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COVID-19: Update from President Halvorson

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Email - “​update on coronavirus response 2020-03-18” 

Sent: 1:00 p.m. EST  | From: Derek Halvorson, President

To: All employees


​Dear Colleagues,


(N.B. While this communication deals primarily with questions that have come from the staff side of the college, it includes some information that is pertinent to all employees—faculty and staff alike—and hence I have included all employees on the distribution list.)


Thank you for the patience you’ve demonstrated as we’ve worked to establish new policies and procedures that match our “new normal” of delivering education remotely and seeking to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on our campus community. Attached you’ll find an FAQ document from our HR office (special thanks to Rebekah McNair and her staff for putting this together) that addresses many of the questions that have been asked by staff over the past several days. You will find in this document guidance on travel, working remotely, etc.


I want to highlight that we are asking supervisors/directors to evaluate every position to determine whether we can ask individuals holding those positions to work remotely in the coming weeks. Vice presidents will give final approval for individuals to work remotely. We are pursuing this course of action in order to reduce the number of employees present on campus, and hence facilitate social distancing. Obviously, there are some jobs at the college that cannot be done remotely. For employees in those positions, we encourage careful implementation of social distancing and other best health practices in order to reduce the possibility of spreading infection.


For those who are asked to work remotely, instructions for forwarding your office phone to an iPhone can be found here and to an Android phone can be found here. If you require off-campus access to the college network, please speak with your supervisor, who can work with you to submit an application. Once your application has been approved, Technology Services will provide you with information on how to install the Cisco VPN client and log into the college’s network remotely. If you have any questions about IT support for remote work, please contact the Technology Services Help Desk at


Given that our campus will be much more sparsely populated than normal in the coming weeks, we will begin locking all campus buildings after today (Wednesday). In order to gain access to buildings, you will need your Covenant College ID/keycard. Carter Hall will remain unlocked from 8am until 5pm on weekdays.


The campus will be closed to everyone from 5pm, Friday, March 20 until 8am, Tuesday, March 24. In other words, the campus is closed this weekend and also on Monday, March 23. Please do not come to campus on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. If you are able to work remotely on Monday, please do. If you are not, please consider this day off a thank-you for the extra work you have put in/will put in to care for our campus in this unusual time. We are requiring that folks stay away in order to allow the campus to lie fallow for at least 72 hours. Given what is known of the coronavirus at this time, this would provide ample time for any virus residing on surfaces to die. It will also give our Facilities Services folks, who have been working tirelessly to clean, clean again, and clean again, some time to recover.


Lastly, let me say thank you again for the way in which you’ve responded to this really difficult situation. You all have been wonderfully patient, flexible, and service-oriented during what has been—and likely will continue to be—one of the most unusual and challenging episodes in the college’s history. Your commitment to caring for one another and for our students has been a tremendous encouragement to me, and is a real testimony to your dedication to Christ-like service. I can’t tell you how grateful I am.


I’m sure there will be more information forthcoming as we continue to work out details on multiple fronts. Until then, God keep you well!


In Christ,




  J. Derek Halvorson, Ph.D.


  Covenant College


  In omnibus Christus primatum tenens