COVID-19 Information

Official Communications

Below are the official communications from the administration regarding COVID-19.

From Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students Kevin Hughes emailed to students, faculty and staff.

Greetings everyone,

I’m sending you another email today with important information about the recent changes to our campus community that were brought about by the surge President Trible referenced in his email to you on January 5. The details I provide to you today will help you plan for the next few days and weeks as we navigate our current status. Please read thoroughly and keep this message handy so you can reference it as needed.

Textbooks/ Mailroom

A number of you have indicated you had textbooks shipped to campus and are concerned about how that will impact the start of classes. Let me share with you the following on this topic:

  • If you have a package at the mailroom, you may pick it up there. The mailroom will be open from 10–3 this Saturday and Sunday, January 8 and 9. It will also be open during weekdays from 10–3 beginning January 10.
  • If you left your books in your residence hall room, you can return to campus this weekend from 10–4 and go directly to your room. The James River and East Campus desks will be open during those hours if you need assistance. These hours will continue from January 10–13.
  • If you ordered your textbook from someone other than Follet, you should check to see if you can change the delivery address so that you don’t need to make a trip to campus.
  • A number of faculty members are also scanning and uploading the first chapters needed to Scholar; check with your professors to see if this is the case in your respective classes.

Residence Halls

While our students living on East Campus, in Rapp, and in Greek Village can return, the main campus residence halls remain closed until the weekend of the 21st. If you are a student with a 10/12 month lease, we need you to complete this form to notify us of your plans to return; this allows us to provide you with additional information you will need during the next few weeks.

I realize some of you who live on main campus may have extenuating circumstances that require you to seek a return to campus housing prior to the 21st. If you believe this may be the case for you, please email dosa@cnu.edu with the details of your request so that it can be considered. Please know that making a request does not mean you can return early; rather, the request will be reviewed and you will be notified of the outcome.

I also know that some of you living on main campus may have an urgent need to retrieve something other than textbooks from your residence hall room (e.g. medication, a musical instrument). If this is the case for you, you may do so during the hours listed above (10–4). You can also contact Residence Life for additional needs by emailing reslife@cnu.edu.

For those of you returning during the weekend of the 21st–23rd, additional information will be sent to you from Residence Life; please keep checking your emails. As we create a staggered move in process, be prepared for blocks of time (e.g. 8 a.m.-noon, 1–5 p.m.) for individual student return so that we can appropriately manage this reentry.

Dining

We know that there are and will be students who have returned to campus housing (e.g. upperclass residents, approved early arrivals) or who live locally that have meal plans. There are some meal options available to you:

  • Regattas will be open for brunch (10–2) and dinner (4:30–7) daily beginning Saturday, January 8. At this time, dining in is available, but please don’t linger over your last french fry for an extra hour. If you want to socialize, please use the DSU or elsewhere and help us protect the dining staff who are coming in to make sure you can eat well.
  • Einstein’s will also be open weekdays from 8 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • The Pizzeria and Bistro will be open 10 a.m.–3 p.m. weekdays
  • Captain’s Cash & Dining Dollars can also be used locally at Panera, Subway, Tropical Smoothie in the CNU Village and at Food Lion (Hidenwood), Subway Station (Warwick Blvd), Sweet Frog (Jefferson Commons), Marco’s Pizza (Denbigh Blvd) and Sparetimes Bowling in Hampton.

Facility Hours

In addition to dining options, other campus facilities will have modified hours.

  • The DSU will be open on weekends from 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; during weekdays it will be open from 7 a.m.–8 p.m.
  • The Freeman Center will also be open weekdays from 8–5 p.m., however the Trieshmann Fitness Pavilion will be closed until January 22.
  • The Trible Library will be open from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. weekdays and closed on the weekends.
  • Academic buildings will be open normal operating hours so that faculty may access their offices and utilize classroom technology resources during the virtual period.

Since the university remains open, individual offices will also be open. However, staff may be working virtually during the current timeframe. If you need to visit an office, be sure to check in advance about the best way to engage with the folks who might be able to assist you with whatever situation you’re addressing.

Reporting

Remember, even if you’re not yet back to campus, but especially if you are, we need you to report your symptoms and test results to dosa@cnu.edu. It’s a very helpful way for us to provide you support as you start classes while also letting us know what your needs may be more broadly. Be sure to have your isolation/quarantine plan in place since in all likelihood you’ll depart campus if you fall into one of these categories.

I realize the last few days have been tumultuous. Believe me when I say none of us are thrilled about the upheaval that has befallen our local area and affected our campus community. Throughout this pandemic though, we have weathered the storm together and we’ll do so again this time. The ride may be a little bumpy at times, like now, but all of us want to see a successful Spring 2022 semester capped off with a memory-laden Commencement ceremony for the class of 2022.

Be safe. Be well. I do look forward to seeing you back on campus.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to faculty and staff.

Dear Colleagues:

President Trible promised additional information regarding the changes made to the start of our spring semester in response to the current COVID–19 surge - so here we go. There’s a lot here, so thank you in advance for taking a moment to read through to the end. We have tried to be comprehensive and give you the information you need to successfully navigate the next two weeks, and look ahead as we plan our return to campus.

Provost Dave Doughty sent a detailed message this morning to faculty to help with their planning as the first two weeks of classes move online. Vice President Kevin Hughes will send his message to students with important details for them and their families, and as always, he will forward that message to all of us as well.

STUDENTS & FACULTY

Academic buildings will be open for faculty and staff who need access to continue instruction online.

Dining is available in Regattas. The Pizzeria and the Bistro in the David Student Union and Einstein’s in the Trible Library will be open with an adjusted schedule. Also, visit the Captains Card webpage for a list of local restaurants that accept Captains Cash and dining dollars.

Many of our students with 10- and 12-month leases are already on campus, along with students who had specific commitments prior to the holiday break (e.g., athletes participating in competitions). Other students with special circumstances, including those who have let us know that they have technology limitations at home that keep them from participating in online classes, will also arrive prior to the campus-wide move-in. Additional considerations will be made for some student workers. As mentioned above many student workers with 10- and 12-month leases are already here.

If you are aware of a student who is having difficulty accessing their online courses and experiencing technological challenges please direct them to dosa@cnu.edu.

Since many students will not have access to textbooks, accommodations have been made with faculty, the library and departmental administrative staff to make materials for the first two weeks of classes available online through Scholar.

STAFF

REMOTE WORK

Every department has been asked to revisit and refresh their plans to de-densify their workspace during the surge. Among many pride points over the past 21 months is that we all figured out what that meant and how it would work. Each office and department can best determine the appropriate staffing and work schedule to continue operations and provide the highest level of service while being thoughtful about the transmission of the virus. We urge you to continue your good work and coordinate with supervisors and colleagues to put together a plan that works best.

The Torggler Fine Arts Center and the Ferguson Center for the Performing Arts continue to serve the public using pre-existing protective protocols and procedures.

MASKS

Christopher Newport University continues to require everyone to properly wear a mask while indoors. The CDC’s mask guidance remains unchanged. Other health officials across the country have offered additional mask recommendations.

If you need help getting a suitable mask contact Tammy Sommer at tammy.sommer@cnu.edu.

STUDENT WORKERS

Many of our offices rely on students as important members of our work teams. Vice presidents will work with directors and others to identify students who can return to campus early, if they wish, to help us launch the new semester. Earlier today, the Center for Career Planning provided specific guidance to hiring managers about how to proceed.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR DAY

Just a reminder that the university will be closed and there are no classes on Monday, January 17, 2022, in recognition of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. An extraordinary lineup of virtual programming honoring Dr. King’s legacy has been curated by Angela Spranger. Her office will send a complete list of special events along with information regarding online access.

BOOSTERS

The university, and the CDC, strongly recommend getting a booster vaccine to restore the effectiveness of the vaccination you received last spring or summer and to mitigate the rate and severity of infection of the coronavirus. Specific CDC guidance regarding when you should get a booster is available here. In general, people who receive the booster are less likely to be infected with COVID–19, and it appears that if infected, the symptoms are less severe and last for a shorter length of time.

If and when you get a booster, it will be tremendously helpful for our colleagues who have stepped forward as community tracers if you go online and document that you have done so. Beginning sometime next week you will be able to upload your information through the COVID–19 portal that is available as the first item listed after you click the myLinks icon in myCNU. Because there is new guidance regarding isolation and quarantine for those who have boosters, sharing this information will help us help our tracers, and simplify the whole tracing experience should you find yourself with symptoms.

TESTING

We currently test unvaccinated colleagues and students weekly. The testing center at Gaines Theatre is open Wednesdays and Thursdays – and beginning next week it will be open on Tuesdays as well. Here’s why:

With the surge, we know it can be difficult to access tests in our communities. If you experience symptoms or have a known COVID–19 exposure, and you are unable to obtain a test through your primary care physician, drug store, urgent care center or otherwise, we may be able to help you. Please let your supervisor know if you need a COVID test. If you believe you may have been exposed, you may simply come to the Gaines theatre clinic for a test. If you have symptoms, your supervisor will get in touch with Tammy Sommer who can make the necessary arrangements to get you a test kit.

If you test positive for COVID–19, please email hr-tracker@cnu.edu with details of your exposure, your symptoms and a phone number where you can be reached.

Friends, this virus, especially the omicron variant, continues to offer new challenges. Though seemingly less severe, it appears to be far more contagious. So as this surge poses new challenges, we use the tools we have available to continue to live our lives and do our jobs the best we know how.

That’s why we delayed the start of the semester and moved classes online for the first two weeks.

That’s why we continue to de-densify our office spaces and allow colleagues to work from home when possible.

That’s why we are asking you to continue to wear a mask indoors, get vaccinated and get a booster shot.

That’s why we continue to provide testing.

You, and the rest of our amazing Christopher Newport community have been heroic in how you have protected and cared for one another since the pandemic began. So, together with that same thoughtful kindness, we will continue our vigilance and flexibility as we proceed forward. We all do that with great hope that the current surge will be short-lived, and we will soon be able to return to a more typical life.

We know we’ve been reaching out a lot, of late, as we try to keep you informed in our rapidly changing environment. If you have any questions please contact your supervisor or Bruce Bronstein, interim chief communications officer at a special email address covid19@cnu.edu and he will be glad to connect you with the assistance you need.

From President Paul Trible emailed to students, faculty and staff.

We hoped delaying the start of the spring semester by a week and employing our telework and flexible work schedules for this first week of the New Year would sufficiently allow us to mitigate the surge of this virus. However, this surge continues at a remarkable rate, especially the omicron variant which is far more contagious than the alpha and delta.

The Newport News community has a significantly increased positivity rate and that number climbs by the hour. At Christopher Newport, a record number of our faculty and staff are now affected; today alone, 22 new positive cases were reported. While most of our students have not yet returned to campus, a number of our student-athletes are here for competition. Many of those students have tested positive.

In order to protect our campus family, and hopefully allow this surge to run its course, we are making the following additional changes to the spring 2022 academic schedule.

  • Classes will begin on Monday, January 10 – but all classes for the first two weeks of the semester will be virtual. So – from Monday, January 10 through Friday, January 21, all classes will take place online, synchronously, as scheduled. Faculty will receive more details very shortly from Provost Dave Doughty, and students, in turn, from their professors.
  • Residence halls will re-open for general move-in on Friday, January 21 and move-in will be staggered over the course of that weekend. Students will receive details about that schedule in an email from Vice President for Student Affairs Kevin Hughes in the next few days.
  • Some students are already on campus – student athletes and others who had commitments in advance of the start of the semester. Dr. Hughes will advise those students regarding their dining arrangements during this two-week period. We will also be testing students currently on campus, regardless of vaccine status, to help prevent any further outbreaks.
  • We implemented our telework policy and flexible work schedules for staff this week and that policy and schedule will continue for the next two weeks. The campus is open and operating, but we must de-densify our spaces and take all measures to mitigate the spread of this virus. Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson will offer more details in a staff email shortly.
  • We will continue testing the unvaccinated members of our campus family as we did in the fall semester; however, we will also be implementing new testing plans for the campus overall – students, faculty and staff, regardless of vaccine status – as we return. Many people who contract this virus have no symptoms, or – with omicron, experience only minor symptoms. Expanded testing will be critical in our protection and mitigation efforts. More details will follow.

In-person classes will begin on campus on Monday, January 24, 2022.

Events, visitors and meetings on campus will continue in limited ways and we will employ all recommended protective protocols.

Christopher Newport puts students first. Doing that takes hundreds of dedicated individuals – faculty and staff who invest heart and soul in making the educational experience here unique, remarkable, and deeply personal. We are committed to delivering the very best in-person classes and a beautiful, vibrant residential campus experience. None of us wants to delay coming together once again to learn, work and live. But protecting our campus family is an all-important part of living into our commitment. We hope this online shift for the next two weeks will give us the additional time we need to reduce the risk to you and to our community and see this current virus surge subside. Please take every necessary precaution to limit your risk of exposure to this virus.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to faculty and staff.

Dear Colleagues:

Happy New Year! I hope the holiday break afforded you special times with people you love, and I hope 2022 brings good health, joy and peace for us all.

I also hoped the New Year would bring less COVID chaos. But the virus continues to change, and so we must continue to find new ways to protect our campus, families and community.

The Omicron variant of the virus brings new challenges to address. As you know through reports from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health, this variant, while consistently not as life-threatening or severe symptomatically, is far more contagious. Additionally, the alpha and delta variants remain with us and the case numbers throughout Hampton Roads, across the Commonwealth and across the country continue to climb.

The University’s COVID–19 Strike Force has been meeting regularly during the break to determine our best next steps to mitigate the spread of the virus, and allow us to move forward with the new semester successfully.

You will find below a communication re-cap from the last few days followed by more details on the decisions made thus far and some important updates as we all prepare to return to campus:

COVID EMAIL COMMUNICATIONS RECAP

  • On December 23rd, an email announcing the delay in the start of classes (from January 5 to January 10) and the move to telework and flexible work schedules for the week of January 3rd was sent. We had the earliest start date of all of the public colleges and universities in Virginia, so delaying the start date put more time between holiday gatherings—that carry with them potential virus exposures—and our return to classrooms, residence halls and other shared spaces.
  • On December 31st, Kevin Hughes shared with you his message sent to students announcing we will require all students to receive a vaccine booster by February 15th (more on that in a moment) and a shift in the date of Commencement – from May 7 to May 14 – to allow us to offer a meaningful break during the spring semester in spite of the delayed start. Again – more on that shortly.
  • In the December 31st email, we also announced that masks will continue to be required indoors – especially because they seem to be one of the most effective tools against the spread of the new variant. Please visit the CDC website to review how to select, properly wear, clean and store your masks. Masks with a proper fit over your nose and mouth with no gaps, a nose wire and multiple layers offer the best protection against current variants.

VACCINE BOOSTER REQUIREMENT FOR STUDENTS

There is strong evidence that the COVID–19 vaccines and boosters mitigate the spread of the virus and its variants, lessen the severity of symptoms and significantly reduce the chance of hospitalization. Last week, the CDC changed their guidance regarding quarantine and isolation periods and they also incorporated the booster. We will follow this new guidance and it is outlined in the next section.

The booster requirement will help us protect our campus community and the community around us, and it will give us the best chance at delivering the highest quality in-person, in-classroom educational experience. It will not surprise you to know that most universities and colleges across the Commonwealth have adopted some version of the plans we are also employing.

Students will receive more details early in the week ahead. Those with medical or religious exemptions already in place remain exempt and will continue to be tested weekly. New students will be able to file for exemptions as needed.

For faculty and staff – Although we are not requiring faculty and staff to receive a booster, or document if they have done so at this time, we strongly encourage all faculty and staff to get a booster. An important point to note: you will be required to provide documentation of your booster status should you develop symptoms or be exposed to the virus. Our community tracers will base your quarantine and isolation plan on whether or not you have received a booster. More on that below.

Those who are not fully vaccinated will continue to be tested weekly as we did in the fall. Those who participate in the weekly testing have already received more details from Human Resources about the plan for testing this week while we are working in remote and flexible schedule mode.

UPDATED ISOLATION AND QUARANTINE PROTOCOLS

Following the CDC guidance, we have adjusted our campus isolation and quarantine protocols. Please read the following carefully as it is a shift from our previous protocols.

If you are exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID:

  • If you are fully vaccinated and have received a booster, and you do not personally have COVID related symptoms, there is no reporting requirement. However, you should monitor your own wellbeing for any symptom development.
  • If you are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated or fully vaccinated but have not received a booster, you must notify your supervisor/department chair of the exposure and email hr-tracker@cnu.edu with the details of the exposure, any symptoms, and the phone number where you can be reached. Please expect a return email and follow up phone call from a member of the COVID Response Team. Do not return to campus until you are given clearance to do so.

If you develop symptoms consistent with COVID:

  • Notify your supervisor/department chair immediately and email hr-tracker@cnu.edu with the details of your symptoms. Do not come to campus until you have spoken with a member of the COVID Response Team.
  • If you believe the symptoms are normal for you or if you have any symptoms or illness that is not consistent with COVID there is no need to report to the hr-tracker email address. Illness or injury not consistent with COVID should be worked out with your supervisor/department chair.
  • Please note that the symptoms for the Omicron variant often appear as a bad head cold, sore throat, or sinus infection–often fever is not involved. So please – if you have any of these symptoms, or symptoms associated with the alpha and delta variants, do not come to campus and get tested. For information on testing locations click here.

Faculty: More details will be forthcoming from the Provost and the Deans about how best to handle students who must isolate or quarantine during the semester. We want to give you as much flexibility as possible while protecting you, and our students, in the ever-changing COVID world.

ACADEMIC CALENDAR – COMMENCEMENT DATE CHANGE

Delaying the start of classes by a week means necessary adjustments to the rest of the academic calendar for the spring semester. Importantly, we are committed to the best possible classroom experience and meeting the number of instructional hours required to make that happen. To do that, we can either eliminate days intended for spring break which would end the semester on the date originally scheduled, or keep the spring break days and push back the end of the semester a bit. Last year, we eliminated the spring break days, but we heard loud and clear from students and faculty that, especially in this environment, having a meaningful break makes a huge difference for academic success and mental wellness.

To make that happen we have to rework the academic calendar and move Commencement from May 7 to May 14. Lisa Duncan-Raines and her Student Success team working with the Provost looked at a number of possible plans. Adding a week to the semester was our best option. We know this news frustrated some families who have already planned trips, weddings and other graduations around the original dates. But we also know how important it is to ensure there are options available for a spring break. This change in schedule lets us do both.

More details will follow on spring break. We may stay the course with the traditional week-long approach, or we may take a different path that would create a couple of long weekends, in addition to the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday January 17. If we go with a different plan, please know that those of you who are leading spring break service trips scheduled for the full week originally should have no worries. We will work with you and with your students to support those important service opportunities.

And finally, a couple of important reminders:

Masking and other mitigation protocols: We will continue to wear masks indoors this semester. Masking is still one of the best tools in our toolkit to battle against widespread transmission of the virus. Handwashing and hand sanitizing also remain critical—please be mindful to use the sanitizers placed throughout campus often. We will continue with the enhanced cleaning protocols in all of our facilities, and we remain grateful to our housekeeping and facilities management colleagues for taking good care of us, every day.

Athletics and arts events: Our athletic competitions continue, and fans will still attend, but masks are required for fans and will be strictly enforced. Performances at the Ferguson will proceed as scheduled but again – the good mitigation protocols in place in the fall will continue including masks for all patrons. The Torggler Center will still be open to the public welcoming patrons to the opening exhibit, but with the masking requirement continuing.

If you have any questions about the work schedule for the week ahead, whether on-campus or telework, please talk with your supervisor. If you have questions about any of the information shared here, please email me (adelia.thompson@cnu.edu) or Bruce Bronstein, Interim Chief Communications Officer (bruce.bronstein@cnu.edu), and we will direct you to the people who can assist you.

I know we are all weary of this virus and the changes it continues to force us to make in our lives. As we come back together as a campus family, in a new year and new semester, we will continue to figure out together how to deal with the ongoing reality of this virus and increasingly make it something we navigate, not that steals our joy. Thank you for all that you are and all that you do, seen and unseen.

From Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students Kevin Hughes emailed to students, faculty and staff.

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone,

I’m sending this update email a little earlier in the day because I’m guessing you’re going to have plans later tonight. I’ve included a lot of really important information in it, so please read it thoroughly (and be prepared for more emails in the coming days). 

Vaccine Boosters

As was the case with the vaccine, the university is requiring the CDC-recommended booster for all of you who are not exempt from the vaccine requirement. You will need to provide proof of your booster no later than February 15 unless you are not yet eligible to receive it; additional information about the booster requirement and uploading your documentation will be forthcoming next week.

We did not reach this decision lightly. Throughout the pandemic, we have used CDC guidance to inform our decisions. We’re especially mindful of the most recent information from them, which you can find here, as it relates to quarantine periods. And while we’re aware of the current focus on the virulence of the omicron variant, we also know neither the original nor the delta variant have gone away. The booster helps minimize the severity of symptoms and reduces the chance of hospitalization, which is not only important for our campus but also for our local community.

Academic Calendar

There are definitely changes afoot for the academic calendar. As I previously shared with you, classes will start on Monday, January 10th at 8 a.m. Classes will be in person and continue in that format for the remainder of the semester. There are other changes that will occur, the most important of which concerns Commencement.

Commencement ceremonies have been moved to Saturday, May 14. We made this alteration so that we could provide the necessary content delivery while also providing you with some form of Spring Break; it also allows us to have necessary flexibility in the event of inclement weather. This change also means the exam schedule will be pushed back.

I know many of you are anxious about what Spring Break will look like. We are currently considering multiple models. The final decision will be announced next week prior to the re-opening of the residence halls.

Mitigation Strategies

In addition to requiring boosters and delaying the start of the semester, we will employ a number of other strategies to help minimize the impact and spread of the virus. Masks will still be required for the foreseeable future, and I encourage all of you to pay attention to the mask recommendation from the CDC now and going forward so you can get the best mask available. We will also continue enhanced cleaning protocols and weekly testing will remain a requirement for all individuals not fully vaccinated.

It’s important that you also do your part. You need to wear your mask appropriately, wash your hands religiously, and disinfect your personal space regularly. It is also critical that if you experience any symptoms, get directed to test by a medical provider, or test positive you notify dosa@cnu.edu so that a case manager can assist you. Please, if you have any symptoms, don’t return to campus and be sure to get checked out. The omicron variant in particular presents a little differently, more like an upper respiratory/sinus infection/allergies issue, and the sooner you get tested when you have a related symptom the better chance we have to minimize the impact and spread.

