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COVID-19: Student Communication March 16, 2020

Dear Students,

Please know that the senior leadership team hopes that you, your family, and loved ones are well and that you all remain healthy during this unprecedented time in our lives.

In the last week, Wittenberg has made important, urgent decisions that are in response to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), and Governor DeWine. These decisions are not easy. It was not easy to ask students to go home from a place you hold so dear nor is it easy for faculty and staff to imagine our way forward without you here. You are why we do what we do and work in a field that helps us challenge and support students to learn and grow in so many different ways.

In the last week, it has become evident that this has become a true public health emergency. Many colleges and universities, not just Wittenberg, are taking extraordinary measures to keep students, faculty, staff and communities as safe as possible. Our aggressive interventions that support social distancing are a direct result of guidance from public health officials.

As the days pass, we hope and pray that this public health emergency will subside. However, at this point, we do not know what this week or the next three weeks or the next few months will look like. We are consulting with public health officials and following their guidance as we evaluate our next steps.

We are especially empathetic toward seniors, understanding how important this last semester is for all of you. We plan to hold off on any significant decisions as long as we can and allow public health officials to guide us about a date when students can return to campus. If the worst case becomes a reality and commencement cannot occur in May as planned, we will try to find a future date to gather the seniors back on campus for a graduation celebration. At this point, we cannot tell you that we have all the answers. However, we can promise that the decisions we make will put the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff front and center.

We would like to close with a note of thanks to all students. Your compassion and ability to be flexible while we navigate these unchartered waters is appreciated.

As a reminder, please refer to Wittenberg’s COVID-19 Advisory website for important announcements and resources. We will continue to send emails regarding major decisions moving forward.

Sincerely,

President Frandsen, Dean Gill, and the entire senior leadership team

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