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CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATES

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

Updated April 29, 2020

In an effort to best safeguard our seminary community and the campus moving forward, the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary campus, including the Styberg Library, will be closed, effective Monday, March 16, and will remain closed through Sunday, May 31.

In prior communication the seminary indicated it would remain closed till Thursday, April 30. The decision to extend remote operations till May 31 was made in response to Governor J.B. Pritzker's extension of the stay-at-home mandate for the state of Illinois. With these guidelines and mandate in place and in the best interest of our seminary community, Garrett-Evangelical has extended its remote operations for faculty and staff through May 31.

The Leadership Team, in consultation with the Committee on Faculty, has made the difficult decision to continue classes in an alternative format of face-to-face meetings for both the remainder of the spring semester and for the summer sessions and programs. Our faculty are dedicated to providing the best educational experience possible and are prepared to work with students to ensure their success in the weeks ahead.

Between now and May 31, our staff will be working remotely. Every effort will be made to ensure the day-to-day operations of the seminary continues with little to no interruption. Though staff who are essential to the operations of our facilities, I.T. infrastructure, and the business office will be on campus during this time, every effort will be made to limit how often and for how long they will be on campus. We will continue to monitor the situation in the days ahead to determine if this period of remote working for our staff will need to be extended.

The Leadership Team will continue to assess the current situation and you can anticipate updates on the Garrett COVID-19 webpage. In an effort to centralize communication at this time, all questions related to the campus closing and the seminary’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) should be directed to CampusSafety@Garrett.edu.

We urge our beloved seminary community to care for their whole selves during this time and to follow the guidelines provided by the CDC. Finally, we join with so many around the world in prayer for those who have already been diagnosed with COVID-19, for our healthcare workers, and others at a high-risk.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
2121 Sheridan Road
Evanston, Illinois 60201
CampusSafety@Garrett.edu

 


Please look through the sliders below visit our FAQs webpage before emailing Campus Safety to make sure your question has not already been addressed.

Health Tips and COVID-19 Resources

Health Tips, Information, and Ways to Care for Yourself

Social Distancing
The CDC defines social distancing as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.” In general, it means limiting the number of people in close proximity to each other at any given time. All members of the Seminary community are strongly encouraged to practice social distancing.

Counseling Services for Students
Six free counseling sessions: If you are feeling the need for professional counseling, the seminary will provide up to six free counseling sessions. The first step in the process is for the student to download the Counseling Center Verification Form (available on myGETS). The next step in the referral process is to contact Dean Reynolds, (312) 780-9228, to procure a signature on the Counseling Center Verification Form. A list of professional counselors is available on myGETS, along with a picture and short introduction of the scope of the work and practices of the provider. Choose a provider from the list of Pastoral Counselors in the Chicago Area and set up an appointment. Take the Counseling Center Verification Form (with the requisite signature from  Dean Reynolds) with you to your first session.If the student encounters problems, they should notify Dean Reynolds as soon as possible. An additional option is for students to contact outside counselors at their own expense.

Student Chaplain
During this time, Chaplain Mosby will remain available via her Garrett email (karen.mosby@garrett.edu) and will be checking her email throughout the day. Students may continue to contact Chaplain Mosby by email to schedule a time to talk by phone or in person. If immediate assistance is needed by phone, she can be reached at (224) 656-4608. 

Employee Assistance Program for Faculty and Staff
Garrett faculty and staff have access to our Employee Assistance Program provided by ERS. This service provides five free in-person counseling services. To find out how to access this benefit, visit the Faculty and Staff Benefits page on myGETS. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the information about how to access the Employee Assistance Program.
 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Resources

COVID-19 Resources (National, Illinois, Evanston, and Campus)

Self-Isolation Policy

General Self-Isolation Policy

Following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week, any travelers returning to the U.S. or coming for the first time from any country under a CDC Warning Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) are expected to self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether that direction is specifically given to them at the U.S. point of entry. Those Level 3 countries are China, Italy, Iran and South Korea, but there is a strong possibility that this list of countries will grow. Individuals who have transited these nations do not need to self-isolate if they did not leave the airport. If they left the airport or remained in the airport for more than 24 hours, self-isolation is required. Updates will be announced and posted as soon as possible if more countries are added to the list.

Garrett expects that all students, faculty, and staff returning to the Seminary or coming for the first time who meet this criteria—or, who have been exposed to the Coronavirus—will self-isolate for 14 days prior to coming to campus. All visitors to campus (non-employee, non-student) for short- or long-term periods who meet the CDC criteria are expected to follow the same 14-day self-isolation requirement.

This policy is in coordination with the policy provided by Northwestern University. With our shared campuses we will utilize the Self-Isolation FAQs and Guidelines provided by Northwestern University. These guidelines provide specific instruction for students, faculty and staff, and visitors to campus.

Garrett Dormitory Self-Isolation Guidelines

If you and/or your roommate are not feeling well and are exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19 (in particular coughing, sneezing, trouble breathing, and fever) we ask that you notify the Housing Office immediately at garrett.housing@garrrett.edu and Campus Safety at CampusSafety@Garrett.eduAdditionally, we ask that you self-isolate immediately and also contact your primary care physician or a local urgent care center for guidance. If your symptoms worsen, we ask that you notify the Housing Office and Campus Safety via email.

If you need to self-isolate, here is more information you should be aware of:

1.  Again, we ask that you notify garrett.housing@garrett.edu and CampusSafety@Garrett.edu.

2.  Self-isolation is at least a 14-day period from the day of direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or direct contact with someone who is under care for suspected exposure to COVID-19. We have learned from the City of Evanston’s Department of Public Health that direct exposure/close contact is considered being less than six feet away from someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19 for 10 minutes or more. 

3.  Food provided by Food for Thought’s Garrett Café is available to be delivered to the outside of your unit’s door only. The Housing Office would need to know that you need food delivered within 24 hours. This can be done two ways:

  • a.  By a friend who lives in the building where you are located. You will have to notify the Housing Office via email with the name of the friend that you want to deliver the food. The friend delivering the food should place it outside of your door and call, text, and/or email you that it has been delivered so you can pick it up after they have left the area.
  • b.  If you are unable to find someone within the building, contact the Housing Office so we can coordinate to find a member from Food for Thought’s Garrett Café to deliver the food. A designated time may be set up for delivery. 

4.  If there is trash that needs to be disposed of, please contact the Housing Office. At that time, we will contact Buildings and Grounds to set up a time to have the trash picked up outside of your door. You will be notified of the time.

5.  Mail will not be delivered to your door during the time of self-isolation.

Travel Guidelines

Effective Monday, March 16, all seminary-related travel, international and domestic, as well as immersive coursework, is prohibited. More guidance will be coming from Academic Affairs about the implications and means to alternatively pursue this coursework. For non-seminary-related travel, we encourage you to review and follow the CDC’s guidance and updates on the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak for more information.