There are additional mitigation strategies that we have employed before that we do not intend to use unless conditions change. None of us want to see restrictions on gatherings, alterations to dining, or limitations on visitation. Take every step you must so that we don’t even have to consider these sorts of actions.

Quarantine/isolation

All of you should make off campus arrangements to quarantine (if you’re not boosted or fully vaxed within the CDC timeframes and you get exposed) or isolate (if you get the virus). There are a very limited number of isolation spaces available on campus. With the high spread rate of the omicron variant, quarantining in your on-campus room/apartment isn’t ideal unless everyone is boosted/recently fully vaxed. Develop your quarantine/isolation strategy before you return to campus, keeping in mind that the sooner everyone in your room/apartment is boosted, the better your chance to potentially remain on campus if you’re exposed.

I know I’ve given you a lot to digest. While this email is intended to help you plan, I’m sure there are additional questions that have or will come to mind. Remember, even more information is coming next week and will focus on uploading your booster documentation and the revised academic calendar as well as any new updates we need to share with you.

I also know it’s New Year’s Eve, and for some of you that’s a cause for celebration. Whatever you choose to do, please be safe. Yes, this means the normal “be careful where you are, how you get there and get home, and what you do while you’re at the event” concerns. But in the current environment, it also means being really smart about how you’re feeling, how others are feeling, and mixing with groups big and small.

Let me close for now by stating the obvious: I get that we’re all really tired of the virus. Nobody seems to be real thrilled about wearing masks, physically distancing, isolating, etc… Viruses don’t really go away though; the World Health Organization has only declared 2 eradicated. So across the world and in our slice of it, we have to continue to learn how to live with it like we have with others like the flu, norovirus and hand, foot & mouth (an enterovirus). We are, like many others, paying attention to caseload but also focusing on things like severity of symptoms and hospitalizations as we talk through plans. Regardless of the severity of any virus, including the omicron variant, the best thing we can do is try to prevent the spread by taking the necessary steps. Thanks for doing your part now and in the future.

Enjoy New Year’s Eve. Remember, be safe in every way possible. Let’s close the book on 2021 and bring new hope into what will be a great 2022.

From Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students Kevin Hughes emailed to students, faculty and staff.

Good evening everyone,

I hope your Christmas was Merry & Bright, the start of Kwanzaa has been a good one, and that your preparations for New Year’s Eve are both exciting and cautious. Remember, you’re important to us and we want all of you to be safe, returning to campus healthy and ready for the Spring 2022 semester.

I have a few brief updates for you tonight; I anticipate having more in the coming days. Be sure to keep checking your email for more information from me and others.

In my last email, I mentioned some of the following adjustments related to the upcoming academic term. As a recap, some of those items include:

  • Spring 2022 classes begin on Monday, January 10th at 8 a.m.;
  • Main campus residence halls open at noon on Saturday, January 8th;
  • Dining Services begin with dinner on January 8th; and,
  • Changing Tides for our newest Captains will begin in the afternoon on January 8th.

Here is some additional information that applies to some of you, but is important for all of you to know:

  • If you are participating in Changing Tides, additional information about the program will come from orientation@cnu.edu. If you have questions about it, you can reach out to the Changing Tides team at that address.
  • Panhellenic Recruitment has been modified. Plans are in the works to use a hybrid format that will begin on January 13th. More information about joining one of our sororities will be coming from the Panhellenic leadership; you can also email them at cnu.phc.recruitment@gmail.com.
  • If you are among the small number of students (e.g. International Student, In-season Student Athlete, Theater, etc…) who were notified prior to Christmas that you could return to the main campus residence halls early, you should have received an email earlier tonight from Residence Life about new early arrival dates. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can contact the department at reslife@cnu.edu.

I’ll wrap up for tonight, but keep checking your email for more information. Remember, if you get the virus or are directed by a doctor to get tested for it, please notify us at dosa@cnu.edu so a case manager can support you. And of course, if you have any symptoms don’t return to campus until getting cleared.

Be well everyone. More to follow.

From Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students Kevin Hughes emailed to students, faculty and staff.

Good evening everyone,

I hope this note finds you well, enjoying time with family and friends, and celebrating the completion of the Fall 2021 semester. Before you start conjuring up visions of sugar plums dancing, I have some important updates for you. Please read this message thoroughly; while it won’t be the last I send to you in the coming few days, it will help you plan your next few weeks.

We have been monitoring the current developments with COVID, and especially the omicron variant that is continuing to spread. We can see the case numbers climbing. We also know that many of us in the Christopher Newport community and the Commonwealth at large will be gathering for the holidays, which makes the upward trend more likely to continue. In anticipation of this likelihood, and due to the forethought of our academic leadership, our faculty, and a number of key administrative units, we have the ability to make some changes to our academic calendar that will minimize disruption but also allow us to best continue with the university life we value.

We’re going to delay the start of the Spring ’22 semester a few days. While the university will not be closed, we are moving some key dates related to events, activities, and classes. As of this writing, the following changes are taking place:

  • Classes will begin on Monday, January 10th at 8 a.m.
  • Main campus residents may return to the residence halls beginning at noon on Saturday, January 8th; residential students with 10- & 12-month contracts may return at their convenience.
  • Students do not need to provide proof of a negative test or participate in re-entry testing prior to moving back into their rooms. However, no student should return to campus if they are experiencing any symptoms; be cautious and keep your friends’ best interest in mind.
    • If you experience any symptoms, go for a test, or test positive, be sure to report that to us at dosa@cnu.edu. Someone from our case management team will follow up with you.
  • The small number of students who have been given permission to return in advance of previously announced schedules will receive additional information in the coming days about any necessary adjustments.
  • Changing Tides for new Captains will occur in the afternoon of January 8th.
  • Any additional information about the revised schedule and/or format will be sent directly to students registered for Changing Tides.
  • Dining services will begin with dinner on January 8th.

I’m sure you have additional questions; that’s understandable. You’re no doubt wondering about everything from Spring Break (an adjustment is coming, but you’ll still have a break), to sorority recruitment (Panhellenic is on top of it, more to follow) to athletic events (same is true with your coaches) to theater (ditto…sensing a pattern?), etc… I’ll have more information and updates for you in the coming days, and I plan to send another email to you after Christmas but no later than the 27th of December. In the meantime, just be with your loved ones. Many of you may not yet realize how cherished that time is, so just make the most of these moments.

And finally, remember to be good. Santa is still watching and I don’t want any of you to get a lump of coal.

Have a wonderful Christmas, a Happy Kwanzaa, and a joyous Boxing Day. I’ll be in touch soon.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to faculty and staff.

Dear Colleagues:

I realize we are sending this message only two days before Christmas, but we are making some changes in plans for the start of the new semester - so we want to give you as much warning as possible.

As you know, the COVID case numbers are climbing and with the holiday gatherings ahead, that trend is likely to continue, especially with the growing presence of the omicron variant.

So, to lessen the chance of our bringing the virus back to campus and getting the semester off to a rough start, we will be delaying our return. We will not be closed, and a few previously scheduled meetings and small events will proceed as planned - but we will work differently so that we can allow the virus numbers a chance to wane.

Please note that this is just an initial announcement of our change in plans. It is likely there will be further messages with more details. Again, we wanted to share this change with you quickly, knowing that we have additional questions to answer.

For students and faculty: Classes will begin on Monday, January 10 not Wednesday, January 5 as originally scheduled. We will adjust Spring Break to allow for this shift (stay tuned for specifics on that please). This means students will move back into the residence halls the weekend of January 8 - not New Year’s weekend. That means a number of changes for Kevin Hughes and his Residence Life team, and for Lisa Duncan-Raines and the Student Success staff, so Kevin will be sending a separate email to students with important updates specifically for them. And as is his custom he will forward that message to all of us too - so we will know what our students have been told.

For staff: We will employ the universal telework policy, and for those who cannot work remotely, we will be using alternate work hours and shifting work start times to allow for a rotating, modified staffing schedule for the first week of the New Year. Please talk with your supervisors regarding your schedule and for specific timekeeping instructions. For some colleagues who can telework, working in-office some that week will be important to address gift and application processing from calendar year-end. Simply work with your Vice President and Supervisors to determine the best plan for rotating schedules so that offices can be successful but also de-densified.

Thanks for your patience as we continue to respond to the ever-changing pandemic environment, and work to protect our campus family. Now - go enjoy YOUR families and friends, and may the holidays bring you joy, and the New Year bring you many blessings.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to faculty and staff.

Dear Colleagues:

I hoped to have already sent my last COVID update email for this semester, but I fear that cannot be the case. I ask you to please read this message in its entirety as there are some very important changes we must share.

Vaccination requirements imposed by the federal government have been much in the news of late. The new regulations for all employers of more than 100 people have been suspended by a federal court, pending further litigation.

However, the President’s Executive Order requiring entities that have contracts with federal agencies to require their employees to be vaccinated remains in place.

The University has contracts with federal agencies that subject us to this requirement.

Although the deadline for compliance with this federal mandate has been postponed already, and therefore remains uncertain, we must notify you that at this time, all faculty and staff at Christopher Newport will be required to provide proof of vaccination, or document a medical or religious exemption. The deadline, currently, for providing that proof or exemption documentation is January 18, 2022. Please note: It is federal law that now requires that employees who do not provide proof of vaccine or documentation of medical or religious exemption by the deadline be dismissed.

While some vaccines may be a little bit faster, this timeframe means you should get your first vaccine shot no later than December 6 in order to meet the fully vaccinated reporting requirement. While your documentation can be submitted through the faculty/employee COVID–19 vaccination portal located on the MyCNU page any time after your last shot, the deadline for submitting your verification is January 18, 2022. And remember - vaccines are readily available at many locations throughout the Peninsula and Hampton Roads. Booster shots are not a factor in this process - you are considered fully vaccinated if you received the first Johnson & Johnson shot or the first two Moderna and Pfizer shots.

Other important COVID updates:

  1. We will not be testing faculty, staff or students next week. We will resume testing for all three groups, on the usual schedule, beginning Monday, November 28.
  2. We will continue to require masks indoors through the end of the semester; we will assess circumstances in the New Year, but as we have from the beginning of COVID, we will continue to use the CDC/VDH guidance to inform our decisions. Unfortunately, the new case numbers in Newport News climbed quickly over the last two days, so there is some concern about another wave as the weather gets colder.
  3. Boosters - we are not currently collecting information on booster status, but we encourage everyone to get a booster shot! You can receive a booster at any of the locations offering vaccines.
  4. We encourage you to get a flu shot too. Many of us received a flu shot at the campus clinic this fall but if you did not, you can get that shot at most of the locations where the COVID–19 vaccine is being administered.
  5. Our COVID Dashboard will continue to be updated daily through the end of classes; it will then be on “pause” until the start of the spring semester.
  6. We have had more questions about what to do if you have a “close contact” with someone with COVID–19. We continue to follow the CDC guidance for our campus community, but that guidance has been updated. Click here for the latest.

And - with Thanksgiving just one week away, a reminder: If you are traveling over the holiday or welcoming guests, please be careful in every respect. COVID is still present, and we want you to be as healthy as possible when we return to campus for the final push to the end of the semester.

I will send another message with non-COVID information as we head into the Thanksgiving holidays! So stay tuned.

Thank you for your patience with the ever-changing COVID world we live in and with the ever-changing information we have to share so that we may care for the Christopher Newport community we treasure.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to faculty and staff.

Dear colleagues,

Fall break is here! As our students and faculty head into a well-deserved academic pause over the next few days, and as we all move toward the weekend, I have a few updates to share.

First, COVID-related:

  • Local numbers, and masks - The good news is that locally and statewide, the case and hospitalization counts continue to drop. It appears that in the weeks ahead we may in fact see the virus prevalence fall off substantially. However, right now the numbers remain well above what we experienced over the summer, and the Virginia Department of Health still considers the transmission level on the Peninsula to be high. So, following CDC’s continued guidance, and doing all we can to protect our campus while local case counts remain concerning, we will stay the course with our mask requirement: everyone, regardless of vaccine status, wears a mask indoors. Right now, we expect to keep the mask policy in place through the end of the fall semester. And a note, in response to some recent questions: If you are traveling with others on university business, please treat your vehicle as “indoors” and wear a mask. If you have any questions regarding “to mask or not to mask,” please don’t hesitate to ask.
  • Testing schedules - Faculty and staff who are tested for the virus will continue on their regular schedule this week and next. There will be adjustments to the student schedule and Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Kevin Hughes will be sending a message to students addressing that in the next couple of days. As always, he will share that message with all of us.
  • CampusClear - Now, some really good news! Faculty and staff have, for the most part, been diligent about completing the daily symptom screener – CampusClear. The app helped us get through last year and the start of this semester because it forced us all to pause and be mindful of our symptom status, every day. It worked because you took the requirement seriously and tolerated all those notifications! It also worked because our team of community tracers, the COVID Response Team, jumped into action the moment they received information from any of us about possible virus exposure or symptoms. At this point, though, most of us are well aware of COVID symptoms, and you have been reporting exposures and illnesses directly to your supervisors and our emergency management team.

So – effective Sunday, October 10, we’re dropping CampusClear! Believe me - I can hear the cheers as I write this, and I am right there with you. But please - we absolutely cannot stop being vigilant about our health, so we will continue to send daily emails (not the app notifications on your phone) through the rest of the semester to remind us all to be aware of our health and any symptoms if they show up. And please, we cannot stop caring for each other by staying away from campus when we need to. Do not come to campus if you are sick.

Here is what you need to do if you think you’ve been exposed, or if you are sick:

If you are exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID:

  • If you are fully vaccinated (at least two weeks post second dose or after the first and final Johnson & Johnson shot), and you do not personally have COVID related symptoms, there is no reporting requirement.
  • If you are fully vaccinated but have COVID related symptoms, please notify your supervisor/department chair of your symptoms and hr-tracker@cnu.edu with the details of the exposure, your symptoms, and the phone number where you can be reached. Please expect a return email and follow up phone call from a member of the COVID Response Team.
  • If you are unvaccinated, you must notify your supervisor/department chair of the exposure and hr-tracker@cnu.edu with the details of the exposure, your symptoms, and the phone number where you can be reached. Please expect a return email and follow up phone call from a member of the COVID Response Team.

If you develop symptoms consistent with COVID:

  • Notify your supervisor/department chair immediately and hr-tracker@cnu.edu with the details of your symptoms. Do not come to campus until you have spoken with a member of the COVID Response Team.
  • If you believe the symptoms are a normal for you (allergies, for example) or if you have any symptoms or illness that is not consistent with COVID there is no need to report to the hr-tracker email address. Illness or injury not consistent with COVID should be worked out with your supervisor/department chair.

Just as a reminder, COVID related symptoms may consist of one or more of the following:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting

You can find this information on our website.

Now, on to other news:

  • In spite of fall break on Monday and Tuesday, next week promises to be busy on campus. We’re holding a Hiring Event (Job Fair) from 1-6pm on Tuesday at the Freeman Center. As President Trible said in his speech in August, we have too many unfilled positions across our campus in large part due to the hiring freeze we had to implement for months when COVID was raging. So, right now, too much work is falling to too few people. Please encourage anyone you know who might be interested in becoming part of our campus employee community to come to the event or reach out to our HR office. Information on that is here:
  • If you have questions about these topics or anything else, please reach out to Jim Hanchett, our Chief Communications Officer, and he will try to assist or point you in the right direction. You can reach Jim at jim.hanchett@cnu.edu or 4-7699.

I hope you have a good weekend. As always, thank you for all that you do for this place and for the students whose lives you change every day.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to faculty and staff.

Dear Colleagues,

The response to COVID–19 continues to unfold on our campus, in our community and on campuses across the Commonwealth. I want to take a moment to update you on where things stand for the Christopher Newport family, highlighting changes and noting important events.

First, we told you we would review the indoor mask requirement by Sept. 15 with a hope of lifting it for those who are fully vaccinated. Unfortunately, it’s abundantly clear that it would be unwise to do that right now. Our case numbers on campus are inching up and Newport News continues to see a surge in delta variant cases. In fact, the number of hospitalizations locally - especially for younger people, under the age of 40 - continues to be of great concern for our friends at Riverside Health System and for the other major health care providers in our area. We will review the policy again just before Family Weekend and the 60th Anniversary events on Oct. 1.

We want to offer clarification around the protocols when a student or employee contracts the virus or may have been exposed:

  • The first important step is to do your daily CampusClear. If you are not “all clear,” that sends a signal to our community tracing teams and they in turn begin their work to determine if you need to quarantine, need to be tested, or are cleared to come to campus.
  • You may also follow the instructions at the bottom of this page on our website about reporting potential cases and exposures.
  • Finally, Provost Doughty will be sending along a document that answers faculty questions about community tracing, quarantine, isolation and testing for students prepared by our faculty representative on the Strike Force, Dr. Jana Adamitis, in collaboration with faculty leadership, the Provost’s Office, the Director of Emergency Management and Student Affairs. We believe it will be helpful for all of us to know how our faculty work daily, in person, in all kinds of teaching and instructional settings, as they are mindful of the virus and how they manage their interaction with students while continuing to deliver the best educational experience.

The faculty and staff testing clinic is underway. We have contracted with a company from Northern Virginia who is administering the tests twice a week for this semester. This clinic is for those who are not fully vaccinated and by appointment only. However, there may be times where appointments come available for those who are fully vaccinated and would like to receive a test. Please contact Tamika Jasper at tamika.jasper@cnu.edu to check availability.

Students are directed to the testing facility if they are not fully vaccinated; tests are by appointment only. Those students experiencing symptoms may be administered a test through the Student Health Clinic after a telehealth appointment with a member of the clinic staff.

Now some important good news:

  • The Ferguson Center has been named the “Best Music Venue” by Virginia Living Magazine! Congratulations to Bruce Bronstein and his marvelous team at the Ferg. And that’s a reminder to all of us to take advantage of the special ticket credit that was extended to faculty and staff during President Trible’s speech on August 18. For directions on how to use your credit, just click here.
  • Staying with the Ferguson for just a moment … As President Trible announced, vocal superstar Josh Groban opens the season on September 29. With the variant surge, we were concerned that the artist might decide to postpone, but instead, the show will go on as planned – the Groban tour is simply requiring some additional protocols for patrons: masks, and proof of vaccination or clear test within 48 hours of showtime. If you are among the lucky ticket holders, check-in details will be forthcoming.

Even as we continue to respond to the changes that COVID imposes, we should celebrate all the good that has been achieved in this semester so far. Our case numbers are low, our classes are in person, our dining halls and student activities are humming and our arts groups and athletics teams are up and running. This delta variant will pass but we must mitigate risk by monitoring symptoms closely, wearing masks, practicing proper hand hygiene, physical distancing and avoiding large social gatherings. Thank you for remaining flexible, patient, good humored and diligent with the necessary steps we all have to continue taking to protect each other and those we love.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to faculty and staff.

Dear Colleagues:

Congratulations! The first week of classes of this new academic year is now in the record books! What a pleasure it is to be back together, as a campus community, and it sure is nice to see smiles and faces as we pass each other on the Great Lawn. Indoors, we have to settle for waves, and smiling eyes over masks for a time…but we are here, working and teaching and learning – together.

A lot has been happening in the world of COVID too, so we want to offer updates as the weekend approaches.

First – our website dashboard has been reactivated. It is updated every weekday, and as you could last year, you can track the number of active cases on our campus that are confirmed by positive tests as well as weekly quarantine/isolation numbers. Additionally, you will see our vaccination stats.

Our students are now 100% compliant with the vaccine requirement:

  • 93% are fully vaccinated.
  • Just over 6% have approved exemptions.
  • And under 1% will either be fully vaccinated in two weeks or less, or have received dose #1 and will be monitored to be sure they receive dose #2 and document it.

So, as of today, fewer than 7% are in the group to be tested weekly, and of course that number will go down as some of the students not yet fully vaccinated achieve that status. Students who did not fulfill the vaccine or exemption requirement are no longer enrolled at Christopher Newport. Student testing began this week in the campus clinic. Tests are currently offered by appointment four days a week.

Here’s where we stand in faculty/staff response to the state’s requirement for documentation of vaccine status:

100% of faculty and staff have now provided documentation. A small number who did not are no longer employed by Christopher Newport. Today, 89% of faculty and staff are fully vaccinated, and within a few weeks that will reach 91% as a few of us are finishing the vaccine double dose/waiting process. We will be providing free weekly testing for our colleagues who are either not yet fully vaccinated or are unvaccinated. Later today, information will be sent to everyone required to participate in the testing. And, of course we will provide names of people to contact with questions and concerns, to make this new program as uncomplicated and convenient as possible. We are also developing protocols for our contractors, vendors and volunteers. We will have details to offer on that next week.

Booster shots:

We are working with the Virginia Department of Health, Riverside Health System and other area partners on making booster shots available for members of our community who received the Moderna vaccine here on campus (Moderna was the only vaccine administered in our campus clinic). At this point, the earliest those booster shots would be available and warranted is sometime in November.

You have probably heard this week that the Pfizer vaccine received final FDA approval and President Biden says the same will be true for the Moderna vaccine very soon. We will keep you apprised as we get more information. We continue to encourage everyone who has not yet received the vaccine, and is able to, to do so to protect your own health and the health of your family, colleagues, friends and community.

CampusClear:

Please remember to complete your CampusClear symptom screener every day, regardless of whether you plan to be on campus or are away from work for a weekend, conference or vacation. So far, the response from faculty and staff has been strong and we thank you. Every day!

CampusClear sends a signal to individuals who serve on our community tracing teams. We have very dedicated colleagues who are continuing to volunteer for these crucial roles, which is an incredible service and support for us all. But they could use additional hands. If you are interested in becoming part of the tracing team, or have questions, please contact Tammy Sommer, Director of Emergency Management by email or phone: 4–7428. Tammy will work with you and your supervisor to determine whether this important volunteer role can fit into your time and responsibilities.

Masks:

I have to admit that I find myself leaving my office - and then turning around - at least a couple of times a day because my mind is somewhere else…and my mask is on my desk. Even though we wore these things for more than a year, wearing one is not a habit I am finding easy to reclaim. But we must. Please, be diligent about masks indoors at all times unless you are alone in a private space. And offering friendly reminders to students is just fine. Kevin Hughes will be sending them a message in the next day or so that gives a firmer reminder as well.

So, fall of 2021 has begun. Classes underway – check. Field Hockey, Soccer, and Football, off and running - check. Music and theater in rehearsals - check. Student activities underway – check. Great Lawn encounters…check!

And last week, on Day One of Service – August 19 – our marvelous Class of 2025 wended their way into the wonderful community around us and began their lifelong joyful commitment to serving others. Thanks to campus videographer Kyle Cummings for this fabulous video that captures that special day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFv5lxsIx90&t=1s

As always, if you don’t know where to turn for information and answers, email Jim Hanchett, our Chief Communications Officer. And, as always, thank you for all that you do and all that you are – seen and unseen – for this place. It sure was good to see you in Freeman last week and even better to see you as we do our work together every day.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to faculty and staff.

