The leadership team has been monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and its spread since it first made news. Messages to the Davidson College community will be provided on this webpage.


March 30, 2020

President Quillen: Home Is Us

Here are greetings from a few folks you might recognize and who miss you and the community we’ve created here. If you’ve left campus or if you’re on campus, we cannot gather and see each other as we normally do—in class, the Union, Nummit, or just walking.  No matter where you are, the warmth and love in this message are meant for you. 

Our inventive classmates and colleagues keep finding ways like this for us to erase the distance. Thank you all for your commitment to each other and to this special place.


March 28, 2020

Message to Students on Campus and Davidson Employees: North Carolina Stay-At-Home Order

Governor Cooper yesterday issued a Stay at Home Order for all of North Carolina, which you likely are aware of. This order has similar rules to the one issued by Mecklenburg County earlier in the week, but the state order lasts longer, for thirty days–from 5 p.m. on Monday, March 30 until at least April 28.

Until Monday evening, we remain under the county order.

Like the Mecklenburg County order and the earlier state Declaration of Emergency, this new statewide Stay at Home order lists educational institutions, including colleges, as Essential Businesses and Operations “for purposes of facilitating remote learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions, provided that the Social Distancing Requirements…are maintained to the greatest extent possible.”

As we understand it, this new statewide order does not change anything about the way we are operating now except to lengthen the period of time that we are under a stay-at-home order. 

For students who are on campus:

  • You should NOT leave campus for anything other than essential goods or services, such as: prescriptions, medicine or a doctor’s appointment.
  • Vail Commons is providing meals to all students on campus.  So grocery trips should be only for essential needs. 
  • You may walk to campus buildings as you need to, but you must follow physical distancing guidelines outside and inside.  That means staying six feet away from other individuals.  Gatherings of more than nine people are prohibited under any circumstances.  And please frequently wash your hands.
  • You can be outside as much as you want, provided you are practicing physical distancing. We have a big, beautiful campus, so take advantage of it. That includes exercise, such as running on the cross country trail.

Faculty will continue to teach their classes remotely and may be on campus to use classrooms or technology they do not have at home or to attend to research that cannot be managed remotely.

Staff will continue to work remotely whenever possible, and some staff will continue to come to campus to support our students or perform other critical maintenance and infrastructure work. Managers will continue to give staff direction as to whether their presence is necessary on campus.

We appreciate all the work you are doing, whether from home or on campus, and we encourage you to keep safety in mind in everything you do.  As we are reminded in the Governor’s order:

  • Maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.
  • Wash your hands using soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible, and/or use hand sanitizer.
  • Regularly clean high-touch surfaces.
  • Do everything you can online.

Take care, and please let us know if we can be of help to you. 


March 27, 2020

President Quillen: Figuring It Out

Our creative staff in Vail Commons figured things out. They needed to feed the more than 100 students who remain on campus every day in a dining hall designed for short, close lines and a lot of self-service. They reconfigured so that staff in protective gloves do the serving. They pasted arrows and “stop” lines in blue tape on the floor to show six feet of separation.  And they switched all meals to take out to reduce person-to-person interaction.

Our Technology & Innovation and library staff guided faculty who previously had minimal need for interactive technology and helped them become start up broadcasters. They found laptops and even desktops – not antiques yet – for students to take home for remote instruction.

Our facilities teams are cleaning the dorms more often with smarter techniques and more powerful tools and cleaners. They choreograph where they are working so they don’t get close to one another, and the smell of disinfectant leaves no doubt about the strength of the work.

Our Business Services team members are keeping the post office open with fewer people, so that students on campus can still get mail, and remotely are maintaining essential operations.

Our Campus Police officers know that, in order to do their job, they may not be able to keep the six feet of physical distancing that helps protect them. 

Many people at Davidson whose jobs are even more critical now are expanding and adapting how they work to meet extraordinary circumstances. 

One of our alums, James Jenkins, who works at Boston’s JFK Presidential Library and Museum, recently wrote to us, “We are made for unprecedented times.”

Those words certainly apply to our colleagues who help keep us as safe as possible and, then, do it, again, the next day.

Take good care and stay connected.


March 25, 2020

President Quillen: Gratitude

The collective creativity and caring of this community continues to inspire me—you’ve done virtual labs, shared your artistic talent, and prepared an online global premiere while also finding new ways to build connections across geography and time zones. I’m grateful for your determination and resilience.

I’m equally grateful for your candor. This is hard. There is much we don’t and can’t know. Thank you for expressing your concerns and worries, and thank you for making space for this and listening to one another. You may find this brief interview helpful (I did). We will get through this together because we are a genuine community where each person is valued and loved. 

I’ve found that a simple daily routine helps me, one that includes breaks from news and facetime chats with my daughter. I’m also fortunate to be able to take long walks, listening to podcasts wholly unrelated to the coronavirus. 

On a related note, for those of you with access to CBSSN, you can watch two classic men’s basketball games from 2008 this evening—Davidson versus Gonzaga (at 8 p.m. EDT) and Davidson versus Georgetown (at 10 p.m. EDT). I also know of several movie suggestions that folks are sharing on social media.

It’s worth figuring out what helps you, and maybe sharing that with others. Our shared vulnerability can be a real strength. 

Thank you all so much for all you’re doing.


March 24, 2020

What does Mecklenburg County’s ‘Stay at Home’ order mean for campus? 