Courses

All face-to-face meetings for in-person classes have been suspended for the remainder of the Spring semester. In addition, all classes and programming for the summer sessions and the fall semester will meet in alternative formats to face-to-face meetings. The Dean’s Office, in coordination with IT and faculty leadership, will offer guidance to instructors (residential, affiliates/adjuncts, teaching assistants) on how to convert their courses to alternative formats—from synchronous/asynchronous online engagement to “low-tech” modalities to ensure maximal accessibility for all.

Instructors are encouraged to design alternative formats that serve the purposes of their courses. Please submit a request to the IT Help Desk should you desire assistance: computer.services@garrett.edu or (847) 866-3928. Online courses currently being offered should continue as is.

Faculty and key administrators, please see the Academic Contingency Plan - COVID-19 document housed on myGETS for additional information. You can also find faculty resources for online pedagogy and facilitating learning without face-to-face meetings on the myGETS webpage. PLEASE NOTE: You must be logged into myGETS to access this information.

Seminary Events, Chapel, Community Meal, and Food Services

Chapel Services

All in-person community worship services and communal prayer services through the end of the academic year have been cancelled. Occasional online services will be held with information emailed out ahead of time. A Daily Prayers and Devotions webpage has been set up on myGETS for anyone to engage with; information about joining the Daily Prayer time on Google Meet is also provided on this page.

Community Meal

Community Meal is now only available to residents in the on-campus dorms. Residents are receiving weekly updates for pick-up information. 
 

Seminary Events and Gatherings

From March 16th to May 31, all seminary-related events and gatherings on campus will be cancelled. For the safety of our community members, we would discourage you from gathering and socializing elsewhere.

 

Food for Thought Cafe

In order to limit the Food For Thought employees time on campus and for their own safety, they will now be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning March 17th. They will continue to operate strictly with a grab and go menu to abide by the mandate from Governor Pritzker. In addition, they are limiting the number of people who can be in the kitchen/serving area at one time to 10 or less.

Prospective Students

As Garrett continues to watch and be responsive to what is happening at Northwestern University, the cities of Evanston and Chicago, and within the U.S. and globally, our top priority remains keeping our students, staff, and faculty safe. This is an evolving situation, and, as such, our Leadership Team continues to assess our current reality and to determine the best ways to safeguard our seminary community and the campus moving forward. In the immediate days ahead, we will be working towards maintaining the daily operations of the seminary remotely.

While this means we will not be having any prospective student visits to campus, we encourage you to visit our Virtual Campus Visit webpage and see below for the variety of ways you can connect with the Admissions team.

For questions related to:

General admissions items or to set up a virtual “visit”, please contact Ms. Jillian Barker at jillian.barker@garrett.edu or by phone at 847-866-3945.

Your admission or specifics related to admitted students, please contact Rev. Katie Fahey at Katherine.fahey@garrett.edu or by phone or text at 269-277-4894.

To continue your discernment and learn more about Garrett, please be in contact with Rev. Grant Swanson at grant.swanson@garrett.edu or by phone or text at 224-221-6924.

For questions about financial aid and scholarships, please be in touch with Mr. Jason Gill at Jason.gill@garrett.edu or by phone at 847-866-3987.

Please be assured, we will still be able to get you information, process applications, make admissions decisions, and get you registered for the fall semester during this time.

Styberg Library

In conjunction with the seminary, the Styberg Library will be closed March 15, 2020, through May 31, 2020. You can find more information on the library during this time here.

Resources and Information for Employees and Student Workers

In order to expedite this shift in our operations to remote working for all employe, we will need to work through two phases in the coming week. This plan is based on what we know today and, as you will see, we plan to rely on our talented and dedicated employees to provide more detailed information in the next few days. Please be patient with us as we, like so many other schools and businesses, find ourselves in new territory. Take heart in knowing we are dedicated to being flexible in helping our students, faculty, and staff attend to their personal and family health and home situations.

PHASE ONE: MONDAY, MARCH 16

  • Effective Monday, March 16, the seminary and the Styberg Library will be closed to the public (including students). Perimeter doors to Main, Pfeiffer Hall, Stead Hall, and Old Dorm will remain locked and all employees should be prepared to use their keys to enter.
     
  • On Monday, March 16, all staff will meet within their departments to determine immediate needs and resources to work remotely. Expectations and best practices for working remotely will also be established. To best protect you and your co-workers and/or attend to matters at home, we are asking that you contact your supervisor and plan not to come to campus if you meet one of the following criteria. Your department supervisor will be in touch with you on Monday with alternative means for participating in the department meeting.

If you had planned on taking Monday, March 16, off as a vacation day or for any other given reason, please be in touch with your supervisor so that they can work directly with you to best determine next steps.

  • Faculty meetings scheduled for Monday, March 16, will be held; however, each faculty committee should determine at their meeting how they will manage their administrative work remotely in the days ahead. We ask that faculty members also follow the guidance above and that if you meet any of the criteria above, do not come to campus and work with the chairperson of the committee to determine an alternative means for participating in the committee meeting.
     
  • Effective Monday, March 16, all seminary-related travel, international and domestic, as well as immersive coursework, is prohibited. More guidance will be coming from Academic Affairs about the implications and means to alternatively pursue this coursework. Please know that all faculty are working hard to convert in-person courses into alternative formats, and that they will work with students to ensure flexible and responsible implementation of alternative learning activities assignments.
     
  • Effective Monday, March 16, student workers should not come to campus. All student workers will be paid for the typical hours they would work each week or if they do not have a set schedule then the average number of hours they typically work. Erin Moore will be sending a notice to all student workers this weekend with additional information.

PHASE TWO: TUESDAY, MARCH 17 THROUGH FRIDAY, MARCH 20

  • Through the department meetings on Monday, we will have a clear sense of what it would take to transition toward remote operations across the seminary as soon as possible with the majority of our staff and faculty working remotely. The decision-making for who may need to come to campus will take place on Monday as a part of department meetings. Every effort will be made to significantly limit the number of employees who have roles that need to be completed on campus including limiting how often or for how long they come to campus. Aramark has already been cleaning classrooms and offices according to the CDC guidance and with fewer people on campus they can complete deeper and more thorough cleaning. We will continue to pay all salaried and hourly employees their regular earnings during this time.
     
  • At this time, faculty are strongly encouraged to work remotely. They can be on campus to facilitate their classes from their office should they choose. And again, if ill or at high-risk, please do not come to campus. Please note, pending any number of external variables (NU, CDC, City of Evanston, etc.) this guideline could change at any given moment.
     
  • All employees, with the exception of those who may be given guidance to come to campus based on their roles, will work remotely through Sunday, April 12.

Additional Information:

  • For additional, more detailed information and guidance for staff, student workers, and supervisors, please click here to access the Employee COVID-19 page of myGETS. 

  • For staff, if you have not yet completed the new set up to access the Virtual Private Network (VPN), please click here for the instructions on how to get set up.

  • For staff, if you are sick and are not feeling well enough to work remotely, you will need to request sick time through ADP. If you do not have sick time available in ADP, you can still use ADP to request time that you have not yet earned. To learn how to request sick time in ADP,  click here.

