Due to the number of updates from the College, we’ve condensed as much information as possible into this article. The most recent updates will appear at the top. All information will be sorted by the date it was released, beginning on March 16, 2020.

 

June 5, 2020

Additional information around classes in the fall, Commencement for the Class of 2020 and housing for the fall semester was released earlier this week. 

 

President Kim Phipps greeted students Monday morning with positive news. Messiah University will be in session on campus beginning on August 25th. The semester has been moved up a week and shortened. Students will no longer have a fall break. The last day of in person classes will occur the Tuesday before Thanksgiving break with online finals the first week of December. This allows the University to better control student travel.

 

Unfortunately, the Messiah College Class of 2020 will have to wait longer for their commencement. Messiah sent out a notice on Monday that the scheduled October commencement has been postponed to a possible early December date. 

 

Fall housing is being redone in order to comply with the state’s safety regulations for COVID-19. The campus needs to reduce the residence halls capacity. In order to do this, some students in the apartments are being asked to move over to the Oakwood Hills Apartments. Students in residence halls are being asked to move to apartments. 

 

Smith Apartments A and B are going to be closed and kept as spaces to isolate students who become sick.

 

Students are able to stay in their current living situation only if everybody in the room agrees on the arrangement. 

 

Students were emailed this form that must be filled out by June 10. This is to inform the school if you plan on moving from your current housing arrangement to another. 

 

May 8, 2020

Additional information around Commencement for the Class of 2020 was released in the evening.

 

Senior Week has been adapted for an online platform, starting May 9, 2020 and ending on October 24, 2020. Social media channels for the College will include a livestream on May 15 from Parmer Hall, celebrating and looking back on the Class of 2020. The link to the livestream can be found on the Commencement website on the date of the event.

 

Caps and gowns will begin to be mailed out on June 5, 2020. Seniors can expect to receive these items by June 15. International students will also receive their caps and gowns at their current address, which should have been previously confirmed via email.

 

“Any student who has not received their regalia by the end of June should contact purchasing@messiah.edu for assistance,” the email said.

 

Students who earned departmental honors should expect their cords with their cap and gown. Program-specific cords or insignias will be distributed separately by educational department directors, either to be mailed out over the summer or given during Commencement in October.

 

“When your regalia arrives, please send us photos of you in your caps and gowns so we can celebrate you on Messiah’s social media platforms and in the Bridge alumni magazine,” the email said. “Email photos to social@messiah.edu or use the hashtag #MessiahGrad20 on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.”

 

Diplomas will be mailed out once final grades have been submitted and confirmed. May graduates can expect their diplomas to be mailed out around early to mid-June. Students who are still completing coursework after May 16, 2020 will receive their diplomas later in the summer, after their coursework has been completed.

 

All graduates will be receiving their diploma covers during the October Commencement. If you are not able to attend, your diploma cover and towel of service will be mailed to you.

 

“Please watch your Messiah email account and your mailbox in June with an invitation to RSVP for the October ceremony, along with a survey from the Commencement Committee that will help shape the format of the ceremony and ticketing options,” the email said.

 

Changes are still possible, so graduates should be checking their Messiah emails for updated information.

 

To address some questions that were asked after Commencement had been rescheduled for October, the College once again stated that after looking at several options, October was determined to be the best time for everyone to return. Due to Fall Break, it provides the College with the time necessary to hold both the graduate and undergraduate Commencement ceremonies.

 

The decision to hold Commencement indoors was also explained in the email. Unpredictable temperatures due to the weather was one of the contributing factors. The event being held indoors also allows for the candlelight worship service to be incorporated.

 

“The College has received some questions asking if we are holding the ceremony indoors because we are unwilling to postpone or cancel athletic play,” the email said. “This is not the case.”

 

Messiah is cancelling any indoor athletic events that would have taken place in Hitchcock Arena during Fall Break in order to accomodate for Commencement. The challenge of staging all equipment necessary for an outdoor Commencement service would also damage the Starry Athletic Field turf, which could take months to repair and would affect any athletic events taking place after Fall Break. Such damage would not have an effect if Commencement were to be held in May, as the summer months would allow time for repairs.