You likely are aware that Mecklenburg County issued a ‘stay at home’ order that takes effect Thursday morning. Refer to Governor Cooper's Executive Orders to date. We already were following many of the guidelines, but here is what you need to know:

Students 

  • You should NOT leave campus for anything other than essential goods or services, such as: prescriptions, medicine or a doctor’s appointment.
  • Vail Commons is providing meals to all students on campus. So grocery trips should be only for essential needs. 
  • You may walk to campus buildings as you need to, but you must follow physical distancing guidelines outside and inside. That means staying six feet away from other individuals. Gatherings of more than nine people are prohibited under any circumstances. And please frequently wash your hands.
  • You can be outside as much as you want, provided you are practicing physical distancing. We have a big, beautiful campus, so take advantage of it. That includes exercise, such as running on the cross country trail.

Faculty and Staff Members

  • Beginning Thursday morning, staff employees should only be coming to campus as permitted by their manager.  Managers may approve staff to come to campus for the following reasons:
    • to facilitate delivery of distance learning;
    • to perform essential functions, including, but not limited to, providing meals for students and maintaining facilities; and
    • to perform the minimum necessary activities that facilitate employees being able to continue to work remotely from home (for example, limited visits to campus to process check payments or sort physical mail). 
  • Faculty members who need to use on-campus resources for remote instruction and faculty and staff feeding and caring for animals and organisms in labs are also allowed to continue coming to campus under the Mecklenburg County order. Staff members who are directly supporting remote instruction are also permitted to come to campus.
  • Employees who are on campus must follow physical distancing guidelines outside and inside. That means staying six feet away from other individuals. Gatherings of more than nine people are prohibited under any circumstances.  And please frequently wash your hands.
  • Like students, you are welcome to use the outdoor areas of campus for exercise, provided you are practicing physical distancing.

If you have questions please feel free to contact Kim Ball (staff) or Philip Jefferson (faculty). We know that it seems like every day brings another change in what is accessible and when. We are persevering through these anxious times together and appreciate your help and patience in keeping each other safe.


March 23, 2020

President Quillen: Connecting

One student last week posted that they didn't realize the sensitivity of the computer microphone and apologized for "cereal sound effect."  A classmate acknowledged that their dog fell off the bed and barked at the UPS delivery during the same class.  

A student in Professor Antonio Spikes's class demanded a Zoom introduction to his cat, Sylvestra, which led to #classcat and, of course, #cats. 

A parent reported to friends how her student watched as a classmate asked to be excused so that he could take cover during a tremor.  New Zoom guidance: You don't need to ask to be excused during an earthquake. 

And you may have seen Professor Michelle Kuchera's tweet:  "TIL that I talk with my hands a lot. Day 1 of virtual classes for us." 

You all are finding ways to stay close in spite of the physical distance that we have to keep right now, such as tomorrow night’s open mic on Zoom for poetry, art and song.  You’re creatively sharing moments, frustrations and joys as if you were sitting in the Union.  You’re taking what first might have seemed like an electronic obstacle and are turning it into a connective bridge.  While I’m not surprised, I’m proud of and grateful for your deep understanding of the situation and your role in supporting one another through it

If it hasn't already, the stress of having to stay in one place will start to build.  I know you’ll find ways to ease it:  virtual snacks and meals with your friends and classmates, video tours of your house might want to let the other inhabitants know, first and watching shows "together."   We will need each other more in the coming days.

You each have a lot to share and that matters even more in these difficult circumstances. Please know that when I or others insist on physical distancing and implore you to stay home, we’re doing it because we care about you. You matter so much to us.

I will do my part and send you updates from campus, where we miss all of you.

Thank you for your support for each other and those around us.  

#DAVIDSONTRUE


 

Alumni Voices: U.S. Rep. Greg Murphy ’85

"If we take these preventative measures, we will ultimately get through this."

More from Congressman Murphy


March 20, 2020

President Quillen: DavidsonStrong

On day three of remote learning, our students and professors are posting about their experiences, Career Development is advising remotely, holistic advisors are scheduling zoom meetings, and T&I is keeping us all up and running! I love your photos and comments! Thank you for building connections and sustaining relationships, even at a vast distance.

On campus, we are adjusting to this new reality as we support remote learning and our remaining students. Our top priorities remain that same: protecting the health and wellbeing of our campus and broader community, and sustaining teaching and learning. We’ve adapted our routines—many, many zoom meetings! We’re also finding effective ways to share how much we care about each other and how much each member of our community matters.  We’re here for you.

MOST importantly, and because we care about each other, we are actively working to abide by some crucial practices:  

  • We’ve limited those on campus to critical staff. Everyone who can work remotely is doing so, and most people whose work is not critical at this moment on campus have been asked to stay home for the next two weeks. 
  • Dining services has quickly switched to take out only. Students are staying six feet apart as they await their food.
  • Professors are working only in their classrooms and offices. They are not socializing or meeting in person on campus.
  • All people on campus are maintaining a distance of six feet between themselves and other people. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.
  • No gatherings. Even very small groups must practice physical distancing (6 feet between people).
  • Anyone who feels ill must stay home.
  • Buildings all require cat card access, and hours are limited.
  • Students who are living on campus should not leave campus overnight.
  • ALL of us must abide by physical distancing wherever we are.  

Physical distancing—staying away from other people—can dramatically slow the spread of the virus. For it to work, we need to practice it all the time. We all need to act as if we could be carrying the virus.  Thank you, thank you for doing this. I’m committed to helping us all find new ways of feeling connected.

