Coronavirus Communication

Students, staff and faculty should check the links in the navigation menu for additional information and updates.

Updates

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. The next update will be issued

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