  • For student workers, you also have the ability to request sick time that you have accrued through ADP. Based on a Cook County ordinance, all employees including student workers have to accrue a minimum of one hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked.  

  • For staff, if you are eligible for Family Medical Leave per the guidelines provided by our Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policy, you may also be eligible for paid sick leave. If you have questions about FMLA, please feel free to contact Erin Moore, Asst. VP for Human Resources, at erin.moore@garrett.edu.

Actions Taken to Safeguard Campus

We want to share with you the Seminary’s latest efforts to safeguard our campus and to care for the wellbeing of all members of our community. The following actions have been taken:

  • April 29, 2020: The "Campus Closed" signs on external doors throughout the campus were updated. 
     
  • April 28, 2020: With the extension of the "Stay-at-Home" mandate from the state of Illinois, the seminary's campus will remain closed through Sunday, May 31, 2020. This extension was communicated to faculty, staff, and students through an email.
     
  • Ongoing in April: Members of the Leadership Team meet Monday through Thursday for one hour to assess current information, consider actions to take, and to plan for three different scenarios.
     
  • March 31, 2020: Faculty, staff, and students were notified via email both of the extension of the "shelter-in-place" mandate by the state of Illinois and that the seminary's campus will remain closed through April 30, 2020.
     
  • MARCH 19, 2020: A coronavirus (COVID-19) update was sent to faculty, staff, and students informing them that a Garrett community member has tested positive for COVID-19. This is the Seminary's second case.
     
  • MARCH 19, 2020: The Dean of Students and Director of Housing and Events met with all dormitory students via Zoom on March 19th to discuss questions, concerns, and next steps. With the remainder of the semester now being offered in a remote learning format, dorm residents were advised to move out if they have the means. For international students and domestic students living in the dormitories who are not able to immediately move, the seminary is committed to working with them to seek best solutions. President Rector assured dorm residents that no student would fall through the cracks and that every reasonable effort to support them would be made.
     
  • MARCH 18, 2020: Aramark will begin santizing common areas in off-campus apartment buildings. Community email sent with updated guidelines on self-isolation in relation to the student who tested positive for COVID-19. An email was sent to prospective students with updated information regarding campus visits. It was decided and communicated to the community that for the remainder of the spring semester, all classes will be taught online, and it was announced that the 163rd Commencement Ceremony is cancelled. Dormitory students are being highly encouraged to go home and stay home for the rest of the semester. The Dean of Students and Director of Housing and Events will be meeting with all dormitory students on March 19th to discuss questions, concerns, and next steps. Apartment residents were assured that the seminary will honor their current lease and no immediate action is necessary.
     
  • MARCH 17, 2020: We learned a Garrett student was diagnosed with COVID-19 late last night. An email was sent to the community in the morning while Erin Moore reach out to various public health officials and departments. Follow-up emails with updated information were sent to the community. A COVID-19 FAQ webpage was created to address a variety of questions related to the confirmed case of COVID-19. Food for Thoughts hours have moved to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.​ and are limiting it to 10 people in the kitchen/serving area at a time. An email was sent to dormitory students notifying them of the hour change. An email was sent to the entire community with an update to the Styberg Library services going forward. Another email was sent to students with information on how Community Meal will function as well as requesting students in on-campus housing fill out a form to let the Housing Office know whether they will be staying or leaving during spring break. The email also included guidelines for dormitory students who need to self-isolate.
     
  • MARCH 16, 2020: Signs have been posted on all outer doors of Garrett-Evangelical's Main building with the announcement of the campus closure. The outer doors to all campus buildings are locked and only accessible to employees and students with the appropriate keys. The Campus Visit webpage was updated to inform prospective students that there will be no on-campus visits through April 12th and includes information on how Admissions staff can be contacted. The Leadership Team met with Program and Department Directors to check in and share updates from the department meetings that took place today to make preparations for remote operations. An update email was sent to the Garrett community.
     
  • MARCH 15, 2020: After learning of a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis of a second Northwestern University employee late in the evening on March 14, the Styberg Library was closed on March 15 out of an abundance of caution for student workers and community members. An email was sent to community members with an update on the library's closure. A second email was sent to the community with an update on changes in Food for Thought's service and hours in response to Governor Pritzker's executive action.
     
  • MARCH 14, 2020: The Leadership Team met to determine how best to move the entire seminary to working remotely as soon as possible. A two-phase plan was established and communicated to students, faculty, and staff via an email from Campus Safety. To ensure community members saw the email sent on a Saturday the Alerts Notification System (Everbridge) was used.
     
  • MARCH 13, 2020: Campus Safety sent an email alerting the community that a Northwestern University employee tested positive for COVID-19 and that the Leadership Team will be meeting on March 14th to discuss any necessary changes to campus safety plans.
     
  • MARCH 13, 2020: The Styberg Library will abbreviate their hours from March 16 to April 5. During this time, the library will only be open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and will be closed on the weekends. 
     
  • MARCH 12, 2020: The Admissions Office sent an email to prospective students with information regarding campus visits and COVID-19. That information was also added to the COVID-19 webpage and the Campus Visit webpage. 
     
  • MARCH 12, 2020: The Campus Safety Committee members met. Next steps were established and the committee will be meeting again on Monday, March 16.
     
  • MARCH 12, 2020: The Leadership Team met to review contigency plans, consider new information, and to task key departments and individuals with next steps.
     
  • MARCH 11, 2020: President Lallene Rector sent an email to students, faculty, and staff providing an update on the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the seminary's response. In coordination with this email, the CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATES webpage was created. A link to the webpage was also posted on the seminary's Facebook and Twitter accounts. 
     
  • MARCH 11, 2020:  "What do you need to know about COVID-19?" flyers from the CDC were hung throughout the campus.
     
  • MARCH 11, 2020: The Leadership Team met to finalize contigency plans and the communication of said plans to the seminary community.
     
  • MARCH 11, 2020: The annual test of the Garrett Alerts Notification System was conducted.
     
  • MARCH 10, 2020: President Lallene J. Rector provided an update and next steps to all constituents of the seminary, including the Board of Trustees.
     
  • MARCH 10, 2020: The Leadership Team met to evaluate and determine next steps.
     
  • MARCH 9-10, 2020: Academic Dean Mai-Anh Le Tran met with academic directors and key seminary leaders to design alternative plans and formats for both delivering and supporting classes.
     
  • MARCH 9, 2020: The Leadership Team met to continue work on contigency plans. Erin Moore, in HR, met with key administrators from Buildings and Grounds, I.T., and Housing. In addition, key administrators at Northwestern University were consulted.
     
  • MARCH 5, 2020: "Stop the Spread of Germs at Work" flyer from the Society for Human Resources Management was hung throughout the campus.
     
  • MARCH 3, 2020: Human Resources sent an email to all faculty and staff, and an Office of Student Life email was sent to all students, providing an update on COVID-19 and additional health tips.
     
  • MARCH 3, 2020: Slight modifications to our chapel services were introduced to minimize human contact.
     
