The following message was sent to Randolph students on March 15 from President Bradley W. Bateman regarding the decision to transition to online learning in the wake of the increased spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the United States.
Dear Randolph students,
When I wrote last Tuesday to announce that spring break was being extended by a week, I promised to have a decision by this Thursday about whether we would return to having classes meet on campus or switch them to being online. Since that time, the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has only accelerated, and all public health officials are recommending that social contacts be limited to help keep the pandemic from spreading even more rapidly.
These factors have led me to decide that the only responsible action for us at this current time is to transition to online courses, at least temporarily. Beginning Monday, March 23 until Friday, April 3, we will switch to online learning. No later than March 31, we will let our community know whether this period will be extended.
During this time, the safest place for most students will be at home. However, some of you may not be able to return home on such short notice; for others returning home represents a real hardship. Thus, any student with an extenuating circumstance should fill out the COVID-19 Special Accommodations Request Form to request permission to live on campus during this initial period of online instruction.
For those who are permitted to stay on campus, the operating principle will be to maintain physical distance from others. All campus events will be canceled during this time, and no gatherings of any kind will be allowed. All students on campus will sign an agreement to abide by these rules, and any violation of the rules will result in immediate removal from campus.
Our faculty members have been working hard to prepare for this possibility, and they—along with our staff members—stand ready to support you. It is imperative that you check your College email everyday during the two-week period from March 23 until April 3.Many of you may not currently check your email regularly, but this will be the primary means for student-faculty interaction and communicating class news during this period.
These mid-semester changes will raise many questions for you. I have not tried to answer those questions here, choosing instead to focus on the main point of the announcement. However, we have created a COVID-19-focused website and an FAQ to help provide resources and answers to your most pressing questions. We will continue to communicate with our community during the upcoming days and weeks.
This is new territory for all of us, but the entire College community is working together to create the best possible experience for our students given these difficult circumstances. We appreciate your goodwill and patience as we all adapt to this temporary new normal. Thank you in advance for your cooperation. If we were not in the midst of a global pandemic, we would not ask this of you. But we are in the midst of a pandemic, and we must do our part to help fight its spread and protect the health of our community.
Bradley W. Bateman