 

Because of the tight time constraints around holding both the graduate and undergraduate Commencement in October, Baccalaureate was instead changed to the candlelight service that will take place during the October Commencement ceremony.

 

Tickets to the October ceremony will be determined after RSVPs from the graduating class have been confirmed.

 

“The Commencement Committee will be able to reach out to graduates in an informed way to solicit their input on ceremony format and ticketing options for their guests,” the email said.

 

For more information, seniors should check their Messiah emails or visit the Commencement website.

 

May 7, 2020

The Campus Store announced that textbook rental due dates will be extended until June 30, 2020.

 

“The store is closed, but we are available to help you through the process,” the Campus Store said.

 

On-campus students will find brown paper bags and a drop-off location in Lottie Nelson Dining Hall. Make sure to print your packing slip from Follett and include it with your books so the Campus Store can make sure everything is in order. Returns should be dropped in the mail cart located inside the dining hall.

 

Off-campus students should print their Follett packing slips as soon as possible. These slips should have come with an email reminder from Follett that textbooks are due. Even if textbooks are still in dorms, the packing slip should be printed. Once you have your textbooks, they can be mailed back to the Campus Store.

 

“You will not need to contact us if your books aren’t returned by 5/18,” the Campus Store said.

 

May 6, 2020

Messiah College’s address will officially change on July 1, 2020.

 

Following Messiah’s name change from “college” to “university,” returning students, staff and faculty should be aware that your address will now be:

Your name

Messiah University

One University Avenue, Unit XXXX

Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

 

“Be sure to change your shipping address with any online stores or services that you use,” the Messiah Post Office said.

 

May 1, 2020

Messiah released two important updates regarding commencement dates and the CARES Act..

 

A date for undergraduate and graduate commencement was announced by the President’s Office. The School of Graduate studies will be having their commencement ceremony on Friday evening, October 23, 2020. The Undergraduate Class will have their commencement ceremony on Saturday, October 24, 2020.

 

Both events will take place during the Fall Break period of the semester, and will be hosted in Hitchcock Arena.

 

“We have determined that this is the best weekend to provide an optimal commencement experience for both our graduating seniors and the graduates,” President Phipps said in the email.

 

Due to the tight schedule of two commencement ceremonies in a weekend, it does mean that the in-person Baccalaureate service will not take place. Instead, a live-streamed service planned by students on the Baccalaureate Committee will take place on Friday, May 15, 2020 at 8 p.m. 

 

“While we recognize that this does not take the place of an in-person Baccalaureate, the College believes the senior class deserves this time to reflect on their experience at Messiah at the end of the academic year,” Phipps said. “I am grateful to the students on this committee, and to Worship Pastor Doug Curry for planning this special time for our seniors.”

 

The “book-end” Baccalaureate tradition of the candlelight worship will be integrated into the October Commencement ceremony.

 

To account for on-campus overflow guests, both undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies will be live-streamed in Parmer Hall. This live stream will also be available via internet for off-campus and international attendees.

 

“Seniors, it has been my privilege and joy to share your Messiah journey with you,” Phipps said. “Please know that I fully realize these rescheduled plans are not the Senior Week or the culmination of your college experience that you, your family, or the Messiah community, wanted or had planned for you. However, in true “Falcon Nation” spirit, we look forward to celebrating you and your achievements – even if circumstances have forced us to alter our traditional plans.”

 

Seniors will soon receive a survey from the Commencement Committee for input on the format of the Commencement ceremony and ticketing options for guests. In addition, there will be follow-up communication from the Commencement Committee with information about registering to attend, how to receive caps and gowns, diplomas and any other details necessary.

 

For more information and updates, visit the Undergraduate Commencement website and continue checking your Messiah email.

 

Student Financial Services also announced that beginning the week of May 4, 2020, they will be releasing one-time cash payments to students who qualify for financial aid under the CARES Act.

 

Eligibility for this payment is restricted to students who can participate in Title IV federal aid programs. This does exclude international students from receiving grants from the CARES act.

 

Students will be able to see their grant on their student account under FalconLink.

