Past DWU COVID-19 Communications
Posted: April 16, 2020 — 3 p.m.
WE MISS YOU
DWU faculty and staff continue to remain positive and encouraged during this global pandemic and many heartfelt interactions and stories have arisen as a response. As COVD-19 continues to shape our life, disrupting our routines and forcing upon us a new normal, at DWU, we know that one thing will not be forgotten – we are NOT us, without students.
Students - We miss you. We miss seeing you on campus. We miss interacting with you in the halls. We miss witnessing the many small, but mighty miracles that happen in class and the spring rituals that normally consume this time of year.
Over the course of the next few weeks, many DWU staff and faculty members will be sharing a special message with you. This is just a small way that we can share our true appreciation for all that you do to make this community a family. Thank you for remaining strong and brave during this time of transition.
We can’t wait to see you again. Thank you for all your efforts to advocate for and support Wesleyan.
An Easter Message from President Novak
To the campus community:
To alumni & friends:
Posted: April 15, 2020 — 3 p.m.
On April 28-29, DWU will launch a revised version of our Great Wesleyan Giveback. We have combined this event with our annual day of giving and are encouraging each of you to consider how you can spend time giving back in a new and different way to our community. Throughout the course of the two days, all members of the DWU campus will have the opportunity to make an impact in some way. What that impact looks like may be different for each person. It could be writing encouraging notes to friends or members of the community or sharing your musical talents to lift others up through song. It could be spent doing clean-up at a local park or it could be offering a gift to the Wesleyan Scholarship fund to propel future generations of Tigers.
We are anticipating local businesses and nonprofits in Mitchell will get involved with this two-day initiative. The Salvation Army in Mitchell has joined our effort and is planning to offer a drive-up food distribution site on our campus on April 28. Remember, even small acts of kindness can make a difference! Please feel free to share your care project with us on social media by using the hashtag #DWUcares.
Posted: April 8, 2020 — 3 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR STUDENTS
During this Holy Week, DWU extends our gratitude to all of our students, staff and faculty for their efforts as we have journeyed down new paths together over the past several weeks. We continue to offer prayers and support to all those connected to our campus as we navigate the challenges we are faced with due to COVID-19.
DWU continues to remain deeply grateful for the technology that permits us to engage with each other in dialogue and problem solving. Even though we are all separated physically by a desire to protect the well-being of our community and our state, we remain connected to each other by a deep commitment to the mission and future of Wesleyan.
By now, students should have completed the registration process for next fall. If not, please reach out to Jerry Luckett, DWU registrar, at Jerry.Luckett@dwu.edu or 605-995-2647. Jerry is available to answer any questions about this process.
This coming Monday, students who are returning next fall and desire on-campus housing, will receive an email providing guidance about the housing and meal selection process. Students are asked to contact peers in an effort to solidify plans in advance of Monday.
Posted: March 30, 2020 — 3 p.m.
EMPLOYEES TRANSITION TO REMOTE WORK
As Dakota Wesleyan University continues to monitor the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the state, and the projections for South Dakota from the Center for Disease Control and other experts, DWU has determined that it is in the best interests of our faculty, staff and the broader community, to transition our entire campus to remote work for the foreseeable future. All DWU faculty and staff members will begin working from home no later than Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
DWU requests that employees continue to limit their exposure to the COVID-19 virus by leaving home only for essential needs and not traveling outside of the area.
DWU is committed to supporting employees through these tumultuous times and will continue to provide faculty and staff with as much comfort and certainty as possible.
Posted: March 25, 2020 — 3 p.m.
OPPURTUNITIES TO CONNECT
Nurturing one’s heart and soul during these challenging times remains an important part of the health and well-being of the Dakota Wesleyan campus.
The DWU campus ministry team will be offering chapel service LIVE via Facebook tomorrow, Thursday, March 26, at 11 a.m. Please join us for a time of worship and fellowship.
DWU released a press release yesterday regarding the student and faculty perspective on the transition to online learning. The story can be found here.
Tomorrow, our full board of trustees convenes remotely to discuss the DWU COVID-19 response and the implications on the university.
