The following message was shared with the Hampden-Sydney community on March 20:
To Our Students and All Other Members of the Hampden-Sydney Community:
Greetings from the College, and I trust you are doing well. The College’s leadership team has been meeting at least daily to monitor the coronavirus pandemic, assess options, and make the best possible decisions about how we pursue our educational mission while also protecting the health and welfare of our students and all members of our community. Today, I write to share with you the disappointing news that we will complete the spring semester through remote instruction. With our last day of classes coming on April 24, the governor now forbidding meetings of 10 or more persons, and the Centers for Disease Control recommending no gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, we can’t anticipate a scenario that would allow us to resume on-campus instruction or hold our Commencement on May 9.
A decision about when we will hold Commencement will be forthcoming, but I want to assure you—especially our seniors—that we are only postponing, not cancelling, our Commencement. I understand that you and your families have been anticipating this special day for four years, so we will communicate a decision about the timing of this very important event as soon as possible.
With the shift to remote instruction for the rest of the semester, we want all students to return to campus to gather your belongings starting tomorrow, March 21 through Monday, March 30. To ensure a safe and orderly process and to limit the number of people in residence halls at any given time, you must complete this form to select a two-hour time slot in which to collect your belongings. To help keep our community healthy and safe, do not return to campus until you have completed this form and selected a time slot. Additional important information about the moving process can be found on the form itself. If you have any questions or need to discuss alternative arrangements for retrieving your belongings, please contact Dean of Students Robert Sabbatini via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need to see any faculty or staff members while you are on campus, please make an appointment in advance. Your return to campus will, of course, depend on state or national authorities allowing you to travel here.
Students with extenuating circumstances who wish to remain on or return to campus may seek permission to do so by completing the Request to Remain on Campus form. Meals will be available for students who are approved to remain on campus.
We are developing a policy for refunding the unused portion of your room and board charges. This policy will be shared with you soon.
As recently as two weeks ago, no one anticipated that we would be making the decision to teach our classes remotely for the balance of the semester. Everything this College stands for is predicated on personal interaction—our learning, mentoring, and coaching, certainly, but also our life together on the Hill—our brotherhood, our codes of honor and conduct, and even our speaking tradition. I also realize that for most students, your Hampden-Sydney years are among the best years of your life and that, even after your first semester here, many of you call this place home. This has been a year of great accomplishment with every day offering us opportunities to take pride in the many extraordinary ways we fulfill our mission of forming good men and good citizens. Just one week ago, I shared dinner with our lacrosse team and coaches. The dinner had been planned by one of the player’s parents as a “beat W&L event,” but just the day prior, the ODAC had canceled the game and we had extended spring break by one week. I share this story because I know those players were feeling that night what all of us are feeling now—tremendous disappointment over the way this pandemic has taken over and changed our lives, but also great pride and satisfaction in being a part of the extraordinary Hampden-Sydney brotherhood and community.
We begin remote instruction on Monday. In the days and weeks that follow, we will be sharing more information with you, but we also hope to find new, creative, and virtual ways to strengthen and enhance our brotherhood and community. Please reach out to each other, but also to your professors, members of the staff, and me if you have questions, need assistance, or just want to talk with someone at the College. We are here for you.
Please refer to the following web pages for more details about safety and other measures that are being taken across the College.