 

“Funds will also be distributed through a CARES Act Student Emergency Fund because we recognize that some students and families have different costs related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus,” the email said.

 

More information around the CARES Act Grant and payments can be found here, as well as the April 27, 2020 update further down this page.

 

April 30, 2020

President Phipps confirmed in an email that campus will be open for students to return and attend in the Fall.

 

“We have a cohort of administrative and faculty teams analyzing a variety of scenarios which will enable us to ensure that you receive an excellent Christ-centered education in a way that protects your health and safety,” Phipps said.

 

The email also said that a specific plan about returning to campus for the Fall semester will be announced by June 1, 2020.

 

In addition, information regarding Class of 2020’s commencement and graduation is scheduled to be released later in the week.

 

“We are working diligently to plan an in-person event that will meet the needs of students and families while following federal and state guidelines for assembling,” Phipps said.

 

April 27, 2020

Messiah College received notice from the Department of Education that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has given the College $2.1 million dollars in federal aid due to COVID-19.

 

Though federal law requires colleges and universities to only allocate 50 percent of this funding directly to students, we believe it is vital to distribute 100 percent of the CARES Act money to provide direct assistance to our students facing urgent financial needs due to the COVID-19 crisis.”

 

This financial assistance will be distributed through a one-time payment to students who qualify for Title IV federal aid programs. Not all current students are eligible for this grant, including internationals.

 

Title IV funds are any direct subsidized/unsubsidized loans, federal Pell grants, direct graduate PLUS loans, direct PLUS loans and federal SEOG grants.

 

“Messiah has formed a team that is working quickly and intently to determine and implement the process the College must use to disburse its funding from the CARES Act,” Student Financial Services said in an email. “It is essential to Messiah that we continue to care for our current students and their families as they navigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19.”

 

The CARES Act Grant is in addition to the more than $3 million Messiah has provided for room and board refunds/credits, waiving GPA-based scholarship retention criteria, helping on-campus residential students with any emergency needs and continuing to pay work study students for their lost wages.

 

If you or your family have experienced a significant change in your financial circumstances since you filed your FAFSA, please contact the Financial Aid Office so that the appropriate next steps can be taken to officially inform the College of your situation. 

 

For this, or any other question about your financial aid, please contact the Financial Aid Office by phone at 717-691-6007 (Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or by emailing finaid@messiah.edu.

 

April 20, 2020

Summer employment is no longer an option for students unless they already live on campus during this time.

 

The Office of Student Employment sent an email to everyone who had previously been hired for summer employment.

 

“We sincerely regret to share that due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the very difficult decision was made that students who are not currently living on campus will not be able to come back to campus for summer employment position(s),” the email said.

 

This includes students who intended to return to campus when summer began. It also means that remote work will not be available during the summer months.

 

April 7, 2020

More information was released about pro-rated credits/refunds that were announced on March 24, 2020. For students who were required to leave campus, the refund will be issued no later than May 1, 2020. This refund covers any unused meal plan money and a portion of their room and board.

 

Residential graduating seniors will receive a pro-rated refund.

 

Returning students will have the option between a cash refund or credit that will be applied to future semesters. A pro-rated portion of your room and board charges will be credited to your student account.

 

Any past due balances will be applied to your student account once the adjustment amount has been determined. Students with outstanding balances will have their refund credit applied to the balance due. Cashnet Payment Plans can be adjusted to reduce your Payment Plan due to room credit or unused Dining Dollars/Ala Carte plans. To do so, contact studentfinsvcs@messiah.edu or call 717-691-6004, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

 

If you want to donate some or all of your refund to help other students with tuition or any associated educational expenses, use this link to donate to the Messiah College Good Samaritan Fund.

 

A team assembled by President Phipps will review student requests on a case by case basis.

 

To request your refund, use this link or go through FalconLink > Request Student Refund. Students will have to complete the Direct Deposit Authorization Form if they have not previously worked on campus.

 

Paper cheques will take longer than direct deposits. Make sure to verify your home address before completing the refund request if you want a cheque. Your address can be found in Self Service > Personal Information > View Addresses and Phones. If your address needs to be updated, use this form.