  • FEBRUARY 27, 2020: In addition to the bathrooms, hand sanitizer stands were placed throughout the campus and in all classrooms.
     
  • FEBRUARY 20, 2020: Dean Benjamin Reynolds sent an email to the entire seminary community with health tips and best practices to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
     
  • NOVEMBER 2019: Members of Aramark, our cleaning crew, have been wiping down all doorknobs and flat surfaces with an anti-viral treatment each evening.

Financial Aid and Student Loan FAQs for COVID-19

Does the change to online course work change my financial aid?
As long as students maintain their current spring semester registration, the move to online course work will not impact financial aid.

If you move out of Garrett-owned housing you may be granted a prorated credit, but this won’t change your cost of attendance or your loan aid eligibility. Similarly, students who do not change their housing status either by continuing to live off-campus or continuing to live on-campus, will receive the same aid as before.

How will the new Pass/No Record grading system affect my scholarship requirement to maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA?
The new P/NR system does not affect your GPA. Additionally, in an effort to make sure students don’t feel pressured to switch to a letter grade this semester to regain a 3.0 GPA status, the GPA requirement will be waived for both the upcoming summer term and fall semester. Scholarship registration requirements will still stay in effect.

Do I need to keep making payments on my federally held student loans?
No. Keep in mind that if you are enrolled at least part-time, you are probably already in an in-school deferment status, which does not require payments. Therefore, no action is required.
If you have graduated, discontinued attendance, or are less than part-time and your loans are in repayment, you may be eligible for an administrative forbearance which would allow you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. The time under the administrative forbearance may count toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Please keep in mind that this is not an automatic process. You must request the forbearance. For more information on this option and how to apply, please contact your loan servicer.

Great, so how about private student loans, do I still need to keep paying them?
It depends. The Department of Education cannot compel private loan servicers to suspend payments. However, some private loan servicers are trying to make special accommodations for those in repayment. Contact your private loan servicer directly to learn about your options.

What about GBEHM private student loans?
If you are in repayment of a GBHEM loan you may be eligible for a 3-month forbearance (with interest accrual). To learn more email umloans@gbhem.org.  

I heard all student loan interest has been suspended. How does that work?
All federally held loans (Direct Stafford and PLUS Loans, and some Perkins Loans) have suspended interest for at least the next 60 days, beginning March 13, 2020. During this time, your federal loans will automatically be adjusted so that interest does not accrue. This adjustment will not change your monthly payments, rather any payments made during the 0% interest rate period will be applied in full to your outstanding principal balance or already accrued interest.

FEEL loans, school-serviced Perkins loans, and private student loans are not part of this interest suspension.

If I have more questions, what should I do?
If you have questions about your institutional scholarship, outside scholarships, or loan aid for the semester please consult the Financial Aid Handbook or contact our director of financial aid, Jason Gill, at 847-866-3987 or jason.gill@garrett.edu.

If you are in repayment and have questions about your loan status, contact your loan servicer directly.

If you have questions about federal student aid, go to studentaid.gov.

 

Messages to the Community

March 11, 2020

Dear Garrett community,

These past few weeks, the Leadership Team and I have been closely monitoring the news and information of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Having been a part of this community for more than 30 years, I hold sacred the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors. It is essential to me that the decisions we make today keep our community protected during this rapidly evolving situation.

At this time we are suspending all face-to-face meetings for in-person classes, beginning Monday, March 16th, through Friday, April 3rd. The Seminary will remain open during this period of time. We will continue to monitor the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and we are prepared to provide updates and notices to the community as needed.

As a global seminary community, we are aware that many of our international students have concerns for loved ones back home. We are also aware that travel restrictions may have an impact on our international students. We will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with our international students in the days ahead.

At the local level, we will continue to partner with Northwestern University and the City of Evanston. The City of Evanston’s Health & Human Services Department is working with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and local, state, and federal health partners to take all preventive steps necessary to prepare for and limit the potential spread of the coronavirus.

Below you will find a wealth of information and updates from the Seminary. Please check this website frequently as updates will be provided here.

President Lallene J. Rector
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

March 13, 2020

Dear Garrett-Evangelical Community,

Late this afternoon, Northwestern University learned that an employee in the Kellogg School of Management’s Global Hub on the Evanston campus has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). This is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 at Northwestern University.

In line with University policy and guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the staff member is self-isolating off campus. We would ask that you hold this person in prayer and we wish them well and a speedy recovery.

To learn more about this particular incident, click here.

If you have been inside the Kellogg Hub at Northwestern University within the last 24-48 hours, we would ask that you notify Campus Safety at CampusSafety@Garrett.edu. When emailing, please provide your name, your phone number, the date and approximate time you were in the Kellogg Hub, and any other pertinent information.

As a reminder, students, faculty, staff or other community members who have flu-like symptoms and are worried they might have COVID-19 should contact their health care provider or pursue care at an urgent care center.

The health and well-being of our community remains our top priority and we understand that this announcement will cause greater concern. To that end, the Leadership Team will be convening at 11 a.m. on Saturday to process this new information and determine how it might impact our current plans to safeguard the campus.

All questions should be directed to CampusSafety@Garrett.edu. We would also encourage you to view the seminary's COVID-19 webpage for health tips and more information.

In the meantime, please continue to follow all recommendations from the CDC, including washing your hands for 20 seconds and practicing social distancing. And please take care of your whole self in the days ahead.

Lallene J. Rector
President

March 14, 2020

Dear Garrett Community,

As we continue to watch and be responsive to what is happening at Northwestern University, the cities of Evanston and Chicago, and within the U.S. and globally, our top priority remains keeping our students, staff, and faculty safe. I want to reiterate what I said on Wednesday, this is an evolving situation. As such, the Leadership Team and I met today to assess our current reality and to determine the best ways to safeguard our seminary community and the campus moving forward. In the immediate days ahead, we will be working towards maintaining the daily operations of the seminary remotely through Sunday, April 12.

In order to expedite this shift in our operations, we will need to work through two phases in the coming week. This plan is based on what we know today and, as you will see, we plan to rely on our talented and dedicated employees to provide more detailed information in the next few days. Please be patient with us as we, like so many other schools and businesses, find ourselves in new territory. Take heart in knowing we are dedicated to being flexible in helping our students, faculty, and staff attend to their personal and family health and home situations.

PHASE ONE: MONDAY, MARCH 16

  • Effective Monday, March 16, the seminary and the Styberg Library will be closed to the public (including students). Perimeter doors to Main, Pfeiffer Hall, Stead Hall, and Old Dorm will remain locked and all employees should be prepared to use their keys to enter. Students living in Garrett dormitories and apartments can remain in the seminary’s housing. They will continue to have access to Food for Thought Café and the student kitchen in Lower Loder.
     
  • On Monday, March 16, all staff will meet within their departments to determine immediate needs and resources to work remotely. Expectations and best practices for working remotely will also be established. To best protect you and your co-workers and/or attend to matters at home, we are asking that you contact your supervisor and plan not to come to campus if you meet one of the following criteria. Your department supervisor will be in touch with you on Monday with alternative means for participating in the department meeting.

