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COVID-19 Communications

Ongoing Campus Updates

June 18 Letter to Students and Parents from Dean Willhardt: Return to Campus Plan:  PLEASE READ

Good Afternoon – 

A group of faculty and staff from all walks of campus life have been hard at work planning for our return in August. Most important to this effort was deciding on a calendar that would help us do our best work no matter what the pandemic throws at us. For us, our best work has always happened on campus and so we’re pleased to announce that we’re going to bring everyone back on campus in the fall, with classes starting on August 18. Please review the new academic calendar for Fall 2020. Moreover, our Return to Campus Fall 2020 Manual is live. (For those parents receiving this, you might also save the date June 24, 2020, when there will be a Parent Town Hall to take your questions, as well.) 

You’ll note that our fall start is earlier than promised and that our “semester” will end before Thanksgiving this year, and that traditional breaks (such as Fall Break) have been eliminated. Why? Well, our goal has always been to act upon the best information we have, including that regarding the pandemic. Many models indicate that if a resurgence happens it will mostly likely be late fall and our hope is that ending at Thanksgiving will allow us our best chance of completing the semester in person. Moreover, research indicates that best practice is not to allow large populations to gather, return home, then gather again, only to return home a short time later. Our belief is that, based on the information we have, the new schedule allows us to meet our educational goals best while also protecting our community. 

Our intention is to meet in person throughout the fall semester, realizing that we will all need a degree of flexibility that we have not before. Some of our students simply won’t be able to return to us, because of preexisting medical conditions, for instance, or proximity to others who are immunocompromised; it also means that some of us will continue to teach remotely, for the same reasons. I have told instructors that our expectation is that they will find ways to work with all of our students, no matter their situations. 

Because of this need for flexibility – and because we learned from our students this spring that too many programs to learn was interfering with their performance itself -- I have also instructed professors to set up their courses in either Google Classroom or Moodle, and to use Zoom to supplement lectures, hold office hours, etc. They provide plenty of functionality for both in-person and remote instruction and familiarity with them would be a boon should things once again have to change. Likewise, on the two “final” periods (October 3 for half-semester courses and the period starting November 30 for full-semester ones), faculty have been asked to be flexible in working with particular students’ needs and conflicts. 

Finally, we continue to work on the details of social distancing in classrooms and other protocols across campus. A base expectation will be that, although students don’t have to wear masks in their own rooms, they will wear them any time they are in a building, including during class. Likewise, faculty and staff will be required to wear masks any time they are outside their own office (and even then, if in consultation with a student or faculty member and appropriate social distancing is impossible). 

Thanks to you all for rolling with the changes that the pandemic has necessitated in our college and community. Like colleges across the nation, we have anticipated the best and planned for the contingencies. As new information becomes available regarding protocols for the fall, I will pass them along immediately. 

With best wishes,
Mark Willhardt
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dean of the Faculty

May 29: Updated Plans for 2020

Dear Monmouth College Community: 

Earlier this month I communicated that it was the College's intent to open in residence this fall.  I also announced the formation of a campus-wide Fall 2020 Group to determine how to implement the best procedures to bring students, faculty, and staff back to campus for the 2020-21 school year. 

As we conclude the month of May, I am pleased to provide this update, stating that with the good work of the Fall 2020 Committee and the status of COVID-19 in the State of Illinois and particularly in our area, it remains our plan to open in residence and on schedule this fall.   

The Fall 2020 Group has met regularly and worked intently to develop a flexible working plan covering all aspects of the College's operations, and that work is continuing.  The Group has drawn on information from consultation with federal, state and local government agencies, and with health care professionals; from the evaluation of models adopted by peer institutions and other colleges and universities; and an assessment of what is right for Monmouth students and the campus community. 

In the next few weeks we will share a document summarizing our preparations that will be as as detailed and definitive as possible, given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic. Please stay tuned to the College's website and to your email for that communication.  As I have stated before, our plan to return for the 2020 fall semester will reflect the College’s twin commitments of providing a quality liberal arts and sciences education while ensuring the well-being of the entire campus community. 