 

An email from the Student Employment Office updated student employees who lost their on-campus jobs. This is separate from students who are still able to work remotely.

 

To support student employees, the College “agreed to ensure ongoing payments for student employees who have been displaced from jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis.”

 

The Student Employment Office has reviewed every student employee and job assignment that was active and paid during the last full pay period before spring break. Students who had active jobs and hours worked during the 2/23-3/7 pay period are still considered “active” for purposes of unworked job payments.

 

“The College … understands the importance of student employment—and most specifically the earnings from those job assignments—to many of our student employees,” the email said.

 

Student employees who are actively working remotely will continue to work and report hours normally. There will be no change in work schedule, time reporting or pay for these students.

 

Any student employees who have been displaced from one or more on-campus jobs will be paid “as if the assignment is continuing through the end of spring semester.” This applies even if another job remains active through remote work.

 

Payment will be based on typically-scheduled hours, which are indicated by a review of hours reported during this academic year for each job assignment and supervisor feedback on scheduled hours. These students will not need to report weekly hours.

 

The regular payroll schedule for the rest of the semester is as follows:

Work Date Pay Date Pay Amount
3/08 – 3/21 4/03 Pay for worked hours only
3/22 – 4/04 4/17 Based on typical scheduled hours
4/05 – 4/18 5/01 Based on typical scheduled hours
4/19 – 5/02 5/15 Based on typical scheduled hours
5/03 – 5/16 5/29 Based on one week of typical scheduled hours

Questions regarding jobs or payment can be directed to studentemployment@messiah.edu.

 

April 6, 2020

Chapel credits for the rest of the spring semester were suspended by College Ministries.

 

“No one will be placed on chapel probation or assessed any fines,” College Ministries said in an email.

 

They also decided not to stream chapels during this time. Instead, they encourage students to listen to online sermons from churches that are streaming their services.

 

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have been contributing to the programs of our office—student leaders on our ministry council and our worship community, Fiver leaders, colleagues in Campus Events and Conference Services and Facility Services who make our gatherings possible,” College Ministries said. “And to all of you who sing with gusto, pray with sincerity, and seek wisdom and growth through the Word, thank you for contributing to the witness of God’s Spirit and the hope of Christ’s kingdom right here on campus.”

 

March 31, 2020

Key Services and Residence Life combined efforts to make the key-return process easier for student workers, lab assistants and leaders in clubs and organizations. This is not for dorm keys.

 

For students on campus, North Complex Fishbowl, South Complex Main Lobby and the Witmer lobby will have envelopes and instructions for key return. Key should be placed in the envelope and names written on the envelope. The envelope should then be placed in the mailbox.

 

Commuters may choose to return their keys to Lenhert Building if they are within driving distance. Keys can be returned to the office between 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. During non-office hours, keys can be placed in the mailbox outside the main entrance, facing the railroad tracks.

 

If neither of these options work, students can mail their keys back via US Mail. The package will have to be padded and mailed to Key Services, One College Ave. Suite 3001, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055.

 

Housing has also made changes to their timeline due to COVID-19. The new timeline can be found here. Students with questions can contact housing@messiah.edu

 

Apartment clusters will know by April 1, 2020, if they have been approved or denied.

 

One bedroom apartments will be verified on April 2-3, 2020. Two bedroom apartments will be verified on April 4-5, 2020. Both verifications will take place on The Nest.

 

Students who are still looking to live in apartments can fill out the “Apartments” tab on The Nest. Once verified, sign-ups will occur over Zoom. One bedroom apartment sign-ups will take place from April 6 at 5 p.m. and two bedroom apartment sign-ups will begin on April 9 at 5.p.m.

 

“If you applied for an apartment, you will receive an email that day giving an estimated timeline of when in the evening you may be “called” on Zoom,” the Housing Office said.

 

At least one member of each potential apartment must be present to communicate with Housing at this time.

 

Cluster requests for residence halls will open on April 14 & 15, 2020. These cluster groups will be notified of their assignment on April 17 and have until April 20 to accept or decline.