If you had planned on taking Monday, March 16, off as a vacation day or for any other given reason, please be in touch with your supervisor so that they can work directly with you to best determine next steps.

  • Faculty meetings scheduled for Monday, March 16, will be held; however, each faculty committee should determine at their meeting how they will manage their administrative work remotely in the days ahead. We ask that faculty members also follow the guidance above and that if you meet any of the criteria above, do not come to campus and work with the chairperson of the committee to determine an alternative means for participating in the committee meeting.
     
  • Effective Monday, March 16, all seminary-related travel, international and domestic, as well as immersive coursework, is prohibited. More guidance will be coming from Academic Affairs about the implications and means to alternatively pursue this coursework. Please know that all faculty are working hard to convert in-person courses into alternative formats, and that they will work with students to ensure flexible and responsible implementation of alternative learning activities assignments.
     
  • Effective Monday, March 16, student workers should not come to campus. All student workers will be paid for the typical hours they would work each week or if they do not have a set schedule then the average number of hours they typically work. Erin Moore will be sending a notice to all student workers this weekend with additional information.

PHASE TWO: TUESDAY, MARCH 17 THROUGH FRIDAY, MARCH 20

  • Through the department meetings on Monday, we will have a clear sense of what it would take to transition toward remote operations across the seminary as soon as possible with the majority of our staff and faculty working remotely. The decision-making for who may need to come to campus will take place on Monday as a part of department meetings. Every effort will be made to significantly limit the number of employees who have roles that need to be completed on campus including limiting how often or for how long they come to campus. Aramark has already been cleaning classrooms and offices according to the CDC guidance and with fewer people on campus they can complete deeper and more thorough cleaning. We will continue to pay all salaried and hourly employees their regular earnings during this time.
     
  • At this time, faculty are strongly encouraged to work remotely. They can be on campus to facilitate their classes from their office should they choose. And again, if ill or at high-risk, please do not come to campus. Please note, pending any number of external variables (NU, CDC, City of Evanston, etc.) this guideline could change at any given moment.
     
  • All employees, with the exception of those who may be given guidance to come to campus based on their roles, will work remotely through Sunday, April 12.

The Leadership Team will continue to assess the current situation. You can anticipate more updates to the Garrett COVID-19 website early this week with another seminary-wide communication the week of March 30. Please continue to direct your questions to CampusSafety@Garrett.edu.

Please continue to take care of yourselves and those around you. And let us continue to pray for those who have already been diagnosed with COVID-19, for our healthcare workers, and others at a high-risk.

And now, may the God of Grace, who neither sleeps nor slumbers, calm our fear in these days of uncertainty; may the love of Jesus Christ bind us together and kindle our remembrance of those who suffer; and may the sustaining presence of the Holy Spirit strengthen us for the work that lies ahead in these days of uncertainty. Amen.

Lallene J. Rector
President

Second Update on March 14, 2020

Second Update for Saturday, March 14, 2020

Dear Garrett Community,

This evening we have learned that a second individual in the Northwestern community has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), a staff member in the Office of the Registrar on the Evanston campus who serves in a role with limited face-to-face interaction with students or faculty.

The staff member was last on campus on Thursday (March 12) and has not had any contact with others outside of the office in the last two weeks. To read more about this incident, click here.

Please know, our intention in sending these notifications is not to alarm or create further anxiety for you or our seminary community. Rather, we want to make sure you are well informed. Going forward, if further cases develop on the Northwestern campus we will only send an update if we believe that particular case might have bearing on members of the seminary community.

Northwestern has now created a dedicated webpage on their COVID-19 website to document all confirmed cases. They will update the list as they receive information about new known, confirmed Northwestern cases. At this hour Northwestern has now reported two confirmed cases.

Questions should be directed to CampusSafety@Garrett.edu. Health tips, the latest information from the seminary, and more can be found on the seminary's Coranavirus (COVID-19) webpage.

March 15, 2020

Dear Garrett Community:

It is my regret that we had to close the library on Sunday, March 15, and I write to assure you that Styberg Library will still be able to provide essential services to students, staff, and faculty in the days ahead in ways that are provisional but hopefully “innovative.” After learning of the second confirmed case of the COVID-19 at Northwestern late last night, and with a clear mandate from the Leadership Team that we must work toward minimizing risks for our seminary community, it was necessary to make a last-minute decision for the safety of the student workers who keep the library open on Sunday. Although we tried to communicate the urgent change to the Garrett community via the website, Facebook, etc., I fully acknowledge that it made some of you confused and impacted your plans significantly. I apologize for the inconvenience and unnecessary anxiety that the situation produced.

On Monday morning, the library staff—along with other departments, and under the guidance of the Leadership Team—will meet to discuss how to provide library services remotely and with very limited physical contact. We should have a detailed plan by the end of the day. We know that learners and researchers are particularly concerned about access to books and course reserves. We will communicate a clear plan with options for everyone.

I take to heart this word to the wise from the Leadership Team: “The seminary’s and the department’s mission and purpose are the same; only how we achieve it changes temporarily.” The Styberg Library and its team of capable staff remain committed to serving you effectively in the days ahead. I thank you for your patience and understanding as we wrestle with this extraordinary situation.

Jaeyeon Lucy Chung
Styberg Library Director

Second Update on March 15, 2020

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty,

Today Governor Pritzker took executive action and has ordered all restaurant and bar owners to close for two weeks. Delivery, carry out, and curbside service will still be allowed, but customers will not be allowed in dining rooms or bars from the end of business on Monday, March 16, through Monday, March 30. I have been in conversation with Food For Thought today to determine how this action might impact their services. On Monday, March 16, Food For Thought will move to a strictly grab and go menu and they will maintain their regular hours for Monday. 

Between now and March 30, Food For Thought remains committed to operating and serving our dormitory students but they will most likely need to adjust their hours in order to limit the staff’s exposure. Additional conversation is needed on Monday to determine what that will look like. For now, please know that we are working on it and will communicate as soon as we know more. 

Immediate questions or concerns should be directed to CampusSafety@Garrett.edu.

Thank you,

Kevin Miller
Vice President of Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer

March 16, 2020

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

This afternoon the Leadership Team met with Program and Department Directors to check in and share updates from the department meetings that took place today to make preparations for remote operations. It was clear we were living up to our vision of being a servant seminary with everyone pitching in to make the best of a difficult situation. Thank you! The Leadership Team is working on a longer communication that will be sent tomorrow detailing the information we have received from our departments. Much of this communication will redirect you to the Garrett COVID-19 webpage. In the meantime, tonight we wanted to share two important items that need your immediate attention.