Reminder to students that are eligible to apply for the prorated housing and meal plan refund, please remember to complete the financial aid survey that was emailed to you or by visiting our website at www.dwu.edu/RefundSurvey. Note: This only applies to students who were living in the residence halls and on the DWU meal plan. If you have questions, please reach out to Mary Alexander or Carol Weiss in the business office.
DWU is planning to host baccalaureate and commencement exercises for the 2019 fall and 2020 spring graduating classes on Sunday, September 27, 2020. This is the same weekend as the 2020 DWU homecoming activities.
Continue to stay connected with DWU! As always, our prayers are focused on each of our students, staff, faculty and their families during these challenging times.
Posted: March 23, 2020 — 3 p.m.
COMMENCEMENT RESCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER,
ATHLETES GRANTED ADDITIONAL YEAR OF ELIGIBILITY
DWU continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our region. We are very appreciative of the ways our faculty and staff continue to serve and support our students and the ongoing operation of the university.
Commencement has been rescheduled for Sunday, Sept. 27, the weekend of Blue & White Days, our annual homecoming. It will be held at the Mitchell High School Performing Arts Center. More details will be forthcoming as we work through the particulars of this event and this new location.
Late last week the NAIA formally decided to grant spring sport athletes an additional year of eligibility. This means that those students who participated, this spring, in outdoor track and field, baseball, softball or golf will be eligible for an additional year of eligibility, provided they academically meet requirements. Students who elect to return to take advantage of their extended eligibility may need to make decisions about picking up an additional major, or minor, or enter a graduate program. If you have specific questions regarding the NAIA’s decision and the impact it may have, please contact Joel Reinesch at email@example.com.
DWU continues to work with local health officials, Avera, and the Davison County Emergency Management team to review processes and protocols in the event of a surge of cases in our area. We maintain this monitoring to ensure we remain in compliance with the local and state advisories, as well as to ensure the safety of our staff who remain on campus.
Student feedback via social media regarding the transition to online learning has been very positive. This continues to reflect a strong DWU culture of engaged teaching, a commitment to student achievement, and a personalized approach to our parents and families.
Posted: March 20, 2020 — 3 p.m.
GREATLIFE TO OPEN, CAMPUS LIFE OFFERS RESOURCES
Dakota Wesleyan University is pleased that many of our students seem to be adjusting to the new online learning platform. We appreciate how many students have checked in with faculty and are quickly completing assignments.
The GreatLife fitness facility will be reopening to members at 6 a.m. on Monday. They will be limiting the number of people in the facility at any one time. They spent this week doing a significant deep clean of the fitness facility. Please continue to practice social distancing in this space. Note: the track will not be open for use.
DWU’s campus life department is prepared to support students and the rest of the DWU community through this challenging period. Below is a list of resources available through campus life and whom to contact to access those resources.
Our residence life staff has been busy checking students out of the residence halls. If students have not done so, please contact Katie Olson, director of residence life, at 605-770-1593 or Katie.Olson@dwu.edu to schedule an appointment or to make arrangements to have belongings stored. When scheduling a time to move out, please utilize the following format:
My name is Katie Olson, I live in Dakota Hall 105, I would like to move out of my dorm Wednesday March 25, 2020 at 3:30 p.m.
Information will be forthcoming about pro-rated refunds related to room and board on Monday. Students should watch for an email regarding this process.
DWU students, staff or faculty members are eligible to receive free counseling services - whether on campus or not. Just drop our campus counselor, Jennifer Noteboom, an email at Jennifer.Noteboom@dwu.edu to schedule a Zoom appointment. Even if it’s just to check in, please reach out to Jennifer. If you’re struggling with all the changes that are happening, remember that you’re not alone.
The DWU campus nurse, Donna Gerlach is also available for support. If you have any questions, concerns, record requests, or need advice or guidance about how to stay safe during the covid-19 outbreak, please feel free to contact Donna via email at Donna.Gerlach@dwu.edu or by phone at 605-995-2957.
Despite the covid-19 outbreak, tutoring remains available to DWU students! Students can meet virtually with tutors through Zoom. To request a tutor, please email Academic Success/Career Services Coordinator, Kristy Zink, at Kristy.Zink@dwu.edu identifying the course and instructor for which you are seeking support. You will be assigned a tutor and your assigned tutor will reach out to you via email within 48 hours.