Dear Colleagues:

This message is the first of a few headed your way this week. Thanks for your patience and attention.

Reporting vaccination status: As the Governor ordered in his statement last week, vaccination is now mandated for state employees, so in the next couple of days we will provide details for reporting your vaccination status, or your medical or religious exemption. And as we promised, we will make it as simple as possible for our campus community. The message with the link and instructions will come to you from Christopher Newport Human Resources – HR – so please be on the lookout. And even the many of us who received the vaccine at the clinic on our campus during the early months of 2021 need to provide our vaccine report. The deadline is Sunday, August 22 to attest your vaccination, or your medical or religious exemption.

Next – and I am sorry about this - we must temporarily re-mandate wearing of masks, indoors, by everyone, vaccinated or unvaccinated, in shared spaces, effective Thursday morning, August 12 at 5AM. I know this is not good news, and we all thought vaccination would free us from face coverings. But the reality of the delta variant power and prevalence in Newport News forces us to bring out the masks again, for a while.

If we wear masks now, we speed the day when they can go away once more.

This policy applies to all classrooms, labs, shared offices and indoor hallways. It does not apply to single-occupant offices, or student rooms or common areas in residence halls. Visitors to residence halls during move-in will need to wear masks. So will campus vendors and all other campus visitors.

Masks will not be required outdoors – but if you are unvaccinated, we urge you to practice physical distancing at crowded outdoor events and whenever possible indoors. If you wish to wear a mask for any reason outdoors or while in individual offices or student rooms, please do so. Others will too.

This is not forever – hopefully not even for long. Just for a while. We will plan to re-evaluate our situation by mid-September. But we will, as we always have, protect this campus community with every tool available.

Campus Clear – we will reinstate the symptom tracking app shortly – details will follow later this week so please be on the lookout.

And there are a number of changes to announce in plans and locations of upcoming Welcome Week events, and even events as the semester begins. Details to come shortly.

As always, if you have questions about these policies or anything related to the virus, please begin with Jim Hanchett, our Chief Communications Officer, at jim.hanchett@cnu.edu.

Thank you. We are so grateful for your good spirit. We will move beyond this surge and into the semester we all hope for. We just have to power through this delta variant set back.

From Dean Kevin Hughes emailed to students.

Greetings everyone,

I hope your summer has been a good one. Whether you’ve been traveling, working, interning, researching, or studying, I trust that you’ve also found time to recharge your batteries. We’ve missed you walking the Great Lawn, grabbing a milkshake in Einstein’s, or gathering in the DSU. Fortunately, in just a few weeks, you’ll be back on campus. I want to take a few moments to tell you what to expect.

Let me first start by congratulating so many of you. As I write this, nearly 90% of you have submitted your required COVID vaccine or exemption documentation into the immunization portal. That’s a tremendous response in advance of our Sunday, August 1 deadline; it far exceeds most of the other institutions in the Commonwealth. Your response not only speaks highly of you individually, but also reflects your commitment to the entire Captains’ community.

For those of you yet to upload your required COVID vaccine or exemption documentation, you have until midnight tomorrow, Sunday August 1st, to comply with the requirement. That’s less than 36 hours to get this done. It is absolutely critical that you take care of this obligation. Not only is it for the safety of our community, but failure to do so also has implications for you individually; non-compliance will result in non-enrollment for the Fall 2021 semester.

Please everyone, if you haven’t yet submitted your vaccine or exemption documentation make sure you take care of it by tomorrow, August 1st at midnight. And if you’re a member of the Class of 2025 or new to campus this year, don’t forget you also have other vaccine documentation (for measles, mumps, etc…) that must be submitted.

Obviously, thousands of you have already completed this requirement; nearly 90% truly is outstanding. I realize however, that some of you may get nervous about whether your documentation has been received. If you have not satisfied the requirement, the University has contacted you a number of times via text and/or email.

We’re looking forward to a campus life that is much more reminiscent of your experiences in Fall 2019; being vaccinated is an important step on this road to normalcy. Please know that throughout the summer, we have continued to monitor the COVID situation in the Commonwealth and the local area; we’ve also tracked guidance from the CDC and the VA Department of Health (VDH). Taking these steps helped inform our actions during the 2020–21 term. As we consider different strategies for the upcoming year, such as daily symptom reporting (Campus Clear), masking, surveillance testing, distancing, and sanitizing, we will again examine the conditions in the area and on campus as well as the most up to date guidance from the CDC and VDH to inform our course of action.

While I want to make sure you’re fully aware of the August 1st deadline, there is still more to share with you about life on campus this Fall. There are some exciting experiences that await you, including the return of some campus traditions. Let me hit a few highlights for you.

We know the pandemic can impact our future, and as I mentioned earlier we will continue to monitor conditions as well as guidance and adjust accordingly; we are still moving forward with a number of other plans, however. Move-In is just around the corner for the Class of ’25, and we’re grateful for those of you who have volunteered to help them. We’re excited about Welcome Week, Club Fair, and events like the desserts at the President’s House that are important to who we are as a university.

Many of you have wandered across the Trible Courtyard, meeting friends for lunch or just strolling on your way to classes, the library, or the DSU. When you return in a few short weeks, you’ll find the fountain located in the middle of this area. It’ll be a place to gather, enjoy the peacefulness of the water, and of course celebrate your graduation with the tossing of your penny on the day of your Commencement.

Speaking of the penny, we are very excited for the return of the Honor Convocation ceremony during which our new students will recite the Honor Code, affix their signature to the registry, and receive their penny. We’ll conclude Welcome Week for the Class of 2025 with this tradition, but just as importantly we will honor the Class of 2024 with their own ceremony. If you’re a sophomore, please mark your calendar for the evening of August 22nd for this important event. By the way sophomores, your opportunity for desserts is coming, too. More on that in the future.

I encourage all of you to block some time on the night of the 22nd for another campus-defining event. Having spoken with your SGA President, Mary Romanello, last month, she was very excited to share the planning process for the Light the Night event that happens the evening before classes start in the Fall. At this point, plans are moving forward. Be sure to make some time to attend the event; it’s a lot of fun and a great way to start the semester off right.

There are other activities coming your way, too. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you cheering on our student-athletes this Fall. Certainly, that includes football, but don’t miss out on our other Fall sports. There’s a reason we have the highest winning percentage, across all sports, of any college or university in Virginia. We’re really good when we enter the arena, we like to win, and we do it a lot. Come join in the excitement.

Of course, there is more than just athletics. We know the vibrancy you bring through your clubs and organizations and want you to be ready to hit the ground running when you return. Performances are returning to the Diamonstein Concert Hall in the Ferg, and the exhibitions planned for the Torggler Center are truly spectacular; you won’t want to miss them. In addition, all of you are at Christopher Newport at a very unique time in our history. You will have the opportunity to celebrate a milestone birthday for the university. This year marks the 60th anniversary of our founding, and our folks in University Events have some tremendous activities planned. Knowing what an exceptional job they did with graduation this past May, you’re not going to want to miss any of our celebrations this Fall.

Let me finish for now as I’m sure you have plans for the rest of your weekend. Know that we’re very excited to have you return to campus. If you haven’t already, be sure to upload your documentation by midnight tomorrow, Sunday August 1st. Be safe and make the most of your remaining days before you return to campus in a few weeks.

From Dean Kevin Hughes emailed to students, faculty and employees.

Good afternoon everyone,

I hope this email finds you well and thriving in whatever summer experience you’re pursuing. Life is quiet on campus without you, although Setting Sail has started and the Class of 2025 is here and beginning their transition to being a Captain. We’ll look forward to having all of you back on campus in about two months.

I am writing today with a number of updates. While some concern COVID, others do not but they can shape your experience on campus. Please take a moment to absorb all of the information so you know what to expect upon your return.

Immunizations and masks

As I previously shared with you, the university requires the COVID vaccine for all students unless they have been approved for an exemption for medical or religious reasons. You have received an email from immunizations@cnu.edu and/or text with instructions on accessing the immunization portal. Returning students will find the link by logging into CNU Connect and accessing their myLinks (gold bar) tab. New students have been provided a specific URL to access the portal. Your documentation should be uploaded directly into the portal and if you need to request an exemption, you can download the form directly from the portal, complete the request form, attain any signatures necessary, and submit the completed form via the portal. Remember, you need to be fully vaccinated by August 1st or have received confirmation that your exemption has been received and processed. Be mindful of this timeframe as it relates to full vaccination (2 weeks after the last shot) so you can plan accordingly. If you have any questions or concerns about the portal or you’re having trouble navigating it, please email immunizations@cnu.edu.

Recently, we made some modifications to our mask requirements based on updated guidance received from the Virginia Department of Health. Masks are no longer required for any individual, vaccinated or unvaccinated, when they are outdoors and not in a crowd. Please note that unvaccinated people must wear masks when they are in a crowd and whenever they are inside.

As has been the case since March 2020, our campus requirements are likely to evolve and will continue to be informed by guidance we receive from the CDC, Governor’s Office, VDH, and the Peninsula Health District.

Juneteenth, DEI, and our community

Today marks the Commonwealth of Virginia’s celebration of the Juneteenth state holiday. Enacted last year in recognition of the June 19, 1865 date on which Union troops notified the last enslaved Americans in Texas of their freedom, Juneteenth was signed into federal law as a national holiday by President Biden just yesterday. It’s an important day for our community, the state and the country.

During the summer of 2020, President Trible appointed Dr. Angela Spranger of the Luter School of Business to serve as the university’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. In her role, Dr. Spranger is charting a course for educating our community on inclusive excellence concepts that can guide our work at Christopher Newport. While a number of activities have already occurred, one of the most important steps we’re taking as a university involves a series of educational videos. Please make time to watch the following brief message from Dr. Spranger that introduces our future steps, found here.

Environmental initiatives

You may be aware that in March, Governor Northam signed Executive Order 77 which focused on the elimination of single-use plastics by all state agencies, including colleges and universities. We’re certainly doing our part and this EO is consistent with some of our broader sustainability efforts on campus. Here’s how the elimination of single-use plastics will affect you.

  • By July 21, we must stop buying, selling or distributing certain single-use plastics. The specific items included in this first step include to-go containers (think Regattas), straws and utensils, plastic water bottles (like in a vending machine), and plastic bags. That certainly is a lot for us, especially when considering the COVID protocols we’ve had to put in place during the last year. It goes beyond those, however. It’s things like trash can liners along with everything else in that list.
  • The second step requires us to develop a multiyear plan to eliminate buying, selling or distributing all non-medical single-use plastics. This means all single-use plastics on campus.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we’ll need your help. Of course, I also know that environmental initiatives are important to a number of you. If you are interested in helping build our efforts, please be on the lookout for future opportunities to help with sustainability at the university.

That’s enough for now as I’m sure you’re off doing great things this summer. As you are, please know we miss having you on campus. We’re excited to return to a semester that will remind you much more of Fall 2019 than the 2020-21 year. Be safe, enjoy your summer, and look for more information and updates in the coming weeks.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to faculty and staff.

Dear Colleagues,

As we hoped, the Governor stayed true to his plan and lifted nearly all of the COVID-related restrictions for Virginia last Friday. Even with the good news of more freedom, life is complicated by the array of COVID policy changes at all levels of government and here at Christopher Newport. I have to admit I wonder when I should wear a mask and where to stand in the checkout line at Harris Teeter; I scour every vendor window for a change in signage, and question whether I can share an elevator with a coworker.

So - to start answering those questions about living and working on campus, our CNU COVID Strike Force has put together some common questions - and answers - we hope you will find helpful, and that we can easily update as things change. And as we all know well – they will change.

Where do I have to wear a mask and when?

Vaccinated employees do not have to wear a mask indoors or outdoors. Unvaccinated employees must wear masks, indoors and outdoors for your own protection. Anyone who is more comfortable wearing a mask should certainly continue to do so. We all have different levels of comfort as we emerge from these many months of pandemic. Classrooms will remain physically distanced through the summer – we will take on the major move of reinstating all of our spaces for “normal” use after Summer Session II is complete. In the fall, we do not plan to practice physical distancing on the campus. Important note: Each faculty member teaching in Summer Sessions I and II can make the decision to require or not require masks in the classroom for vaccinated students. Provost Doughty will be sending an email detailing classroom plans over the summer and other COVID-19 syllabus changes.

Am I required to get a vaccination if I don’t have one?

Not at this time, but the University urges those who can be vaccinated to do so in order to protect themselves and others. Vaccinations will be required of employees if and when the Governor requires it of all state employees, in which case, religious and medical exemptions will be available as needed.

Are we still physically distancing now or in the fall?

The Governor’s Executive Order that imposed distancing requirements has been lifted. The CDC’s guidance also withdraws distancing recommendations for vaccinated individuals. For the summer, we have a relatively small number of students on campus, and the vast majority of our employees have been vaccinated. For these reasons, our campus is a relatively low risk environment and we are no longer requiring that we maintain 6 feet of distance at all times. However, it is recommended that unvaccinated individuals - for their own safety and the safety of others who are unvaccinated - continue to keep distance, especially inside, where many others are present.

When does the campus open to the public and when can I bring my kids to campus?

The campus will reopen to visitors on July 6 and children, four-legged children, neighbors (and everyone else!) will be welcome then. The mask and distancing rules for visitors will be the same as shared above.

What is the policy on bringing visitors to campus between now and July 6?

Continue to follow visitor procedures as posted on our website. The check-in tent has been taken down and informing visitors about our policies is the responsibility of the hosting office or individual.

What is the policy on travel, whether university sponsored or personal?

University-sponsored travel is underway, and will follow pre-COVID procedures. For personal travel, please follow the CDC guidelines.

When contractors visit campus, what rules should they follow?

Contractors follow the University’s rules and regulations so that means they should wear face coverings if not vaccinated. The CNU office primarily responsible for a given contractor or contractor relationship must ensure those contractors follow these rules. To be clear: contractors are any individuals working for the University who are not employees of the University. From UPS delivery drivers to construction workers, contractors would be the category that covers them all.

Will there be a Setting Sail this year?

Yes, we will generally be following the 2019 plan, welcoming our new students and their parents to campus for in-person orientation and welcome.We have also increased the number of sessions from four to six to provide more space for everyone.

What are the policies for Admission - campus visits and travel for staff?

We are delighted to welcome prospective students and families back to this beautiful campus, and to send our Admission team back out into the Commonwealth and country to bring us new Captains! All Admission operations are back on normal track.

Our telework agreements end on June 30 - what’s next?

We can all return to our offices, fulltime; we no longer need to follow the staff rotation plans that were put in place to allow us to de-densify and physically distance. However, mindful of the more flexible University schedule in July, telework agreements and the schedules associated with them will be extended through July 31.

Are there summer camps on campus? Where? When?

Yes – Both Athletics and the new Mary. M. Torggler Fine Arts Center are hosting summer camps for children and teens this summer.

Is the Ferguson Center going to have performances? What about this summer? Will there still be distancing and masks in the Ferguson for performances?

Beginning in June, the Ferguson Center will be operating at full capacity once again – no more seating according to physical distancing. It will launch a full schedule of performances beginning in the fall. Ferguson Center employees will continue to wear masks when working performances with audiences. The thermometer station in the front of the Ferguson Center will remain for now.

Can meetings be in person now? Both with campus colleagues and with outside contacts? And now that we know how to hold meetings virtually, can we still use that tool?

Yes, all meetings can return to in-person, on campus or off, subject to the mask rule for unvaccinated individuals. Yes – virtual meeting tools can still be used when doing so makes the most sense for the group.

Will the thermometer stations still be in place?

Yes.


These are the answers that will shape our campus life through the remainder of the summer as we prepare for the fall semester. We are also updating our website so you’ll have ready reference to this information. As we move through the summer, I will be back in touch about all of our fall plans. If you have questions we haven't answered, please send them to our Chief Communications Officer, Jim Hanchett, at jim.hanchett@cnu.edu. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to make this campus such a wonderful place for us to work and such an extraordinary place for our students to live and learn. Enjoy the summer. It is so nice to know that we really can do that this year!

From Dean Kevin Hughes emailed to students, faculty and employees.

Good afternoon everyone,

I hope this email finds you well and that you're enjoying a productive, meaningful and relaxing summer.

I write today to provide you with the latest information on the University’s plans for Fall 2021. As we have previously indicated, we intend to return to a campus experience much more reminiscent of Fall 2019. This means in-person classes at planned instructional capacity, visitation between residence halls, regular athletic events, and a robust campus life with activities, organizational events and meetings, and performances in different venues. While we build toward this return, we do so mindful of the need to minimize the spread of the virus, which continues to be a threat to our community’s health and safety.

Earlier today, the Executive Committee of the Board of Visitors convened and directed two actions affecting members of our community. First, the University’s new and returning students are required to demonstrate proof of full COVID 19 vaccination. While exemptions can be requested for verified medical and religious reasons, all non-exempt students will need to be fully vaccinated in order to be enrolled at the university. Second, at such time as state employees are required to be vaccinated, the University shall require vaccination of all of its employees.

A full vaccination process takes time. For instance, with one of the most popular vaccines, a person needs to receive their first shot, wait at least four weeks, and then receive their second shot. After the second shot, the individual needs to allow an additional two weeks in order to be considered fully vaccinated. As a result, this very typical timeframe requires a minimum of 6 weeks in order to be considered fully vaccinated. While some vaccines may be a little bit faster, this timeframe means you should get your first vaccine shot no later than June 15 in order to meet the fully vaccinated reporting requirement established by the Board of Visitors. While your documentation can be submitted any time after your last shot, the deadline for submitting your verification is August 1.

Like many other institutions in the Commonwealth, the Board took this step as the best way for us to return to the Christopher Newport educational experience that you’ve come to expect and we all treasure so deeply. This is especially true on a residential campus like ours, where we want you to live and learn together and give back to this community. We want to see you, mask-free if you desire, bringing this campus alive like you have before. We need you to do your part and join the more than 90% of our faculty and staff who have already been vaccinated and are ready for your return in August.

Over the coming days, we will finalize and share with you the appropriate mechanisms by which you can report your vaccination information or request the documentation for religious or medical exemptions. We anticipate this mechanism, known as the Immunization Portal, will be operational as early as next week. It is important for you to check your cnu.edu email regularly as we will communicate additional information through this format. I also encourage you to participate in future virtual Town Halls, should they occur.

Undoubtedly, you will have questions both now and in the future. I want you to please share them with us when they occur, but let me anticipate a few of them now and try to provide you with some insights.

  • Does it matter which vaccine I get? No, you should get whatever vaccine is available to you. If you have specific medical questions about each vaccine, please talk to your primary care physician.
    • Note: Be aware of the timelines for different vaccines. As mentioned above, some two-shot vaccines have a 4-week period between first and second shots. There is also a 2-week period after the last shot to be considered fully vaccinated.
  • Where can I get a vaccine? Vaccines are widely available throughout the Commonwealth. The CDC has provided the following vaccination website to help you find vaccine sites near you wherever you may be this summer.
    • Note: If you are having difficulty finding vaccines in your area, you can travel outside your locality to receive a vaccine. Walk-in vaccines are easily accessible throughout the greater Peninsula area if you’re interested in returning here, although appointments are still recommended. Be very mindful of the above note on timing as getting vaccinated at move-in will be too late and you will miss the August 1 submission deadline.
  • What happens if I can’t get vaccinated? What steps are available to me to be protected? Anyone who wishes to wear a mask may do so; this will be expected of those who are exempt from the vaccine unless guidance changes. Additionally, exempt students will be tested twice weekly through the campus health clinic to help limit the spread of the virus to the individual and to others in our community.
  • I’ve already had COVID-19, so do I need to get vaccinated? Even though you have had COVID, you are still required to get vaccinated unless you have a medical or religious exemption.
  • I got vaccinated at the clinic in the Freeman Center. Do I need to do anything? Yes. If you were one of the approximately 2000 students who chose to get vaccinated in the VDH clinic in Freeman, you still need to report your status through the Immunization Portal.

Let me close for now. Make sure to submit your documentation by the deadline, being mindful that if you still need a vaccine you’ll need to plan ahead. Pay attention to your email so you can stay up to date with campus reopening guidelines and keep yourself informed.

Enjoy your summer. More information will follow soon. I look forward to seeing you back on campus in August.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to faculty and staff.

Dear Colleagues:

We are updating our COVID protection policies in response to yesterday's revisions in guidance from Commonwealth officials.

Outdoors: As of today, we no longer require face coverings and physical distancing outdoors on campus. This applies to everyone who has been vaccinated. Those who are unvaccinated must wear masks and physically distance themselves as the CDC and VDH direct. We have begun the process of removing signage mandating face coverings outdoors but at this time the campus remains closed to the public.

Indoors: We continue to require face masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. We will revisit this policy in the weeks to come, based on guidance from local health officials, vaccination rates and the prevalence of the virus on campus and in the community.

Vaccination against COVID 19 is now readily available, for free, to everyone over the age of 12. We urge every employee who has not yet been vaccinated to take this one important step to protect themselves and our community. More information may be found here.

We all have different levels of comfort as we move through the constantly, and quickly, changing COVID guidelines and conditions. We know there are members of our campus community who will wish to continue maintaining physical distancing and continue wearing face coverings indoors and outdoors, and that choice is personal and fully supported. Grace, good humor and patience have gotten us through this thus far; we will stay the course and celebrate every step we take away from COVID and toward normalcy.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to students, faculty and staff.

Christopher Newport University is aware of the revisions in COVID-19 protocol policy just announced by Governor Northam for the Commonwealth of Virginia, following yesterday's changes in guidance from CDC. The Governor also said that businesses and state agencies may develop and maintain their own policies for face coverings and distancing.

So, for our class of 2021 Commencement Experience celebration, we will continue to require face coverings and physical distancing. We will have guests here tomorrow from across the Commonwealth, the country and around the world. While many members of the Christopher Newport family have been vaccinated, we know there are those among our students, faculty, staff and visitors who may not yet have had the opportunity to receive the vaccine or are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. We thank you for helping us protect our campus community.

From Provost Doughty emailed to students, faculty and staff.

CNU Students,

This year has been an academic year unlike any in recent memory. It has been stressful for everyone, for you, for our faculty, and for administrators, as together we have navigated through the shoals this pandemic has created.

While this semester has ended very well, in terms of containment of COVID-19 on our campus, we know that this semester has still been stressful for you. And the end of the semester brings the additional stress of final exams and final grades.

To alleviate some of the stress, we are once again pushing back the deadline to withdraw from a course, or switch to pass/fail (or audit).