Even as we all adjust to these difficult circumstances, our community is reaching out to help neighbors who are most vulnerable. Davidson people are helping to feed school kids, helping with rent, and delivering groceries to the elderly. Just as our amazing alums pitched in to help our students, now Davidson people are seeking ways to support their neighbors. I feel so fortunate to be a part of #DavidsonStrong.


March 18, 2020

President Quillen: Campus Update and Thanks

In a few short days, thanks to the incredible efforts, generosity and strength of each of you, we moved to remote learning, moved many people to remote working, and moved over 1500 of our amazing students off campus.  As I walked around tonight, I felt the heavy sadness of a semester cut short and a deep gratitude to this community for facing this unprecedented challenge with determination and creativity. Absolutely everyone has contributed. Thank you.

The situation with COVID-19 is dynamic. Things change very quickly, even over the course of a single day. Right now, testing is limited and our town and state need to slow the spread of the virus. To do this, each one of us needs to stay away from other people. All of us are practicing social distancing. That means working remotely where at all possible and, when not possible, staying six feet away from each other. At no time can more than 9 people be in the same space.

This is hard to do, especially in a community like Davidson. We’re used to chatting on the sidewalk or in the halls, and now we can’t. Instead we take a wide berth around our friends. THANK YOU for upholding these social distancing norms. It is very important.

Things will continue to change, and it might get harder before it gets better. Please take care of yourself. You matter to this community. We’re here for each other.

Thanks again for all you do for Davidson.


 

Amid Fear and Confusion, Compassion and Community

As the coronavirus pandemic shattered plans for the end of the school year, the Davidson College community rallied.

Read the inspiring stories


March 16, 2020

President Quillen: Campus Update

I have been informed that a member of our community who was being tested for COVID-19 has tested negative. We are grateful and know this is of great relief for this individual. 

We also know, however, that the virus causing COVID-19 continues to spread, and we appreciate and encourage all that you are doing to slow it down and prevent it.

From what we know about this outbreak, there likely will be individuals close to or a part of this community who are tested and some will be diagnosed with COVID-19. Based on guidance from state health officials, our understanding is that if someone in the Davidson campus community tests positive, we (administrators) will be notified of that fact but not of the identity of the individual. Individual health care privacy matters, is protected by law and we need to protect it. Health officials will then notify those whom they determine had close contact with the individual.  

Until our state and country have more widely available testing, and because it’s possible for those with the virus to have mild symptoms, we all need to abide by CDC guidance and practice social distancing and aggressive hand hygiene. We all need to protect each other. 

Davidson is a uniquely close community with a loyalty to all humanity. We think of others and seek ways to serve. Right now, we all have the power to help our community, close and distant:

  • Monitor your own health closely and consult a health care provider about any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 – high fever, cough, respiratory difficulty.
  • Take care of yourself with adequate rest, a good diet and exercise.
  • Follow the preventive guidelines: hand washing/sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes and keeping sufficient distance from others.

For additional information, please continue to visit this page. I understand this is a challenging for everyone. I take comfort in our shared values as we all continue to make sure that we support each other with care, dignity and respect. 

Thank you all for your efforts and care for each other.


March 14, 2020

President Quillen: #DavidsonTrue

Today on campus, students are packing their rooms, professors are working with library and instructional design experts to move their courses to remote instruction, and our student life team is supporting community members, especially students, who have specific challenges or needs. Thank you all for coming together in support of our mission and one another.

In the broader community and on campus, people are adjusting to a radically different context. As we all focus more on COVID-19 and slowing its spread, each of us will pay more attention to our health and to abiding by our shared obligations. I’m proud and grateful to be a part of Davidson. You have turned understandable fear into constructive action, and your concern for one another is evident at every moment.

College leadership is working to address questions as they come in and is posting responses.

SGA has worked generously and quickly to address specific needs like transportation and storage. All students who can leave campus are doing that. Our amazing seniors have demonstrated leadership and understanding, and I know we will celebrate their accomplishments at some point in the future.


 

On the Quest for a Fast, Accurate COVID-19 Test

This week, the FDA gave emergency approval to Hologic for a new COVID-19 test that can be processed faster, more accurately and in larger numbers than anything available.

Read the Q&A with Steve MacMillan '85


March 13, 2020

President Quillen: Brief Note and Reminders Regarding COVID-19

Good morning, I hope to update you at least once daily for the next few days. Thank you for all that you’re doing.

At a time of heightened anxiety, I want consistently to urge us to take the steps we know we can take to slow the transmission of this virus, no matter where or who we are. There is a lot we can’t control, but there are steps we can take. This virus is most often transmitted through sneezes, coughs, and close personal contact. Do these things:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds.  When you can’t use soap and water, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid routine personal contact: wave, say hello. No handshaking or hugging.
  • Avoid large gatherings.  Do not hold or attend such gatherings.
  • If have symptoms (coughing, sneezing, fever, shortness of breath) stay home and call your doctor or the Center for Health and Well-Being.
  • Students who can leave campus, please do so and let us know how to help you.

Seniors, I know this is impossibly disappointing for you and that you have many questions, including questions about Commencement. No decision has been made here. I can promise you, though, that in the future a time will come when we can and will celebrate. I don’t know when this will be, but I will work with you to figure that out. For now, I need you to help us safeguard the health of everyone by taking the steps above.

