This message was sent out to Castleton University students on Tuesday, March 24 2020. It is being shared via the Spartan as a way to extend the most up to date information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic as possible to our student body and community.
Dear Castleton Community,
Earlier today, you should have received a message from Vermont State Colleges Chancellor Jeb Spaulding. He conveyed our system-wide decision to extend remote delivery of all courses through the end of spring semester 2020. Your health and safety is our first priority as we work together to address the challenges presented by the COVID-19 global pandemic. I have appreciated your patience and resilience during this transition and, in response to some of your questions, I am providing additional information here.
To ease student transition from face-to-face instruction to an online platform, Castleton University is relaxing restrictions on a number of graded courses. For this spring semester, students may convert up to three undergraduate courses to a Pass/No Pass option by filling out a brief online form. This does not apply to certain courses, including many in the nursing program. Students will have a full month (until April 20, 2020) to submit their requests. Please watch for follow-up correspondence from Dr. Jonathan Spiro, Interim Provost and Chief Academic Officer.
Pro-rated adjustments for room and board
Residential students may expect pro-rated adjustments to their bills. Upon collection of belongings, the University will offer adjustments to student bills within 90 days. Pro-rations will be adjusted back to March 16th, the time students were asked to depart from residence halls. For students who have stayed on campus for the extended break due to extenuating circumstances, accounts will be pro-rated from the actual move-out date.
Housing and Collecting Belongings
The Vermont Emergency Management group has notified our institutions of a potential need for space. This may include housing for medical personnel, beds for the sick, and other required usage. We are compelled to offer our services in partnership for the safety and well-being of our extended community.
With this in mind, we are asking that residential students arrange to collect their things no later than March 30th, 2020. Please watch for subsequent messaging from Residence Life with information on how to schedule your appointment. It is critical that this process be highly organized to keep our students, their families, and others safe. In the event students are unable to retrieve their things by March 30th, and we are compelled to do so, we have hired a professional moving firm to pack up rooms, carefully mark belongings, and safely store them until we re-open campus buildings for students. Our goal is to provide residential students with a level of comfort and security through this process.
COVID-19 has presented unprecedented challenges to our greater community, nation, and globe. In order to keep everyone safe, we will not be holding Commencement at Castleton University this year. Seniors, your degrees will be conferred pending completion of graduation requirements. We want to celebrate your success, and we do not want you to miss out completely on this tradition. We plan to offer a separate ceremony for 2020 graduates in the spring of 2021. I am so sorry to share this news, as I recognize how important celebrating your significant accomplishment is to you and your families. I hope that you are able to find ways to mark this moment until we are able to join together in your honor.
Early Childhood Education
The COVID-19 crisis has created economic challenges at Castleton University. As we work to ensure the University’s success, it has become clear that we are no longer in a position to launch our Early Childhood Center at this time. We remain committed to our new BA in Early Childhood Education, and we look forward to partnering with community leaders to ensure that our students have access to quality internships.
As of 5 pm, March 23, 2020, all Castleton University buildings are closed to public traffic. Occupants may access buildings with their University issued keys. Access to the mailroom in the Campus Center will be allowed through the west side entrance Monday through Friday from 7:00 am – 5:00 pm. Access to Huden Dining Hall will remain limited only to those with permitted access.
In an effort to provide Internet service to local students who do not have access, an outside “internet hot spot” has been established in the Hoff parking lot for student access while parked in the lot.
In closing, please know that I am thinking of you during this challenging time. We are working very hard to ensure our students’ success throughout these changes, and to make ourselves available should you have questions or concerns. I have spoken personally with a number of students and parents, and I am grateful for your patience, understanding, and appreciation for our team’s hard work. We are certainly appreciative of your commitment to Castleton University. In times of adversity, human beings show their best selves. This is The Castleton Way. We are all in this together, and I remain honored to serve as President of Castleton University.