The original deadline for withdrawing from a course or switching to pass/fail or audit was March 24. To allow you more time to consider these options, the academic leadership of the university, in consultation with the faculty, has recommended that we push these deadlines back.

Accordingly, the new deadline for withdrawing from a course, or switching to pass/fail or audit will now be this coming Monday, April 26 at 5:00 PM.

Note that no changes in the policies regarding pass/fail or withdrawal are being made; we are simply pushing the deadlines back to give you additional time to consider your options.

I wish you success in these last few days of classes and final exams.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to faculty and staff.

Good Morning:

Early today, the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC urged a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The clinic planned for our campus today was for Johnson & Johnson shots, exclusively.

Riverside Health System is replacing the J & J vaccines with Moderna vaccines. Everyone scheduled to receive the vaccine today will be able to keep those appointments. Everyone receiving the vaccine will also be given clear instructions about where to go to receive the second dose.

A number of Christopher Newport students are scheduled for the clinic today. Since they will be eligible for their second dose after summer break begins. and most will not be on campus, we will work with those students to make it easy for them to receive that second dose at a location in their hometowns.

Tomorrow's clinic of second-dose Moderna vaccines will proceed as scheduled.

Thank you - if you have questions please direct them to Chief Communications Officer Jim Hanchett, and as always he will work to find the right person to help you.

From Dean Kevin Hughes emailed to students, faculty and employees.

Good morning everyone,

Over the past weeks, a number of you have asked about vaccines for students.

I am pleased to announce that the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Peninsula Health District (PHD), the City of Newport News, York County and Christopher Newport University have a limited number of single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine appointments available for currently enrolled Christopher Newport students. Vaccines will be allocated on a first-registered, first-served basis.

Pre-registration is required and must be completed by noon on Monday, April 12. Please note the following requirements:

  • These vaccines are available only to currently enrolled Christopher Newport students
  • You must use your current cnu.edu email address to register
  • The registration link cannot be shared nor this email forwarded
  • You must be at least 18 years of age in order to register
  • If you have been in isolation or quarantine within the last 14 days you will not be able to receive a vaccine at this time

Clinic details include the following:

  • Location: Fieldhouse of the Freeman Center
  • Date of clinic: Tuesday, April 13
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

To register for the clinic, you must complete an online CNU Student vaccine appointment. The form found at this link requires you to enter a registration code.

The registration code: lionsbridge

You must enter the registration code exactly how it appears above (all lowercase and all one word). It must be entered at the top of the form in order to proceed to the appointment scheduling step. You must complete the entire registration process and receive your confirmation in order to be scheduled. If you have not received a confirmation, you have not completed the registration process.

The allocation of vaccines specifically to Christopher Newport students is a great opportunity to help minimize the spread of the virus both on campus and in the communities you’ll soon be headed to after exams. I encourage you to sign up as soon as possible and no later than noon on Monday, April 12. Remember, there are a limited number of doses and vaccines will be allocated on a first-registered, first-served basis.

If you are unable to register for this clinic because of exposure or other reasons, you may complete the Future Vaccine Clinic form. Please be aware however, that we do not know if or when we will receive future opportunities to vaccinate Christopher Newport students.

Be well. I hope to see you at the clinic.

From Dean Kevin Hughes emailed to students.

Greetings everyone,

I’m writing today to with a brief but important message about vaccination availability for college students. In Virginia, vaccines are not yet available for most students; those who have received vaccines fell into very specific criteria established by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM). We expect that more people will become eligible as we get into spring and will let you know as soon as this occurs. In the meantime, we ask that you follow this and all guidance from VDH and VDEM as things progress. The headline from that guidance: vaccine clinics are not accepting walk-ins at this time.

VDH and VDEM are the lead agencies in establishing Community Vaccination Centers throughout Virginia, which are larger in scope than the limited purpose vaccine clinic inside our fieldhouse. These agencies established categories that are utilized to manage the finite number of vaccines distributed at each center. As more vaccines become available, each center works through the different phases of the Commonwealth’s plan. Currently, most people below the age of 50 are not eligible.

There are some steps you can take that will help with the Commonwealth’s vaccination efforts. First, you should register for a COVID-19 vaccine by visiting vaccinate.virginia.gov. This is the best way for you to get an email when vaccines become available. Obviously, this also means you should check your email regularly as you must bring a copy of your invitation to your appointment.

Next, familiarize yourself with the different phases in Virginia’s plan. You can find details here. Understand when your turn may come so that you’re ready to act on the opportunity, and if you believe you qualify under the current guidelines please also notify dosa@cnu.edu in addition to registering through the Commonwealth system.

Finally, there are also some things you shouldn’t do. Don’t simply show up at any center expecting to get a vaccine; remember walk-ins are not accepted. Don’t try to “stretch” the criteria in the hopes that you’ll fit into a different phase. For example, congregate housing is one of the standards that determines when a person can access the vaccine, but it is intended for nursing home residents, not those of you who live in residence halls.

I indicated this would be a shorter message so let me finish for now. Please know that vaccines are becoming more regularly available; we’ve seen as much in the past few weeks. As you prepare for the last weeks of classes and your final exams, be sure to take a moment to register so you can receive your shot.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to faculty and staff.

Good Morning Colleagues:

I hope all is well in the classrooms after the brief spring recess. The sprint to the finish is on!

A few updates for you regarding vaccine clinics and on other fronts:

Clinics:

  • This week's vaccine clinic for public service workers will take place on Friday, March 26. Hours: 9 am - 6 pm. This clinic will administer 2,000 vaccines and is largely second doses. If you are eligible for your second dose at this clinic, you have very likely already been contacted about your appointment time. Same is true if you are to receive a first dose too. If you believe you should be on the list for this week, please contact Jim Hanchett, Chief Communications Officer, and he will connect you with the folks who can assist you.

  • There will be another clinic next week. It is likely to be on Thursday, not Friday, and we are still awaiting details on the number of doses. Please stay tuned - we will share information about next week as soon as we receive it.

Protocols:

  • You have likely heard that CDC has issued new guidelines about distancing, suggesting that 3 feet, rather than 6 feet, is ample spacing for mitigating virus spread, while wearing masks. While CDC guidance may change, we have also always looked to the directives from VDH, and the Governor's Executive Orders, to inform us as we determine what is best for our community. Our practices to date have helped to mitigate the spread of the virus on campus, especially with no evidence of classroom transmission. So, we will continue our current practice of 6 foot separation, in classrooms or in any setting, for the remainder of this spring semester.

Commencement:

  • The good news is that we continue to receive positive changes in the guidelines surrounding Commencement. You saw Vice President Kevin Hughes' message last week to the students. As he promised, we will soon have our Commencement details in place so that our seniors and their families, and our faculty, will know precisely how our Commencement celebration will unfold.

Faculty:

  • The Provost will be sending you an email within the next couple of weeks so that you will know as a school, colleges, and departments what will happen when - so you can proceed with your own plans accordingly. We are working on a way for you to be able to hold a version of your departmental events, and in fact those may well be even more important in the context of Commencement as a series of small events rather than one big celebration.

  • We will have some version of our traditional "Senior Week" events. Dr. Hughes and his team, and the Alumni Relations and Advancement offices are at work figuring out how to celebrate the seniors while ensuring all the protection and mitigation protocols are followed.

Planning for the fall of 2021:

  • While there are lots of details to address, all of us can look forward to a fall semester that looks a whole lot more like fall of 2019 than fall of 2020! We will keep you apprised as we begin to make decisions about what our return to campus plan will be.

  • In fact - the COVID "Strike Force" has asked a group of our colleagues from across all areas of campus to come together over the next four weeks or so, and offer their observations on "lessons learned" through this past year. In spite of the crisis that forced us to live and work and learn differently, there are some important take-aways that will inform what life looks like for the Christopher Newport community moving forward. Vice Provost Bob Colvin is chairing this group, and Professor Willy Donaldson is co-chairing, so if you have thoughts you wish to share, I am sure they would be glad to hear from you.

There is light - lots of light - at the end of this COVID tunnel. Thank you for your courage, spirit, and good humor. We will continue to walk into that light, together.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to faculty and staff.

Dear Colleagues:

The lovely early spring weather and students spread out across the Great Lawn signal that a very long winter is almost over. As the season turns, we are also letting more sunshine into our world by adjusting some of our pandemic policies. I want to tell you about those revisions but not before taking a moment to look back to where we were one year ago this week.

We were closing our campus, sending our students home, asking our faculty and staff to pivot quickly to teaching and serving our community from their kitchen tables instead of their offices and classrooms. We were canceling events, halting travel, reducing spending and we were doing all of that while deeply and rightfully worrying about our own health and the health of those we love. Some of us have lost family members or dear friends and some of us have contracted the virus and suffered. It has been quite a year.

We cannot put the worries behind us just yet and return campus to a full normal, nor stop with the critical measures we take to protect each other. But thanks to the vaccination clinics and to countless good decisions by each one of us, we can see a new day ahead.

With the caution that every loosened restriction is tentative and depends on a continued low case count, I am pleased to share a few changes that we are beginning to roll out for the spring and summer.

Athletics attendance - Parents and students will be permitted to attend Athletics events on a limited basis. Each student athlete will be allowed two guests with face coverings and distancing between groups of fans required. Each athletic venue will have different protocols specific to their differing physical layouts, and names of guests must be submitted in advance of the event. We do not plan to allow visiting teams to invite spectators. No on-campus gatherings of fans and athletes will be allowed before or after games.

Summer programs and events - small, targeted CNU Program camps for children and teens will be permitted on a limited basis as will a new musicals workshop at the Ferguson Center, with face coverings and distancing required. We will focus on first serving our surrounding community with day camps and consider overnight as necessary or appropriate. That includes camps at the Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center, within academic units and for Athletics prospect-students.

Setting Sail - Setting Sail orientation, as well as other Admissions and Student Affairs activities for prospective students and admitted Captains, will happen in person - again with strict protective measures. Setting Sail will simply unfold over a longer period of time, so we can bring smaller groups of new students and parents to campus for each session.

Faculty travel – Beginning June 1, 2021, University-supported travel for research and professional conferences will be permitted with prior approval by Provost Doughty and the deans and must be conducted following university guidelines.

Commencement Experience for the Class of 2020 – We have had a number of questions regarding the Commencement promise made to the Class of 2020. Senior Director of Alumni Engagement, Baxter Vendrick is working with Executive Director of University Events and Special Projects, Amie Dale, to reach out to this class and pose possibilities to them. We will let you know when we have their responses and a plan to put in place.

The Campus Opening of the Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center – One major triumph on campus during COVID is the Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center rising from the ground. It is a magnificent place and is nearing completion. In fact, on Friday, April 23, we will celebrate a soft opening of the building for the campus community, and plans are underway for the Department of Fine Art and Art History’s Senior Art Show to be the first exhibition on display in the Torggler this April and May. As plans are finalized for both events, we will share them with you.

Campus Clear - the daily health screener remains a requirement through the end of the spring semester and exams for all faculty, staff and students regardless of whether you plan to be on campus on any given day. We are studying how to potentially relax that requirement after graduation day.

Earlier this week, you read the good news from Vice President for Student Affairs Kevin Hughes about our Commencement Experience plans. As he noted – if further guidance is given about Commencements, we will keep you posted.

We are optimistic that our community will be able to continue to take these small steps back to normalcy, always following the guidance of the Virginia Department of Health and grateful that our cautious approach for the past year has been effective.

And just to clarify who the “we” is regarding decisions and recommendations for our campus COVID response:

This time last year, President Trible assembled a core group of folks - a steering committee, if you will - to take on that charge. They were labeled a “Strike Force” (appropriately), and began meeting daily as the mountain of quick decisions had to be made last spring. They have continued to meet throughout the year - now twice a week, more when needed. While the core group has changed a bit with the retirements of Cindi Perry – Chief of Staff, and Bill Brauer – Executive Vice President, the mission and focus have remained the same: care for this Christopher Newport community. Other leaders on campus join the group from time to time as decisions about specific programs need to be made. Jana Adamitis has been the steadfast faculty representative on this group and we cannot thank her enough for her dedication and counsel. We understand the importance of our charge.

I hope to be able to share more messages like this in the days ahead. And as always, if you have questions we welcome them. Just email Chief Communications Officer Jim Hanchett (jim.hanchett@cnu.edu) and he will find the right person to help you. For now, though, I urge you to go out on the Great Lawn and be warmed by nature’s proof that spring is coming.

From Dean Kevin Hughes emailed to graduating students and employees.

Greetings Class of 2021,

I am excited to send you this email as you begin the last months of your undergraduate or graduate experience at Christopher Newport. I’m sure you’re realizing how quickly the years have passed, even with the extraordinary challenges you’ve faced for the past 12 months. Through it all, you’ve made some lifelong friends, navigated difficult times, created cherished memories, and now prepare for the crowning achievement of this phase of your journey as a Captain for Life.

This message contains the news you’ve been anxiously and eagerly awaiting, so read it in its entirety. While there will be modifications:

We are planning for an in-person Commencement 2021 Experience

With this wonderful news comes the usual caution – our plans have to be tentative because the virus can change the direction we are headed at any time. We’ll prepare for such a scenario and also have a virtual, online alternative for those of you who prefer that option or have more family members and friends than we can host. Regardless, we are moving forward with new designs on an in-person Commencement 2021 Experience for you.

Due to Commonwealth restrictions, University guidelines, and spread prevention needs, the Commencement 2021 Experience will look differently than previous years’ ceremonies. However, we’ve learned a great deal about managing large numbers of people throughout the past semester and a half, especially from the successes we’ve enjoyed from the re-entry testing and vaccine clinics. As a result, we can offer you an in-person experience that will feature the defining traditions you associate with being a Captain. Our plans still capture:

  • Signing your name to the Class of 2021 numbers
  • Dropping your Convocation penny into the fountain
  • Tossing your tassel, signifying your status as a graduated Captain
  • Walking across the stage and having your name and honors read while doing so
  • Recessing through a faculty gauntlet
  • Ringing the bell
  • Depositing your 50th reunion letter at the alumni house
  • Picking up your diploma

To make this festive day happen, one that will be filled with celebration, music, multiple family photo ops, and plenty of poignant and unforgettable moments, we are creating event zones throughout campus that feature these special experiences. While there is no seating, each event zone allows us to accommodate small numbers of you at any one time so that you can have a cherished experience. There are other elements to the day that I want you to know about in advance. It will help you with your planning.

You will be able to invite a strictly limited, small number of guests to join you in your celebration. The final number will be based on gathering regulations that continue to evolve as the situation in the community and on campus warrants. In order to accommodate everyone, you and your guests will be invited to be on campus for a specified time block for your college or school and continue to move through the event zones, completing all of the traditions. Each graduate will have a scheduled time to queue with their families for their special moment walking across the stage; this particular event zone will be presided over by your respective deans with many of your faculty in attendance. With this set up, the family members who are joining you will be front and center to hear your name called and your honors read, to cheer you on, and to take any number of pictures in addition to those taken by our professional photographer and videographers. Family and friends unable to join us will be able to watch a livestream broadcast of your special moments.

While the Commencement 2021 Experience is different than what we’re used to creating, we’re still thrilled to find a way to offer you and your loved ones an in-person event that captures so much of what makes being a Captain special. We love celebrating you and your tremendous achievements, and we’re looking forward to this Commencement Day and the week of Commencement activities that are still being finalized by your classmates. In the coming weeks, more information will follow.

Let me close for now, but not without reminding you how we got here. You’ve had to make some difficult choices and some adjustments to your everyday college life, especially when we experienced a surge. We need you to keep exercising good judgment, especially with Spring Recess just around the corner. We don’t want to derail this celebration, festivities that are unthinkable at other institutions, because we let our guard down and aren’t taking the necessary precautions to reduce the spread of this virus. We can get to the Commencement 2021 Experience, but as has been the case throughout this pandemic, it’s going to take all of us.

Keep studying hard, and start making your plans for May. Your graduation events will be here before you know it.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to faculty and staff.

Good Morning:

I want to give you an update on plans for a one-day, first-dose COVID vaccine clinic on campus this week and share news of the emerging plans for clinics over the following weeks that will provide second doses to all those who received their first dose on our campus.

First - this week's clinic will take place tomorrow - Wednesday, February 17. It lasts only 3 hours, from noon until 3PM. There are only 500 vaccines in total available tomorrow and of those only 55 for CNU frontline employees. Invitations for vaccine appointments will be emailed from Tammy Sommer, our Director of Emergency Management. One caveat for tomorrow: The weather is causing some question about whether the vaccines will actually arrive. So, if you are contacted about an appointment and sign up, please stay alert for additional information. And again - these are first doses in the two-dose vaccination process.

Now - next week is a different story.

We expect that the clinic will unfold over three days - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - and the hours of operation are still being set. It will be providing 500 first doses, but this clinic will begin the major work of providing the guaranteed second doses to all those who received their first doses in January. In fact, 4,400 second doses will be administered in this clinic next week.

Now, to be clear: if you received your first vaccine dose on January 22, 26, 27 or 28, you will be eligible for your second dose next week. As was the case before your first dose, you will receive an email invitation to schedule an appointment time. You will click the link in the email and then register for your timeslot. If you received your first dose AFTER January 28, you will be contacted about your second dose later this month or in early March - after the necessary 28 day waiting period has lapsed. The clinic on our campus will continue operation beyond next week, until everyone who received the first dose here also has the opportunity to receive the second dose. So, be on the lookout for more details about next week and the clinics that follow.

And one final note: You may have heard some people have a stronger reaction to the second dose than the first. Please make sure your supervisor or chair or director is aware when you are scheduled for your second dose in the event you experience any issues that affect your work. Also - we expect to add an option to the daily Campus Clear screener that asks if you are experiencing symptoms, but then also asks if you have received your second dose in the last 24 hours. More information to come on that too.

We will keep you apprised, and are pleased that so many of you will soon be fully vaccinated against this virus. Please - keep wearing your masks, washing your hands, distancing and sanitizing. One day, we will all be able to see smiles again. Thanks for your good spirits and patience as we continue to work in an ever-changing vaccine arena.

From Dean Kevin Hughes emailed to students and employees.

Good evening everyone,

Although it has only been three days since my last message to you, I find it necessary to write again about the current state of affairs on campus as it relates to COVID. I want to share with you what is happening and why, remind you of campus expectations, inform you about action items that have been or will be occurring, and enlist your help in acting quickly so that we can prevent further spread of the virus. Quite frankly, it’s your obligation to do your part. Yes, we want and expect to continue with in-person classes, organized student activities, and athletics. Your duty extends beyond those reasons.

We must act quickly because we made a commitment to each other and we care about our community. Many people who contract the virus will get sick; some of those will battle the misery and lingering aftereffects for months. What is happening on our campus right now is a stark reminder that individual behavior can have a profound and lasting impact. When you socialize with little concern, and in some cases reckless disregard, for who it hurts, everybody is impacted.

To be clear, everybody extends beyond our campus grounds. We haven’t restricted you from leaving campus, so if you’re not taking all of the proper precautions you’re taking your risks to your family, to your workplace, or to Teeter or Target when you need supplies. And the folks in those locations are trusting that you have a mutual respect for them, even when you don’t know them, and that you won’t put them at risk. Uphold your end of that bargain.

As I wrote on February 4, I realize most of you are trying to do what you can to help prevent the spread. As we have seen however, it only takes a handful of folks to affect all of us. It’s going to take all of us to turn this situation around.

Case Count

No doubt you’ve seen the rise in numbers since my message last Thursday. We have seen an additional 60+ students contract the virus. Even more of you are now in quarantine. Here is what we know about the surge.

  • We have seen no evidence of classroom transmission
  • Significant transmittal is occurring in small pockets of friends & acquaintances who aren't following guidelines; this results in substantial spread opportunities & the need to quarantine far more individuals
  • We have seen isolated examples of transmission occurring during behavior such as parties; this results in big groups of students being immediately quarantined

What this information tells us is that in-person classes are not the issue. That’s not surprising given the seating arrangements, extensive cleaning, and an environment managed by a faculty member. However, in less structured environments managed by you, such as a residence hall room or when eating, spread is happening. And in settings with virtually no oversight like a party, the impact is swift and lasting. I’ll address this last situation in a moment.

Campus expectations and guidance

While I covered a number of items the other day, let me share again what’s expected beyond just hand washing and sanitizing. I also want to provide even more clarity about what you must do to minimize your risk and the risk to others.

  • You must complete the Campus Clear screening every day
  • Report any symptoms immediately, even after you've completed your screening for the day
  • Avoid travel, including into the local community, if at all possible; travel only when you need to, not when you want to
  • Wear your face coverings at all times, and wear them properly (cover your nose and mouth). This includes in your rooms when guests are over; in the classrooms, residence hall lounges, common areas, & library spaces; & when you're eating, lower your mask only when consuming the food and drink, not the entire meal (it's very easy for someone to end up in quarantine if done improperly)
  • Limit your close contacts by interacting with fewer folks right now, which is defined as 6 feet or less, mask or no mask, for a cumulative total of 15 minutes within a 24-hour period.
  • Stay away from large gatherings in unstructured environments. Remember, any size gathering, indoors or outdoors, in which people are not wearing a mask and maintaining 6-feet of distance risks spreading this virus.

I understand that this seems like a lot of work; it is. Even when you think you’re following guidance, such as the 10-person social limit, you could be creating problems by not wearing your masks and being distanced. We’ve certainly seen examples of this impacting our current surge. You have to implement every precaution, not just some, in order to maximize the effectiveness of your efforts.

University Response

I indicated in my last communication that we were aware of reports about poor choices related to parties and gatherings that were made by students and student organizations. As has been the case since last August, when individuals or groups are intentionally indifferent or knowingly ignore the expectations and guidance of the university or the Commonwealth, we will respond and we will do so firmly. We cannot tolerate anyone who is willingly putting our community members at risk.

Since the start of the Spring 2021 semester, we have suspended 3 student organizations and removed 15 students from campus.

Anybody who makes these types of decisions faces other consequences. In addition to the financial costs, be prepared to be dismissed from a team or activity if you’re a student athlete or a member of a university sponsored group; it too is happening.

While you may think of this behavior in the context of social events, I need to be crystal clear regarding other types of decisions that will bring about a very firm response.

  • When you're dishonest on your Campus Clear screening, you've made a choice to put others at risk
  • When you've been on campus in violation of any isolation or quarantine restrictions, or you've brought people into campus residence halls who are not permitted, your actions say you don't believe the rules apply to you
  • When you aren't completely forthcoming with community tracers about your actions, behaviors, and close contacts, you are intentionally allowing the virus to spread

We cannot accept and will not tolerate any of these types of decisions; and they are very clearly conscious decisions you must elect to make. Choose wisely, because not only will you be ineligible to isolate or quarantine on campus, but you also position yourself to no longer remain a student here. Whatever “it” is, “it” is not worth it.

