Coronavirus Response Update: Letter from the President
For most of us these are unprecedented times. The spread of the coronavirus and the threat of contracting COVID-19 have disrupted our normal patterns of life and created a level of uncertainty few of us have ever experienced. That uncertainty can lead to anxiety, fear and, in some instances, even panic. As believers in Jesus Christ we are privileged to walk through challenges like these with a deep and abiding conviction that Jesus walks with us. He knows our fears. He listens to our prayers. He cares about us. These convictions give us the freedom to cry out to Him honestly and passionately. They urge us to bring our requests to Him with thanksgiving and to find in Him a peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:4-7). Let’s resolve to encourage one another and support one another through prayer. Let’s be aware of how those close to us are experiencing the uncertainty of these days and resolve to step toward them with words of compassion and acts of generosity. If there were ever a time when genuine generosity will speak loudly of the redemption that is ours in Christ, now is that time.
We continue to monitor carefully the rapidly changing landscape of information, response and recommendations related to the virus. We are resolved to utilize knowledgeable and reliable sources, including governmental agencies, scientific and research-based studies, medical professionals and fellow educators. Based on what we have learned, we believe the best course of action is to join schools, businesses and our broader community in practices designed to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic. These include appropriate and recommended social distancing, in order to limit exposure to, and spread of, COVID-19.
Please carefully note the following updates to Denver Seminary’s response to the current situation.
· All Denver Seminary classes will be held online and via Zoom through the end of the 2020 Spring semester. No in-person classes will be held on the Denver Seminary campus for the remainder of this semester. Though we realize this may be a disappointment for those expecting an in-person class experience, the Seminary is committed to providing every student the quality educational experience you’ve come to expect from us. Our faculty and staff are well equipped to successfully utilize these alternative learning platforms. There will be no disruption or change for students already enrolled in online courses.
· The classroom building and chapel are closed until further notice. Only those faculty and support staff who need to utilize the technology in designated classrooms in order to teach via Zoom will be allowed to use the classroom building.
· The student center and library will be closed starting Thursday, March 19 at 5 p.m., until further notice. Online library resources will still be available and after Spring Break staff will address any library resource needs through email and phone. Please check the Coronavirus Response Update page for further details.
· Denver Seminary will continue normal operations. By Friday, March 20, however, all employees for whom being on campus is not necessary in order to conduct day-to-day responsibilities will be asked to work remotely.
For student staff, your supervisor will discuss this matter with you. If there are occasions that you need to work on campus, you and your supervisor will determine the appropriate steps to take.
We will continue our normal work schedule and hours of operation.
All meetings with staff will be held via Zoom, or, for staff remaining working on campus, in locations that afford for appropriate social distancing.
We will decide by April 8 whether to extend operations as described above or return to normal business operations on Monday, April 13.
· All on-campus events are cancelled until further notice though it may be possible to host a meeting via Zoom. We are in discussions about Commencement-related events and will notify the community as soon as a decision is made.
· Denver Seminary is closed for visitors, including family, friends, and vendors until further notice.
· On campus housing will remain open for residents, and further communication will be sent from the housing office in follow up to this email.
If you have come in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or if you test positive, please contact Kristy McGarvey, Interim Dean of Students, and please self-isolate for 14 days. If you travel in the US or internationally, please contact the Interim Dean of Students via email for appropriate screening, if you need to return to campus.
We realize that this situation has disrupted not just your academic pursuits but a variety of other areas in life. If circumstances have arisen that are inhibiting your academic progress or you need further assistance, please reach out to the Dean of Students office. In the coming days, the Student Life staff will send out resources to stay connected and to direct you to needed emotional and spiritual support.
Denver Seminary’s leadership continues to meet daily about this matter and will continue to update you regularly on any changes we feel we must make. Pray with us daily for the well-being of our community and for our faith to be steadfast and strong. In addition, please check the Coronavirus Response Updates page on our website regularly. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Dean of Students office.
I cannot possibly tell you how much I appreciate your willingness to work with us in responding to this threat. Your sacrificial spirit and commitment to our mission and our community bring me to tears. We appreciate your flexibility and patience as we continue to work together to ensure that every student has a superior education experience and we keep our community safe during this challenging time. Please continue to remain vigilant in prayer. With the Lord’s help we will get through this together.