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March 13: Spring break to begin one week early

March 13, 2020

Dear campus community,

After careful consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic, including guidance from national and local resources and the Rock Island County Health Department, we have made the difficult decision to begin spring break one week early, thus extending spring break to two weeks.

Please note there are no known cases of COVID-19 on campus or in the Quad-Cities community.

State and community health officials are stating that group events should be limited in size or suspended to slow the potential spread of the virus. Along those same lines, public health officials agreed that extending spring break at Augustana to be desirable to prevent/slow the transmission of COVID-19. The COVID-19 virus is an international emergency and we must do our part to slow the spread.

While this decision is made deliberately and in consultation with public health experts, we realize it comes with hardship and stress for both students and employees. Please know that we will do what we can to limit the stress, seeking to exemplify Augustana's Community Principles of accountability, care, openness, respect, purpose and responsibility.

Information for students

Spring break will begin at the end of the school day today, Friday, March 13, and classes will resume on Monday, March 30.

Because holding classes on campus and face-to-face instruction is one of Augustana’s signatures, we are working under the assumption that on March 30 classes will resume in person and on campus.

While students are on break, we will continue monitoring the situation, and we will prepare to deliver online classes and/or move to distance learning opportunities, if that should be needed.

Despite the difficulties this might cause, we ask all students who can to travel home for this two-week period. Students are asked to move out of the residence halls and TLAs after classes by Saturday, March 14, if possible. In short, if you can travel home, please do.

Please also take your books, computer and other course materials with you, should the college need to move to online classes after the break.

Accommodations will be made for those requiring an additional day(s) in their residence and meals between now and March 20 (the originally scheduled start to spring break). Campus food service will not be offered between the period of March 21-29.

Those who already had made plans with the Office of Residential Life to stay during spring break (from March 20-29) may continue with those plans.

Additional accommodations will be available for those with no option, including those from countries with travel restrictions and those with other extenuating circumstances. Please complete this form if you need on-campus housing or access to dining service for one or more days between March 13-29.

Information for employees

Our campus will continue to be operational during this period. Caring for those who remain on campus will be of top priority.

For the most part, employees who typically work during spring break will continue to work during this period. Exceptions will be communicated by supervisors directly to those employees.

All persons on campus will be required to follow health protocols put in place by Centers for Disease Control, public health departments or Augustana College.

Employees should watch for additional communication from the Office of Human Resources.

International travel information

The Office of International and Off-Campus Programs, in tandem with the Office of Academic Affairs, is working closely with students currently studying abroad and following the guidance of the CDC and the Department of State and our policies. Students traveling to countries determined by the Center for Disease Control to be above Level 1 (this includes most of Europe) will be subject to a 14-day quarantine period before being allowed to return to Augustana.

Decisions about summer study abroad programming will be made in the future, and reassessed as the situation warrants.

Augustana College employees are prohibited from new travel outside of the United States and Canada until further notice. Travel to areas in the United States where there is community spread is strongly discouraged, and may require a period of self-isolation upon return.

Additional information to follow

Further details about study abroad, residential life, dining hours, athletics, campus events and more will be forthcoming. Our athletic conference, the CCIW, is expected to make a determination about spring athletic events by Tuesday, March 17.

At this time, no event projecting attendance of more than 250 may be sponsored by Augustana College. If any case of the virus appears in the Quad Cities, that number will likely be reduced to 50 or less. It is our hope that concerts, lectures and other public events scheduled between now and March 30 can be postponed until April. Please watch your email for those details.

Continue to watch your email during spring break for updates from the college, and consult the college website.

Beginning next week official updates from the college will come from this email: covid19info@augustana.edu. You are encouraged to share all communication with your loved ones.

During my 17 years as the college's president, members of the Augustana community repeatedly have illustrated to me how to be stronger, more flexible and more understanding. My best lessons have come at the most challenging times. So, I encourage each of us to use this moment to reflect on Augustana's values and show appreciation for each member of our community.

Let us find the opportunities to show the character of the Augustana College community. And let this be an incredible moment in which Augustana staff, faculty and students grow together in mind, body and spirit.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Bahls, president