University Action Steps

There are a number of plans that have been and are being implemented by the university so that we can minimize the spread of the virus, crest over the current surge, and return us to the campus experience we had last November. Among those steps are:

  • Easing access to symptomatic COVID testing through University Health & Wellness Services (UHWS) in the Freeman Center. If you are experiencing symptoms and you use a scheduled telehealth appointment to meet with a clinician in UHWS, the nurse practitioner can assess you and determine, based on your symptoms, if you need to come into the clinic to have any number of tests, including strep, flu or an antigen or PCR-based COVID test. This will be a great resource for you as only CNU students can been seen in the clinic; you won't have to travel off-campus to find a clinician; the clinic fee is significantly below many off-campus copays; and unlike urgent cares and other testing sites, both the antigen and PCR tests are at no cost to you.
  • Modifying meal delivery processes to increase the efficiency of food service for those students who are in university isolation or quarantine spaces. In order to more rapidly get meals to these students, we’ve contracted with an outside company to assist in the delivery of food during the appropriate timeframes. We’ll continue to monitor the isolation/quarantine meal process to determine if other modifications are needed. If you find yourself in either isolation or quarantine and have concerns about food (or any other issue), please be sure to communicate quickly with your case manager so that he/she can help navigate your situation.
  • Acquiring additional campus bed spaces for potential future isolation and quarantine needs. So that we can continue to plan for different possibilities, we are working to create more areas on campus where we can provide additional housing if necessary. While we still encourage students to go home if placed in isolation or quarantine, we realize that some of you cannot do so; our plans will enable us to offer more campus beds if needed.
  • Supporting our region’s ability to fight the virus through vaccination clinics. The university has played an integral role in the local health department’s efforts to vaccinate frontline workers in the Newport News, York County, and CNU communities. We will continue to do so again this week with another clinic on Wednesday. The more vaccines that can be provided to the essential personnel as designated by the Virginia Department of Health, the faster the Commonwealth can progress towards getting the broader population access to injections. We are pleased that we have been able to help in these efforts.

Let me conclude by recognizing how hard many of you are working to help us get through this current trend. We all need to do our part, so make sure you are following the guidance outlined here and elsewhere and please make the best decisions for everyone involved. I truly believe we will make it through this difficult time and we will be better for it.

Be safe and be well.

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to employees.

Dear Colleagues,

As the first week of February 2021 draws to a close, I want to offer important updates on several fronts in our ongoing response to COVID–19. This message is a long one, so I thank you in advance for your good humor – and patience.

First – Vaccine clinics:

Please join me in thanking our colleagues who helped organize and staff the vaccine clinic that in only five days resulted in vaccinations for more than 7,000 essential workers. They are our first responders, our children’s teachers and bus drivers, and they are our faculty and staff who work on campus and serve our students. In case you are wondering, our vaccine allotment at our last clinic did grow - unexpectedly once again - from the initial 100 that I referenced in my email Monday to a total of 300 for our CNU faculty and staff. We were elated to issue additional appointment invitations as the day unfolded. Gov. Northam and health officials have been so impressed by the clinic’s remarkable efficiency and cheerful staff and volunteers that they’re asking us to do it again.

The fieldhouse will be the location of another clinic on Wednesday, Feb. 10. We believe the hours will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. As of right now, the university will receive a small number of vaccine doses and those will go to people on the priority list we spelled out last week who have not yet been vaccinated. No additional slots are available, but we will let you know if that changes.

Many of you have asked when you will be able to receive the second shot in the two-shot sequence. We all received the Moderna vaccine, and the necessary spacing between the first shot and the second is 28 days. And importantly – you can receive the second dose AFTER that 28-day mark but not before! The initial date for the second shot for those who first received vaccines, even in the first clinic, is still a few weeks away but we are making every possible effort to ensure those shots will be administered here on campus. We anticipate they may begin as early as the week of February 22 but we will share dates and times and the appointment process as soon as plans are in place - so please stay tuned.

Next – our case numbers:

As our COVID dashboard indicates, the number of active cases involving students has risen significantly. Vice President Hughes outlined some of the reasons for the surge and the university’s response in an email to students that was shared with you on Thursday. At this point, we continue to be able to serve the number of students in isolation and quarantine with our existing resources. Provost Doughty is preparing a note to faculty about a minor adjustment to our policy about livestreaming, which you should receive shortly. Please know that we are carefully monitoring the situation and will keep you apprised of any new developments or adjustments to our operating procedures.

And finally – future activities:

From commencements to summer camps, Summer Scholars to Setting Sail, every kind of program and event remains in the planning stages for this spring and summer. We will share the evolving information as soon as it is available. We are all hopeful that we will, increasingly, be able to be present with one another. But we won’t waver from the policies and cautious approach that have served us so well.

We know this continues to be such a challenging time, and all of us have so many questions. Please - feel free to ask them. You can email Jim Hanchett - Chief Communications Officer, and he will be glad to engage the right person here who can give you an answer.

Thank you again for your good work and wonderful spirit under enormously difficult circumstances.

From Dean Kevin Hughes emailed to students and employees.

Greetings everyone,

I hope this email finds you well. It’s good to have you back on campus after a longer than normal break. I am writing to you today because I want to make sure you’re able to remain on campus for the rest of the semester.

We had a successful re-entry process. Well over 4000 of you were immediately cleared because you tested negative as you returned to campus. Only a handful of students tested positive through this process, but the more recent numbers are far less encouraging. In the less than two weeks since our last testing clinic, our caseload has risen dramatically. We now see over 50 positive test results, with even more of you in quarantine. We’ve got to stop this trend, and we have to stop it now.

I understand that the vast majority of you are making good decisions. You continue to limit interactions, stay in small groups, wear your masks at all times, physically distance yourselves, sanitize regularly, and adhere to our social contract and community expectations. My message to this group is “Thank you.” I know it’s hard, and I’m grateful that you’re taking the steps you can to prevent the spread of this virus. Even when you do all the right things though, you may still get COVID; it is a virus after all and it does spread quickly. It’s ok to feel unlucky, but please don’t feel bad if you’ve done the right things. Focus instead on getting better quickly so you can get back to campus life.

We’re also cognizant that a number of people have expressed concern about the behavior of a small subset of our student population. Please know that we are aware of the risky behaviors, the Air BnB rentals, and the 40+ person parties that have all recently occurred off-campus. As was the case last semester, we will respond to these actions directly with individuals involved; if the actions are also affiliated with an organization, it will be addressed at that level as well.

It’s going to take all of us to right the ship quickly so we can continue the semester uninterrupted. Here are the things we need to remember and do collectively in order to move forward.

  • Understand that a negative test is just a snapshot in time, not a blanket "clearance." You can't act recklessly just because of a one-time test result
  • Complete the Campus Clear screening every day, honestly and completely. It's more important than ever that we have a good knowledge of the situation on campus and remember, we're going to start checking at various locations on campus.
  • Report any symptoms & immediately separate yourself from others if you don't feel well. Don't go to class, your campus job, the dining hall, or meet friends and put others at risk
  • Wear your masks when you're inside and whenever you're around others. This is a university requirement
  • Avoid unnecessary travel and remove yourself from any situation where folks aren't practicing good preventive behavior
  • If you're looking for social opportunities and stress relief, take part in the on-campus activities sponsored by CAB, student orgs, or the university. They've been vetted for appropriate protocols
  • Stay in small groups, not large gatherings, and limit your contact when possible
  • Sanitize your living and working areas
  • Wash your hands regularly

We have to take these steps so that we can stem the tide we are now facing. We also have to pause plans we had to allow visitation between different residence halls, which was to begin next week, until our numbers drop significantly. You can make it happen by your actions in the coming days and weeks.

I realize this current world is difficult; everybody has COVID-fatigue and we just want to be done with masks, distancing, and other restrictions like the state’s 10-person social gathering limit. Now is not the time to let down your guard or just take a chance because you’re fed up with everything.

You’ve demonstrated that Captains are different from other college students. We made it through the Fall semester, a period where people were betting against you, because of your willingness to make difficult choices so that you could remain here, together. Recommit to each other, turn this trend around, and let’s get back to where things were in November.

Be safe. Be well. Believe in each other as much as we believe in you.

From President Trible emailed to faculty and staff

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) inspected our student testing operation at the Freeman Center Fieldhouse and was impressed by its efficiency and welcoming spirit. As a result, Christopher Newport University has been asked to make our facility available for a specially targeted COVID–19 vaccination site. Our facility will focus on our public servants in Newport News, York County and Christopher Newport who are on VDH’s Phase 1b list, including police, other emergency responders, teachers, individuals over the age of 65, and frontline workers who serve our students and community.

This is a short-term arrangement and will not interfere with our student re-entry testing. Visitors to the clinic and its staff will park in lot D. They will not have access to other sections of the campus.

The available vaccine is limited at this time. It will be shared among Newport News, York County and Christopher Newport, consistent with VDH guidelines. In fact, tomorrow our university police officers will have the first opportunity to be vaccinated. Members of our CNU family who qualify based on the priorities established by VDH will receive individual notification regarding scheduling a vaccine appointment.

We are pleased to have the opportunity to serve our community and our campus in this life-saving way.

From Dean Kevin Hughes emailed to students and employees.

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season and a relaxing break; it was certainly both needed and deserved. We’re looking forward to having you back on campus as it tends to get very quiet when you’re not around. With your F ’20 departure occurring before Thanksgiving, it’s been a longer absence than normal. We’re ready for your energy

As I indicated in my December 22 email, I have more information to share with you about returning to campus for the Spring ’21 semester. There is a lot of material here, so you may need to read this email a few times. I also invite all of you to attend a virtual Town Hall with me on Wednesday, January 6 at 6 p.m. You need to register in advance for the Town Hall, and I also encourage you to submit any questions you have prior to the event. I’ll group your inquiries by themes to cover as much material as possible.

To register for the virtual Town Hall, click here. Your family is welcome to join but please, one registration per household so we can have as many participants as possible.

For any questions you’d like to submit, please send them to dosa@cnu.edu.

Some reminders

There was a lot of information in my December email and many of you sent me questions over break. Let me reference some of the most frequent things you asked with reminders or additional clarity.

*You need to show a negative test in order to return to campus for S’21.

*You can get tested at home or through the campus clinics we have established; there is no cost for the campus clinic, which is in the Freeman Center.

*If you get tested at home, you may use an antigen (rapid) or PCR test as long as it is both administered within 48 hours of your return and you have the test results in hand when you get to campus. PCR tests take longer to process so be aware you may not make the 48-hour window of receiving your test results. The university is using the antigen tests we received from VDH and the results should take about 30 minutes, which is what you should also expect if you get a rapid test back home.

*If you choose to get tested on campus, which will occur in the Freeman Center Fieldhouse, you must have a back up plan in case you test positive. You can’t move into the halls (residential students) or be on campus (residential or commuter students) if you test positive.

*If you decide to travel back to campus with a fellow Captain and that person tests positive, you will be required to quarantine. Be smart about how you make your way back to CNU.

Things to do before you return to campus

There are a number of steps all of you can take prior to coming to campus that will help ease your return. Some of these are new and some are things you’ve already been doing.

*Reengage with the Campus Clear app. You should have started seeing prompts again and you need to complete the screen on a daily basis. Please know that in the Spring ’21 semester, you can expect random “app checks” to verify if you have completed Campus Clear for the day. In order to gain entrance to the dining halls, the library, the fitness center, academic or residential buildings, or activities and events on campus, you may be asked to show the app on your phone and the response screen that verifies you have reported no symptoms and are cleared to be on campus.

*Register to get tested. If you’re getting tested off-campus, you need to plan in advance; not every site offers tests to people without symptoms so you may need to make multiple calls. If you are a residential student getting tested on campus, your move-in time is your campus clinic time (you don’t register twice…it’s covered). If you’re a commuter student getting tested on campus, your registration link will be sent later this week. If you’re using the on-campus testing option, we don’t have walk-in slots and campus testing is only available on the days specified.

*Share your off-campus test results. If you choose to get tested off-campus, be sure to bring your negative test results with you when you return to campus. If you are moving back to campus on one of the testing weekends (Jan 8–10, Jan 15–17, Jan 23–24), head to the ticket office by the Diamonstein Concert Hall in the Ferg between 8–5. If you have been approved to return during the week, bring them to Student Affairs on the 3rd floor of the DSU from 8–5. You will need to get official documentation from a University official that shows you have been cleared to be on campus/return to your residence hall.

*Download a new app. Reentry testing on campus entails a process in which the results are sent directly to your smartphone. In order to receive the results, you’ll need to download the NAVICA app, which can be found anywhere you get your apps from; it is available for Apple and Android systems.

*Remember your friends and fellow Captains. Self-quarantine before your return to limit your risk of exposure and potentially bringing something back to campus. Of course, do NOT come to campus if you are experiencing any symptoms. We can’t take the chance and allow you on campus if you are symptomatic.

*Remain vigilant. Continue to practice physical distancing, mask wearing, sanitizing and hand washing, etc… even if you get tested off-campus and are negative. All tests are a snapshot in time, and while you may test negative on the day of your test, if you engage in risky behavior afterwards you can still catch the virus.

Residential students

There are some items specific to those of you who live on campus. Some of these are familiar and some are based on questions you’ve been asking.

*You must register in advance to move back into your room. Your hall directors sent you a link that allowed you to complete this registration.

*Remember, we’ve identified times to help manage the density distribution and provide testing on campus. Students living on East Campus or Rapp/Greek should move in Jan 8–10. Students living on main campus should move in Jan 15–17. Any students with special circumstances (as well as commuters) should use the Jan 23–24 weekend.

*Your on-campus testing time is linked to your residence hall move-in time. This means that if you registered to move in at 11 a.m., your testing time is at 11 a.m. Once you’ve made your way to the Fieldhouse, you’re done with the process, and you have tested negative, you simply go to your hall, show them your phone with the negative result, and start the move-back process. You must adhere to your move-in time as there are finite spots in each time slot which allow us to have the physical distancing we seek. You will not be able to move in after hours.

*If you need to change your move-in time, you can do so through the original link.

*If you need to update your choice for testing from “off-campus” to “on-campus” using the University’s testing clinic, you can also do that through the original link. However, if there are no more on-campus testing slots available, you will have to choose a new move-in time.

Commuter students

If you live off-campus, you still have to show a negative result in order to be able to come to campus, participate in campus activities, attend in-person classes, and utilize university resources like the fitness center, library, or DSU.

*You may get tested on or off-campus as long as it is within the 48-hour window previously specified. Your designated testing weekend is Jan 23–24.

*If you have a campus job, you must have a test prior to returning to work. Please be sure to talk to your employer in advance if you’re hoping to start prior to Jan 23–24. You should discuss either an adjusted return to work date or other testing options in the community. If your employer has questions, have them contact dosa@cnu.edu.

*The link for commuters to register for the Jan 23–24 testing clinic will be sent to you later this week.

Ok everyone, this is a lot of information. Read it a few times and make sure you understand it. Be sure to register for the Town Hall on Jan 6th at 6 p.m., where I’ll cover this information and answer your questions about testing as well as share information about the University’s quarantine policies, guest guidelines, and other topics of interest.

I look forward to “seeing” you on Wednesday, and seeing you beginning this weekend. Travel safely back to campus.

We had a wonderfully successful fall semester because all of us – students, faculty and staff – took appropriate actions to reduce the spread of the virus. Today, we are announcing changes to the Spring 2021 schedule that will give us the time and flexibility to continue to safeguard our community and ensure a successful academic experience.

The start of the spring semester will be postponed by eight days from Monday, January 11, 2021 to Tuesday, January 19, 2021. Classes will be exclusively online from January 19 to January 22. We will plan to resume in-person classes on January 25, with the option to remain online for an additional week if necessary due to public health guidance, government restrictions or to accommodate our testing/isolation/quarantine protocols. To be clear, our plan is to shift back the start and conclusion of the semester but we do not intend to abbreviate it in any respect.

We are adjusting the schedule so that we can offer free COVID–19 tests to students as they return after the holidays with families and friends. The complicated but critical process can best be accomplished over an extended time period. Residential students will return to campus on a staggered schedule so that they may take full advantage of their housing and dining contracts while preparing for the semester and participating in the first week of virtual learning.

Students will receive details about the residence hall move-in schedule and the testing plans through an email in the next few days from Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Kevin Hughes. Faculty will receive details to shape their planning from Provost Dave Doughty. Staff will be briefed in a communication from Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson.

The dates for a brief spring break, March 18–21, are unchanged.

The change in schedule will necessitate an adjustment to the May, 2021 commencement schedule. Ceremonies for Class of 2020 graduates will now be held Saturday, May 8 and the Class of 2021 will be honored on Saturday, May 15.

The university will continue to monitor what has proven to be an ever-changing situation and, if needed, will be poised to make additional adjustments to the spring semester in response to guidance from the state and federal authorities.

I urge you to take all necessary precautions to limit your risk of infection in the days ahead. I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and hope that you will find time to relax and enjoy the company of those you love and return to campus in January in good health and good spirits.

The spring 2021 academic calendar is now available but is subject to change if circumstances related to the pandemic require it. You can find it at the link below. The spring term will begin January 11. Spring break has been shortened and is now March 18-19. Classes end April 21 and exams begin April 23, concluding April 29.

An email sent Friday night about an employee who tested positive for COVID-19 has led to questions about our protocols. Pursuant to our protocols, when there is a suspected or positive case involving an employee, non-student employees and student employees who live off campus are directed to stay off-campus until they complete the isolation period.

Student employees who reside on campus are required to enter isolation. In either event, the university’s community tracing process also begins. Those members of the CNU community identified as “close contacts” who have been actually exposed will be notified and expected to quarantine. In most cases, employee cases will not prompt a university-wide communication. They will be reflected in the numbers posted on our Relaunch dashboard and also reported to the Virginia Department of Health.

Facilities undergo rigorous daily cleanings; in addition, a space that may be affected by an employee-related case will undergo a thorough, intense cleaning. The reopening report describes cleaning and sanitizing procedures.

From Dean Kevin Hughes emailed to students, faculty and staff.

I am writing to share that an Einstein’s Café employee who worked for a brief period on Wednesday morning has tested positive for COVID–19. University officials have identified all individuals at CNU who are considered close contacts; they are being instructed to quarantine for 14 days. Only those individuals contacted by the University need to quarantine.

The employee wore gloves and a face covering at all times. Einstein’s Café is cleaned regularly and the protocol for rigorous cleaning has been followed. The café is undergoing an additional deep cleaning. It will open Saturday with normal operations. The Centers for Disease Control guidelines indicate there is minimal likelihood that Einstein’s patrons would have had sufficient exposure through surface contact or air transmission to be at risk.

This year, we are beginning a journey like no other.

There is good news about recent successes and accolades of all kinds – even in these difficult times – but first, I want to talk about what lies immediately before us.

Why are we working so hard to bring our students back to campus and to instruct them in person?

Well, our students want to be here and they are excited to be back on this beautiful campus. Indeed, our fall enrollment is essentially the same as last year – only 82 fewer students than last fall.

Moreover, in-person instruction and the on-campus experience is who we are. At Christopher Newport, we have gifted professors who instruct and inspire our students, face to face, in small classes.

I am very grateful for our faculty. Almost 70% of our classes this fall will be taught in person. No other public college or university in Virginia approaches that number.

Furthermore, lessons about leadership, honor, and service, and respect and tolerance for others are best learned by living in an academic community.

So my profound thanks to all of you for all you do every day. There are about 1,300 of us. Everyone works hard and contributes mightily to making this place precious. The plan for our return to campus has been crafted by many good and thoughtful colleagues and it must be executed by all of us.

Here are some of the key elements of what we have done thus far:

We’ve staggered the residence hall move-ins to reduce the number of visitors at any one time and we have screened the health of each student as they arrive on campus.

We are all required to complete daily symptom screening. In the next few days, we’ll roll out an improved version of this screening process in an app called Campus Clear.

We have reduced the density of common spaces in the student union and library and in our classrooms, dining facilities, offices and residence halls.

We’ve moved our largest classes online and moved others into much bigger spaces.

We’ve increased cleaning and sanitizing of high-traffic areas.

We’ve cancelled athletic events, performances and conferences.

We’ve eliminated University-sponsored travel, but will continue to support virtual conferences and presentations.

We are extending the hiring freeze. Exceptions will only be made in extraordinary cases and only with my approval.

Our campus is closed to the general public and we will welcome only those visitors and contractors expressly invited. For example, the Admission Office will bring prospective students to campus but all visits will be scheduled and tours limited to one family per tour guide.

Other rare exceptions to these strict visitation limits may be granted by the Provost or appropriate Vice President but only for compelling reasons.

We are able to isolate and quarantine students and assist the Virginia Department of Health in tracing contacts to prevent the spread of the virus.

This week, we launched a Dashboard on our website which reports the number of students and employees who have tested positive for the COVID–19 virus, been on campus in the last 14 days, and are in isolation.

Much uncertainty remains, but one thing is certain, if this is going to work, we are going to have to do it together.

Here are the simple rules we must all follow:

  • Wear a mask– when you’re on the way to class, in class, on the Great Lawn or Trible Plaza, outside your office or residence hall room, in the Library or the David Student Union or any of our buildings.
  • Physically distance – stay at least 6 feet from others
  • Do daily symptom screening – it only takes a few seconds each morning
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Don’t leave your room or your home if you have a fever or feel sick
  • Beware of social gatherings on and off campus – no large parties – no gatherings more than 20 - and follow the rules – wear your mask and physically distance.
  • Participate in contact tracing should the need arise
  • Follow directions for isolation and quarantine when instructed to do so

The severity of this virus and its impact on people’s health and lives requires us to honor these measures. These rules will be enforced.

But let me say this. The wellbeing of this campus community is all-important and we will change course if necessary and send our students home and pivot to online instruction if there are cluster outbreaks or significant non-compliance with our requirements.

So, we must all be the very best versions of ourselves and care about others. If we resolutely take these simple steps, we have a really good shot at remaining on campus until Thanksgiving. More importantly, we will protect each other, demonstrating once again the kindness and compassion - the heart - that defines a Captain.

In a world, that seems too often consumed by self, by money, by fame, by power and even darkness, this mission is more important than ever.

That’s what makes Christopher Newport special and that’s what makes Christopher Newport an irresistible force. And, even in these difficult times, we have much to celebrate.

Our freshman class is only a bit smaller than usual – about 1,150 students and the academic quality of our students remains impressive, with an average high school GPA of 3.8. Our PLP class numbers 460, our largest class ever, with a 4.1 average GPA and 1287 average SAT.