Another tutoring option is TutorMe. TutorMe is an online tutoring platform with access to a non-DWU tutor 24/7 in all subjects. Connect to TutorMe through Canvas. In Canvas, click into a class. On the left-hand side toolbar, click on TutorMe Online Tutoring. Click “Connect with a Tutor” to be directed to TutorMe. Then click “Connect with a Live Tutor” and follow the prompts. If you have any questions, feel free to email Kristy Zink at Kristy.Zink@dwu.edu.
We understand that this is a crucial time for our graduating students who are about to enter the workforce or go on to graduate school. It’s also an important time for our continuing students as they search for summer jobs, internships, and ways to strengthen their resumes. Please feel free to contact Kristy Zink for career preparation, graduate school assistance, and assistance or guidance on finding a job. Students may simply email resumés and cover letters for review. We are also happy to do a virtual mock interview to help you prepare. Just email Kristy Zink at Kristy.Zink@dwu.edu!
Office of Disability Services
If you receive accommodations through the Office of Disability Services, these accommodations will (if applicable) continue with the university’s transition to a remote/online learning environment. Please communicate with professors through this transition so that they can make accommodations (if applicable) in this new learning environment. If students have questions or concerns, or to seek accommodations, whether long-term or short-term, please contact the Disability Services Coordinator, Dustin Wheeler. He can be reached via email at Dustin.Wheeler@dwu.edu or by phone at 605-995-2931.
Campus ministry will continue live streaming a short chapel service at 11 a.m. on Thursday mornings. These services can be located on the DWU Facebook page. Campus ministry would also like to provide opportunities for virtually gatherings. If you are interested in joining an online life group, please let Pastor Eric or Pastor Denise know. They are also available for meetings via Zoom. They can be reached via email at Ervanmet@dwu.edu and Devanmet@dwu.edu.
TRIO Student Support Services
TRIO staff will continue to provide services remotely for success advising, academic strategies, resource referrals, and personal encouragement and support. TRIO Success Advisors will be contacting students via email, text, phone, Facebook and/or Zoom. Please feel free to contact Laurie Johnson, our TRIO SSS director, at Laurie.Johnson@dwu.edu or 605-995-2901.
As the remainder of this unusual semester unfolds, please do not hesitate to contact John Kippes, director of student life, at John.Kippes@dwu.edu or 605-995-2160.
Our entire community continues to offer prayers for all of students during this challenging time.
Posted: March 19, 2020 — 3 p.m.
STUDENTS ASKED TO COLLECT PERSONAL BELONGINGS
DWU is hopeful that all students have had a successful launch into the virtual learning environment this week. Students are advised to alert faculty members to any issues they may be encountering.
Additionally, residential students need to reach out with specific guidance regarding personal belongings. We are scheduling individualized appointments and we are limiting the number of students per hour to keep the exposure risk low. Please email the director of residence life, Katie Olson at Katie.Olson@dwu.edu, to schedule an appointment. Please utilize the following format:
My name is Katie Olson, I live in Dakota Hall 105, I would like to move out of my dorm Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 3:30 p.m.
If students are unable to return to campus, please email Katie to let her know. DWU will support students during this time with other options.
Thank you to our entire DWU community for ongoing efforts and support during this transition.
Video Message from DWU President Amy Novak, March 18, 2020
Posted: March 18, 2020 — 3 p.m.
DWU GRATEFUL FOR COMMUNITY SUPPORT
Dakota Wesleyan University is sincerely grateful to our community for their out pour of love and support for our students, faculty and staff. We have received many messages of gratitude from our parents and other members of the community who have expressed their deep appreciation for our communication, outreach from faculty and staff, and our willingness to appreciate the concern so many students have felt as decisions were made that significantly impacted their next eight weeks.
We want our community to be reassured that we are taking every measure possible to make sure our seniors are celebrated and acknowledged in a manner that recognizes the incredible contributions this class has made in a multitude of ways to our campus and our larger community over the past four years. We are working on plans for a fall commencement for students. As soon as we have solidified details, we will be posting that date.