Check Requests (Final Run for 30 Days)

The Business Office will process all checks by Wednesday, March 18, and this will be the last check run for 30 days. To have a check cut, you need to submit the check request by no later than 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, and ideally try to have the request ready by noon tomorrow. NO CHECKS CAN BE PICKED UP IN PERSON. If you come to the Business Office tomorrow or Wednesday, the door will be locked. Questions can be asked via phone or email. This is for your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of the employees in our Business Office. Please follow this guidance:

  • Students who reside in the dorms will have the checks placed in their mailboxes by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18.
  • All other student, employee, and vendor checks will be mailed. In order to ensure there is no delay in your check reaching you, please make sure you include your current mailing address on the check request.
  • Because of the length of time between check runs, students are advised to withdraw the maximum amount possible. To help with this, we have added the Field Education and PhD stipends to student accounts earlier than normal. Please note that your cash availability is limited by any outstanding housing charges and/or fees posted to your account. Please don’t request more than your allowance, as this will delay processing of your refund. Remember you can view your student account on myGETS.
  • Send all requests to ap@garrett.edu.
  • If you have any questions you can reach Reginald Walker at reginald.walker@garrett.edu or ext. 3865.

U.S. Post Office, FedEx, and UPS

Mail and packages arriving via the U.S. Post Office will still be delivered to student mailboxes. Mail will be picked up from the post office on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays but will not be handled by the mail person for 24 hours, which is the length of time Coronavirus can stay on paper and packages.

Since the Seminary is closed there will be no one to accept packages from FedEx, UPS, or other shipping companies. To this end, we will follow the same package instructions we have over holiday breaks. That information will be added to the COVID-19 webpage tomorrow.

Additional Information on Tuesday, March 17

As previously indicated there will be another email tomorrow with more details from other departments but this was what we felt was most pressing for today.

Please continue to direct your questions and concerns to CampusSafety@Garrett.edu. Erin Moore and Shane Nichols are checking and responding to all emails sent to that address. If they don’t know the answer they will direct the email to the appropriate department to respond.

I continue to keep you, your families, and friends in my thoughts and prayers.

Cordially,

Lallene J. Rector
President

March 17, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Late last evening, we learned one of our students was diagnosed with Coronavirus. We became aware of this via a social media post and have spoken to this student first thing today.

  • This student lives off campus and not in a Garrett dormitory or apartment. This student is self-isolating.
  • The student was last on campus March 5 and asymptomatic at that time. We are contacting the individuals that we know this student was in direct contact with this morning to ask them to self-isolate. We are working as quickly as possible to get these notifications out.
  • In addition, below is a detailed account of the student’s whereabouts on campus for March 4 and 5. If you were in any of these spaces and places, we ask that you voluntarily self-isolate AND that you click here to complete a brief form so we can track potential impact: https://forms.gle/cgtfgLV9oFsX6Umk7 
    • On March 4, the student was at the Spoonie Chapel Service.
    • On March 5, in the morning, the student ate breakfast in Loder Hall.
    • On March 5, the student attended a course in Room 205 in the afternoon. The students in that course have been notified but if your course was in that room in the evening of March 5, please self-isolate. 
    • On March 5, the student visited the Admissions Office.
    • On March 5, the student is not sure but may have visited the Styberg Library.
  • If you believe you believe you have been exposed and/or are experiencing symptoms, please follow the CDC guidance of calling your doctor: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
  • We have reached out to the Evanston Department of Public Health and are waiting for further guidance but we didn’t want to delay this notice any further. Please know we are working quickly to provide you with more information but first and foremost we want to report accurate information. You can anticipate an update by noon today and we are prepared to provide consistent updates throughout today, even if that update is there is no further update at this time. 
  • Any media inquiries should be directed to Shane Nichols at shane.nichols@garrett.edu or at 847-866-3866.

You can find the instructions to self-isolate on Garrett.edu/covid19 in the “Self-Isolation Policy.” If you need to self-isolate and are living in one of our dormitories, more information specific to students living in on-campus dormitories will be provided today. 

Our highest priority goal continues to be the health and safety of everyone in our community. Please hold this student in your prayers and please attend to your own physical and mental well being and that of one another.

We ask that you try to wait with individual questions for our hourly updates but if needed, you can contact campussafety@garrett.edu and we will respond as soon as we are able.

Prayerfully,

Lallene J. Rector
President

Second Update on March 17, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Per the email you received a little after 10 a.m. today (see below), you now know that one of our students tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). Since then, we have received 49 responses from members of our seminary community using the form we provided. In addition, we have received emails to CampusSafety@Garrett.edu and have tried to respond to a handful of questions raised via social media.

In an effort to remain focused on this case and to provide you with accurate information, we have now created a COVID-19 FAQ webpage. This webpage is a work in progress and we will continue to update the webpage as new information is made available.

Please take the time to review the entire webpage and its contents. If you have additional questions related to this case, please use the form: https://forms.gle/cgtfgLV9oFsX6Umk7. We will continue to collect questions and utilize the COVID-19 FAQ Webpage to respond to those questions that would benefit the greater seminary community. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We will seek to provide another update this afternoon.

Third Update on March 17, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

First, we need to apologize to our students. The second email update (see below this message) was not successfully sent to the student listserv because a student unsubscribed the student listserv email from iContact after the first email update. We only just now discovered this mistake. Please DO NOT unsubscribe any of the listserv emails from iContact.

While we know there are many students who do not live in the Evanston/Chicago area, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of these email communications going to the entire Garrett community. At this time we do not have a way to only email students who are in the Evanston/Chicago area. While the abundance of emails may be a minor inconvenience, you are keeping vital information from the people who need to see it the most when you unsubscribe the listserv email. Again, we deeply apologize to all our students for the undue stress and anxiety that may have come from not receiving the second update.

Second, for everyone, we have two updates that we want to bring to your attention now.

1. We have spoken to a representative on the CDC’s Toll-Free Hotline. They have said the period of self-isolation is 14 days from the day of known contact. In this particular case, this would mean the self-isolation period would be through March 19, 2020. However, the CDC representative said their overall guidance to all citizens is currently to stay home as much as possible. You should leave your home only to attend to necessities like food and medicine and when in public follow social distancing guidelines.

We know that this information will have particular bearing on our dorm residents who need to self-isolate. In the immediate, we would ask that you continue to seek assistance from your neighbors in securing food and to do so with limited to no human contact. We are working with the Housing Office and the Leadership Team to determine next steps.

2. Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary cannot provide medical advice nor can we tell you whether you should be tested or not. We have received several questions from community members who believe they may have been in contact with the student and have concerns for themselves based on their other health conditions or concerns for their family member’s health conditions. We have also been asked by particular people if they should be tested based on potentially being exposed. Any questions about personal or family health conditions with potential exposure, as well as whether or not to be tested, should be addressed to your health care professional. See the guidance provided by the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html. In addition, the CDC has a toll free number you can call. It is 800-889-3931.

We will continue to update the COVID-19 FAQ webpage as more information becomes available. A number of updates have been made since our last email so we encourage you to check the webpage often as we are currently not in a position to respond to each individual person who has contacted us. That said, please continue to utilize the form for questions related to this particular case: https://forms.gle/cgtfgLV9oFsX6Umk7. There are also additional resources related to self-isolation on the COVID-19 Updates webpage.