Our 124 students in the Honors program earned a 4.28 average GPA and 1375 average SAT.

23% of the freshman class are students of color, an increase over last year.

151 students are legacies including 84 siblings.

Our freshmen to sophomore retention rate is 87.8% - 3 points higher than last year. Our four-year graduation rate is 69% (v. 66% last year) one of the highest graduation rates among the 572 public four-year colleges and universities in America and our 6 year graduation rate is 80% (v. 78% last year).

Presidents Hall - our newest student residence - has opened – and houses 79 juniors and seniors.

The Fine Arts Center is quickly taking shape and will be completed in spring 2021.

The Fine Arts Center will bring an explosion of color and creativity to our campus and contribute powerfully to the cultural and economic success of our community and Commonwealth.

Success in our community and Commonwealth also requires equity and social justice. Sparked by the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, this has been a summer of pain and protest. Many of our students have marched and many of us joined them in the call for deep and systemic change.

We have a duty to hear our students’ voices, see their fears and help in their struggle.

I am pleased that Dr. Angela Spranger has agreed to serve as Christopher Newport’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. She will work with students, faculty, staff and alumni to ensure that all members of our university community “feel seen, safe and valued” and that together we implement the University’s Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion.

There is much more to say, but let me bring these remarks to an end by looking to the future and the close of this academic year.

On May 1st and 2nd, 2021 we will celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2020. Even though these students have already earned their degrees, we will honor them on the Great Lawn with their classmates, faculty and families.

The following weekend, we will honor the Class of 2021 with all the ceremony and celebration that is our tradition.

On commencement day, these students will toss a penny into Saunders Fountain for good luck. When they signed the Honor Code as freshmen, they received a lucky penny.

As I shared with our freshmen, these are the words that accompany each penny, written by our beloved professor Dr. Tracey Schwarze.

This penny is but a small tribute to the spirit of honor of all those who learn and lead here.
To give your word and keep it as a person of integrity;
To treasure the life of the mind and the spirit of intellectual inquiry;
To value richness of character over richness of purse;
To give, because to you, much has been given;
To seek important work – and to do it with all your heart
Keep this faith as you become a citizen of CNU, of the nation, and the world
And one day
As you remember
The grandeur of the Ferguson Center,
The beauty of the Great Lawn,
The tranquility of the James, and
The friends and mentors of your youth,
You will know that you have lived a life of honor and significance…

These words beautifully express why our work is so important and why it must go on.

So - in the face of many challenges - let us all begin this year committed to doing all we can and doing it with all our hearts and minds, together.

Go Captains!

From Provost Doughty emailed to students, parents, faculty and staff

Dear Captains,

As you make decisions about returning to campus and consider adjustments to your Fall 2020 class schedule, I would like to update you on developments and definitions that could guide your thinking. I also want to point you to the useful and regularly updated Schedule of Classes.

As of this writing, we expect that about 67% of our courses will be taught in-person. The experience will be similar to what you’ve previously enjoyed within the limits imposed by face coverings and physical distancing in learning spaces.

The remainder of our courses, including those with too many students to permit adequate physical distancing, will be delivered in a synchronous online format. In other words, students will participate in the class at the scheduled time and the format will allow interaction between the learner and the instructor.

Students living on or commuting to campus will be expected to attend all classes in the format designated on the Schedule of Classes. All other students should register for as many online classes as possible (section numbers that are taught remotely begin with the letter, ‘O’ in the Schedule of Classes). The Office of the Registrar will work closely with students who cannot attend classes in person, in order to keep them on a path to graduation.

Live streaming is intended for students who are sick, in quarantine, in isolation or unable to be on campus because of documented risks associated with COVID–19, as defined by the ADA and CDC. Most courses can be live streamed under these circumstances. Live streaming does not allow for interaction, is not recorded for later viewing, and the professor’s focus will be on the students physically in class, and therefore is not suitable for most courses for an entire semester.

Those of you not living on or commuting to campus who need classes for degree progress that are not available online should consult with the Office of the Registrar to determine if a needed course may be available via live stream for the entire semester.

As we have all learned, the virus is no friend to definitive planning. I ask you to be flexible and understand we are doing all we can to provide the best possible teaching and learning experience for everyone.

Dr. Dave Doughty
Provost

From Dean Kevin Hughes emailed to students and parents.

Greetings everyone,

I’m writing this evening for a number of different reasons, but as you receive this email know that I hope you and your family are doing well and surviving a hot and tumultuous summer. Enjoy the time you have together now as in a few days you’ll be returning to campus.

This past week has brought about a number of developments in the local community as well as on campus. As you know, the rising numbers of COVID infections in the Hampton Roads region led Governor Northam to issue an Executive Order moving this area back to phase 2. Based on this decision, we’ve had to make modifications to our plans for reopening the university. President Trible outlined them in his email earlier today.

I’m sure many of you have questions. I want to invite you to another virtual Town Hall meeting. On Monday, August 3 at 7:30 p.m. I will provide some additional details and answer questions related to our modifications. You will need to register in advance at CNU Town Hall #2 if you’d like to participate. There are a limited number of slots available, so if multiple people in your household would like to participate please do so from the same computer.

In addition to inviting you to the Town Hall, let me address a few broad topics here and share some additional information referenced earlier this summer.

Move in Dates/Opt Out information

While the move-in practices requiring advance scheduling, limited helpers, time limits, and appropriate physical distancing/mask wearing/sanitizing still apply, there are some modifications to move-in.

  • 12-month apartments may move in 8/1 to 8/30. Your previously scheduled move-in date/time is still valid, so if you are scheduled for this weekend you may still move in. However, you may also elect to move to a later date if you’d like. You will need to select a new move-in date/time if you choose to reschedule.
  • 10-month apartments may move in 8/10 to 8/30. As is the case above, your previously scheduled move-in date/time is still valid, but you may choose to reschedule if you wish.
  • 9-month suites may move in 8/24 to 8/30. You will need to select your time and date for moving in during this time frame.
  • First year students will have their dates/times shifted two weeks. For example, if you were previously scheduled to move in on August 7 at 9 a.m., you’ll now move in August 21 at 9 a.m. Setting Sail, Welcome Week and Leadership Adventure will follow your new move in dates.

On Monday, additional information will be shared with you about the process to opt out of housing for the fall semester. For those students who wish to reschedule their move-in dates, you will receive an email from your hall director that allows you to make your changes.

Community Obligations

As Captains, there are certain obligations that all faculty, staff and students are expected to meet as we move to successfully reopen campus.

  • Symptom Screening
    By now, all of you should be receiving daily emails requesting you to complete a symptom screening tool. It is something you need to do daily (yes, that includes the weekends) and you need to do now. It is part of our reopening plan to help prevent the spread of the virus. If you are living on campus, you and your party will also be required to complete an in-person screening process before you can enter the residence hall. Get in the habit of completing the screening now so you can familiarize yourself with the process and requirements. It only takes a minute, and every member of our community is required to complete it.
  • Campus reopening training
    You may recall from the previous town hall as well as our reopening plan that the State Council on Higher Education approved, all of us must complete a training in order to return to campus. Your training is available to you now in Scholar. It shows as one of your courses, so simply access it through the system and complete it. We will be notified when you have successfully completed your training so that you can return to CNU.
  • Social Contract
    This contract is a clear statement of our commitment to each other. I have attached a copy to this email. It’s important that you understand it’s significance. It’s similar in nature to our Honor Code; it defines who we are and our pledge to one another as part of this community. None of us chose this pandemic, but as members of this community we are choosing to be concerned about each other and taking the appropriate steps to minimize the spread of this virus.

There is obviously a great deal for us to discuss. I hope you’ll join me Monday at 7:30 p.m. for CNU Town Hall #2 to gain more insights, to pose your questions, and to share your concerns.

It has been a challenging 5 months. I can tell you unequivocally that we have missed you deeply and have worked diligently to bring you back to campus. For members of the Classes of ’21, ’22, and ’23, remember what it was like before COVID–19 robbed the world of our sense of normalcy. While campus will have numerous changes that you will see and feel, we are working hard to be the Christopher Newport University you know. For the Class of ’24, we are so excited to have you join our community and while it may not be starting the way any of us desire, know that our efforts to welcome you as a Captain for Life may be delayed, but they will not be defeated.

I look forward to seeing all of you soon. Be safe. Be well.

From President Trible emailed to students, parents, faculty and staff

Our efforts for the last several months have focused on reopening our campus this fall by adopting measures that will limit the risk, as much as possible, to our students, faculty and staff of exposure to the COVID–19 virus.

Accordingly, Christopher Newport University will delay the first day of fall classes to Monday, August 31, in response to the current trends of the virus in Hampton Roads and the additional restrictions Governor Northam has implemented in our region by Executive Order 68.

We are delaying the start of classes by two weeks out of an abundance of caution and concern for our students, faculty and staff, but we look forward to welcoming our freshmen and returning students to campus in late August.

While we are fully prepared and excited to welcome our students back into our residence halls and classrooms with numerous measures in place to reduce risk, we are sensitive to the difficult choice of leaving home to reside in a residence hall. Therefore, if any students wish to remain home, we will release them from their on-campus housing contracts without penalty for the fall semester while taking classes.

A decision to opt out of residence hall living does not have to mean a move to fully remote learning. If you remain within commuting distance, you may continue to take in-person classes. However, the Office of the Registrar is prepared to assist students with changes to their course schedules if choosing to remain at home. Online courses are so designated on the schedule of classes. In-person courses also are being live-streamed for those who cannot attend class.

Freshmen and returning students with 9-month contracts planning to live on campus will receive additional information next week regarding rescheduled move-in times. Returning students planning to live on campus who have 10 and 12-month housing contracts may move in as originally scheduled but dining options will be limited until the start of classes.

Information on how to cancel housing contracts and meal plans will be provided early next week. Students who opt out prior to move-in will receive full refunds for room and board payments already made or may apply those payments to their spring 2021 semester expenses.

We look forward to welcoming the staff back on Monday, August 3, and beginning classes in late August. We will continue to monitor the trends of the virus and respond as necessary should conditions change.

From Kyle McMullin, Director of Athletics

I am heartbroken for our fall student-athletes that it is necessary for the suspension of their competitive seasons to safeguard the health of the Christopher Newport community. Our coaches, medical team and administration will turn our attention to evaluating how we can safely conduct training and practices with our students this fall.

When it becomes safe to compete again, I am certain our students will be ready to put on their uniforms and represent our university with the class and competitive fire we have all come to expect from this Community of Champions.

From President Trible emailed to students, faculty and staff

Soon we will welcome faculty and staff back to our beautiful and beloved campus for the fall semester. We can’t wait to be together again in person and our colleagues have worked hard to develop detailed plans for how to do that while reducing the risk to us all posed by COVID–19.

Much of the staff will return to the University on August 3 to be ready for classes to begin on August 17. This semester will be different in many ways, but it will still be full of the camaraderie and commitment to one another that is the signature of our community.

We have measured classrooms and moved furniture, stocked up on sanitizing supplies and equipment and developed new ideas for physical distancing. We have also established protocols for wearing face coverings, dining services, and life in the residence halls, as well as other critical elements of our revised operations.

As a part of this work, we have developed two important tools for all students, faculty and staff. The first is a system for tracking symptoms daily, as it is essential for each and every one of us to monitor our own health and protect others should symptoms develop. The second is a detailed training program about the virus, our revised operations in response to it, and our role in maintaining a healthy environment on campus. Both programs will be put in place this week. Emails containing the details of each will come to you in the next few days. I ask you to pay immediate and close attention to them. They are necessary and mandatory.

You are an extraordinary group of students, faculty and staff, and I know I can count on each of you to care about our community and accept these and other responsibilities that come with our fall semester at Christopher Newport.

I look forward to seeing all of you on campus soon.

Paul Trible

From President Trible emailed to students, faculty and staff

On June 11, 2020, the Governor issued Guidance and direction to institutions of higher education for reopening while the coronavirus pandemic continues. Pursuant to that Guidance, a Campus Restart Team and twelve sub-teams across the University engaged in detailed planning in preparation for bringing our community together again for a return to in-person instruction and the operations that support that central endeavor. These efforts were focused on identifying and adopting measures that will limit as much as possible the risk to our students, faculty and staff of exposure to the virus.

Christopher Newport University is a strong and resilient community where we care deeply about one another and put others before self in service to our students. Our values demand that we move forward cautiously, making every effort to reduce exposure. Employees and students (with identified exceptions) will be required to wear face coverings when outside their office or residence. Work areas, classrooms, dining spaces and other functions will be reconfigured to allow required physical distancing. Additional cleaning and hygiene practices will be in place. Protocols will be adopted for students, faculty and staff to adhere to the sound public health principles identified by the Governor’s direction, the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC. The details of these measures, and protocols for students, faculty and staff, are included in the plan for Reopening Christopher Newport University.

You will receive more detailed information and instructions as the reopening of campus and the start of classes draws near. For now, please wear face coverings, wash your hands, stay six feet apart and stay home if you are sick. A successful reopening of Christopher Newport in August depends on what we do in July. It is up to each of us to protect every one of us.

From President Trible emailed to students, families, faculty and staff

I am pleased to announce Christopher Newport's plans for the fall semester. Pursuant to guidance from the Governor and the Virginia Department of Health, we will reopen our campus August 3 when members of our staff begin to return. Our freshmen will move into residence halls the weekend of August 7, 8 and 9 and all other students will return the following weekend. In-person classes will begin Monday, August 17. There will be no fall break and classes will end Friday, November 20, the week prior to Thanksgiving. Students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving. Final exams will be online and will begin Monday, November 30.

The changes to the academic schedule will reduce the number of times students leave and return to campus during the semester and will also allow for completion of the semester before a possible second round of the virus or the flu season intensifies.

Life on campus will be different when we return. There will be significant adjustments to academic, student and athletic activities. Housing, dining, student programs, recreation, and the way we all work will be conducted with the goal of reducing risks and remaining flexible as circumstances change.

All of us will be asked to take steps to protect our own health and the health of all those around us. Health and safety protocols will be shared with the campus community over the next several weeks and will include expectations for health screening, sanitizing, face coverings and physical distancing. There will be special provisions for those who are especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. Appropriate measures will be available for the detection of the virus and contact tracing. We will be prepared to isolate or quarantine students.

We invite you to visit cnu.edu/relaunch for additional information. The site will continue to be updated as we prepare for our return to campus.

We will do this together and I look forward to seeing you soon.

From President Trible emailed to faculty and staff

As we approach the end of the fiscal year, I am immensely grateful to each of you for your willingness to accept the challenges of the last several months and help us navigate our course through these difficult times. Monday, May 25 is Memorial Day, and I hope you enjoy this long holiday weekend with your family.

There has been a long-standing tradition at Christopher Newport to recognize your hard work and efforts with recognition leave on Fridays in July. We would have continued the practice this summer but on April 2, 2020, Richmond put a freeze on the use of recognition leave. I regret that we cannot offer you that extra time with your families but my hope is that we can return to the practice next summer. For those who might have leave available, I strongly encourage you to consider using it on Fridays so that you can enjoy some long weekends this summer.

The campus will remain closed to the public until August 1. Teleworking will continue and telework agreements for staff will be automatically extended through July 31.

Instruction will remain online for the summer terms in June and July and all summer activities on campus have been canceled. The travel freeze and the hiring freeze for staff positions remain in effect. Exceptions to the hiring freeze must be requested through your vice president or provost. We ask that you continue to curtail expenses as we reallocate resources to prepare the campus for reopening.

We are preparing for the return to campus and to begin classes no later than the first week of September and we will do this in a manner that is safe for our students, faculty and staff. Many of our colleagues are working hard so that we will be able to implement a program that addresses screening, testing, extensive and frequent cleaning, requirements for social distancing and face masks, and protocols for quarantining and contact tracing.

I am conferring regularly with my fellow presidents of Virginia’s public colleges and universities and decision makers in Richmond. We anticipate that the Governor will provide guidance to our schools by early June, which can be included in our program for reopening and shared with the campus community in early summer.

My thanks to each of you for your positive spirit and commitment to Christopher Newport, and my very best wishes.

State of the University update livestream from President Trible.

The last couple of months have been chaotic in all of our lives. I wanted today to talk about Christopher Newport and give a report to the CNU family. We have made hundreds and hundreds of decisions, difficult and often painful over the last two months. Each of you have helped us navigate our course through these challenging times.

So I want to say thank you to each of you for all that you’ve contributed and I want to tell you moreover that this young and vibrant university remains strong, on the move and we’re preparing now for the return to classes in September.

First of all, let me say that I’m immensely grateful to our faculty, staff and students who worked so hard and with great spirit to allow us to pivot almost overnight from in class instruction to online education. This was done quickly. It was done with few technical issues and with great success.

Now, early on, we made two important decisions. First of all, we said we’re going to pay all of our employees, our faculty, our staff and our hourly employees as if we were still here. Not every school has done that but that is the way it should be done at Christopher Newport. We’re all in this together. No one is any more important than anyone else. We honor and support and encourage each other and during this crisis we’re going to stand together.

Secondly, we rebated over $4 million to our students and their families for dollars that they had given us for room and board. $4.5 million in room and board rebates was processed on April 10. 3,469 students and their families received $3.4 million in rebates for housing and $1.1 million went to 3,452 students and their families for dining rebates. That was not an easy decision for us to make. Unlike so many of our sister institutions that have been around for hundreds of years and have billion dollar endowments, we don’t have a huge endowment that we can fall back on. But that was right and appropriate and I’m pleased we made that decision.

Now most of our employees, our colleagues are tele-working. About 80% of us are doing that and doing that well. But some of our colleagues are still coming to campus. These are folks that are performing essential services, services that must take place: University Police, dining staff for those students that remained on campus, housekeepers, grounds staff. So we’re doing all we can to keep our colleagues safe, emphasizing social distancing and rotating our shifts.

Let’s look to the future. Well, we have much to celebrate. Let me share some good news. Our freshman-to-sophomore retention number is absolutely outstanding. Today we stand at 90% versus 88% last year, a two-point improvement, two percentage points over last year. As you know, the freshman-to-sophomore retention rate is one of the best indicators of student success and 90% will place us second among all the schools in the South regional universities of U.S. News and World Report. Extraordinary!

And then listen to this. Each year we do a survey of how our graduating students are doing. We just received the last survey of the graduating class from last year, just completed. It shows that 97% of our 2019 graduates were employed full time or enrolled full time in graduate school within six months of graduating. That’s a stratospheric number. It underscores the quality of instruction and how this community enriches and empowers the lives of our students. Well done. Well done.

Let’s talk about admissions. Obviously we’re all interested in what this new class is going to look like. And will there be a new class? Indeed, there will be and an extraordinary one. As of today, we’ve received over 1,200 deposits and 50 families beyond that have asked for an additional 30 days to respond. In a year when there is great uncertainty about what high school students will do next year and great anxiety in the higher education world, we can be confident that we will have a freshman class of 1,200 or more outstanding students.

Registration for summer is also a cause for celebration. Registration for summer has increased dramatically. Indeed, more than double last year’s numbers. 633 students are registered for the May term and 444 students for the June term. And, registration for the fall is absolutely strong as well. Today, we have more than 3,500 returning students who have registered, absolutely in line with last year. Housing for the fall looks healthy. Returning students have selected their rooms for next year and we see no decline in numbers.

Capital construction is moving forward apace. Our new residence hall will open this fall and will accommodate 80 students. The Fine Arts Center is moving forward on schedule and will open in the spring of 2021.

Now as you may have read, the federal government is providing immense amounts of money to the states and the states are making monies available to higher education and the federal government is doing that as well. The CARES Act, the federal stimulus dollars, will provide $2.8 million that will come to us. $1.4 million of that goes through us to our students, goes to support the success of our students and their families. But $1.4 million of that money can be used by us to support the operations of the university. So in a difficult and challenging time, that $1.4 million will be of immense help and support.

That leads us to another very important decision. At a time when every family is facing uncertainty, when the world is turned upside down, we decided we should hold the line on the cost of attending Christopher Newport. So we announced, the first public school in Virginia to announce this, that we were going to freeze tuition and fees and room and board at last year’s level. Again, it’s the right thing to do. Difficult and challenging for us, but nevertheless the right thing to do. And our hope was that our leadership would encourage all the schools in Virginia to follow Christopher Newport’s lead, to be mindful that we need to stand with our students and their families in these difficult times.

Finally, let me talk about our return to campus. We’re committed to a fall semester on campus where we’ll be back all together again in our classrooms and in our offices. We must work together to make that happen. And when we return, we’ll need to do many things differently in order to keep everyone safe and healthy. We’re working hard to prepare the campus for the safe return of faculty and students and staff.

We’re focused on three major objectives:

  1. First, providing face to face instruction and other enriching academic activities in a way that are true to the Christopher Newport model and culture while protecting the health of our students and our faculty and our staff, especially those of us that are a bit older or those that are at greater risk.
  2. Secondly, offering robust dining options and residential life and student activities while adhering to the best practices for hygiene and physical distancing.
  3. Third, maintaining an environment where our community and visitors to this campus are welcome, safe and where we remain agile as guidance from health officials evolves under changing conditions.

    So my friends we have much to celebrate and we can look forward to the future with absolute confidence. We will get through this and we will do that together and safely.

Thank you for your extraordinary service, thank you for your patience and your kindness, thank you for your resilience and thank you for your love of this precious place. Go Captains!

From Dean Kevin Hughes emailed to students and parents.

Greetings everyone,

Congratulations to all of you for completing a semester like none other, and especially to our newest graduates for wrapping up their undergraduate years. It is a testament to your individual and collective talent and abilities, plus your determination and work ethic, that all of you were able to finish your classes, remain engaged with your faculty and friends, and do so while creating an entirely new home and work environment. You have my admiration.

I am writing to you regarding your rooms on campus. While three-quarters of you were able to retrieve your belongings and check out of your room, a number of you were unable to do so for a variety of understandable reasons. I have been receiving a number of requests recently asking for an opportunity to return to campus so you can check out of your room. We have developed a process that will allow you to do so safely.

Beginning this Friday, May 15 and continuing through Sunday, May 31, you can check out of your room within certain parameters. We based these parameters on the latest guidance from health officials. Also guiding these standards are restrictions related to physical distancing, limited access to facilities, and protection of self and others with which you are likely familiar from your own communities.