Many students have asked about room and board; appropriate refunds/credits will be issued. We expect to do this by Monday, March 28th.

Thanks to all students for your cooperation, leadership and understanding. We’re here to help.

Thanks to SGA for your good questions last night, and for encouraging all of us to abide by our shared obligations. I will be back in touch later today.  

Faculty members, thank you for your incredible efforts to move to remote instruction. I am so grateful for your creativity and collegiality.

Staff members, thank you for everything that you’re doing to support our mission and safeguard our campus. We’re fortunate to have you.

Thank you all for your efforts and support of one another.


March 12, 2020

Important Information Regarding COVID-19 from President Quillen

I have just been informed that a member of our community exhibited some symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and meets some of the criteria for testing. This individual was tested this evening, and we will know the results in a few days. Our thoughts are with this person, and we hope they recover quickly.  We are committed to protecting their privacy.

Out of caution, that individual is in quarantine. We are following the guidance and direction of local and state health officials, who have not recommended any additional steps at this time.

Our understanding from health officials is that, if the test comes back positive, we or the health department will ask those individuals who have been in close contact with this potential case to monitor their health closely for a period of time. 

Once we have any further information we will share that with you. We understand that sharing this now will cause anxiety, but, knowing that rumors may circulate, I wanted you to hear the facts as I know them.


March 12, 2020

Important Campus Message from President Quillen Regarding COVID-19

With the declaration of a global pandemic, we as a community need to take significant, immediate steps to honor the priorities that have guided us in addressing COVID-19. These priorities remain what they have been:

  • Safeguarding the health and well-being of the campus community, especially those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19
  • Respecting the guidance of public health officials
  • Ensuring that students can complete their academic work for the semester

Then two other very important priorities: 

  • Ensuring, insofar as possible, that faculty members can continue research and scholarly work
  • Ensuring, insofar as possible, that other crucial educational opportunities remain available to students

To honor these priorities now, we need to switch to remote instruction (mandating that all faculty move to remote instruction) and we need all students who can leave the residence halls to do so.

This is an extraordinary step for a campus like ours. Our priorities have not changed. The declaration of a global pandemic will likely cause school and work closings and increasingly stringent guidelines for personal interactions as well as even greater stress on everyone. By moving to remote instruction, we enable all students, no matter where they are, to complete their academic work, albeit in radically different form. By strongly urging all students who can leave campus to do so, we reduce the density of our residence halls, helping to ensure that we can, under conditions of a global pandemic, comply with potential guidance from CDC and other public health experts.

I am fully aware of the complexity of this potential course of action and the burdens that it places on you all. I am asking for your help and support. Some students will need to stay on campus. These students need others who can leave to do so. Faculty members will need to go remote, and will rely on those who have expertise or experience doing this to help them. Other members of our community will require individual solutions that meet their unique needs.  I am grateful, as always, for the ways in which you support and sustain each other. 

To ensure that we can address everyone’s needs, especially those of the most vulnerable among us, we need every single person to help, as you have been helping up to now. Thank you, thank you.

The Immediate Plan

Everyone

  • Campus will remain open. Departments across campus are working to continue to provide services and programs that supplement academic coursework.
  • All classes are cancelled tomorrow, Friday, March 13, through Tuesday, March 17. 
  • All classes will resume by remote instruction on Wednesday, March 18.
  •  Human Resources is working on a continuity of work plan for all regular employees and Kim Ball will send a message with additional information later today. 

Faculty Members

  • Training in remote instruction remains available, and Dean Jefferson will follow up with more information and ways to explore solutions to individual challenges in this move.

Students

  • Students, if you can, please leave campus by Wednesday. You will be aiding your friends, classmates and mentors, as our goal is to reduce the concentration of people on campus. You should not plan on returning this semester, so please take whatever belongings you need through that time. We will follow up at a later date with information about retrieving belongings that are left on campus. Student athletes, your coaches will follow up shortly.
  • If leaving now presents a hardship or is impeded by international travel restrictions, please talk to the Dean of Students office. Let us know what you need. We want to help. Dean McCrae will follow up with additional information.
  • Synchronous remote classes will be held at the scheduled times. Office hours will be held remotely.

We recognize that this is hard, especially for some subject areas and courses. Faculty members will work with students on how to complete work in these areas.

We are moving quickly to get information out to you, so a lot of questions will be answered in subsequent communications. Please look for these. No decision has been made about Commencement.

Students, if you need an accommodation for a disability, please see Beth Bleil.

Additional Information

  • Campus remains open, but we are canceling all gatherings of more than 50 people. This will impact scheduled performances and other events. More information will be forthcoming.

  • Our Silicon Valley program has switched to remote instruction.

  • The Admission team is transforming events to virtual visits.

This move, unprecedented in the college’s history, is very difficult and will require everyone’s help. To our students, thank you for your resilience and your support for each other during these tense moments. To our faculty members and staff, thank you for steadfast dedication to our primary purpose, values and students.


March 11, 2020

President Quillen Update on COVID-19

Over the past few hours, I and many others have received a number of understandably anxious emails and calls from our community, asking for explanations, information or posing questions specific to the circumstances of individuals. All of us (senior leadership and our T&I, Academic Affairs, and Student Life teams, together with many faculty members and staff members) are working to address each of these questions. I want to thank my colleagues and all of you for all you are doing at this very stressful time to support one another.

