Kalamazoo College Moves to Distance Learning for Entire Spring Term, Employees to Work from Home

Dear Campus Community,

It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that all Kalamazoo College courses during the spring will be conducted through distance learning for the duration of the term. This difficult decision was made based on rapidly evolving recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and our local and state governments. This action is being taken with an abundance of caution. The health and safety of all members of our community and their loved ones must be paramount.

No in-person finals will be offered after 9 p.m. tonight, Monday, March 16, 2020. Please watch for communication from your faculty member regarding exams previously scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Face-to-face interaction between students and faculty is at the heart of a Kalamazoo College education. The education during the Spring Term will be different. Learning and advising can take place remotely, and I have full confidence that our faculty and students will engage in meaningful ways from a distance. I appreciate the extra work and effort involved from faculty and students. Thank you.

While students will be billed for Spring Term tuition, the College will not charge room or board to anyone not living in the residence halls. Special course and lab fees for the spring semester will be waived. The activity fee will also be waived. The College is working on a mechanism to refund or reimburse already paid Spring Term room and board, as well as special course, lab and activity fees.

The College expects students to vacate the residence halls for the entire spring term. In addition, the employees are encouraged to work from home until further notice.

Students must vacate the residence halls by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (This is an extension of the original noon deadline).

  • Only international students, who cannot return to their home countries, will be allowed to remain on campus. This criterion supersedes any previously published criteria.
  • Students should take what they can from their rooms. Rooms with belongings still inside will be locked and remain untouched until students have time to properly vacate them. Please place a priority on taking valuables (whether monetary or sentimental) with you.
  • Students who have already departed the residence halls may not return to campus at this time. The College will develop a process for gathering belongings that remain when it is safe to do so. We will communicate with you on this topic at a later date.
  • We hope to hold Commencement ceremonies as scheduled. It is simply too soon to know if this will be possible. We will hold a ceremony at some point, if not in June.

Faculty and staff who can conduct their primary work functions from home, should do so beginning no later than Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 8 a.m. and continue indefinitely.

  • The intent is to maintain College operations and to keep employees financially whole as long as possible. By financially whole, we mean the College plans to pay employees in full during the period of time we will be working from home. Benefits will also be maintained.
  • The College recognizes not everyone can conduct their main work functions from home. Please talk to your immediate supervisor regarding arrangements.
  • Some employees may work on alternating schedules, allowing the College to maintain critical functions while practicing social distancing.
  • We are all in this together. It is safer for those who must come to campus if those who can work remotely stay at home.

The Upjohn Learning Commons and the Fitness and Wellness Center will be closed at 3 p.m. today, Monday, March 16, 2020, by executive order of the Governor of Michigan. These facilities will remain closed to everyone except employees who work in those facilities until at least 11:59 p.m., Monday, March 30, 2020.

I know there are many unanswered questions. You may send your questions to info@kzoo.edu, and we will address them as best we can. We appreciate your patience as we address the most pressing concerns first.

As additional information becomes available, the College will continue to communicate with you via Hornet Hive messages, and we will update our COVID-19 webpage. I am grateful to the faculty and staff who have worked and will continue to work incredibly hard to address this national health crisis.

The College recognizes this action is particularly challenging for seniors. We know there will be no final spring athletic season, no final performances or presentation, no last Day of Gracious Living at the beach, just to name a few. We know students cannot get the spring of senior year back.

The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that we are one. Our humanity is global, and so must be our response. We must think of each other as well as ourselves. I encourage you to be open to the changes we must now all adopt, stay healthy, and be mindful of the safety of others. I look forward to the day that we may all gather together again on our fair Arcadian hill.

Saludos and lux esto,

Jorge G. Gonzalez


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