I also want to take this moment to thank everyone who has done such an extraordinary job carrying out their duties to serve the College and its students. While it is cliché to remark that we are living in uncertain times, it is never cliché to celebrate the immensely talented and dedicated women and men of Monmouth who help make this place such a remarkable college. Thanks for all you have done, and will continue to do, to ensure that the needs of our students and their families continue to be met. 

Stay well and safe,


​Clarence R. Wyatt
Monmouth College

April 8: Credit/No Credit Update

Good Morning, Everyone -- 

All of us here – faculty, staff, and administration – hope that you’re continuing to adjust to the new normal, just as all of us here in Monmouth are. 

Earlier, we made the decision to allow you to choose a Credit/No Credit option for your courses.  We hoped that giving you ten days to make that decision would allow you to see which of your courses this might fit best, and to talk to your advisers about your choices.  We realize now that our ten-day window for that decision was probably too narrow.  Thus, we are extending the deadline for decisions to April 17, 2020.  Please talk to your professors and advisers soon so that you can make the best, most-informed decisions you can. 

Wishing you the best on a strong end to the semester, 

Mark Willhardt
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dean of the Faculty

March 23: Letter for Faculty and Staff: A New Era

Good Morning, Colleagues --  

This morning, our college is waking up to a new era, with a new way of doing things and, because of it, a new way of being.  Changing course for the betterment of the students and the College is no new thing for us, frankly.  We have done it when wars demanded it, we have done it as times have changed and demanded new structures -- semesters, for instance -- and we are doing it now as medical crisis has birthed social change.   

What has heartened me at every step of the way during the past ten days as things have changed  so very quickly, is the willingness to unite and work together in order to make our remote learning work.  To make our students' upturned lives as regular as possible in these irregular times.  And to help each other discover, learn, and thrive as best we can in our new educational environment. 

I am proud to work with every single one of you, because I know that each of you will do your best for our students, just as they will work within their personal and technological limitations to meet the standards you ask of them.  We must all remain flexible, as we hold ourselves to what is possible even if not ideal.   

Times demand change, sometimes faster than we'd like and sometimes with uncertain boundaries.  But I have no doubt we will explore these possibilities together, we will do what is best for our students, and we will come out the other side not only knowing more, but also being the better for the experience. 

Thank you for being the best teachers, and best colleagues, I could hope to work with, 


March 21: Internet and Textbook Resources

Resources for Students and Faculty



  • 60 days free for low-income families
  • Call 844-488-8395 

Comcast – Internet Essentials Program

AT&T – Access Program

Learning Materials Online 

RedShelf – Free access to eBooks

VitalSource – Free access to eBooks

  • To get started, visit Before you begin searching for and reading course materials, you will need to log in to an existing Bookshelf account with your institution-provided email address or create a new account. 
  • Once you create an account with an institution-provided email address, log in and click on the “Explore” tab in the upper left corner of the screen.
March 21: Credit/No Credit Grading Policy FAQs

IF I CHOOSE THE CR OPTION, DOES THAT MEAN I DON'T HAVE TO FINISH THE COURSE?  No, it does not; you have to finish every course to earn credit.  Even when choosing the CR option, you’re expected to fulfill the requirements of the whole course to the best of your ability.  The CR option simply allows you to choose how you will earn credit for that course, with a grade or with CR/NC.  (Federal regulations basically stipulate that students must complete a full semester of coursework in order to remain eligible for aid.)

ISN’T TEN DAYS A SHORT TIME TO DECIDE ON CR/NC?  We believe that all students will have a good sense within ten days, by April 1, whether they’re going to need some grade flexibility or whether they’re going to be able to complete new course requirements as planned.  Students should begin talking to their advisors very soon.  Although Student Life is helpful in so many ways, it’s your faculty members who can give you the best advice, and who can help you devise the best answers for yourself. 