We know these are anxious times. Our highest priority goal continues to be the health and safety of everyone in our community. The Evanston Department of Public Health has promised to call us back this afternoon. Pending that phone call happening, we will either have an update to you later tonight or tomorrow. Please continue to remember to check your garrett.edu emails regularly today and in the days ahead. 

In the meantime, take care of yourselves, take care of each other (using social distance guidelines), and let us all keep one another in our prayers.

Styberg Library Update on March 17, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff:

The Styberg Library remains committed to serving the academic and research needs of the seminary community during this uncertain time. We understand that some of the students heavily depend on library reserves to access the required textbooks and that the untimely library closure may impact their learning. The Academic Dean will work closely with the faculty to come up with some alternative options. To accommodate requests from the community for one final access to essential resources before complete library lock down by end of day Wednesday, we have been given permission to:

  • Receive requests for reserve books and scanning chapters from the reserve books today, Tuesday, March 17 between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm. Please use the following links to request reserves or scan chapters. These requests are limited to reserve items only. Librarians will work to make the requested materials digitally available by the end of day Wednesday.
  1. Reserves request: https://library.garrett.edu/reserves-request
  2. Scanning request: https://library.garrett.edu/scan-request
  • Allow Ph.D. students to retrieve their books from the Ph.D. study suite, by calling or emailing the library on today between 9:30am-4:30pm. The requested books will be placed in a secure bag and left outside the Main Building throughout the day today (Tuesday, March 17). If not picked up by 4:30, they will be taken back inside at the end of day.

The Styberg Library will strive to provide as much support as possible during this unpredictable, challenging time. We strongly encourage you to visit our Distance Learning webpage (https://library.garrett.edu/distance-learning/overview-services) which lists all the online resources available to the Garrett community. Librarians will continue to provide reference and research services remotely via email, phone, chat, and Zoom from Monday to Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. 

We pray that all Garrett community members stay safe and strong until we resume our normal operations. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

  1. Phone: 847-866-3909
  2. Email: styberg.library@garrett.edu
  3. Chat: library.garrett.edu/chat

Jaeyeon Lucy Chung
Styberg Library Director

Food for Thought Update on March 17, 2020

Dear Residents of Old and Loder Dorms,

As we indicated in a prior email to you, Governor Pritzker took executive action and has ordered all restaurant and bar owners to close for two weeks. Delivery, carry out, and curbside service will still be allowed, but customers will not be allowed in dining rooms or bars from the end of business on Monday, March 16, through Monday, March 30.

I have now been in conversation with Jose Cardenas at the Food For Thought Café in Loder Hall. In order to limit the Food For Thought employees time on campus and for their own safety, they will now be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning today. They will continue to operate strictly with a grab and go menu to abide by the mandate from Governor Pritzker. In addition, they are limiting the number of people who can be in the kitchen/serving area at one time to 10 or less, per today’s recommendation from President Trump.

With this change in operating hours it will be important for you to think about your food needs and be prepared to buy meals in advance. We recognize that this is not ideal, but we will continue to seek best solutions for you while operating within the confines of any number of external factors that might impact our daily operations.

Please know that we continue to receive new information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on a daily basis and we are doing our best to separate fact from fiction. We will continue to monitor the situation and seek solutions with you, our students, in mind first. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this ever-changing situation.

Questions or concerns should be directed to CampusSafety@Garrett.edu.

Thank you,

Kevin Miller
Vice President of Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer

Update on March 18, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As of late yesterday, we have spoken to both the City of Chicago and the City of Evanston Departments of Public Health. The City of Evanston provided much more detailed information noted below:

  1. The criteria for someone to fall into the direct/close contact period is being within less than 6 feet of someone for 10 minutes or more. 
  2. A person with COVID-19 is most likely to be contagious when they are exhibiting symptoms. 
  3. The most likely incubation period (period of time for a person to exhibit symptoms) is about 5-7 days after being in direct/close contact.
  4. Those who are self-isolating because of potential exposure do not need to contact family members, friends, or public places they have visited (church, gym, kid's school, etc.) unless they develop symptoms.
  5. Through ongoing research, the CDC and Departments of Public Health now know that the likelihood of getting COVID-19 from indirect contact (such as being in a space where this student was prior to you or touching a surface or paper this student touched) is extremely low. They do not recommend self-isolation for those in indirect contact. 

What Does This Mean for Garrett?

The Garrett student diagnosed with COVID-19 did not have any symptoms of sickness until March 8 and did not develop symptoms associated with COVID-19 until closer to March 13. In addition, if you did contract COVID-19 from this student between March 4-5, you would have started exhibiting symptoms between March 9-12. 

This means, if you received an email or a phone call directly from Campus Safety informing you that you were in direct contact with the person OR if you were in the Spoon Collective's "Spoonie" Chapel Service on Wednesday, March 4, then you should self-isolate for 14 days from the date you were exposed to the student, which would be through March 18 or 19. However, you should also know that if you haven't exhibited any symptoms by now, then it is unlikely that you have contracted it.

If you did not receive an email/phone call from Campus Safety and were not at the Chapel Service on March 4 but did elect to self-isolate based on our email to the entire community noting the spaces and places this student visited on March 4 and 5, then according to the Evanston Department of Public Health you do not need to self-isolate

However, the overall guidance continues to be if you are feeling ill, with any illness, you should self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution. Even those who are not self-isolating for their own illness or their exposure to someone who has been diagnosed, should stay home as much as possible and only leave their home to attend to necessities like food and medicine. When in public follow social distancing guidelines. 

We are striving to keep the community informed with the most up-to-date information while still exercising an abundance of caution. As a reminder, please refer to the COVID-19 FAQ webpage to see if your question has been answered. We will continue to update that page and the COVID-19 Updates webpage as needed in the days ahead.

Second Update on March 18, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff, 

In recent days, some local, state, and federal agencies have turned to more drastic measures to try to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in their communities. As cities, states, and the federal government take increasingly aggressive moves, a "shelter-in-place" order may soon become familiar to millions of people across the country.

At this time a “shelter-in-place” order has not been enacted in Evanston, Chicago, or for the state of Illinois. However, as the nation’s third largest city, there is enough reason to believe this could be a reality for residents of Chicago, the Chicago metropolitan area, and/or the state of Illinois in the near future.

While we do not know if such an order will happen, or what the specifics of a “shelter-in-place” order would look like, we do believe such an order would have a critical impact on our students living both in Loder Hall and Old Dorm. Food services provided by Food For Thought may have to halt. Cleaning services provided by Aramark would need to cease and our Buildings and Grounds staff would only be available in an emergency situation.

With the information we know about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and with even a remote possibility of a “shelter-in-place” order going into effect, we have determined that for the remainder of Spring 2020 semester all coursework will be conducted remotely and will not be held in face-to-face meetings.

The impact of this decision is far reaching and our staff departments and faculty will be working diligently and quickly to provide further information. We acknowledge not having all of the information in this communication will produce further anxiety. For that, we are deeply sorry but this information is essential for our dorm residents right now. 