Each of you who writes has a different concern: a senior who wants desperately to complete a thesis, a first generation student who cannot go home, a scholar athlete who wants to finish a final season, a faculty member who wants to give a paper at a conference, a person with a chronic condition who wants to leave campus, a staff member with an elderly parent at home, a student with an ill relative at home, and more. Each of these concerns and fears matters.  

All of us, with your help, are working to come up with plans/answers/options that safeguard the health and well-being of campus and honor the differing needs, health concerns and aspirations of the community. In this we are guided by the best information we can get from CDC and local health officials. Even if we cannot answer you directly, we’re working on it.

Every single person can help to safeguard themselves and others:

  • Abide  by our “shared obligations” (outlined in the March 7 message below).
  • Cancel in person gatherings, including social gatherings, that can be postponed or whose purpose can be accomplished in another way.
  • If working remotely is best for your situation, talk with your manager or Director of Human Resources Kim Ball. 

Tomorrow we will provide a detailed update. Thank you, as always, for all that you do for Davidson.


 

A Curated Guide to Epidemic Movies

Chillag says movies allow people to engage with their fears in a controlled way while documentaries about past pandemics can help us to understand the lessons they provide.

Movie suggestions and more 


March 10, 2020

Your Support for Each Other During the COVID-19 Situation

We are a strong community that looks out for one another.  Thank you all, during these stressful days, for embracing our shared commitment and taking care of each other. 

We have received a variety of questions, particularly from students, that we will try to answer here. Later in this message you will find questions collected by SGA leadership with Dean McCrae providing some answers.

The most important thing to take away from this message is that we need your help, creativity and good sense. We all are operating differently, and we need to find creative ways to get things done differently than we have in the past. If you have a gathering scheduled that involves people flying in, can you achieve what you need to by meeting virtually or postponing? Can you raise money for your charity in some way other than an event that draws a crowd to campus?  

One of the big questions right now is about in-person classes. We do not, at this time, have plans to send students home and shift to virtual or remote instruction. You undoubtedly have read of some schools doing this. Institutions make these decisions based on a variety of factors, including location and risk to vulnerable populations, such as a university that runs a hospital filled with patients. Davidson is an amazing, strong community in which we provide tremendous support for each other. There are many among us who would be going home to situations where they may not have the same support as here, or they could put someone from a vulnerable group at risk.

That said, we continue to adjust how we are handling this situation based on circumstances. Our teams in Technology & Innovation, the Center for Teaching and Learning and Academic Affairs have worked to ensure that faculty have the resources and training to teach remotely. We are going to offer this option to faculty now, which will give them the opportunity to test this format. We need to prepare for all possibilities. For example, we have arranged new licensing that allows all faculty to use Zoom conferencing with up to 100 participants, and training sessions for remote teaching are going on this week.

The Governor of North Carolina has declared a state of emergency. Such a declaration is a tool that governments use to access emergency funding and relax some regulations to better respond to possible crisis situations. It is not a measure of risk by public health officials.

Please continue to follow the preventive steps we have sent and are posted on this webpage. 

Other Things We Are Doing

  • All college-sponsored international travel is cancelled through the end of this semester, which is a tighter restriction than previously set.  If you need an exception to this because of an emergency situation, students should contact Dean Byron McCrae, and employees should contact CFO Ann McCorvey.
  • We are discouraging nonessential, college-sponsored, domestic travel through the end of the semester, and trips must be cleared by a division head or, for students, the Dean of Students office, also a tighter restriction.  The distinction from international travel is that the college is better situated to help you within the U.S. if circumstances or regulations around you change.
  • We expect to have COVID-19 tests in hand this week.
  • We have plans and self-contained facilities in place if we need to quarantine or isolate students.  The Guest House, for example, can be cleared of guests, which provides individual rooms with individual bathrooms. We have other locations with private bathrooms and separate ventilation systems. 
  • We have cancelled some events, such as the upcoming Reformed Tradition symposium, Cornelson lecture and Alumni Association meeting.
  • Athletics continues to evaluate spring competition schedules, travel and policies in conjunction with the A10 conference, NCAA and public safety officials.
  • Our facilities crews continue to ratchet up cleaning of common areas and to maintain hand sanitizer in public locations.  Food service has removed areas of common touchpoints.  

FAQs

Below are questions assembled by SGA leaders with responses from Byron McCrae, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students

Where will students quarantine? 
Please see the reference to the Guest House above.  Decisions about where to isolate or quarantine students will be based on advice from our medical partners and the guidance of public health officials.  

Is it true that the lounge on the third floor of Armfield is a quarantine zone? (This is a rumor going around) 
While some students may be aware that Armfield lounges were used in a public health emergency
 several years ago, I should stress caution about rumors and the misunderstandings that rumors cause.  Decisions about where to isolate or quarantine students will be based on advice from our medical partners and the guidance of public health officials.  

What threshold of symptoms must students meet to not attend class?
If you have symptoms of a cold or the flu (fever, cough, sneezing, shortness of breath) stay home, get rest, and contact your doctor or Davidson’s Center for Student Health and Well-Being.

Is there support available for students with disabilities? Although our age group is not at high risk, there could be students on campus with physical disabilities that suppress their immune systems. How is the college supporting those individuals? 
Students should contact any of the following offices: Academic Access & Disability Resources, the Dean of Students Office or Center for Student Health & Well-Being.  

Where should students go if they're experiencing symptoms?
Students should go to the Center for Student Health & Well-Being.  