Please continue to visit this website for an updated list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Posted: March 17, 2020 — 11:30 a.m.
ONLINE INSTRUCTION EXTENDS FOR SPRING SEMESTER,
ALL SPRING EVENTS CANCELED
In response to the most recent guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dakota Wesleyan University is moving from face-to-face to online instruction for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester for all students. This decision prioritizes our student’s safety and the welfare of the university community without compromising students’ academic progress.
In prioritizing student’s academic progress, our goal is to keep all students currently slated to graduate at the conclusion of the spring semester on track to do so provided that these students fully engage in their remaining online learning and successfully meet the academic expectations of their courses and their other degree requirements. In majors in which students have practicums, clinicals, or student teaching, the program chair will be reaching out with guidance about alternative pathways to complete these requirements.
Provost Roidt, in coordination with the academic deans, will be providing additional guidance to all faculty today regarding efforts to transition to online learning for the remainder of the semester. In the coming weeks, faculty and staff advisors will be contacting continuing students regarding registration for fall 2020. More guidance regarding this process will be forthcoming.
Many students have personal belongings on our campus. As of today, the South Dakota Department of Health is advising all individuals to avoid discretionary travel. If students are within the area, they may make an appointment with residential life to move personal items out of the residence halls. If students are outside of the area, we will ensure the safety and security of their belongings until such a time as officials deem it safe to travel to campus and remove belongings. If distance or other circumstances prevents students from returning to campus, students may contact student life and request that their items be boxed and stored until their return to campus either later this summer or in the fall. Please contact Katie Olson, director of residence life, at 605-770-1593 or Katie.Olson@dwu.edu to schedule an appointment or make storage arrangements. Information will be forthcoming about refunds related to room and board. Please watch for an email from the financial aid office/business office regarding this process.
After careful review of the guidance and information pertaining to this situation, the university has also deemed it necessary to cancel all university sponsored events and activities for the spring 2020 semester. This includes all athletic practices and contests as the NAIA has officially canceled all spring intercollegiate competition and championships, and the GPAC has followed suit by canceling all athletic activities, i.e. games, practices, etc. for the remainder of the spring semester. This also includes all theatre and musical performances, the Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet, Honors Banquet, Capstone Day, Nurse’s Pinning, Baccalaureate, and Commencement.
The university anticipates holding baccalaureate and commencement exercises during the fall 2020 semester for all spring graduates. Despite the challenging circumstances we currently face, the university very much wants to provide all graduates an opportunity to celebrate their tremendous accomplishments at a time when the safety and security of students and family members can be more fully assured. More information will be shared regarding fall commencement activities as these plans are solidified. Please note that the university will be able to provide students with proof of their graduation in advance of the fall commencement exercises.
The university will continue to select students for academic and leadership honors, athletic and co-curricular recognition, and the Scotchman and Miss Wesleyan awards. We will be selecting students for these awards through a virtual process with details forthcoming in the next several weeks. We believe strongly that, despite the circumstances, students should be recognized for their outstanding contributions to the Wesleyan community.
General university business operations will continue as normal. DWU employees are encouraged to utilize social distancing and observe the necessary precautions as advised by the CDC. As always, if employees are sick, we are asking that they please stay home and exercise best judgment regarding the health of themselves and their family.
During this uncertain time, campus counselor Jennifer Noteboom is available to meet individually, and virtually, with students, faculty and staff members, via Zoom during the university’s period of remote delivery. The coming weeks of uncertainty and less face-to-face interaction with our support networks are likely to increase anxiety levels among all members of our community as we move forward. Please feel free to contact Jennifer to schedule a meeting at Jennifer.Noteboom@dwu.edu.
For additional questions or concerns, please contact the DWU Response Team at DWUResponseTeam@dwu.edu or 605-995-2910.
We know these changes and disruption are difficult for many in our community. These decisions were guided, first and foremost, by our desire to ensure the well-being of all members of the DWU community. We appreciate your cooperation, patience, prayers and flexibility as we address this rapidly changing situation. Please know of our continued prayers for each of you and your families as we navigate these challenging times. We ask that God grant us hope amid uncertainty, courage amid fear, wisdom to guide our daily actions, and love to support each other.