  • You must schedule in advance to get into the residence hall and retrieve your belongings; hall directors will send emails to all students who have not officially checked out.
  • You must register at least 24 hours in advance of your preferred time block
  • Time blocks will be inaccessible when full and/or less than 24 hours in advance
  • You can access your hall only during your registered time block. Early arrival/late departures cannot be accommodated due to physical distancing.
  • No more than 10 students will be permitted to return during any time block within their designated area; each student may bring up to 2 additional people to help them retrieve belongings.
  • Only one resident per room/suite is permitted during any time block.
    • Please coordinate with roommates and suitemates so as not to overlap
  • You/your helpers should bring your own masks, gloves, and sanitizing supplies
  • While luggage carts and wheeled bins will be available on main campus, you are encouraged to bring your own handcart.
  • You will not be able to move back into your residence hall nor spend the night prior to checking out.
  • Students who need to return mailroom keys, retrieve items or have questions about mail should plan in advance by contacting Ms. Shauron at shauron.russell@cnu.edu.

I realize this process is not how we hoped to close out the year. We love to see the socializing and congregating as much as you love to do it; right now, it just cannot be that way. Thanks in advance for working within these parameters. Your efforts help us contribute to your safety and help position Christopher Newport for a successful Fall 2020 opening.

Be safe everyone.

From President Trible emailed to students, families, faculty and staff.

We want to stand with our students and families in these difficult days. It would be wrong for us in this time of economic chaos to increase the cost of a Christopher Newport education and we will not do so.

There will be no increase in tuition and fees, room and board for the next academic year 2020–2021 at Christopher Newport.

Moreover, we are planning for our classes to resume on campus in the Fall depending, of course, on the state of the coronavirus and direction from Richmond and Washington.

My very best wishes to you and please stay safe and well.

From President Trible emailed to faculty and staff.

As we conclude our fourth week of online learning, please know how much I appreciate your fierce determination to serve our students and fulfill the mission of the University.

I have received many heartwarming messages of praise and gratitude for your efforts from students and parents. They recognize, as do I, how much you are accomplishing under enormously difficult conditions.

With the end of the semester drawing near, I want to share with you highlights of two important messages.

The first went to our Class of 2020 and outlines our plans for a brief but spectacular Commencement weekend with a full complement of events on October 9–11, 2020.

The weekend will begin on Friday with the Senior Gift Toast. On Saturday morning, we will honor our President’s Leadership Program participants and the class will gather for Commencement rehearsal. Our traditional Senior Picnic will follow on the Great Lawn and then we’ll celebrate our graduates’ accomplishments with the Latin Honors Ceremony that evening. We will bring the day to a memorable close with the Candlelight Ceremony. Sunday will dawn crisp and beautiful and begin with the Baccalaureate Service followed by the Commencement Exercises at 2 p.m. You can find the full schedule HERE.

I look forward to your participation in the celebration so that we may fittingly honor a class that has demonstrated uncommon resilience.

The second communication went to our alumni from Cynthia Allen-Whyte, President of the Alumni Society. She noted that Commencement was originally scheduled for May 9 and asked that on that day, we make a special effort to congratulate our graduates from a distance:

“On May 9, 2020, we invite all members of the Christopher Newport family to post on social media in support of this extraordinary class. Post words of encouragement, tell your stories, and take pictures using the hashtag #CNU2020. To make it more special, please consider purchasing an “I Support” the Class of 2020 t-shirt. This is a modified version of the actual senior class shirt. Wear it or any Christopher Newport gear in your posts in honor and celebration of these incredible Captains! It will be a day to own social media, show compassion for CNU seniors and welcome them into the proud family of Captains for Life!”

I am grateful for the effort by Cynthia and the Alumni team to make sure May 9 is still special. Then we can all look forward to those days in October when we gather for Commencement Weekend. I can’t wait.

From Executive Vice President Bill Brauer emailed to students and parents.

Dear CNU Captains:

Christopher Newport will be able to provide rebates to eligible students who have a spring 2020 housing contract or meal plan. This includes students who were unable to remove all of their belongings from the residence halls and must return at a later time to do so. The information below will help you understand how the rebates were calculated and how they will be processed.

Housing Rebate

Students will receive a rebate based on their spring semester housing contract as follows:

  • 12-month contract: $1,200
  • 10-month contract: $1,000
  • 9-month contract: $900

Rebate amounts are based on each type of housing contract and adjusted for the many fixed and direct costs associated with operating university housing. These costs include debt payments and personnel costs.

Meal Plan Rebate

Students will receive a rebate based on their spring semester meal plan, to include dining dollars, as follows:

  • 5-meal plan: $150
  • 10-meal plan: $350
  • 14-meal plan: $350
  • 19-meal plan: $350

Rebate amounts for meal plans reflect adjustments for the many university costs incurred including debt payments, personnel and food costs. Dining dollars are included in the rebate amount and are not a separate rebate.

Captains Cash is not considered part of the rebate. If you are a continuing student, then the cash balance will remain on your card and available in upcoming semesters. If you are graduating, then you may request a refund by submitting the “Captains Cash Refund Request”.

Parking Pass Rebate

If you purchased a parking pass after December 15, 2019, you may request a refund from Parking and Transportation Services at parking@cnu.edu.

Timing of Rebates

Rebates will be applied to your student account on or before Friday, April 10. If you have a balance due to the university, the rebate will be used toward paying that balance. Once your outstanding balance is satisfied, any overage (rebate in excess of the amount you previously owed) will be refunded to you on or before April 30. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more information about this process and how you may receive your refund.

Questions about Rebates

If you have additional questions about your student account after reviewing the FAQs, please email the Student Accounts Office at studentaccts@cnu.edu. Questions will be directed to the appropriate staff for response.

While we understand that no approach is perfect for every person, we hope the rebates and this process will be helpful to students and families. We are looking forward to seeing you back on campus as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, please exercise great care for your own health and the health of your loved ones by following the guidelines of the Governor and public health officials.

All the best to each of you and stay safe,

Bill Brauer (Class of 1977)
Go Captains!

From Chief of Staff Cindi Perry emailed to faculty and staff

Dear Colleagues:

I write to share some updates and recent decisions related to our ongoing response to COVID-19 and Governor Northam’s Stay at Home order issued earlier this week.

  • Student move-out from residence halls is suspended. More than 2,300 students have moved out already.
  • Summer classes beginning in the month of June are moving online and will be taught remotely.
  • Commencement Weekend has been moved to October 9-11, 2020, with Commencement Exercises on Sunday, October 11. A full schedule of Commencement activities will be posted on our website in the next few days.
  • Telework is extended until further notice. No additional paperwork is required from employees for the telework extension.
  • The campus will remain closed to the public until further notice. Entry to all buildings will remain card access only.
  • All events and activities on campus are canceled until further notice.
  • The April Board of Visitors meeting is canceled. A 2-day Board meeting is currently scheduled in June.

The Stay at Home order will continue until June 10, unless amended or rescinded by the Governor. As you adjust to these conditions with your families, be aware that employees are now eligible for up to 160 hours of Public Health Emergency Leave. Please contact your supervisor or the Office of Human Resources with questions.

A few other notes:

  • Fall Registration begins today.
  • Housing Lottery for rising sophomores will be held this Saturday, April 4 beginning at 9:00 a.m.
  • Rebates will be provided to students with a university housing contract or meal plan in Spring 2020.

Thank you for your commitment and tremendous efforts to tackle the many challenges of teaching and working remotely. While most of our students aren’t here, you should know that they miss you and value what you do.

This week on Facebook, we asked current students to send messages to the students admitted to the Class of 2024. The response has been huge and heartwarming. Here is one example:

“CNU is home away from home! Warm greetings, friendly smiles, and an overwhelming sense of community are a few things that make this campus so special. I have made some of my greatest memories here with some of my best friends! So much to be excited about Class of 2024!”

From President Trible emailed to students, parents, faculty, and staff.

Please see the email that I just sent to our December and August graduates and candidates for graduation

It saddens me deeply that the current reality of our world forces us to once again postpone Commencement. Given the recent stay-at-home Executive Order from the Governor of Virginia, Commencement Weekend has been rescheduled. We will celebrate all you have accomplished during the weekend of October 9–11, 2020 with Commencement Exercises on Sunday, October 11.

We are adjusting registration deadlines for these activities. Registration will now open on September 1, 2020 and not tomorrow.

We will capture all of the events and excitement of our traditional May ceremony. We will honor all of our graduates and all those who have earned PLP, Department and Latin Honors distinctions. We will see you at Candlelight and at Baccalaureate. A full schedule of Commencement activities will be posted on our website in the next few days.

We will cheer as you march onto the Great Lawn. I will personally congratulate each of you and so will Rosemary. For now, I wish you well with your classes. Let us make sure to stay in touch as best we can and know that we are here for you during this challenging time.

Best wishes,
Paul Trible

From Dean Kevin Hughes emailed to students and parents.

I am writing today regarding the housing move-out process.

Given Gov. Northam’s “stay-at-home” directive issued today, we have suspended the move-out process effective immediately. At this time, students may not return to campus to retrieve their belongings. The “stay-at-home” directive is in place through June 10. We will reassess the move-out process as that date approaches.

To date, over 2275 residential students have returned to campus, removed all of their belongings, and properly checked out of their rooms. To those of you who participated in that process, thank you for your patience and willingness to make the process go smoothly and safely.

Students should remain vigilant in checking your campus email regarding important updates during this period. In the meantime, focus on finishing this semester strong, access the resources necessary to make that happen, and let us know how we can best assist you.

Regards,

Kevin

p.s. Rising sophomores are reminded that the housing selection process will restart on Saturday, April 4. Please see the housing selection website (here) for more information; you must be logged in to see it.

From Chief of Staff Cindi Perry emailed to students, parents, faculty, and staff.

Dear Christopher Newport Community,

The University received confirmation today that a staff member has tested positive for COVID–19. This is the first confirmed case of COVID–19 involving a member of our community.

In accordance with privacy laws and our own policy, we cannot release detailed information about this case, except that the individual is a staff member who works in Christopher Newport Hall and was last on campus on March 20. There is no indication this staff member interacted with anyone other than individuals in Christopher Newport Hall.

The Virginia Department of Health will contact anyone who may have been in close contact with this individual. If you receive a call from VDH, please follow their instructions and self-quarantine. If you do not receive a call, you do not need to take specific action other than to continue good preventative hygiene measures and physical social distancing. Please monitor your own health and if you develop symptoms, stay home and call your health care provider.

If you have questions specifically related to COVID–19 in the Hampton Roads area, VDH has a call center available at 857–594–7069.

They also have a wealth of information on their website http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/

We are in contact with VDH and are closely following their recommendations to include comprehensive cleaning of the building. It is important to remember that the vast majority of affected individuals develop only mild to moderate symptoms. Please continue to take care of yourself and your loved ones.

From Chief of Staff Cindi Perry emailed to faculty and staff

Dear Colleagues:

I write to share with you updates on the COVID–19 threat that may affect your work. Let me preface those with gratitude for all you have accomplished over the last several days and weeks.

As of now, there are no confirmed cases of COVID–19 on campus.

This week's developments:

  • Maymester is moving online and will be taught remotely.
  • All summer Study Abroad trips including the July programs are canceled.
  • Trible Library will close at noon tomorrow, Wednesday, March 25 for the safety of patrons and personnel. The library's enormous resources and helpful staff remain available here.
  • The grade deadline at the end of the semester has been pushed back two days, from 10 AM, Tuesday, May 5, to 10 AM, Thursday, May 7.
  • Tutors and writing associates are working with students remotely and the Captains Care referral system continues to be up and running.
  • Students have been notified that the housing selection process will be resumed when possible and that the University will offer a fair resolution on housing and dining fees as soon as possible.

I am pleased to report that through your efforts, online teaching has been successfully launched with relatively few glitches. Also, more than 1,300 students have moved out of the residence halls and many more will move out over the next several days.

Further difficult decisions and difficult days are ahead. We will continue to rely on the guidance of Gov. Northam and state and federal health agencies. Thank you for your patience and flexibility. Please take care of yourself and those around you.

As hard as this is on all of us, you should know our Captains are making an awesome impact on the community and the world. On social media, we asked alumni and friends to tell us about Captains who are helpers right now, helpers like this '05 alum with a BS in biology:

"I'm currently an infectious disease lab scientist working at the Minnesota Department of Health. My role here is to test for a variety of viruses including COVID–19. The ability to get results out quickly helps providers make crucial patient care decisions."

From President Paul Trible emailed to students, parents, faculty, and staff.

Tomorrow begins a new experience for us with the transition to online instruction. Our faculty, deans and provost have been preparing over the last week to successfully transition to online instruction. There may be glitches in the first few days but I know that we will work through them together.

As our faculty and staff shift to remote work to the extent possible, I thank you for your flexibility, determination and commitment in a rapidly-changing environment. I am grateful for your tireless efforts to transition to online instruction, to keep our operations running smoothly and to ensure that our students are supported.

I also want to make a special request of our students. Please make wise choices over the next several weeks. Focus on academics and practice social distancing. Even if you think you are not at risk and show no symptoms, you can still transmit the virus to someone else who is at risk. We are all in this together.

I am heartened and inspired by the work of so many people pulling together for the greater good, even while facing hardships and worries at home. Although we will be physically separated for the remainder of the semester, I am confident that our values, our culture and our spirit transcend boundaries and endure over any distance.

Let us resolve to take on this challenge with the kindness, patience, and yearning for excellence that are the hallmarks of our Christopher Newport community.

From Chief of Staff Cindi Perry emailed to faculty and staff

Dear Colleagues:

I write to share with you today’s updates on the COVID–19 threat that may affect your work.

As of now, there are no confirmed cases of COVID–19 on campus.

Today’s developments and key recent decisions:

  • Admitted Freshman Day scheduled for April 18 has been canceled. Since admitted students can’t come to us, we’re bringing the campus to them by creating robust virtual experiences on our Admission webpages and through social media.
  • Residential students are returning to campus to retrieve their belongings beginning today through Sunday, April 5. The process is well underway and running smoothly. About 250 students are expected today. About 225 have indicated they will return this weekend – 150 tomorrow and 75 on Sunday.
  • Supervisors should expect an email Monday morning from Ashleigh Andrews, Director of Human Resources, with instructions on how to complete timesheets and report leave for full-time and hourly staff. Her email will also provide information about student employees.
  • The Captains Locker will be offering free shipping return labels for rental textbooks and also will be extending the non-return period without penalty to assist with increased returns of rental textbooks by mail. More detailed emails will go out to students via the Captains Locker and related information will also be posted on the Captains Locker website.

Reminders of key resources and information:

  • Please refer to CNUalert.info and the FAQs, Official Communications and other information here: http://cnu.edu/coronavirus/ if you have questions about policies and announcements.
  • Information Technology Services has posted helpful responses to frequently asked questions about VPN access and telework here.
  • All faculty/staff mail from outside of campus will be collected and held in the mailroom. Please call 757-594-7935 to pick up and/or drop off mail, which will occur in 30 Commonwealth Hall. Please share inter-office mail electronically as much as possible.

Recent major announcements by President Trible:

  • Online instruction begins Monday and will extend through the remainder of the semester.
  • Commencement has been postponed until Sunday, June 21 if permitted by state and federal authorities.
  • Telework will be the primary means of conducting campus operations through at least April 10.
  • The University remains closed to the general public.

As you work to prepare for Monday and the other challenging days ahead, please know that while many of our students are hurting they are also grateful for your efforts. As we can, I’ll share comments such as this one:

“The professors are stepping up in remarkable ways in unprecedented amounts of time to make sure we are able to graduate on time and be prepared to move on. We can’t expect them to work miracles overnight. We have to be patient and work together as a team.”

From Dean Kevin Hughes emailed to students and parents.

Greetings everyone,

I know there is a lot going on right now and I want to address a variety of critical topics. Please read all of this as there is a great deal of specific and important information that you need to know.

Residence Halls and move out

I know some of you are eager while others are anxious about the opportunity to move your belongings out of the residence halls. We have established a time frame for you to return to campus and remove your belongings, however you are not required to do so. Please know that we have spoken with health professionals who indicated, based on current guidelines and the fact that we have no cases on campus, it is permissible for you to come back to remove your possessions subject to the restrictions listed below. We will continue to keep the residential environment well sanitized. We ask you to contribute to this effort by following the CDC guidelines, bringing your own sanitizing supplies, and taking steps to protect yourself, your friends, classmates, and family members.

All residential students should complete the following form found here.

If you are not experiencing any symptoms and have not been told to quarantine by medical or health department officials, you may return to campus to remove your belongings sometime between Friday, March 20 and Sunday, April 5. Please note that further restrictions or government travel bans may change these dates. After April 5, you will not be able to access your room for any reason until the university re-opens its residence halls. The uncertainty of the spread of the COVID–19 virus means we cannot predict when the residence halls will reopen.

It is important that we all do everything possible to keep ourselves and each other safe and healthy while still allowing you to retrieve your belongings. If you intend to retrieve your belongings, please cooperate with the following restrictions:

  • This is not a social opportunity. You should maintain social distancing, avoid physical contact and congregating, and remove your belongings as quickly as possible.
  • This will be an express check-out. If you have a hard key to your room, you will need to return it when you complete the process. The express check-out process is available 8 am–8pm on weekends, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. on weekdays. These are the only hours available for move-out.
  • This is a one-time opportunity to remove your belongings. This means you may not return to grab a few things and leave the rest of your items for a later date. If you access your room during this period, you must remove all of your belongings.
  • You must complete removal of your belongings in a single day.
  • You will not be able to move back into your room to spend the night in preparation for moving out.
  • You must coordinate with your roommates/suitemates so that you’re not arriving in the room/suite at the same time. This will allow social distancing in a confined space.
  • There is a limit of 3 people per room during this move-out phase. We realize you may need help carrying large items and the process goes faster with more hands, but only 3 people may be in the room at any one time.
  • You must be present to check out of your room; another person may not do it for you, even if it is a relative/parent.
  • Please be sure to sanitize your room with wipes/Lysol as you are removing items. This will help your roommates/suitemates. You may also consider bringing gloves, your own dolly, etc… if it will make you feel more comfortable.

Housing Selection Process

While some of you have completed the housing selection process for the 2020–21 year, some of you have not yet begun that process because we needed to pause during this period. As we finalize support mechanisms for you, we will share additional information including a new housing selection date. Please continue to monitor your email.

Mailroom Questions

I know folks have some mail related questions. Let me try to address them here, but as always if you have a specific question, Ms. Shauron is available to you at shauron.russell@cnu.edu.

  • Revised hours for the mailroom during the period March 20-April 5 will be 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily, including weekends.
  • If you intend to check out of your residence hall and need to retrieve mail, please plan your day accordingly. To pick up mail during this period, you will need to call ahead at 757–594–7853.
  • We cannot forward packages without a pre-paid label. Contact Ms. Shauron directly if you need information on how to make a pre-paid label and get it to her.
  • To arrange forwarding of letter mail, please complete the following form and return it to Ms. Shauron.
  • For all other shipments, including prescription medication and regular deliveries, please contact the source to provide your updated, non-CNU delivery address.
  • If you are intending to check out during this period and you are a graduating senior or are studying abroad or moving off campus in Fall 2020, be sure to return your mailroom key. All other students returning to the university for Fall 2020 do not need to return their key at this time.

Please continue to monitor your email. We will update you as information on other topics becomes available.

I know everything is challenging right now. It is natural to feel frustration and angst, a sadness over losing experiences that you had planned, and disappointment over not being able to simply share time together. I can assure you that many of us still on campus can relate to all of those feelings. I do look to the future though, when you return to our grounds with an even greater appreciation for each other, your university, and what it means to be a Captain. We’ll get through this together.

Be safe, be smart, and stay in touch.

From Chief of Staff Cindi Perry emailed to faculty and staff

Dear Colleagues:

As we work together to answer the multitude of challenges presented by our response to the COVID–19 (coronavirus) threat, we want to outline developments that may affect your work.

As of now, there are no confirmed cases of COVID–19 on campus.

Here are today’s developments, followed by reminders of key recent decisions:

  • The University has adopted a telework policy. You may read it here. Please refer questions to your supervisor. Telework will be the primary means of conducting campus operations through at least April 10.
  • Information Technology Services has posted helpful responses to frequently asked questions about VPN access and telework here.
  • For individuals and offices recording voicemail messages, a customizable message is below.
  • All faculty/staff mail from outside of campus will be collected and held in the mailroom. Please call 757–594–7935 to pick up and/or drop off mail, which will occur in 30 Commonwealth Hall. Please share inter-office mail electronically as much as possible.
  • The David Student Union is the only open campus building and the hours and services are limited. Retail dining and the Captains Locker are closed.

The University’s senior leadership and emergency managers have been meeting at least daily and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Offices and administrators are communicating through email to you with specific details and plans to address a quickly evolving crisis. For example, later today the faculty can expect an email from Provost Doughty with further instructions. Also today, Vice President Hughes will outline move-out plans in a message to students.

If you have questions about policies, announcements, and the mechanics of working under these trying conditions, please refer to CNUalert.info and the FAQs, Official Communications and other information here: http://cnu.edu/coronavirus/

In case you have missed them, these are recent, major announcements by President Trible:

  • Online instruction begins Monday and will extend through the remainder of the semester.
  • Commencement has been postponed until Sunday, June 21 if permitted by state and federal authorities.
  • Students may return to campus to recover their possessions between Friday, March 20 and Sunday, April 5.
  • The University remains closed to the general public.

As you deal with the stresses of your daily lives and challenging work conditions, it is heartening to know that your efforts are deeply appreciated by many of our students. We see many comments on our social media pages such as this one from a senior:

CNU~thank you, thank you for all the memories, people, and growth that I have gained. You have treated me well and helped me change in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. You’ve helped me better myself, learn more about myself, and grow mentally and intellectually throughout the last 4 years. Thank you for everything and everyone you’ve given me I am proud to call myself a Captain for life.

Voicemail message: Thank you for calling the (office name) at Christopher Newport University. Regrettably, our on-campus office is temporarily closed due to the coronavirus. We very much want to talk with you. We are monitoring this line and will return your call and answer your questions as quickly as possible. Please leave a message and we look forward to speaking with you.

From President Paul Trible emailed to students, faculty, and staff.

I walked across our magnificent campus today and everything is so beautiful and so sadly quiet. The green, green grass so precisely cut, the vibrant yellow, red and pink colors of our spring flowers, the majesty of our columns and cupolas and I was absolutely alone.

Not since September 11, 2001, have I personally experienced so much sorrow and loss. Professor Tom Berry recently shared these thoughts. “I recall being here at CNU on September 11th, when the terrorists attacked the USA. CNU was in a state of shock, fear and terrible sadness. But the CNU family pulled together that day, and since 2001 we have grown into an amazing University.” Dr. Berry is right. We are facing an historic crisis and we will “pull together” once again.

We all will miss the good and enriching times spent together on campus this spring. I am especially sad for our seniors because you have lost a magical time and you have earned the right to celebrate your hard work and all that you have achieved. Indeed, all of our students have lost opportunities for athletic competition, music and theater performances, Greek life, Paideia 2020, foreign study and the amazing array of activities that make life on our campus so meaningful and memorable.