How will academics at Davidson change because of the virus? Some colleges across the country have sent students home, transitioned to online classes, etc.
Please see the reference to remote teaching above. We are taking proactive measures to be as flexible as possible to meet the needs of our students as well as our faculty and staff.  Some of our employees are primary caregivers to populations at high risk for the illness, so we may provide them options. 

How is the Town of Davidson reacting to the spread of the virus?
The town has posted information on their website. 

How will current and future abroad plans be impacted?
We will continue to adjust as circumstances require. 

What is Davidson doing for older-aged professors who may be at risk?
Please see the reference above to providing the option of remote teaching to all faculty.

Is there anywhere where students can find a list of places around the country, and the world that are at risk?
Yes, the CDC and U.S. State Department

What changes is the health center making to accommodate students during this time?
Health and Well-Being has been planning and following CDC protocols for several weeks. 

Changes were made at commons to keep things sanitary. What steps could Eating Houses take to prevent the spread of illness?
Eating house leaders have reached out to college leaders who 
provided recommendations to all Patterson Court houses that provide meals.  

Could the college take steps to increase the availability of Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer throughout campus?
Resources are limited and we will try to obtain more. 
Please do not move or take the hand sanitizer containers that our staff have placed in public places. These are there for all of us. Use them, but please do not take them.

This has been, and continues to be, a community effort.  We are grateful for your support and devotion to your friends, classmates and colleagues, and we will continue to need your help. 


March 9, 2020

Changes to Protect Us from COVID-19

We will be operating a little differently as we take steps to protect against COVID-19. Today, we want to tell you about some of the first of the kinds of changes you can expect. 

Meals will be different. We want to remove or reduce common touchpoints, such as places at which lots of people touch serving utensils, condiments or napkin holders.

  • You will find more places at which the food service staff serve you. 
  • We will take orders verbally rather than setting out pencils and paper order forms.
  • Salt and pepper shakers, ketchup, other condiments and napkin holders will be placed under a sneeze shield, and the outside of them frequently will be wiped down with sanitizer.

These steps likely will slow down food service, so please be patient with longer lines.

We are reevaluating events with crowds, the benefits, level of risk, the size of the crowd and other factors. You may see some events cancelled because the speaker couldn’t travel or participants start cancelling. 

We are grateful for the care you already are taking toward your own health and the health of those around you. Please continue to keep your classmates, friends and colleagues at top of mind as you make decisions. 


March 7, 2020

A Message from President Quillen

On Monday, we begin classes after spring break, and this coincides with heightened global concern about the spread of COVID-19. The following describes ongoing campus preparations and how each of you can help to safeguard your health and that of our community.  

This coronavirus presents us with a rapidly evolving situation, and our guidance to you may change as the Centers for Disease Control and other experts provide us with updates. We will share the information we receive as quickly and as clearly as possible. 

Davidson is a mission-driven community, and I and the leadership team strive to ground decision-making in shared values: respect for the inherent dignity of all human beings, a commitment to the quest for truth, and attention to the needs of others, especially those who in this situation are most vulnerable.

Our Shared Obligations

At this time, each of us has a heightened obligation to safeguard our own health and the health of our community. Everyone can help by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.  If those aren’t available, use hand sanitizer. CDC has detailed recommendations about handwashing.
  • Please do not move or take the hand sanitizer containers that our staff have placed in public places. These are there for all of us. Use them, but please do not take them.
  • Avoid shaking hands. Wave or forearm bump (or just say hello).
  • Don’t share food utensils, straws or drink from the same glass.
  • Avoid frequently touching your face (we do this 23 times an hour).
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow when you sneeze or cough. Put used tissues in the trash.
  • If you have symptoms of a cold or the flu (fever, cough, sneezing, shortness of breath) stay home, get rest, and contact your doctor or Davidson’s Center for Student Health and Well-Being.
  • Encourage others with symptoms to stay home. Davidson people are conscientious and dedicated, so their instinct is to go to class or work or practice, but please encourage them to stay home or in their rooms when sick. 
  • If you have chronic or underlying health conditions, please consult your health care provider about any additional precautions you should take.
  • Consider the needs of populations with heightened health concerns (the elderly, people with underlying medical conditions, and people with limited access to resources) in your own decision-making.
  • If you know of someone in our community who needs help or is suffering because of this situation, please tell the Dean of Students Office, your chair, manager, Human Resources or me.
  • In situations like this, bigotry and discrimination can thrive. Stand up to it when you see it. Turn fear into constructive action by embracing our shared obligations.
  • Professors, Coaches, Mentors: Your students will listen to you. Please remind them to take care of their health, stay in their rooms and contact Student Health and Well-Being if they feel sick, and please make accommodations for their absence. Thank you for your help. 

If you take away one thing from these guidelinesWe all need to think and operate a little differently, from the routine – for example, no handshaking – because the small actions we take, like frequently washing our hands, help to safeguard the health of our students, colleagues, friends and mentors.

The Current Situatio

As with new viruses in the past, COVID-19 does not respect borders. The news stories that you see chronicle its impact. 

Institutions of higher education are addressing the situation in different ways, depending on factors such as their size, whether they house vulnerable populations (e.g. hospital patients), location and the epidemiological situation there, and scope of presence in other countries. We have made some adjustments to the ways that the college operates, and we will continue to adjust as circumstances and guidance from public health experts changes. 

We need your support, your help and your good sense as we go.