Posted: March 16, 2020 — 3 p.m.
CDC RESTRICTS LARGE GROUP GATHERING
Last evening the Center for Disease Control and Prevention provided guidance to organizations, schools, and universities encouraging the restriction of large group gatherings in excess of fifty people. While most classes at DWU do not exceed the 50-person threshold, this guidance does require the university to review its initial decision of asking students to return to campus on Monday, March 30.
This morning, the university’s response team for the COVID-19 pandemic met to review the university’s next steps. Tomorrow, an email from President Novak will be sent to provide updates to the university’s plan in light of the most recent guidance from the CDC. DWU will continue to communicate with our students and parents, in addition to responding regularly and promptly to regular questions and inquiries. It is critical that we keep all lines of communication open as we adjust to these new, and challenging, operating conditions.
The NAIA has officially canceled all spring intercollegiate competition and championships. The GPAC has followed suit by canceling all athletic activities (i.e. games, practices, etc.) for the remainder of the spring semester.
Fewer than 25 students remain in campus housing. These students are distributed across multiple residence halls and the university is in a much stronger position to institute a quarantine should it become necessary to do so.
DWU recognizes that, each step that we take forward into this new and challenging world raises a host of new questions. We want to assure you that we are working to provide answers to those questions, but we want to ensure that we’ve developed the right answers to those questions and that we’re communicating those answers consistently and efficiently. Thus, an FAQ webpage is in the works which will provide answers to questions such as, “When can I get belongings out of my dorm room?” “Will the university store my belongings for me until I come back in the fall?” “I was signed to attend New Student Registration Day on April 4. Is that still happening and, if not, how do I register?”
We are sincerely appreciative of the spirit that DWU faculty and staff have demonstrated in response to the challenges posed by covid-19, particularly the steadfast focus on supporting our students and willingness to make significant adjustments to work routines to create a clear pathway forward for our students.
In these uncertain times, perhaps we can draw upon the biblical image of ourselves as pilgrim people. We can admit that we do not have all the answers and that we need to rely on one another and the diversity of gifts in the Body of Christ to see us through. While we have not been down this road before, we are confident that we will be better if we remain together for the journey.
Posted: March 13, 2020 — 3 p.m.
GOV. NOEM ANNOUNCES STATE OF EMERGENCY
This afternoon, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem declared a state of emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of this, Mitchell Technical College will not be in session until March 23. This impacts some of our students who are taking courses through the articulation agreements. We have notified those students. MTC is not delivering any coursework electronically.
As of tomorrow, March 14, 2020, GreatLife will be closing for one week and fob access with restricted for the entire campus community during that period.
Per guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), we are seeking to avoid any and all large gatherings on campus. This, of course, means limiting the number of students in residence halls. We are asking residential students to return to their homes or to seek alternative living arrangements if these represent reasonable options for them. At the same time, we know there are a number of students for whom these do not represent reasonable options. Students are welcome to apply to live on campus, and we are committed to caring for those who must do so. However, these applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and not all applications will be approved. The students approved to live on campus will have access to the university food service during this time.
Posted: March 12, 2020 — 11 a.m.
DWU EXTENDS SPRING BREAK, TRANSITIONS TO ONLINE FORMAT
With the support of the DWU Board of Trustees, Dakota Wesleyan University will be extending spring break through Tuesday, March 17. All spring 2020 classes currently being delivered face-to-face will transition to an online format beginning on Wednesday, March 18. The anticipated date for resumption of face-to-face course delivery is Monday, March 30.
Where possible, the university requests that students NOT return to campus. Students should make appropriate plans to continue their coursework remotely. If students have questions about a class, they should contact the appropriate instructor. All fully online courses currently being offered will continue without interruption.
The transition from face-to-face course instruction is a preventative measure to limit the exposure and spread of the COVID-19 virus to our campus community. This action is not a quarantine. At this time, there are NO confirmed cases of the virus on our campus.
University residence halls will temporarily reopen at 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, March 15. Students who need to return to campus to retrieve personal belongings from their room or apartment should do so during that time. Students unable to return home or make other living arrangements off campus will be required to register on campus with residence life. Click here to view the registration form.
