Update: March 16, 2020

These are strange times, times that none of us could have anticipated. The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has challenged and changed many of our assumptions. How grateful I am that we believe in and love a God who does not change, who makes Himself known through His Word. Confidence in God’s perfect wisdom and guidance carries us through the intensity of these days.

I wish I could speak to each of you. I know you have questions, and I sincerely hope that we answer them on this site today. I’d like to take some time to answer one of the most pressing questions that weighs on all of us. 

Will students be able to return to campus? We really do hope that we can be together again, meeting face-to-face, and particularly for our seniors, to celebrate Commencement in May. In close consultation with experts, including one of the world’s leading authorities on viral diseases, we are waiting to make that call. It is too simply too early to predict the outcome of all the measures being implemented.

We are working with the guidelines from the federal government to be “socially distant” for the coming weeks. We are all hopeful that this will stem the spread of COVID-19 and we will restart classes as planned after Easter break. 

If our situation changes and we are not able to do so, we would regret not finishing the year for the seniors with a Commencement ceremony. We are discussing alternate options just in case. In this unprecedented time, we do not know everything. Please be assured that we are monitoring this situation around the clock and seeking to be safe, cautious, and fair. 

In the meantime, thank you for your patience and understanding. These “strange times” are also fluid times. Information and implications can change from hour to hour. We are doing our best to keep the community informed with general messages, as well as information tailored to specific groups, such as our international students, faculty, and athletes. For the latest information, please be sure to check www.taylor.edu/coronavirus.

On Monday, Dr. Michael Hammond, Provost/EVP was able to visit all the residence halls on campus. He reported that although there is an attitude of resignation and sadness amidst the confusion of this worldwide crisis, there’s also a resilience and hope that our community will stand with one another. Even as they pack up to return home, students are being intentional in reaching out to each other and to faculty and staff with love and concern. This is the mark of a genuine, enduring community.  

Please check for updates here, as we are posting new FAQs and information regularly. You can also subscribe to receiving emails when new updates are posted by entering your information in the form at the bottom of the main page. If you have questions that aren’t answered here, email us at ICRT@taylor.edu. Our International Crisis Response Team is working hard to provide as many answers as possible.

In closing, let’s encourage each other, because we know that all things will work together for their good. This is our opportunity to live life together, “through active engagement in the Taylor educational mission” in a “community not defined by geography” (Taylor’s Life Together Covenant). 

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ to all generations, forever and ever” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Faithful, grateful, and hopeful in Christ,

Paige

Paige Comstock Cunningham, PhD, JD, Interim President

Update: March 12, 2020

To the Taylor campus community, 

As we have continued to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak, we have made the safety of each member of our community our primary concern. As part of that effort, our campus leaders have monitored the actions of our local, state, and federal governments. 

In the past 24 hours, the United States State Department has placed all global destinations at level 3, which means all global travel should be “Reconsidered.”

In addition, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has issued directives intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including avoiding gatherings of more than 250 people.

Today, in consultation with Dr. Paige Comstock Cunningham and the leadership of the Board of Trustees, we have determined the following measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. These measures are in effect until further notice.

  • Taylor University will dismiss classes early for Spring Break and resume classes on March 30 using virtual course delivery methods. Students are expected to attend classes through Tuesday, March 17. March 18-20 will be reserved for faculty preparation for alternative course delivery. Spring Break for students will commence on March 18 and continue through March 29.

After Easter Break, students would return to campus on Monday, April 13, and return to classroom-based instruction on April 14. Taylor University leadership will monitor the COVID-19 situation daily to evaluate this plan. We plan to give an update to all campus community members by April 1. Residence halls will remain open for students.

Meals provided during the normal spring break will align with their current meal plan for no additional charge. Students are encouraged to return to their homes for Spring Break, and they may wish to move their belongings out of their residence hall room in case classes do not resume on campus as planned.

Taylor staff members should report to work as scheduled unless notified otherwise by their supervisor.

This plan has been developed with the utmost concern for our community safety while seeking to preserve many of the vital elements of our community experiences in the spring semester. It is our hope that we will have a successful restart to the on-campus programs and classroom-based learning on April 14.

Important dates:

March 17: Last class day before Spring Break

March 18-March 29: Spring Break

March 30: Classes resume with online or virtual delivery

April 13: Students return to campus

April 14: Classes resume on campus in classrooms 

  • Our study abroad programs will be suspended for the spring semester. We will be flying these students back to the United States by next weekend. They will return to their homes, not to campus, where they will be advised to self-isolate for 14 days. We will work with them in regards to the academic requirements of their classes.
  • Immediate suspension of all employee travel outside the State of Indiana. Exceptions may be allowed through area Vice Presidents and Senior Leadership team.
  • Personal travel outside the State of Indiana is strongly discouraged – this includes interstate or international travel. 
  • Immediate suspension of all international travel for any school sponsored event. 
  • Immediate suspension of all campus gatherings of 100 or more people. This includes chapel and student programs. There will be no chapel services on March 13 or March 16.
  • Postponement of the upcoming 24@Taylor event scheduled for Friday, March 13 and suspension of on-campus admissions visits until April 14.

