Dear Members of the SWCC Community:
The spread of the new strain of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, has challenged all of us in a variety of ways. While there are currently no known cases in our service area, our political and public health leaders have stressed that slowing the rate of transmission is the key to keeping our health care centers from becoming overwhelmed and protecting vulnerable populations within our communities. They stress that avoiding large gatherings is a major component of a proactive response to this threat. With that and a desire to err on the side of caution in mind, I am writing to you today with some important updates.
The College’s leadership team has met many times over the past two weeks and has consulted with our local and system-level colleagues and other experts to discuss the best strategies to ensure safety while at the same time fulfilling our responsibilities to our students and community. After careful consideration, we have decided to extend our spring break an additional week through March 22.
We believe this extra week will afford us several benefits. First and most importantly, it ensures that large groups are not gathering on campus, which we hope will limit any possible exposure. It will also give faculty extra time to prepare their Canvas course shells to facilitate learning in a distance format. Further communications aimed at providing specific guidance to faculty, staff, and students will be forthcoming.
Please understand that this decision is not one that we take lightly. We understand what challenges these changes create. It is our hope that classes will restart on March 23 without further disruption; however, if further modifications are required, I am confident that we will find ways to overcome them together.
Dr. Tommy Wright
President of Southwest Virginia Community College