Actions The College Has Taken

On campus, leadership continues to monitor guidance from federal, state and local public health experts. We have a leadership group (Ann McCorvey, Sarah Phillips, Philip Jefferson, Byron McCrae, Mark Johnson and me) that is coordinating the work of small task forces. Thus far:  

  • Residence Life staff have mapped out protocols for different scenarios, including potential cases on campus.
  • Student Life staff in collaboration with others have tentatively determined our capacity for social distancing, isolation, and quarantine.
  • Finance and Administration, Academic Affairs, and T&I staff in collaboration with the senior leadership team have developed preliminary plans for business continuity, including expanded video link capacity and who can work from home. 
  • Human Resources has posted guidance for managers on Inside Davidson, assisting with topics such as sick leave and self-isolation, if diagnosed. 
  • The Facilities team has disinfected all public areas of the campus and is installing more hand sanitizer dispensers.
  • The Center for Health and Well-Being staff have been following federal protocols and plans for several weeks and its staff members have participated in task force planning.

Travel, Conferences and Large Gatherings

We will not support travel by anyone to a location for which the CDC has issued a Level-3 alert. We will not approve or fund student travel to a Level-2 location. Faculty planning travel to a Level-2 location must first confer with the Vice President for Academic Affairs. These steps are based on our ability to help you should circumstances change and our desire to safeguard the health of the campus. 

Faculty members who plan to travel to other international locations should take the precautions listed above under “our shared obligations.” In addition, we ask that you consider the circumstances in your destination and your specific risk with respect to this virus (e.g. underlying medical conditions), and weigh these against the urgency of your trip. CDC has posted a risk assessment map that you may find helpful.  

We are not asking faculty and staff to cancel domestic travel, but we ask that you consider the circumstances in your destination, your personal risk with respect to this virus (e.g. underlying health conditions), and the time sensitivity of your trip. If you are scheduled to travel for college business and are uncomfortable doing that, please talk with your manager. 

If you travel, please be especially attentive. Personally when I fly, I follow advice I got a long time ago during flu season: I wipe my plane seat, arms and tray with a Clorox wipe.

As of now, we have not cancelled public events, but we will continue to evaluate them and encourage participants to be vigilant about their own health and how it affects those around them.

If you are planning to attend a conference or large gathering, please consider: the local circumstances, the size and reach of the gathering (larger gatherings that draw globally pose a greater risk), your personal risk with respect to this virus, the importance of the conference to your professional life, and whether the conference organizers are taking appropriate precautions. As always, follow the “shared obligations” listed above.

With respect to conference attendance by students, we want to be cautious while also acknowledging the educational value of their participation. Given the rapidly evolving nature of this situation, we will, for the time being, evaluate this on a case by case basis. If you’re taking students to a conference within the next month, please consider the circumstances above and confer with Fuji Lozada. 

Where To Go For Additional Information

Here are several places you can go to for answers to common questions, and, as always, please reach out to us with your concerns:

At times like this, I’m deeply thankful to be in a genuinely caring community. Thank you for working together to look out for each other and our students.


 

Davidson Expert: What We Know About the New Coronavirus Strain

As a new strain of coronavirus spreads worldwide, Dave Wessner is seizing on this teachable moment.

Read the Q&A


March 5, 2020

COVID-19 and Returning to Campus after Spring Break

Classmates and colleagues are returning to campus this weekend after spring break, many of whom traveled across the country and, some, overseas. The college’s leadership team continues to monitor and follow the guidance from the government’s experts on public health and infectious disease, particularly around coronavirus (COVID-19). This is an evolving situation affecting countries around the globe, and we will adjust our guidelines and actions as the circumstances change. 

We wanted to provide some brief answers to questions you may have:

Should we start wearing masks?
The North Carolina Department of Health Human Services cautions that masks are recommended for use by sick people to prevent the spread of the disease, not by people who are well.

Is my study abroad program going to be cancelled?
Please see the guidance in the March 3 and February 27 messages below.

I am returning from a foreign trip.  What should I do?
There were no Davidson-led spring break trips to areas to which the Centers for Disease Control have applied a Level 3 alert (China, Iran, Italy, Korea), nor did any individuals register with travel to such an area. If you did travel to an area under one of those alerts, the CDC is recommending you stay home for 14 days from the time you left an area with the Level 3 Travel Health Notice.  Please reach out to Health & Well-Being, and the college will work with you on living arrangements and class obligations. 

How do I keep from getting sick?
The greatest risk right now remains the flu, and the preventive measures for the flu are equally helpful in preventing COVID-19, specifically:

  • Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer.  Be mindful of when your hands touch a public surface and should be washed.
  • Avoid touching your face. (A 2015 study found that participants did this 23 times an hour.)
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, either with a tissue or into your elbow.
  • Don’t share food, drinks, cigarettes or vapes, and other items that touch your mouth or nose.
  • Stay home if you are not feeling well and contact Health and Well-Being about a fever (100.4F/38C or higher), cough or shortness of breath.

I’m a student and I don’t feel well. What should I do?

  • Contact Health and Well-Being
  • Contact your professors for accommodations
  • Take care of yourself:  get rest, food and any medicines that you need

My roommate is returning from an overseas trip. What should I do?

  • If your roommate was in an affected area, please encourage them to contact Health & Well-Being and follow CDC guidance.      
  • If your roommate was not in an affected are, you both should follow the preventive steps outlined above and watch for any symptoms.

My roommate or friend is ill, and I’m worried.  What should I do?
Please encourage them to contact Health & Well-Being.

