Dear Members of the Shenandoah Community,
I have an important update to share with you as Governor Ralph Northam today issued a statewide stay-at-home order to protect the health and safety of Virginians and to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Today’s order does not require Shenandoah to operate any differently than we’ve been operating, and in fact, the order includes much of what we’ve already been doing to ensure the safety and health of our students, faculty and staff.
Part of the executive order, which took effect today, states all Virginia institutions of higher education must stop in-person classes and instruction. Shenandoah announced on March 11 that we were moving to university-wide online instruction starting March 16.
The executive order also directs all Commonwealth residents to stay home except in limited circumstances for allowable travel — to seek medical attention, work, care for family or household members, obtain goods and services (such as groceries and prescriptions), and engage in outdoor activity with strict social distancing requirements. Shenandoah initiated a work-from-home approach approximately 10 days ago with its faculty and staff, and so we have only had “essential-function” employees on campus for the past week or so.
The order will remain in place until June 10, 2020 (unless amended or rescinded by a further executive order), meaning Shenandoah employees who are not performing essential functions that require them to work on campus will continue working remotely until otherwise informed. Because of the extended date of the order, the university will continue to evaluate how best to deal with a number of upcoming events and activities. You can expect a communication regarding the related issues, including graduation and summer courses, by April 13
The Governor’s order is a reminder of why we implemented our recent measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 — because our first priority has always been to keep our university community healthy. The university has had a pandemic preparedness plan in place for years and has quickly adapted to this ever-changing situation. Our faculty have been extraordinary role models in transferring their classrooms, labs and studios to a virtual environment and engaging students online. And for our staff working remotely, you are making sure that Shenandoah continues to run seamlessly. I thank you all!
As always, Shenandoah students, faculty and staff rise to bring solutions, to care for each other and to serve our communities. Although we may be separated, we are still all in this together.