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE RELIABLE ACCESS TO THE INTERNET?  ALL faculty are going to work with you and the limitations that you’re facing.  I know that some are indicating that you must do this or that, but the truth is that we’re all facing a new way of learning and we ALL need to be flexible in our expectations.  This means I will continue to work with faculty as we move forward so that we acknowledge what you can’t do and work with what you can.  We know that you’re all capable of great things, even in hard times, and want to help you achieve the best you can.  Faculty do want to try to give you the education you deserve, but we will all work with what you’re capable of giving.  Just communicate frequently with your professors to keep them in the loop of those possibilities. 

HOW MIGHT THIS AFFECT MY GPA, MY DESIRE TO TRANSFER, OR OTHER TRANSCRIPT-RELATED SITUATIONS?  Frankly, we can’t say right now, because this is new territory for the College itself.  However, I can tell you that MANY other colleges and universities across the country are moving to this pass/fail options and so MANY other colleges and universities are going to be flexible in accepting such credits.  We’re all just sort of putting an asterisk by this semester and going “well, we all did the best we could for our particular students.”  In terms of GPA raising or lowering, work with your advisors to think it through.  Again, those people most familiar with your academic program and performance are your best resources when it comes to your academic present and future.

WHAT IF I RECEIVED A MIDTERM WARNING GRADE?  SHOULD I JUST DROP THE CLASS?  The best answer to that is to review your own capabilities at this time (can you participate in the class as the professor asks, are you capable of doing better with the work, etc.) and -- in my constant answer! – talk to your professor.  They will have a viewpoint that you need to hear.  Then you can make a smart, informed decision. 

WHAT IF I DECIDE I NEED TO DROP A CLASS?  We have removed the add/drop fee for the rest of the semester and will be as flexible as we can be with the drop date.  We still have to be able to process things administratively, but we will do what we can – just as you are. 

Thank you to you all for your good questions and your concerns.  We have just as many as you do -- promise -- and we’re working through them one at a time, just like you.  I hope this FAQ helps with some of your pressing ones, but we look forward to hearing about your questions – and your successes! – as the weeks go on.

March 20 Letter to Students from Dean Willhardt: Important Temporary Change to Grading Policy:  PLEASE READ

Dear Students –  

All of us here at the College know just how profoundly your lives are changing, and not just because we’re moving your educations online. We know that anxiety is high. We can only do so much to help that, but we want to be able to affect those things we can, to help you get through the coming weeks. 

Thus, for this semester only, the College is instituting a Credit/No Credit option for every student in every course. For this semester only, you have until Wednesday, April 1, to make the choice to take any of your courses, as many as you need, for CR/NC. If you do not make a choice, you will remain on the usual graded scale. You must talk to your advisor before making this choice and then inform both advisor and professor when you’ve made your decision. 

Again, your deadline to make this choice is April 1, 2020. If you choose to take this one-time option, when you earn a C- or above in your course, you will be assigned a grade of Credit. If your work is D+ or below, you will earn a No Credit. 

Now, there are some things to consider before immediately jumping on the CR/NC bandwagon, which is why it’s key to talk to your advisor. For instance: 

·     For those of you on probation and who need to improve your GPA, talk to your advisors, because it might be better for you to stay with normal grades;

·     For those of you considering graduate schools, talk to your advisors, because it might be better for you to stay with normal grades, since graduate schools tend to discount CR/NC courses; 

·     For those of you who received midterm warning grades and feel like you might earn less than a C- in a course (but more than an F), talk to your advisers, because staying with the graded options, even if you earn a D or D-, will still get you credit for the course. 

The lesson is talk to your advisor before making any decisions.   

We hope that your transition to remote learning is as smooth and successful as can be. We’re all working hard for that success and hope you keep us in the loop for ways we can help. 