Loder Hall and Old Dorm Residents

Residents currently living in Loder Hall and Old Dorm who have the means are strongly encouraged to pack their belongings and leave as soon as they are able. With even the remote possibility of a “shelter-in-place” order in the days or weeks ahead, now would be the best opportunity to relocate. With Spring Break beginning next week, March 23 – 27, we hope this will give you the opportunity to pack without the additional pressure of maintaining your coursework at the same time. For those who are able to leave, we are prepared to prorate your dorm and meal plan expenses. The process to prorate is forthcoming at this time, but our Business Office is prepared to work with students who seek this option. 

For our international students living in Loder Hall or Old Dorm, we recognize there are a number of factors that need to be considered and that going “home” or elsewhere immediately is simply not possible for some of you. For our domestic students living in Loder Hall or Old Dorm, we recognize this will put some of you in a vulnerable position and alternative housing with such short notice is a problem. Please take some comfort in knowing we will make every reasonable effort to support you in the days ahead. 

Dean Benjamin Reynolds and Tulani Myers stand ready to assist each of you during this time of transition. A Zoom meeting for all residents of Old Dorm and Loder Hall will be held tomorrow, Thursday, March 19, at 11:30 a.m. to provide more information, hear your concerns, and answer questions.

To join the Zoom meeting, go to https://garrett.zoom.us/j/824812899?pwd=eDNsc1cxVCtBRmt5ZjhnVzZwdm55dz09.

Apartment Residents (Sherman, Maple-Noyes, and Maple)

For those students currently living in one of our three apartment buildings, Garrett will honor your current lease agreement and you do not need to take any immediate action. Information regarding lease renewals for summer and/or the 2020-2021 academic year will be made available soon. 

Please note: Right now our on-campus residents are our highest priority due to the unique circumstances of their living arrangements and external factors that may impact them. Please be patient if we are not able to address apartment-related questions right away. 

What about Commencement?

Factoring in the wealth of information we now have regarding COVID-19 and with the remainder of the Spring 2020 classes operating remotely, the Leadership Team has made the painful decision to cancel the 163rd Commencement Ceremony of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, scheduled for Friday, May 22, 2020. The Leadership Team has had to make a number of hard decisions recently, but this particular one has taken a greater emotional toll on each of us. Please know we are considering alternative ways to celebrate the Class of 2020 and all they have accomplished. We have asked for the Commencement Planning Team to convene in the coming week. When more information is available we will be in touch.

Even though the ceremony will not be held on May 22, 2020, all students who meet the requirements of their degree program will graduate. The Registrar’s Office will be in contact with graduating students soon to share additional information related to this decision.

Next Steps

Again, the decision to deliver our courses remotely for the remainder of the semester will have an impact on each one of us and our work, our studies, and our beloved seminary community. We anticipate you will have numerous questions in the days ahead. Please know that we are working on a centralized communication effort we hope will answer the majority of your questions. Though this communication effort will take some time to pull together, it is our intention to provide regular and consistent updates in the days ahead. Your patience and understanding in the interim is greatly appreciated.

Finally, we know this time is filled with anxiety and stress as each day brings new developments, new challenges, and new unknowns. We are crossing a threshold into a new way of knowing, being, and doing at the seminary. And every threshold crossing, whether chosen or not, gives us an opportunity to face it with a sense of adventure and courage and also a trust that God is at work in our lives. Take heart and courage in the days ahead. God is with us and we are with you. Remember to care for your whole selves and to take care of loved ones and others as you are able. This is a new threshold for Garrett, but one that we will all cross together. 

Lallene J. Rector
President

Leadership Team Members:

Becky Eberhart
Vice President of Student Services

Joe Emmick
Vice President for Development

Kevin Miller
Vice President of Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer

Erin Moore
Assistant Vice President for Human Resources and Employee Engagement

Shane Nichols
Assistant Vice President of Marketing & Communications

Benjamin Ledell Reynolds
Assistant Vice President of Student Services and Dean of Students

Mai-Anh Le Tran
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean

Update on March 31, 2020

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

On Sunday, March 29, 2020, President Donald Trump announced his extension of the social distancing guidelines for the nation through April 30, 2020. This afternoon, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced his extension of the stay-at-home mandate for the state of Illinois through April 30, 2020. With these guidelines and mandate in place and in our continued efforts to safeguard our seminary community and our campus, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary will extend its remote operations for faculty and staff through April 30, 2020.

Between now through April 30, the campus will remain closed and classes will continue for the remainder of the Spring semester in alternative formats. Staff members who perform essential functions on campus will more than likely continue as they have been but should work with their supervisor or vice president to determine if there will be any shifts in these arrangements.

We recognize this extension will create additional challenges for our students, staff, and faculty. The Leadership Team will be meeting with department and program managers across the organization this week to identify such challenges and to determine how best to live out our mission in these unprecedented times. I continue to be impressed by the way our community has worked collaboratively and creatively to overcome the number of challenges we have already faced.

As things progress we will continue to assess the current situation and plan accordingly. As before, you can find the latest updates and information on the Garrett COVID-19 webpage and all questions related to the campus closing and the seminary’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) should be directed to CampusSafety@Garrett.edu.

We urge our beloved seminary community to care for their whole selves during this time and to follow the guidelines provided by the CDC. Finally, we continue to hold those who have already been diagnosed with COVID-19, our healthcare workers, and others at a high-risk in our prayers. 

Faithfully,

Lallene J. Rector
President

Campus Safety
Shane Nichols | Erin Moore
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60201
Campus.Safety@Garrett.edu

Update on April 28, 2020

Dear Garrett Community,

On Thursday, April 23, 2020, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced his extension of the "Stay-at-Home" order for the state of Illinois through May 31, 2020. With these guidelines and mandate in place, the Seminary campus will remain closed through May 31.

As reported before, classes will continue for the remainder of the Spring semester in alternative formats. In addition, summer courses and programming will be held in alternative formats from face-to-face meetings.

We recognize this extension will create additional challenges. The Leadership Team has and will continue to meet with department and program managers across the organization to identify such challenges and to determine how best to live out our mission in these unprecedented times.

It is our intention to open the campus and for employees to return to their offices as soon as we are able. The reality is we simply do not know when that will be, nor do we know exactly what that will look like. At this time, we are anticipating the return to campus will happen in a safe phased-in approach that is in line with state guidance. For now, we will continue to monitor the situation, abide by all city and state ordinances, and, most importantly, prioritize the safety of all community members. When we know more, you will know more.

Questions related to the campus closing and the seminary’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) should be directed to CampusSafety@Garrett.edu.

We urge our beloved seminary community to continue to care for their whole selves during this time and to follow the guidelines provided by the CDC. Finally, we continue to hold those who have already been diagnosed with COVID-19, our healthcare workers, and others at a high-risk in our prayers.

Faithfully,

Lallene J. Rector
President

Campus Safety
Shane Nichols | Erin Moore
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60201
Campus.Safety@Garrett.edu