Today I received this message from Dr. Tatiana Rizova, President of the Faculty Senate, “Our public health challenge demonstrates how much we are in need of kindness and civility in today’s world and how much we need true Captains like our students.” Indeed, this is a time that demands our very best and care and concern for others.

Since this message is going to the entire Christopher Newport family – students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni – I want to share a ray of sunshine in these dark and foreboding times. CNU Day was a great success and a powerful statement of how much you love and care for this precious place and your commitment and confidence in the future.

The past several weeks have challenged all of us. My colleagues and I have worked hard to make sense of the unknown and preserve as much of our life together as we could. I thank you for your thoughts and concerns and for your expressions of encouragement and support.

Unfortunately, the uncertainty about the future now forces us to make more painful decisions.

Commencement must be postponed to a later date. We will endeavor to host a full complement of events to honor our graduating seniors on the weekend of June 19. The Commencement Ceremony will take place on the Great Lawn at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 21, Father’s Day, if permitted by state and federal authorities.

Classes will remain online for the rest of this spring semester. I regret this decision because the genius of Christopher Newport is the on-campus engagement of faculty and students and I know this decision will further challenge all of our faculty, staff and students.

The decision to remain online means that our students should return to campus to recover their possessions. We ask that you do so between Friday, March 20 and Sunday, April 5. If you cannot return during that time, please contact the office of Residence Life.

Questions have been asked about refunds or credits for housing and dining. We will endeavor to answer those questions as soon as possible.

I have asked the Provost and faculty to consider ways to depart from our normal grading system this semester. Every student will be allowed two additional courses for which they may earn a Pass/Fail grade this semester. These are not limited to elective courses. The deadline to submit electronic forms for Pass/Fail and Withdrawal is extended to April 10 at 5:00 p.m.

We encourage all faculty and staff to work remotely and only those individuals who have been asked to report to work in person should do so. Please know that we will continue to pay all of our full-time and part-time employees.

Normally these academic and operational changes would be decided after weeks or months of consultation and discussion. However, this public health crisis is changing so rapidly that it demands quick, decisive action to protect the health and safety of our community. I know these changes are disruptive and difficult and we do not yet have answers to all of your questions. My promise to you is that we will work through these challenges and we will do it together.

From University Housing emailed to students.

Students,

As you are aware, rising 2nd year housing selection was scheduled to take place today Wednesday, March 18, 2020. We have heard from a number of you in that group regarding concerns about access, and navigating the process for the first time. Given the circumstances we are facing, we have decided to postpone rising 2nd year selection until a later date. By doing so, we will be able to more effectively assist you throughout the process. In the meantime, we will publish some helpful information, including a step-by-step tutorial. Please keep an eye on your email for further updates, including the new date for housing selection.

From President Paul Trible emailed to students, faculty, and staff.

I write today to provide updates on Christopher Newport’s ongoing response to COVID–19.

Closing to the Public Extended: Christopher Newport University will remain closed to the public through April 10.

Building Access: Effective with building closures tonight, we will move to card access only to buildings on campus. Beginning tomorrow, you will need to use your CNU ID card to enter the building in which you work. Exception: McMurran Hall will remain unlocked from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm today and tomorrow to allow faculty to attend online training sessions. It will then convert to card access only.

Trible Library: The Trible Library will be card access only for faculty, staff and students. Students will have card access only from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.

David Student Union: Doors will remain unlocked from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday through Friday and from 10:00 am to 6:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Dining Halls: Regattas will be open for brunch (10:30 am to 2:00 pm) and for dinner (4:30 pm to 6:30 pm) every day. The Commons and all retail dining operations are closed.

Protecting High-Risk Individuals: Governor Northam has advised that those who are aged 65 or older or with chronic or underlying medical conditions should self-quarantine.

Recruitment and On-Campus Interviews: All on-campus interviews for candidates are suspended through April 10.

The campus is stunningly beautiful and all too quiet. I appreciate everyone’s efforts in these sad and challenging times.

From President Paul Trible emailed to students, faculty, and staff.

Late yesterday evening, Governor Northam issued a directive closing executive branch and state offices in the Peninsula Health District, which includes Christopher Newport University.

Accordingly, Christopher Newport University is closing all offices to the general public for two weeks, effective 5:00 pm today through Sunday, March 29.

For now, all employees, including hourly employees and those who work in the residence and dining halls, should report to work as regularly scheduled. Let me state clearly that you will continue to be employed and paid.

The situation continues to change rapidly. We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we work through the challenges. It is important that you stay connected by email and text for CNUAlert messages so that we can provide information to you quickly as circumstances change.

Please review the following information about teleworking, sick and emergency leave, university travel and meetings, and limited services.

Telework: I have asked our provost and vice presidents to identify positions that may be eligible to telework and will encourage those employees to work remotely if possible. Other personnel may need to report as requested by their supervisors. HR will provide guidance on telework to supervisors.

Telework will be used as an interim measure during this emergency situation. It is our intent to return to full operations on Monday, April 13, therefore telework agreements will expire on Friday, April 10.

Emergency Leave: Employees who are sick should stay home. Call your health care practitioner and then notify your supervisor. Employees who think they may have been exposed to the virus are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

All employees are now eligible for Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL). This benefit applies to all full-time and hourly employees. When medically necessary due to COVID-19, it provides up to 80 hours of paid time off to take care of yourself or a family member. HR will provide additional details on the use of PHEL, sick leave, and other leave options.

Employee Absence Tracking: Supervisors must report employee absences related to medical conditions so that we can identify specific areas of concern and adjust our operations accordingly. The employee absence tracking form will be emailed directly to supervisors.

If you have questions about time off, leave or telework, please ask your supervisor. Human Resources is also available to assist with questions.

Travel, Events and Meetings: Until further notice, all out-of-state university-funded travel is prohibited. In-state travel should be avoided and is prohibited for gatherings that will exceed 50 persons. Internal university meetings should be limited in the number of participants and avoided if possible. Options for virtual meetings will be provided by IT.

Limited Services on Campus: The residence halls will remain open for a limited number of students. Regattas dining hall will remain open to serve brunch and dinner but all other retail food operations will be closed.

The Freeman Center, Ferguson Center, Pope Chapel and Klich Alumni House will be closed except to full-time and hourly staff who work in those buildings.

The Trible Library will remain open with reduced hours of operation from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm during weekdays, and closed on Saturdays and Sundays with expanded online services.

Academic buildings, Christopher Newport Hall and CNU-North will be available from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekdays. Card access will be required outside of those hours. (Please note that McMurran Hall will be open until 9:00 pm tonight and tomorrow so that faculty can complete online training.)

We continue to work through the many issues related to this situation and will provide updates as we know them. Please continue to use www.cnu.edu/coronavirus as the best source of information related to COVID-19.

From Vice President of Enrollment and Student Success Lisa Duncan Raines emailed to students

This important information comes from Vice President of Enrollment and Student Success Lisa Duncan Raines and her team:

Academic Advising:

  • Although academic advising officially began this past Wednesday, March 11, 2020, we are pausing appointments for the week of March 16–20. We will resume advising appointments on March 23 and will continue through April 1, 2020. Online appointments will be available if needed.
  • The week of March 16–20 will be devoted to faculty training and preparation of online courses. Any appointments currently scheduled for that week will need to be rescheduled with the advisor.

Course Withdrawal and Pass/Fail Deadlines:

  • The Course Withdrawal and Request to Pass/Fail deadline has been extended to 5pm on March 25, 2020. The required forms are available for students in CNU Live under Student Services and Financial Aid, and then Student Forms.

Registration for Fall Semester 2020:

  • Fall 2020 course registration has been postponed until Wednesday, April 1 and will continue through April 17, 2020. More information on registration dates and times can be found at http://cnu.edu/registrar/registration/

Center for Career Planning:

  • During this period of online instruction, video and phone career planning appointments, if needed, may be scheduled through cnu.joinhandshake.com.
  • Check the events link at cnu.joinhandshake.com for details about previously scheduled workshops and events.
  • Employers continue to post jobs and internships in cnu.joinhandshake.com, so you can still be pursuing your full-time and summer employment options.

From President Trible emailed to students, faculty, staff and via CNUAlert.

The closing of all K-12 schools in Virginia will make it impossible for us to appropriately staff and support a residential student population. Virtually all of our staff have daughters or sons in the local schools. Accordingly, our residence halls will close on Monday, March 16 at 5:00 p.m. and will remain closed until we are able to resume classes on campus.

I recognize that some of our students may face circumstances that make remaining in campus housing necessary. These students may petition to remain on campus by contacting Student Affairs. The Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Kevin Hughes, will provide additional information this evening.

President Trible’s personal note to students

I am very sorry that Christopher Newport has been forced by events beyond our control - the spread of the coronavirus and decisions that had to be made at the federal and state level to keep us all safe – to close our residence halls for the next few weeks. We anticipate that classes will resume on campus on Monday, April 13, and we look forward to welcoming you back.

Please take care of yourselves and others in these challenging times.

Paul Trible


From Vice President for Student Affairs Kevin Hughes emailed to students

As you know from President Trible’s messages yesterday and today, issues surrounding the COVID–19 virus have compelled us to reconfigure your Christopher Newport experience in unprecedented ways. I write to reiterate information that has been shared with you, address questions that I have received, and provide additional updates for you. I remind all of you that this is a fluid and constantly evolving situation and things may change as a result.

Residence Halls

All residence halls, including the East Campus and Rappahannock apartments, will close at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 16. Students are NOT required to remove all of their belongings from their room as we hope and expect you to return. However, you should:

  • Take all academic materials needed to continue classes in the online format.
  • Take any medications, extra clothing, and supplies needed for an extended duration.
  • Follow residence hall guidelines regarding a proper checkout.
  • Scan the QR code or check out at the front desk so we can appropriately track people if needed.
  • Students who have already checked out of the residence halls but need to retrieve academic or other items must do so by 5 p.m. on Monday, March 16.

As President Trible indicated, some students may face circumstances that make remaining in campus housing a necessary option. If you would like to request to remain in on-campus housing, even if you have sent a separate email, you must click here.

Regatta’s will serve brunch and dinner during normal hours on Saturday and Sunday, March 14–15; the final meal served prior to the halls closing will be lunch on Monday. Limited dining options will be available for those students permitted to remain in the residence halls during the closing.

Academics

While we are finalizing preparations for the online platform delivery for your classes, I strongly advise you not to treat this coming week as your second spring break. The academics are going to be every bit as demanding, just presented differently.

  • Do not assume assignment due dates are changing. If you have questions, ask your faculty members.
  • Do not plan different activities during your currently scheduled class time. Online delivery can occur at the same time as your originally scheduled class period.
  • You will hear from your individual faculty members in the next week regarding how they will move your specific classes to the online platform. Look for this email.

Misinformation

In situations like this one, there is a significant amount of inaccurate information that is often shared despite having no foundation in the truth. Regardless of what you may have heard,

  • There have been no cases involving a faculty, staff, or student who has tested positive and/or been hospitalized for the COVID–19 virus.
  • We will provide you with accurate and updated information about such matters as we have it.

Please do not share misinformation that “you heard” as it is harmful, not helpful.

From President Trible emailed to students, faculty, and staff.

It breaks my heart that events in the world require us to disrupt the life of our Christopher Newport family, the superb academic experience we share where our marvelous faculty engage high-ability students in small classes and we all benefit from the enriching interaction of students, faculty and staff on our beautiful residential campus. Nevertheless, we are forced to make some hard decisions and these actions are taken after much thought and consultation.

The health and safety of the Christopher Newport community must be our primary concern in the rapidly evolving COVID–19 coronavirus situation. While there are no known cases of COVID–19 on our campus and Virginia continues to be designated as low risk, the World Health Organization has declared the spread of COVID–19 a pandemic and more than 1,000 cases have been confirmed across the country. We have an obligation and responsibility to protect our campus and extended community and take appropriate steps to prevent the spread of COVID–19.

One of the best ways to control the transmission of this viral illness is to limit personal contact, avoid large gatherings, and promote social distancing. And so, it is with my deepest regret that I announce the following actions, effective immediately.

Online Academic Instruction and Advising

The University will remain open and services will continue with no change to the academic calendar with the following modifications to the delivery of instruction.

We are transitioning to online instruction for all students through April 10. Classes will continue as scheduled on campus for the rest of this week. Classes will be canceled next week, March 16 - 20, to provide time for our faculty and staff to make the transition to online instruction. Beginning Monday, March 23, students will take their classes online. Specific guidance will follow for classes that may require especially creative solutions such as laboratories, performance-based courses, or those that involve studio-learning.

Academic advising is proceeding on schedule but will transition to an online format next week.

If it is determined that online instruction needs to extend beyond April 10, that decision will be communicated the week of April 6.

Any student with a concern about transitioning to online instruction should contact the student affairs office (757–594–7160). We ask our faculty to be as flexible as possible to accommodate the needs of students.

The decision to go online is only an emergency and short-lived measure and in the future, our classes will be taught in the traditional manner. Small classes and personal instruction are the hallmark of a Christopher Newport education.

Students

Classes are canceled from March 16–20. Residence and dining halls will remain open and operational for the remainder of the spring semester for those students who cannot or choose not to return home.

Students should expect to hear from faculty about their courses and should stay in touch with faculty about their coursework. Please remain flexible and be aware that faculty are being asked to transition from in-class to online instruction within a few days. There may be glitches and technical issues that will need to be resolved but we will make every effort to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Study Abroad

All summer 2020 study abroad programs departing in May have been canceled. This decision was not taken lightly but responds to health and safety concerns and the difficulty of coordinating program plans with a rapidly changing global environment. Students will be fully reimbursed for any deposits or other financial payments made prior to the cancellations. We will work with students to resolve any academic progress or graduation issues that may occur as a result of these cancellations.

We are closely monitoring the situation and decisions on the remaining summer 2020 programs will be made as more information becomes available. Questions or concerns about study abroad programs should be directed to Mandi Pierce at 757–594–8851 or amanda.pierce@cnu.edu.

Travel

As announced yesterday, University-related travel by airline and train is prohibited in the U.S. and abroad, even if your travel was previously approved. Travel by personal vehicle is permitted but we strongly discourage all University travel for non-essential purposes to large gatherings greater than 100, and to areas experiencing high numbers of COVID–19 cases. Exceptional circumstances for travel may be appealed through the offices of the provost or chief of staff.

We ask members of the community to apply similar judgment in considering personal travel commitments, both internationally and domestically. If you choose to travel abroad to a country designated as Level 3 by the CDC, you will be required to quarantine off campus for 14 days after your return.

If you have already received approval to travel and made associated travel arrangements, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on our website on how to pursue a refund or reimbursement. Faculty should contact their deans or the provost’s office with questions about these actions. Staff members should contact their supervisor. Students should contact the student affairs office.

Events

With specific exceptions noted below, all events and gatherings in university facilities as well as university-sponsored events on campus that are expected to draw crowds greater than 100 people are suspended until Monday, April 13. This includes events sponsored by any recognized student organization and other affiliated groups.

  • Commencement: We expect commencement events in May to proceed as scheduled. Any changes that might be needed will be communicated with as much advance notice as possible.
  • Admission: The Open House scheduled for Saturday, March 14 is canceled. However, for now, other recruitment activities including Admitted Freshman Days, All Aboard events, daily visits and special group visits will continue as scheduled.
  • Athletic Events: At this time, athletic events will continue as scheduled. Attendance at both the women’s and men’s basketball tournaments this weekend is restricted. We are working with the NCAA and members of our conference to determine attendance restrictions, if any, for our other indoor and outdoor sports. Updates will be posted on www.cnusports.com.
  • Ferguson Center for the Arts: Scheduled performances and events are being evaluated and decisions will be communicated broadly as decisions are made. Updates will also be posted on www.fergusoncenter.org

For events or activities expected to draw fewer than 100 participants, event planners and sponsors are encouraged to consider alternatives to having in-person events and should follow the public health and safety guidelines of the Virginia Department of Health.

Faculty

We recognize that the shift to online instruction imposes significant challenges and is extremely disruptive to the traditional academic experience that you enjoy with students. Christopher Newport has a tradition of excellence in the classroom and I trust that all of us will work together to offer that same level of excellence through the online medium. What makes Christopher Newport special is that we offer small classes and have close and personal relationships between our faculty and staff and unfortunately, that will be lost for a time.

Faculty are expected to fulfill your normal duties and work to transition your course content and assignments online. Faculty are expected to take advantage of the instruction being offered through our IT department to transition to online instruction and advising. Further communication about additional IT training and sessions with faculty who have online expertise will be coming from the provost’s office this weekend. Any faculty member with a concern about offering their course(s) online should contact your dean or the provost’s office.

We plan to allow research operations to continue. Any faculty member with a concern about the impact of the modified operation on your research should contact your dean or the provost’s office.

Staff

Staff will report to work as scheduled. All campus buildings will remain open and all services will continue to be provided. Staff should take the appropriate steps to prevent illness and should follow existing protocols regarding notifying supervisors when using sick leave.

We encourage every member of our community to take responsibility for your own health and make good decisions to limit the spread of COVID–19 and other viral diseases. If you have a cold, the flu, or another illness, please exercise good judgment and not expose your friends, co-workers or other members of the community to unnecessary health risks. The health center remains open for our students and students should call in advance to schedule an appointment.

This is a challenge that none of us have faced before and it is certainly not the semester that we expected, but together, we will make this transition a successful one. Thank you for your patience and your willingness to do what is best to protect our community. Please take care of yourself and one another.

 

From the Director of Emergency Management emailed to students, faculty and staff.

As you return from spring break, here is the latest on the university’s response to COVID–19 (known as the coronavirus).

We have no indication that anyone connected with the university has contracted the virus. Because the situation is constantly changing, we are taking precautions to protect the health of students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Members of the Christopher Newport community are required to follow CDC guidelines and self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus if they have traveled to or through a Warning Level 3 notice area (currently Italy, South Korea, China and Iran).

University-sponsored travel by students, staff and faculty to CDC Warning Level 3 notice areas (currently Italy, South Korea, China and Iran) is prohibited.

Carefully consider any decision to travel anywhere that has been or may become a designated Level 3 location. The 14-day self-isolation period will be required before you can return to campus if the CDC’s travel notice areas change.

If you are a student and have flu-like symptoms, call University Health and Wellness Services weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at (757) 594–7661, or the 24-hour Riverside Nurse at Riverside Regional Medical Center at (757) 595–6363.

If you are a faculty or staff member, call your primary care physician or the Riverside Nurse at (757) 595–6363.

Riverside cannot answer questions about class attendance, quarantines and other university-specific issues.

In the days immediately ahead, please be mindful of your health and the safety of those around you. All the standard rules apply:

  • Faculty, staff and students who are sick should not go to class or work.
  • Wash your hands frequently (the CDC recommends washing for 20 seconds).
  • Do not share water bottles.
  • Keep your work and living spaces as clean as possible.

While our housekeeping staff does a remarkable job, your efforts (and cleaning supplies for your office or room) will help prevent the spread of illness.

Here is a March 5, 2020 status report on other actions taken by the university:

  • A spring break study abroad trip to Italy was successfully rerouted to England.
  • Staff members have taken additional steps to clean and disinfect heavily used spaces, including common areas in residence halls and dining facilities.
  • A webpage is now available at cnu.edu/coronavirus and includes answers to questions we have received from parents, students and colleagues.

If you have questions about the university’s plans and response, we urge you to first read the FAQs on the website. If you don’t find the answer there, contact the appropriate on-campus office or Jim Hanchett, chief communications officer, at (757) 594–7699, or Tammy Sommer, director of emergency management, at (757) 594–7428.

When warranted, updates will be posted on CNUalert.info, cnu.edu/coronavirus and on the university’s social media channels.

We look forward to a safe conclusion of the semester and ask for your help and vigilance to make that possible. Together, we can surmount this challenge. Go Captains!

From the Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students Kevin Hughes emailed to students and posted on Facebook

Greetings everyone,

Can you believe we're only days away from Spring Break? This semester sure does fly by, and before you know it we 'll be in exams and then graduation will be here. I sure hope you seniors are checking off memorable opportunities from your “bucket list” before your big day. I have a few things (I promise just a few) to share about Spring Break, being safe and healthy, and so I ask that you just take a minute to peruse this note.

No doubt many of you are about to head out of town by the end of this week (and yes, we know a few of you are gonna try and sneak out of here even earlier). Some of you are going to use this time to interview for grad school opportunities or internship and summer employment positions. Good luck to all of you, and be sure to touch base with your faculty members and the Center for Career Planning if you need some last-minute tips, reminders, or just positive vibes as you put yourself out there. Remember, all of those possibilities are "mutual-match", which means it not only has to be right for the grad school or employer, but also for you. You 'll find the right one, and you 'll be glad that you did.

Some of you are spending your break on service outings or similar adventures to help others. You will certainly have a meaningful week away from campus that will have an impact on you as much it will on those in a different community. Be sure to learn…about yourself and about folks with different backgrounds or from different parts of the country...as you make the most of the week.

Certainly, there will be more than a handful of you that are leaving for a well-deserved respite. Maybe you 're headed home or to see family and friends. Others of you are gearing up for a Spring Break adventure that you 've been planning for a while; I 'm sure the anticipation is high (but please try to focus on classes the rest of the week). Regardless of what your plans are for Spring Break, be safe. Take your time getting to your destination and back to campus at the end of the week. You 're all very important to us, so get the rest you need before heading out on your adventures.

Some of you may be planning an excursion to an exotic locale, maybe a cruise, maybe some time in the sun. Prepare smartly with your group and always do things together. By the way, sunscreen is really ok. Water is a healthy way to quench your thirst. Resting up, sleeping in, and relaxing are all acceptable. It is a vacation after all, not a contest to see how much you can cram into a short amount of time.

Regardless of your plans, you also need to remember it is flu season. You 're likely to interact with a lot of folks. Follow the appropriate guidelines for disinfecting, hand washing, avoidance of public surfaces, etc. The CDC Flu Prevention recommendations are pretty straightforward and worth a look. Some of you may have some extensive plans and while it may be unlikely that you are headed to an area or in a situation related to the coronavirus that you 've heard about, you should heed the CDC traveler advice for coronavirus. Please know that the university continues to actively monitor the coronavirus situation; we will post relevant updates on the CNU Alert website, so be sure to check there regularly. So you 're aware, there are no confirmed cases of this virus in Virginia or the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

Enough for now as I promised to keep it short. Just remember, be smart and be safe. We want all of you to come back to us after break healthy, happy, and ready for a great finish to the semester.

Best,
Kevin Hughes

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