Mark Willhardt
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dean of the Faculty

March 20 Letter to Staff and Faculty: Campus Footprint

Friends—First, let me say thanks for all that each of you is doing.  Some of us are quickly adapting courses and providing the support to teach our students remotely.  Others of us are keeping our facilities clean and safe.  Still others of us are caring for our students as they adjust to being away and missing a glorious spring on campus.  Others yet are continuing to work with prospective students and their families to demonstrate even more clearly why Monmouth should be their college home.  These are among the dozens of other activities that go into the operation of the College in these crazy, extraordinary, challenging times. 

All of this work is essential to the continued strength of Monmouth College, and as much as ever-changing circumstances allow, that work must continue.  We are enabling as many people as possible to perform that work from home.  A number of our offices have already made some such accommodations.  By reducing the on-campus “footprint,” we can continue our vital work and do our part for the well-being of our College community and the wider Monmouth community. 

Your supervisors will be talking with each of you individually, including who will be designated to work from home and who will be asked to be on campus more frequently.  Unless otherwise agreed upon with your supervisor, this policy will go into effect with the beginning of the work week on Sunday, March 22nd .  You will receive additional communications, mostly from Mike McNall, with more detail.  

Each one of us has an important role to play in steering the College through this trial by fire, and having it and us stronger on the other side.  Lobie and I are proud to be part of such a great team.

With appreciation,


March 19 Letter to Graduating Seniors: Commencement

Dear Seniors—Lobie and I, and all of us on campus, have had you in our minds and hearts these last few days.  Among the many inconveniences and injustices that COVID-19 has caused, stealing your senior-year spring is among the saddest.  We miss all of our students, but most especially miss celebrating this spring with you.

We know that you understand that we have been trying to anticipate and prepare for the many disruptions that the COVID-19 crisis has brought to us, and we greatly appreciate that understanding.  Among the many things on your minds, and on ours, is Commencement.  On Tuesday the Centers for Disease Control issued a directive against any gatherings of 50 or more for eight weeks.  That directive was later amended to gatherings of 10 or more.  We are committed to holding in person, on campus Commencement ceremony at some point this year—but given the directives currently in place and the fluidity of the situation, that ceremony will not take place on May 17.  We struggled mightily to find some way that Commencement could proceed as scheduled, but events and concern for everyone’s wellbeing makes that impossible. 

We have already begun to discuss possible alternatives, and ASMC leadership is soliciting ideas from your class.  We are also discussing creating a virtual commemoration to occur at noon on May 17, and we will certainly keep you informed at every step.  

We all know how tremendously disappointing this is for all of you and for your families.  Commencement Day is the highlight of the year for Lobie and me, as it is for all of the faculty and staff.  It is the prize that you seek, and it is our joy to be a part of your quest.  Nothing—nothing—can diminish your achievement, or our pride in you.  In the years to come, the disappointment will fade and the pride will only grow.  We will all move through this period together, as Proud, Noble, Fighting Scots!

With gratitude and affection from the faculty and staff, Lobie, and me,


March 16 Letters to Students from Dean Salazar: Move Out Details

Given the most recent announcement by Dean Laura Hutchinson, please be aware of the following important information:

1.       Students are required to leave by Sunday, March 22nd  at 5:00 p.m.

2.       As a student checks out

  • Remove all items from your rooms, including trash.
  • Please take any/all academic materials (e.g. laptops, books, notebooks, etc.).
  • Lock your door.
  • Place room keys under your door on your way out.

3.       If you have no way of removing all personal items from your room, you ARE allowed to leave items in your room (EXCEPT for Grier Hall residents).

  • Students are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to take all items with them, as the College will not allow students to return to get items after Sunday, March 22 (without approval).
  • The College will later announce the date(s)/time(s) when students will be able to return to collect all personal items, we will be sure to keep all items safe and secure until that time.