We appreciate your flexibility and patience as we monitor this constantly changing situation. Please contact the International Crisis Response Team with any questions at ICRT@taylor.edu. We pray for health and protection for our community and those around the world who are facing this crisis. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Update: March 11, 2020

Taylor University administrators, faculty, staff members, and local healthcare officials continue to monitor the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and how that spread affects Taylor’s campus and activities. 

Spring Break Travel:  All Taylor-led scheduled spring break trips have been cancelled. This includes all international trips and all trips within the United States. Affected groups include our spring break ministry teams, men’s and women’s track and field and golf teams, and the Taylor Chorale Civil Rights bus trip.

Taylor is asking all students and employees to follow CDC and State Health Department guidelines for all Spring Break travel. If your home community is responding to COVID-19 through school closures and other community precautions, you can still travel home and return to Taylor University after spring break as long as you have not knowingly come in contact with COVID-19 or developed symptoms such as cough, fever or shortness of breath. TU reserves the right to ask students or employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 or show symptoms to self-isolate off-campus.

Off-Campus Visitors: Taylor will continue to host campus visitors, but we will not be hosting any non-Taylor community member overnight in campus residence halls during the academic year until further notice. The requirement to self-isolate for 14 days applies to all visitors to the TU campus as well, regardless of the purpose or duration of the visit. Visits from Level 2 and 3 countries that have not yet occurred must be canceled or postponed until further notice. Long-term visitors or appointees should be informed of the self-quarantine requirement before they travel to TU.

This is a rapidly developing situation, and we will continue to post further updates about the COVID-19 response.

Update: March 10, 2020

To date, the coronavirus has sickened over 111,000 people worldwide, including over 500 cases within the United States. According to the Indiana Department of Health, a small number of cases have been reported in Indiana, and local officials are managing those situations. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the person-to-person spread within the United States is low, and the general public is not at great risk. (This site monitors the worldwide spread of the virus.)

Taylor’s Response

We care deeply about the health and well-being of Taylor students, both on campus and abroad. This situation is developing, but to date, Taylor University has cancelled a spring semester study-abroad trip to China, where the illness was first discovered. Additionally, members of our community who traveled in China received medical clearance before returning to campus. We are in close communication with all partners whose semester-abroad programs include Taylor students.

Update: March 3, 2020

In recent days, all of us have been prayerfully monitoring the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. On Monday, a task force of Taylor University administrators, faculty, staff members, and local healthcare officials met to consider our best steps forward. In addition, our International Crisis Response Team has been meeting and monitoring this situation.

To date, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has sickened people in countries around the world, including the United States. We have learned from the Indiana Department of Health that Indiana does not have any confirmed COVID-19 cases and COVID-19 is NOT currently spreading in the community. The Centers for Disease Control advises the immediate health risk for the general public from COVID-19 is considered low. This site monitors the worldwide spread of the virus: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

However, because the risk of exposure to this new coronavirus globally is increasing, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency to allow local, state, and federal officials to fully coordinate responses in partnership with public health departments, emergency management teams, airports, health care professionals and first responders.

To date, and in addition to monitoring and planning, Taylor University has responded to the virus by cancelling a spring semester study-abroad trip to China, where the illness was first discovered. Additionally, members of our community who traveled in China received medical clearance before returning to campus. We are also in close communication with all partners whose programs include Taylor students.

Future impact may include planned Spring Break travel, although at this time, no decision has been made. The entire community is expected to comply with Department of State guidelines regarding international travel (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/), and to take appropriate measures for domestic travel.  Taylor University will not send individuals or groups to countries designated as Level 3 by either the U.S. Department of State or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  As referenced above, the spring semester program to China was cancelled when it reached Level 3.

Facts we currently have for COVID-19 are as follows, but are subject to change as developments continue:

The illness is highly contagious and has an incubation period of 14 days, and spreads through:

  • Contact with droplets from an infected person’s sneeze, cough, or saliva
  • Caring for an infected person

COVID-19 symptoms are similar to influenza and include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing

According to the Indiana Department of Health, the following preventative measures are recommended: 

  • If you have symptoms that include fever, a cough, and/or difficulty breathing, please see the Taylor University Health Center or your primary care provider ASAP.
  • If you are feeling sick (especially a fever), please consider whether or not to come to work.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Help young children do the same.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
  • Get a flu shot – it’s not too late to be protected against influenza.
  • Be aware that facemasks are not needed for the general public.

There are some news outlets that have highlighted attacks against Asian people that appear to be motivated by fear of the coronavirus. Taylor University is committed to treating all individuals as equal image-bearers of Jesus Christ and therefore condemns any act of xenophobia or racism. We will continue to support all faculty, staff and students whose home countries have been affected.

A dedicated email account for the International Crisis Response Team to field your questions about COVID-19 and Taylor University has been created: ICRT@taylor.edu. Also, a webpage on the www.taylor.edu site dedicated to COVID-19 alerts and developments is forthcoming.

For additional information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html.