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A Message from the President: Coronavirus Update

by President James J. Greenfield, OSFS, ‘84 Mar 11, 2020
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DeSales University will resume classes on Monday, March 16, using on-line, virtual instruction; no classes will be held next week on-campus.

Note: this announcement no longer contains the most recent information. Please refer to the most recent updates at

I write at the midpoint of our Spring Break to share our University’s efforts to grapple with the impacts of COVID-19 as we continue to track potential threats of exposure to those learning and working here at our Center Valley campus.  The most important concerns as we address this issue are to protect the health and safety of the campus community and to ensure the continuity and strength of academic programs.

We are vigilantly following the lead of health and governmental officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The CDC has asked institutes of higher education to follow the specific instructions of their state and local health authorities.  To date, directions and guidelines related to the Lehigh Valley focus on standard precautions, outlined on our dedicated coronavirus website.  This informs our present decision, which I discuss here.

DeSales University will resume classes on Monday, March 16, using on-line, virtual instruction; no classes will be held next week on-campus. I offer the following reasons for this decision: 

  • Since students are already home, we risk a premature return to school if a campus outbreak were to occur within the subsequent days.
  • To extend Spring Break—a reasonable response—with no on-line delivery of instruction would squander valuable learning time.
  • This affords us more time for the CDC and local health experts to monitor the spread of the virus and provide us with solid direction. 

To this end and unless further updates state otherwise, students will return to their residence halls on Sunday, March 22, and resume on-campus classes on Monday, March 23. 

Bro. Dan Wisniewski, OSFS, provost, will communicate with faculty shortly about on-line instructional resources. Off-campus internships, clinical assignments, and student-teaching placements will continue as usual. Students in the performing arts and student athletes should contact their directors and coaches with questions related to their activities and events.      

To date and to our knowledge, not one member of the University community has been infected or exposed to the coronavirus.

I am grateful for my colleagues who have written a COVID-19 Response Protocol, which details levels of University-wide responses based on the State Situational Descriptors of COVID-19.  With no activity of the disease among our community, we plan to enact aggressive prevention practices, such as multiple daily cleanings of public areas, desks, keyboards, residence halls, etc. and recommending frequent hand washing.  I direct you to this site of the CDC. Any changes in our response will be announced widely on social media and email and will appear on our dedicated coronavirus website.

Our employees are essential to ensuring DeSales University runs safely and responsibly, and we plan to continue most University operations as far as possible.  Bob Snyder, vice president for finance and administration, will email all staff to provide additional, more detailed guidance on work-related questions.

I also realize that as we forecast the next eight weeks of this semester and then graduation, more questions will arise about specific issues.  I will communicate next week after we learn more information from relevant health officials.  My purpose in this email is to share our plans for next week. 

I thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time and ask you to join in praying for those whose health and life are impacted by this virus. 

James J. Greenfield, OSFS, ‘84