4.       Food/Meals

The Dining Hall in Stockdale Student Center will remain open with limited hours:


  • Breakfast:  8-9am
  • Lunch:  11:30am-1pm
  • Dinner:  5-6pm


  • Brunch:  9am-1pm
  • Dinner:  5-6pm
  • Meal Accommodations will be made for those unable to leave the College

5.       Dumpsters & Trash

  • Dumpsters should be arriving near all residence halls by Tuesday, March 17
  • Please take all trash out to the dumpsters (do not simply place in trash areas)

6.       If you feel you cannot return home due to extenuating circumstances, or you have concerns about retrieving academic materials from your living space, please inform the Office of Residence Life immediately by contacting:  (309) 457-2113 or

  • Meal Accommodations will be made for those unable to leave the College
  • Deadline to let the Office of Residence Life know is:  Thursday, March 19

Once again, we are so sorry for this disruption.  This is something no one could have anticipated.  But know that everyone at the College remains committed to you successfully completing your semester.

March 16 Letter to Students from Dean Hutchinson: Move Out Updates

As the guidance from the state and federal health officials changes, so does the situation here on campus.  At this point, after consultation with senior staff, students currently housed on campus will need to make arrangements to leave by Sunday, March 22 at 5 pm, rather than April 6.  If you are a student who is currently self-quarantined, you will receive separate instructions and should feel assured that we will continue to support you.

Questions you may have:

  • Check-out, storage, meals, concerns about the timing—an email from Residence Life will be sent out after mine with details about this.  Please read it thoroughly and direct questions to  For those of you who need storage, details are forthcoming.  We are looking into ways to assist you, but Campus Safety’s mission right now is primarily safety, and they are short staffed.  Mr. Grover will not be able to move individual students.
  • Students who have extenuating circumstances should send these in writing to Residence Life for approval by student affairs staff as soon as possible. This is the only authorized process for approval.
  • Students needing transportation to Galesburg for the train should contact the Stockdale Center at x2345 to make arrangements.  
  • Information regarding housing and/or meal refunds will be forthcoming.  Colleagues in Financial Planning are working on this and we will know more soon. 
  • You may currently receive mail and packages, however, beginning Friday, March 20, the College will begin forwarding all mail to your permanent address.  If you have concerns about this, let

Currently, there are no classes in session for in-state students, so there is plenty of time to pack, even if you are unsure about your departure time.  Again, Residence Life will provide details related to checking out (which will be expedited), storage, and extenuating circumstances.

This is never how we want your residential experience on campus to end for the year, but given some disruption to domestic travel and your need to focus on your academic work, the College felt this was the right decision.  You are a pleasure to serve and every August is made better when you return—especially this coming one!  There is a lot of uncertainty but we want you to know that we will be ready for you in the fall—you are part of a resilient history of Fighting Scots, and this won’t change. 

Please be in touch with Residence Life with any additional questions.

March 15: Letter to the Campus Community and Parents: Updated Campus Plan

First, I am deeply grateful to our students and their families, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and friends for their patience, flexibility, and good spirit in this situation.

This continues to be an extraordinary time for all of us. As responses to the spread of COVID-19 accelerate, our Senior Staff has been meeting around the clock to continue to discuss and assess our plans. We remain guided by our twin commitments: the quality education of our students and the well-being of our campus community.  As the situation evolves, so do our plans.

On Wednesday, we felt that the Flexible Plan described earlier was the appropriate response.  However, the progression of the disease is accelerating—there are now several cases in Illinois outside of the Chicago area, including at least one case in Peoria.  Also, federal and state policies are shifting rapidly, and will dictate actions on our part.

After consultation with Faculty Senate and Board leadership, Monmouth College will move exclusively to remote learning, effective Monday, March 23. Classes will remain canceled this week, March 16-20.  All campus events, meetings, and athletic practices are canceled effective immediately and until further notice.

Residence halls and dining services will remain open in the short term, so we can continue to serve the students who are on our campus now.  All students, excepting those in extremely extenuating circumstances with whom we will work directly, should make plans to collect their belongings between now and Sunday, April 5, at 5:00 p.m. There will be an additional email to students providing much more guidance, direction and details regarding move-out.  We are actively working through the financial aid guidance to either refund a prorated amount of room and board or provide a credit to returning students for the fall.  We will share that information with you once it is finalized.