General university business operations will continue as normal. DWU employees are encouraged to utilize social distancing and observe the necessary precautions as advised by the CDC. The residence halls will reopen at 8 a.m. on Sunday, March 29. Any changes to this plan will be communicated in a timely manner.
The following events on campus are canceled:
South Central Science & Engineering Fair
All athletic practices and competition
Central College Flying Pans Steel Band Performance
DWU Student Leadership Conference
DWU Blood Drive
Spring Wellness Presentation
Tiger Preview Day
Nursing 5K Bunny Fun Run
Congressional Candidate Forums
All gatherings scheduled to be on campus
All student club or organizational meetings
We appreciate your understanding regarding this proactive decision, which came after careful consideration. While we do not yet view the COVID-19 situation in the Mitchell region to be critical, it is evolving daily. The well-being of everyone connected to the university will always be our first priority. We offer our prayers to those impacted by COVID-19.
If you have questions, please contact DWUResponseTeam@dwu.edu or call 605-995-2910.
Posted: March 2, 2020 — 5 p.m.
DWU ADVANCES PLANS TO ADDRESS COVID-19
As you are no doubt aware, the World Health Organization has identified a public health emergency of international concern in the form of the global outbreak of COVID-19, otherwise known as Coronavirus. Dakota Wesleyan University has reviewed its emergency action plan and is reviewing procedures to address this emergency if, and when, an outbreak occurs on our main campus, on the Sioux Falls campus, or in the Mitchell community.
To date, the virus has not been confirmed in South Dakota and the threat remains relatively low; however, we would like the campus community to be mindful of this health emergency and ask that you adhere to good practices in order to protect yourself and others, particularly as you may find yourself traveling to other countries or parts of the U.S. over spring break.
In the event of a local outbreak, the number of sick students, faculty and staff at any one time is likely to be relatively small. Most patients suffer relatively mild symptoms, comparable with those of seasonal flu. Although some patients become significantly ill, most recover quickly and without complication.
Dakota Wesleyan University intends to continue to conduct academic business as usual while implementing precautions regarding cleanliness and outbreak prevention. In the event that a quarantine is necessary, DWU has identified a location and has a quarantine strategy in place. We will also continue to monitor practicums, clinicals, internships, student travel, and other situations where students have potential exposure and will work with relevant institutions to implement appropriate preventive strategies.
We are requesting the following of our students, staff and faculty:
- If you become ill and are exhibiting flu-like symptoms, please see campus nurse, Donna Gerlach, in the basement of Rollins Campus Center or visit a local doctor or medical clinic.
- If you become ill, please STAY HOME. You should only leave home if further medical attention is needed. Do not go to class, work or other school-related activities if you’re experiencing symptoms, especially a fever.
- Immediately contact your professors or work supervisor by phone or e-mail and make appropriate arrangements regarding missed class/work time.
- Do not return to work or class until you have been symptom-free, without benefit of medication, for at least 24 hours.
Moreover, we strongly urge everyone to take these simple steps in order to limit the unnecessary spread of illness:
- Always cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing and dispose of any tissue in the trash immediately. If you find yourself coughing or sneezing without the benefit of a tissue, please cover your cough or sneeze with your arm rather than your hand.
- Avoid shaking hands, especially with those who appear to be ill.
- Wash your hands, thoroughly and often, with soap and water. You should wash your hands with warm water for at least 20 seconds and follow up with hand sanitizer throughout the day.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth in order to prevent the spread of germs.
- Periodically disinfect shared surfaces, i.e. such as tables, doorknobs, etc.
We would encourage offices, departments, colleges, residence hall floors, etc. to have appropriate conversations about steps they might take to proactively limit the spread of the virus. There is more information and advice at the federal government’s COVID-19 website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
There will be multiple information sessions held on campus to address further questions. Theresa Kriese, DWU executive vice president, will be addressing the faculty soon. We will be hosting staff and student information sessions in the near future. Days and times will be announced soon.
Thank you in advance for following the guidelines outlined in this message and keeping Dakota Wesleyan University a safe and healthy place to learn. Let’s take care of each other.