 

On April 21, 2020, The Nest will open to credit-based sign-ups based on credit level.

 

Tuesday, April 21 Seniors – 87+ credits
Wednesday – Thursday, April 22 & 23 Juniors – 57 – 86 credits
Friday & Monday, April 24 & 27 Sophomores – 24 – 56 credits
Tuesday, April 28 First Year students <23 credits

 

March 30, 2020

Messiah postponed move-out dates due to Gov. Wolf’s extended “Stay at home” law. The new mandate includes Cumberland County, which Messiah is located in, and states that non-essential businesses and schools are to remain closed until April 30, 2020.

 

“In response to this directive, Messiah’s  previously announced undergraduate housing check-out process has been postponed,” Messiah’s Crisis Management Team said. 

 

Students will now have to sign up for a move-out time between May 1-30, 2020. In-person move-outs will no longer be allowed. All students are to sign up for an express check-out time slot here. Sign-ups are to be completed by April 30, 2020.

 

If a student had previously signed up for an in-person time slot, they will have to sign up again due to a change in check-out times. This applies to students who already signed up for an express check-out as well.

 

Campus will remain closed to anyone who does not have permission or emergency reason to enter. Security staff will be stationed at all entrances during this time.

 

Changes to move-out dates are still possible as more information is released statewide and nationally.

 

March 29, 2020

A second case was confirmed at Messiah, an undergraduate student who left campus on March 13. The student is currently recovering at home, and all individuals who lived and worked at the student’s on-campus residence have been notified.

 

Phipps said that with two cases now confirmed “the likelihood of exposure becomes more expansive and difficult to track.”

 

The Engle Center advises everyone to continue taking precautions by:

  • Monitoring your health.
  • Symptoms include: Fever, cough, shortness of breath and the possibility of diarrhea.
  • Continuing social distancing and limiting exposure to others.
  • Maintain good hygiene practices.

 

In the event that you’ve come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, the CDC said “persons coming into general contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 does not meet the definition of “close contact” and is considered a “low” risk level.” This includes being in the same indoor environment (classroom, dining hall, etc).

 

Close contact involves “persons living in the same household, an intimate partner, or caring for a person in a non-healthcare setting [and] being within approximately six feet of a COVID-19 positive person for a prolonged period of time; or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 positive person (e.g., being coughed or sneezed on or in contact with a surface with these secretions).”

 

Anyone who has tested positive at facilities outside of the Engle Center should notify the College immediately.

 

In light of the two cases confirmed, Messiah implemented a “shelter in place” requirement. Individuals still living on campus are advised to stay indoors as much as possible and remain on campus at all times. Students are permitted to:

  • pick up food orders at the campus dining hall (which has enacted social distancing food service protocols)
  • take walks or get exercise on campus grounds (while practicing social distancing and remaining six feet away from others on campus);
  • go to the laundry room to do their laundry; and
  • visit the Engle Center for urgent medical needs.

 

The College chose to limit outside interaction prior to any confirmed COVID-19 cases, but “all campus entrances will now be staffed by security personnel indefinitely.”

 

Employees scheduled to work on campus or are authorized to be on campus for emergency reasons must produce their Messiah ID prior to being allowed entry.

 

Residential students are to stay on campus and indoors as much as possible; off-campus students will not be allowed on the premises unless they have been approved to move out after April 1, 2020.

 

Non-employees/students will not be allowed entry on campus. Contractors must provide a visitor’s pass.

 

There will be potential changes to previously announced dates for moving out. The College is assessing the best course of action and a decision will be made by the end of March 30, 2020.

 

“We want all of our residential and returning students and their families to be safe,” Phipps said.

 

March 28, 2020

The first case of COVID-19 at Messiah was confirmed.

 

For the privacy of the individual, their identity will remain confidential and their position unnamed. Students, staff and other faculty members are asked to respect this individual’s privacy during this time as they recover. If you are aware of the individual’s identity, please keep from revealing their identity so they can fully focus on recovery.

 

President Kim Phipps released a campus-wide email with the news, stating that “the individual is an employee who is in a higher health risk group. The employee who reported testing positive is currently under medical supervision in the hospital, and is receiving the care he needs.”

