From the Desk of President Elfred Anthony Pinkard
Since the onset of the COVID-19 and the global health pandemic which ensued, the University’s leadership has been in focused deliberation about the future of Wilberforce. Our strategic thinking, planning, and action have been informed by our unwavering commitment to assuring the safety and well being of every member of the Wilberforce University campus community. Our deliberations have also considered the insights, perspectives and actions of our peers in the higher education community, the voices and input of our students, faculty and staff, the long-term viability and future of our beloved Wilberforce University and, most notably, the available information, data and guidelines from the public health community. We are keenly aware of the changing nature and uncertainty of COVID-19 and the anxiety it engenders and that our decisions will not be unanimously accepted by all members of the University community. Against this backdrop, after careful consideration of the information, guidelines, and protocols provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Greene County Health Department, and public health agencies, we will resume University operations and instruction for the 2020- 2021 academic year beginning Fall semester.
Our re-opening will require embracing a new normal, and radically different way of teaching, learning and engaging one another in a campus community. It will also require that every member of the campus community adopt and comply with well-documented behaviors that dramatically reduce the spread of COVID19. We must all commit to taking full responsibility for our individual behavior for the good of our campus community. The safety and wellness of our campus community must be the responsibility of all members of the community.
For the 2020-2021 academic year:
• The University will re-open in Fall 2020 and will utilize a hybrid model for instruction. This means that some instruction will occur face-to-face, and some instruction will occur virtually. The University will adopt all necessary guidelines and protocols to assure and maintain a safe campus environment, including developing safety protocols for individuals in vulnerable, high-risk groups. Specific details will be provided in a subsequent communication to the University community.
• The following are important dates to remember:
- o August 11-12, 2020 Fall University Institute for Faculty and Staff
- o August 13, 2020 Start of Freshman students Move-In
- o August 14, 2020 Start of Upper-class students Move-In
- o August 17, 2020 Campus-wide Hybrid Instruction Training
- o November 25, 2020 End of Fall Semester-Students depart campus
- o November 25-December 4 Final Exams administered virtually
• The COVID-19 Scenario Planning and Campus Preparedness Committee will continue to work to assure that the campus is fully prepared to welcome new and returning students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
• A University Conversation via Zoom is scheduled for Monday, July 13, 2020, at 11:00 am to allow all members of the University community an opportunity to understand and discuss plans for the fall semester.
What has been made clear in the last several days is the ever-evolving impact of the COVID19 and the role individual behavior plays in controlling its spread. We recognize also that we may have to pivot immediately to respond to governmental and public health pronouncements and recommendations. As a University community, I ask that we continue to be patient and nimble as we work through a confluence of events, circumstances, and challenges that have required our intelligence, creativity, focus, and attention. Finally, I would remind us all that resilience and triumph over challenge is part of the DNA of Wilberforce University. Our legacy and our commitment to a viable and sustainable Wilberforce are our strengths, and this, too, shall pass. We are Wilberforce Strong!