Messiah moves online for the remainder of spring semester

Note: Messiah College does not have any reported or confirmed cases of the COVID-2019 Novel Coronavirus as of the time and date of this posting.

FAQs can be found on the emergency response page. We will continue to update as additional decisions are finalized.

Dear Messiah College community,

The past two weeks have been an unprecedented time of uncertainty and disruption for colleges and universities as we have worked to keep our students and campuses safe during the rapidly changing COVID-19 global pandemic.

During this time, you have been receiving critical updates and announcements from Messiah’s Crisis Management Team as we’ve been responding with swift decisions to quickly evolving circumstances. I am grateful for the leadership that these colleagues have been providing, and for the spirit of cooperation we have received from students and employees in response.

Today, however, I wanted you to hear from me, as president, regarding an important announcement in the life of our campus community. In light of the recently announced statewide and national states of emergency, and their directives regarding social distancing—Messiah College will now be conducting all undergraduate and graduate coursework online for the remainder of its spring semester.

This was a difficult decision, and I acknowledge the sense of stress, anxiety and loss that a change like this can bring. However, please know that—although we will be using a different format and delivery—all Messiah educators and employees are committed to provide our students with an educational experience that continues to integrate top-tier academics and Christian faith formation. We will additionally continue to provide educational support services for our students’ academic success in an online format. Students will receive additional details on these resources by the end of this week.

I also acknowledge that this announcement will certainly generate many additional questions from students and their families. The President’s Cabinet and Crisis Management Team are currently processing these issues and will communicate answers to the below questions by the end of spring break (March 24):

  • How will student practicums, clinicals, internships and student teaching proceed?
  • When/how will students be able to return to campus to pick up their belongings and move out of their residences?
  • Will Messiah be issuing refunds for the time that students are off campus and studying remotely?
  • Will Messiah proceed with its undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies?

In the interim, students who are approved to live on campus during spring break will be allowed to remain through the end of spring break (March 24). International students who are already on campus, and other students who would like to remain/return to campus due to extenuating and/or compelling circumstances must apply by completing this form no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 19. Decisions about approvals will be made and communicated to students no later than Friday, March 20. While the residence halls remain open, the College will continue to provide dining options and other support for students. Please note, however, as the public health situation with COVID-19 changes, and as we follow directives from state and national authorities, the College reserves the ability to close residence halls and change dining options within a 24-hour notice.

Employees will receive a separate communication from the College later today from the Office of Human Resources that will provide additional details and direction regarding what this announcement means for them.  

Our driving focus remains the safety and welfare of our students, employees, and our surrounding community. Messiah’s campus leadership and response team continues to meet daily—we will continue to post new FAQs and update our emergency blog as decisions are made at www.messiah.edu/emergency. We invite you to visit these resources for the most recent information.

I am privileged to be a part of an educational community, like Messiah College, that is guided by Christian hope and faith, love for our neighbors, and trust in God’s control over our circumstances and His faithful presence in our midst. Please continue to support and pray for one another as we navigate the remaining weeks of our spring term together. I will continue to communicate and reach out in the days and weeks ahead.

Warmest regards,
Kim Phipps
President