 

The employee was confirmed to have been on campus on March 18, 2020. Currently, their spouse, another employee of the College, is also symptomatic. The employee’s spouse contacted the College with her husband’s positive test results around 9 a.m. on March 28, 2020.

 

Anyone who had been in contact with this individual has been contacted by the Engle Center through email with the necessary steps to take. If anyone suspects that they are symptomatic, they are to contact the Engle Center immediately for testing. This allows Messiah to follow protocol and inform anyone who is potentially at risk.

 

Cumberland and York county have already seen previous cases. As of a statewide briefing at noon on March 28, 2020, Cumberland has 22 cases, one death; and York has 37 cases.

 

Governor Wolf’s “Stay at home” order covers York County, but not Cumberland. Currently, 22 of PA’s 67’s counties are covered by that order. This applies to three-fourths of the state’s 12.8 million residents.

 

On March 27, 2020, Gov. Wolf revised the “Stay at home” order to include nine new counties. 

 

“This order takes effect at 8:00 PM Friday, March 27, 2020, and will continue until April 6, 2020,” the article said.

 

In line with the “Stay at home” order, all non-essential businesses are to remain closed until the end of March. Restaurants and food service are allowed to provide take-out, but no dine-in options. Residents of PA are encouraged to minimize trips outside and maintain social distancing when outdoors. Any non-essential reasons for leaving the house are discouraged.

 

If a student suspects that they are symptomatic or have previously come in contact with individuals infected with COVID-19, they can call the Engle Center at 717-691-6035 to discuss being tested. The Engle Center does have the supplies to test for COVID-19 according to CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines for screening.

 

“May we all continue to care for and support each other with Messiah’s proven spirit of gracious and generous Christian community,” Phipps said.

 

March 24, 2020

President Kim Phipps announced further changes to Messiah College in light of COVID-19’s growth globally and locally.

 

While the College had no reported cases of the virus on campus, it remained closed and advised students not to come back unless they are moving out of their dorms after April 1, 2020. More information regarding checkout times and forms can be found in students’ emails from their Resident Directors and here.

 

The most recent announcement from President Phipps confirmed that both undergraduate and graduate level commencement and graduation ceremonies will be postponed until further notice. At this time, the College does not have a new date in mind.

 

“We share the disappointment of our graduates and their families, but it was important to make this decision as soon as possible for families’ planning needs, and to help families apply for travel refunds,” Phipps said in the email.

 

This change also affects the timeline of undergraduate students moving out of dorms. Students now have until May 2, 2020 to move out – two week earlier than the original date. Signups for a check-out time have to be submitted by April 14 via email with an RD or through this link for express check-out. 

 

In line with information given by RDs, check out times are the following:

  • Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – Noon and 1 – 5 p.m.
  • Monday through Friday evenings 6 – 9 p.m.
  • Saturdays 9 a.m. – Noon and 2 – 6 p.m.

 

The resident life website reminds students to sign up using the link your RD emailed you, which gives you the needed card access for the day in which you sign up for. All other check-out procedures remain the same.

 

The College decided to refund students, graduating and continuing, for their unused meal plans and room and board.

 

“[The] President’s Cabinet has been working to develop a balanced and equitable solution during this truly unprecedented time of difficulty for students and their families,” Phipps said. “Messiah College plans to offer refunds for room and board losses to all students who were required to depart campus.”

 

Students with a Dining Dollars or Ala Carte meal plan will receive a cash refund for all their unused money as of March 16, 2020. The date of refund is no later than May 1, and administrators will be in touch with all impacted students before April 15, 2020.

 

For room fees paid, graduating seniors will receive a pro-rated cash refund for room and board. Returning students will have the option of a pro-rated cash refund or a pro-rated credit that will be applied to future semesters.

 

The pro-rated refund will be the calculated room and board cost for the duration between students leaving campus and the end of the semester.

 

Further changes to Messiah’s operations involve study abroad programs, including IBI, being cancelled until through the end of June.

