trip. Please be aware you may be subject to self-quarantine restrictions prior to your return.
  4. Stetson is postponing or canceling all university-sponsored student, staff and faculty travel to U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level 3 regions or countries (where the travel advisory level is the result of COVID-19) through the end of the spring term, 2020. Such travel includes but is not restricted to all non-academic programs (i.e. athletic trips), non-credit programs (i.e. academic competitions, student organization trips) and credit-bearing academic programs that have not yet commenced.

If you have questions about current or upcoming international travel associated with Stetson, please contact world@stetson.edu or 386-822-8165 (DeLand), or Jessica Richman Dworkin at jdworkin@law.stetson.edu, 727-562-7857 (College of Law).

Campus Life and Domestic Travel:

At this point, the university continues to operate as normal, and we encourage all of our community members to take necessary precautions. There are no recommendations from federal or state health officials that Stetson make any changes to class schedules, events or domestic travel at this time.

Expectations of Professionalism and Compassion:

There have been an increasing number of national news reports regarding stereotyping, harassment and bullying directed at persons perceived to be of Chinese American or, more generally, Asian descent, including students. Additionally, students, staff and faculty who are ill for any reason (such as cold, flu, allergies) may face discriminatory behavior from others who joke, or even truly assume, that a sneeze or cough is evidence of having COVID-19. Similarly, students, staff and faculty who are known to have recently traveled to areas that have been prominent in the news for their cases of COVID-19 (Italy, Hillsborough County) may face similar behavior. These reports are troubling and this type of behavior is clearly out of alignment with university values and expectations of how we act in our community. Please make every effort to avoid such assumptions and inappropriate behavior.

In closing, there is a lot of information about the virus and actions being implemented at local, state and national levels. We encourage you to read our Coronavirus Communication website, which will be updated as needed, and FAQs, and please check the CDC and Florida Department of Health (DOH) websites for the latest information. This situation will continue to evolve and we will work together to take appropriate actions that support and protect our community. 

Sincerely

Wendy B. Libby, PhD, President

Lua Hancock, Vice President, Campus Life and Student Success

6 p.m., March 2, 2020

University officials continue to meet on an ongoing basis to discuss the evolving situation of the COVID-19 strain of the Corona Virus. Here on the COVID-19 update website you can read up to date information regarding the countries to which we have suspended or delayed international travel (below). In countries where we currently have students, faculty and or staff participating in Stetson sponsored programs, we are actively monitoring the situation and will make any changes if needed. Stetson’s W.O.R.L.D. (World Outreach, Research, Learning and Development): The David and Leighan Rinker Center for International Learning manages the university’s study abroad and exchange programs and is working with Stetson students and faculty to keep them up to date on current and planned travel programs.

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is recommending travelers returning from any of the high to medium risk areas (China, South Korea, Iran and parts of Italy) that are asymptomatic, or without apparent symptoms, isolate themselves for up to 14 days to ensure COVID-19 is not present. According to the DOH the vast majority of flights from affected regions are being rerouted to airports with CDC quarantine areas for screening. If you are returning from personal travel from one of the areas for which the DOH suggests self-isolation, please contact studentsuccess@stetson.edu for us to work with you on your academic needs. 

The university continues to assess the situation on a daily basis and will provide updates as the situation changes and as the Florida DOH, CDC and State Department provide new information.

We will continue to work to provide guidance and context to students, faculty and administrators in this fast-evolving situation, and ask that despite the obvious health concerns and surrounding uncertainty, we as a community continue to treat each other with care and kindness.

Noon, March 2, 2020

On Sunday, March 1, the Florida Department of Health announced two presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Florida: One in Manatee County and another in Hillsborough. Both individuals are in isolation at this time. Following the announcements, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis directed that a Public Health Emergency be declared in the state of Florida.

Today, the governor and officials with Florida Health held a press conference in Tampa, and Florida Health is updating its information on its website and posting to social media.

Stetson University will continue to provide updates as information becomes available. 

February 28, 2020, Campus Life and Student Success

Dear campus community,

We wanted to take time to offer some information about the coronavirus known as COVID-19 and keep the community informed. We are taking proactive measures and monitoring the evolving situation. At this time, there are no known cases of coronavirus in the State of Florida. We are, of course, continuing to carefully follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our state and county health departments.

Stetson has a comprehensive infectious disease protocol that is ready to be activated, should it be necessary, and Stetson’s Health Service office is part of the Florida Advent Health system, giving us access to their support and resources.

Spring Break begins next week, and it is important that you stay informed and practice healthy and safe behaviors, especially if you have travel plans. Stetson strongly encourages students, faculty and staff to evaluate travels plans and departure/return dates given possible travel limitations, bans and quarantines that can be put into effect with little or no prior warning as countries respond to outbreaks.

Below we have listed some additional information. Wishing you a restful and safe Spring Break.

Lua Hancock, Vice President: Campus Life and Student Success