Messages from President Dave McInally

March 18, 2020

Dear Coe Students, Faculty, and Staff:
In the last week we have been closely monitoring events related to the coronavirus, including consultations with public health officials and local health care providers.  In light of the trajectory of the virus and government guidelines regarding public gatherings, Coe will shift to online education for the remainder of the academic year and will cancel all public events.  Students who need to continue to live on campus during this period will be able to do so, with the understanding that their class participation will be online.
Providing the best educational experience possible under these circumstances will depend in large part on clear communication.  Students and faculty have mentioned being overwhelmed by the news reports and other information related to the coronavirus, and we want to make sure that you have reliable information about what is happening at Coe and what you need to do in order to complete the academic year.  Please watch for the following messages, all of which will be sent by email:
For Students
Online classes will begin on March 30, 2020.  Provost Paula O’Loughlin will contact you with more information about how the online program will work, including answers to questions about labs, field work, or other experiential learning activities.  Your professors will reach out to you regarding the plans for each of your classes.  Every effort is being made to provide you with flexibility in terms of class meeting times and to reduce the demands on internet bandwidth for you.  All students will be able to complete their courses and seniors will be able to complete their degrees.
Please watch for a message from Dean of Students Marc’ Bady regarding housing and dining arrangements for students who wish to remain on campus.  He will also provide information for students who would like to return to campus temporarily to get belongings, and for those who do not wish to return and need their belongings to be stored (we know that travel will be difficult so there will be plenty of flexibility with this).  The student life staff will provide details on housing selection for next year—which will be conducted online—and other student services.
Coe will refund unused portions of room and board to students who do not plan to live on campus for the remainder of the semester.  Details of the refund (which vary depending on each student’s financial aid package) will be sent to you by the office of student financial services.  If you anticipate financial hardship as the result of the coronavirus situation please reach out to the financial aid office.
For Faculty and Staff
Coe has adopted a work from home policy for all faculty and staff whose duties do not require them to be on campus in order to provide basic services.  This policy began this week and will continue at least through April 10.  The Human Resources Office will be in touch with additional information on telecommuting and related topics.  Supervisors will contact you—if they have not already done so—to clarify your work responsibilities during this period.  Faculty should expect additional communication from the Provost’s Office regarding the delivery of online course content.
For Everyone
This action is unprecedented for Coe, as it is for many other institutions of all types around the world.  Our top priority is your health and safety.  Our next priority is helping students complete their courses for this semester.  We understand that the disruption to Coe’s operations can add anxiety in a time that is already very stressful and we want to be as flexible and responsive as possible to all of your needs.  The loss of so many activities—including athletics, musical, theatrical, and artistic productions, experiential learning activities, student social events, and more—is incredibly difficult to contemplate, but we are focusing on what matters most:  your health and your education.
That being said, I would like to add a comment on Commencement.  With the CDC asking that no events with more than 50 people take place over the next eight weeks, it is not possible for Coe to hold our traditional graduation ceremony this year.  Commencement means a great deal not only to students and parents, but to all of us who work at Coe as well.  It’s a symbol of the struggles and triumphs that took place here, of the teaching and learning at the heart of Coe’s mission, and of the relationships that define our community.  Commencement means the world to us and we are deeply saddened that we are unable to provide it for you this year.  Rest assured that we will find ways to celebrate the class of 2020.
In the meantime, Coe will remain open for business, even if many offices are operating remotely.  If you have questions or need anything, please reach out to the appropriate office and we will assist you.  Updates will appear regularly on the Coe website at  Thank you all for your flexibility and generosity of spirit as we work our way through this together.

March 11, 2020

Dear Coe Community,

As the continues to spread across the world it is important to note that there are no reported cases on Coe’s campus, in Cedar Rapids or in Linn County. According to Linn County Public Health (LCPH), our community’s overall risk remains low. We are regularly reviewing information from the U.S. Department of StateCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and LCPH, and Coe is developing contingency plans and putting preparations in place to protect our community. 
As you are probably aware, many colleges and universities have moved to online instruction for the remainder of the semester. Personal, face-to-face education is one of the hallmarks of our college and it cannot be easily replicated online. At the same time, we are attentive to guidelines from public health officials that discourage public gatherings in the near term (the longer term is still unknown). Therefore, we have determined to extend spring break for students until Monday, March 30.  This will provide us with time to plan, to monitor the progress of the virus and the evolving guidelines from public health agencies, and to adapt courses to online modalities in case that becomes necessary.
Please note that unless conditions change significantly (such as the emergence of cases on campus or new directives from public health officials), classes will resume in person on March 30. The campus will also remain open for the week of March 23-29, even though classes will not take place and students are not required to be here. Students who are unable to adjust their spring break travel plans are welcome to stay on campus. Although we expect classes to resume on March 30, we encourage students to take textbooks and other course materials with them over break in case conditions change.
Housing and dining will be available during the week of March 23-29 for students who need to return to campus.  Students planning to stay on campus during any portion of this week should complete this google form provided via Coe gmail. Additional information for faculty and staff about preparing for the remainder of the semester will be provided by Paula O’Loughlin and Kris Bridges.  

The spring 2020 term will still conclude on the published timeline on the academic calendar, with the last day of classes scheduled for April 28.  Updates are being posted to the Coe College website as they become available along with a list of frequently asked questions.  Coe will do everything possible to preserve our educational program—as well as the many activities scheduled for the remainder of the term—as long as the situation enables us to do so safely according to health officials.  Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we adapt to these rapidly changing conditions.
Dave McInally