 

“The College will be refunding the deposit and any trip fees that students have already paid,” Phipps said. “For those trips that were credit-bearing—Messiah will provide alternate course credit opportunities for graduating seniors and other eligible students toward on-time completion or progression of their degree.”

 

Any college-sponsored travel will also be cancelled through the end of June 2020, an extension of its original date.

 

If students have not received an email from the director or administrator of their programs regarding internships, clinicals and practicals, they should reach out to the Messiah educator or administrator in charge of the program.

 

“Our educators and administrators have been working diligently to ensure that students who are engaged in practicums, clinicals, internships and student teaching have the opportunity to complete alternate or remote/virtual experiences that will enable them to graduate and/or finish their semester on time,” Phipps said.

 

March 20, 2020

In an email with a video update from President Phipps, she assured students that the College will find a way to celebrate seniors, even if it means postponing commencement for a few weeks.

 

“I want to personally reassure you that we will celebrate you,” Phipps said. “We will have a ceremony to recognize your significant accomplishments and to be together.”

 

Further information about graduation and commencement will  be made by March 24, 2020. Until then, President Phipps and the Provost’s Office worked together to determine the best course of action.

 

All academic and administrative buildings will only be accessible through Messiah ID/card access from March 17-30, 2020. Campus buildings not equipped with card access will be open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., with the exception of Eisenhower opening at 6 a.m. and Hoffman opening at 7 a.m. Employees not carrying their ID cards will have to contact the Department of Safety to gain access to buildings. Students will not have access to academic buildings at this time.

 

For students off-campus, a check-out date had officially been announced. Students will have from April 1-May 2, 2020 to check out of their room, and all sign-ups must be done by April 14. Resident Directors have sent emails with information regarding check-out times.

 

Due to the mandated two-week self-quarantine in Pennsylvania, students are being asked not to return to campus for checkouts before April 1, 2020. Gov. Wolf stated the quarantine is meant to limit the possibility of spreading COVID-19 among people who are going outdoors. He also announced that all non-essential stores and businesses are to close from Thursday, March 19 at 8:00 p.m. until further notice. Businesses who choose not to comply may be punished through fines, citations or license suspensions.

 

The campus bookstore has provided additional services in partnership with Follet Higher Education Group to provide free shipping on any supplies needed, extended return dates with free shipping and access to eBooks at no additional charge. These resources are especially important to note for students who were unable to bring all their textbooks home with them.

 

Phipps will be providing weekly video updates every Thursday.

 

March 16, 2020

Messiah announced that it will be moving classes online for the rest of the spring semester. An email from the President’s Office went out in the afternoon, stating that “Messiah College will now be conducting all undergraduate and graduate coursework online for the remainder of its spring semester.”

 

This followed an earlier email before Spring Break began, where students were advised to bring their textbooks and valuables with them as they went home or traveled for the break period.

 

In the email, President Phipps said, “This was a difficult decision, and I acknowledge the sense of stress, anxiety and loss that a change like this can bring.”

 

The College had already announced a self-quarantine period from March 25-April 13, 2020, in which classes were to be conducted online. However, Phipps and the administrative team decided that it would be safer to finish the semester online instead.

 

Messiah’s self-quarantine period is not to be confused with Pennsylvania’s state-wide self-quarantine announcement from Gov. Wolf, which takes place from 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, March 17 to 11:59 p.m., Monday, March 30.

 

“I want you to know that I share in your deep disappointment and sadness,” Phipps said. “This is certainly not the spring semester any of us imagined or wanted. I already miss you and all of the energy and joy that you bring to campus.”

 

Indoor facilities on campus closed, with the exception of the Engle Center, Eisenhower and Hoffman. Lottie Nelson Dining Hall  has revised its hours to provide breakfast from 7-8 a.m., lunch from 12-1 p.m., and dinner from 5-6 p.m. every day. This will be the only dining option on campus, as all other dining facilities will be closed. Students living on campus will be provided with three meal swipes a day if they do not have an existing meal plan.

 

The Residence Life Office said that students who are already on campus can apply to continue living on campus for the rest of the spring semester. The deadline for this application is 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 19. This applied to both international and local students.

 

No decisions were made yet regarding refunds.

 

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