WINONA LAKE — Grace College announced on Friday, March 13, the school’s decision to cancel on-campus classes and to temporarily close the residence halls for the next four weeks due to COVID-19 (coronavirus.).
According to a statement from Grace College’s website, the school has had two students who have been tested for COVID-19, though neither of those cases have been confirmed.
This decision was reached after having multiple conversations with state officials, local health authorities, community leaders and other college presidents; hearing concerns from parents and students; and an extended meeting with the school’s Board of Trustees.
Effective Wednesday, March 18, the college will transition to remote delivers of all classes through 6 p.m. Monday, April 13.
Classes will be cancelled from Friday, March 13 through Tuesday, March 17, to prepare for remote instruction. Professors will provide details to their students on how their class content will be delivered. Exceptions may include fieldwork such as clinical activities, internships, or student teaching; in those instances, the deans and chairs of the respective schools and departments will provide direct guidance regarding which experiences will continue.
In regards to residential living, all residential students should plan to check out of their residence hall by 6 p.m. Sunday, March 15.
Grace College’s goal is to re-open the campus on Sunday, April 12, but will provide students with additional guidance via e-mail by Wednesday, April 1. The residence halls will not be accessible at this time and students may choose to move their belongings out of their residence hall room in case classes do not resume on campus as planned. On-campus room and board will be provided to those who have no other option, including those from countries with travel restrictions, those with other extenuating circumstances, and those with fieldwork such as clinical activities, internships or student teachings. Students are encouraged to fill out an online form by noon on Saturday, March 14, if on-campus housing is needed.
Non-essential business travel will cease immediately. All international and domestic student travel will be canceled until further notice. Grace College has also reviewed all GoEncounter trips and study abroad travel and have put plans on hold.
For athletics, the Crossroads League has suspended all competitions until Wednesday, April 1. Therefore, Grace College will suspend all athletic and club activity until April 1. The school’s athletic director and coaches will be in contact with their teams with further guidance.
Faculty should immediately begin preparation to deliver courses remotely beginning Wednesday, March 18. Training sessions and workshops will be offered Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17, for faculty. More information regarding this matter will come from the Academic Affairs Office. Faculty may continue to use offices and campus facilities while delivering courses remotely and are encouraged to meet virtually with students.
For staff, the college is open during this time period. Staff should still report to campus for work. Grace will provide work-at-home flexibility to employees who are at high-risk or have a need to work remotely due to personal matters related to COVID-19. Employees should talk with their supervisor to establish a work plan.
In their statement, Grace College also said it will abide by Governor Eric Holcomb’s current guidelines for group gatherings and events. The campus will not have special events on campus during this period. Event coordinators will contact guests with additional information. In the coming weeks, Grace College will also be reviewing possible changes regarding commencement services and will provide further guidance.