Are you cancelling campus events, like concerts or games, and, if not, should I attend them?
The CDC’s guidance right now is that the risk of COVID-19 to the general population remains low. The college has not cancelled any campus-wide events at this time. Individuals who show no symptoms can still attend and participate. Any updates regarding the college’s response to COVID-19 will be shared on this webpage.

What kind of preventive measures is the college taking?
We are monitoring updates from the government’s experts in public health and infectious disease, such as the CDC, and implementing best practices distributed by the American College Health Association and county health department. Our facilities and physical plant teams this week are disinfecting classrooms and other facilities, including railings and door handles. Our working groups are developing an action plan should any ill students need to be isolated. Specific units such as athletics, residence life, human resources (for employee health), and many others are also putting specific protocols in place.

Where should I go for more information?
The CDC and NCDHHS both provide robust web pages with information about COVID-19; this webpage provides college-specific information.

So far the locations with enough reported COVID-19 cases to merit travel warnings all have been in foreign countries, but we encourage you to pay attention to reports on confirmed cases in the United States. The one confirmed case in North Carolina to this point involved a visit to Washington state, where there were several reported cases.


March 3, 2020

Impact on International Programs

Davidson College and other colleges and universities are making decisions regarding international programs and travel, and we wanted to share some information about how those decisions are made.

We are guided by our responsibility to guard the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. We consult and follow the guidance from the government’s experts on public health and infectious disease at the CDC and from the U.S. State Department.  

Davidson will not continue any program in, or send any students to, an area to which the CDC has applied a Level 3 alert. Before the semester began, we helped two students scheduled to study in China make alternate plans. Last week we cancelled a spring break trip to Italy, which was then at alert level 2, out of an abundance of caution. The CDC since raised it to Level 3. We continue to evaluate international travel in light of evolving circumstances.

Currently we have no Davidson-led semester international programs running. We do have several students participating in programs managed by other institutions. Four students who had been studying on such programs in Italy, and one in Japan, will finish their semesters in the United States as directed by their program provider. 

We continue to consult with our international partner programs about students studying this semester and those who plan to study in the summer or fall.  We will make any adjustments necessary as circumstances change. This is an evolving global situation, and as the circumstances change, so will our guidelines and actions. 

We will work with affected students and our program providers to help facilitate program completion or assist in identifying alternate programs if our students’ international programs are cancelled or if they are forced to return home.

We have taken all possible proactive steps on campus, including plans and protocols that follow CDC guidance.   

Students should feel free to consult with their partner program liaison with any questions, and Davidson staff remain accessible to discuss individual concerns.


February 27, 2020

State of Global Travel

The disease has spread to several countries, including: Italy, South Korea, Japan and Greece. 

  • The State Department has issued a “Do Not Travel” advisory for China.
  • The Centers for Disease Control have placed South Korea on Alert-Level 3, urging against any nonessential travel there.
  • IranItaly and Japan are on Alert-Level 2 Status. That means that older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider canceling travel there, and all should exercise enhanced precautions. See the guidelines for preventing the coronavirus
  • Hong Kong has been placed on an Alert-Level 1 watch list. That means the number of cases remains small, but the rise in numbers has prompted an increased level of monitoring.
  • Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam are listed as destinations with a risk of the disease spreading.

The situation globally is evolving and this will likely cause additional travel disruption. CDC officials are cautioning that the virus’s spread to, and within, the United States is only a matter of time.

Guidance for Travelers 

All students traveling outside the United States on a Davidson-affiliated trip over spring break must register their travel via Davidson’s Office of Education Abroad system: Davidson International Travel Registration. The continued spread of the virus means that, at any time, further travel restrictions could be imposed on travelers returning from certain areas outside the United States. 

Faculty and staff should inform Naomi Otterness, Director of Education Abroad, regarding their international travel plans, at naotterness@davidson.edu

We strongly encourage anyone traveling outside the United States, even if the trip is not affiliated with Davidson, also to provide information through the channels listed above.

Anyone traveling should monitor the State Department and CDC webpages. In addition, all U.S. citizens traveling abroad should register their plans through the Department of State’s Safe Traveler Enrollment Program.

College Response

We remain in contact with state and federal health officials to ensure we have taken all possible proactive steps, including plans and protocols that follow CDC guidance. Administrative offices will be fully staffed during spring break.

Campus officials have consulted with faculty and staff who are scheduled to lead student trips during spring break. The planned trip to Italy has been cancelled. We know this is disappointing, but we believe it is the right decision. The CDC has placed Italy at a Level 2 alert. We are acting out of an abundance of caution, due to the uncertainty around the community transmission of the virus, uncertainty about the group’s ability to return should conditions deteriorate further, and an obligation to protect the safety and well-being of the rest of campus. 

We have no students or faculty studying or working in China, and two students who had planned semester studies there, made alternate plans. We are monitoring the situation with students and faculty in other study abroad programs and are prepared to assist and make alternate plans as needed.

Everyone is urged to follow the preventive steps used during flu season, including frequent hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes.

Davidson is a close and strong community, and during this time we ask that you please remember that we have classmates or colleagues who may have family in affected areas or who are experiencing unreasonable scrutiny. College officials have reached out to students from affected areas. We encourage you also to provide support to your classmates and colleagues.

The leadership team is planning for multiple potential scenarios and will offer information and guidance as the situation evolves. 

Thank you for the care and attention you are giving to this situation and the health and safety of you and the rest of the Davidson community.