While there are still no known cases of COVID-19 on campus, the situation is changing rapidly. Federal and state policies responding to the virus are also changing rapidly, and we are worried about the possibility of domestic travel restrictions, which may make it difficult for students on campus to get home. We believe remote learning to be the most effective decision at this point to protect the health and wellness of all community members while continuing to deliver a quality education.

This situation has created stress and anxiety for everyone, and we understand that this change will create a significant inconvenience for many, especially for those students already on their way back to campus.  We do not make this decision lightly, and we are committed to working with students and families individually. We also understand that some students have limited access to technology and internet at home; we will work with those students to help them finish the semester successfully.

A reminder that workshops for faculty and staff will begin tomorrow, March 16, to assist with the transition to remote academic instruction and remote work.  We will video record the workshops for those interested in participating virtually.

The College’s Senior Staff will continue to meet daily to assess the situation and how it affects remaining College events, such as Commencement exercises.  We will provide more detail regarding specific issues in subsequent communications, and we will continue to provide regular updates to all of you.

Even as the Civil War swept across the country, Founding President David Wallace was determined to keep the College open, declaring in the fall of 1862: “We must educate, whether there be peace or war.”  That moment defined the early history of the College, and set a standard for all who have followed.  This is the crisis that has come to our time.  Like our predecessors, I know that we will rally, support one another, act with seriousness but retain our good hearts and good humor.  Let us be the example that we set for our students, for other institutions, and for the state and nation.  Let those who look back on us in the years to come say, “They did their best, and they did well.”

March 14: Letter to Chorale Parents with DHS Updates

As recently as Thursday afternoon, statements by federal government officials indicated that self-quarantine for US nationals returning from Europe would be voluntary. However, even as our students were reaching the airport in Frankfurt, we learned that the Department of Homeland Security is now mandating a fourteen-day self-quarantine.  We, like you, are frustrated by the conflicting guidance and directives that continue to be issued. 

We have no choice but to follow this Homeland Security requirement.  We do this in our continuing efforts to serve the twin commitments to ensure our students’ quality education and safeguard the well-being of our campus community.  We know that this federal requirement will represent a significant inconvenience for many of you and frustration for all of you. 

In an effort to meet Homeland Security’s requirement, the very best way to ensure the health of your student and to make them as comfortable as possible is for them to fulfill this two-week period in the care of your home and under the guidance of your primary care provider.  You should make arrangements to have your student met at the bus or, if more convenient, at O’Hare Airport.  We realize that this is a great inconvenience but, again, it is necessitated by the new federal rules.  If you absolutely cannot meet your student today, please contact us. 

We understand that you are likely frustrated right now by the fact that plans have changed yet again. We would not be making this decision if we weren’t compelled to by forces beyond our control. We know you have questions about what this self-quarantine means for you and others in your household.  The best answer for your particular circumstances will come from your family care providers and your employers, or your local county health department.

We will follow up with each of you via telephone.  The important thing is that our students will be home today, and we are very grateful for that fundamental fact.  We will continue to work together for the best interest of all of our students. 

We hope these links are helpful to you in this process:

March 13 Letter to Campus Community: Travel Limitations

Monmouth College has been actively monitoring the rapidly evolving novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and providing regular updates to the College community as the situation changes.  The health and safety of our College community is our primary concern in this fluid situation, and we are making decisions as warranted following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), along with state and county health departments.  These decisions are being made to help mitigate and slow the spread of COVID-19 and to help protect the Monmouth College community. 

International Travel

College-sponsored or affiliated international travel is suspended until further notice.

Domestic Travel

College-sponsored or affiliated travel to Seattle, New York City, or Los Angeles is suspended until further notice.  As the situation evolves, this list of U.S. cities may be updated.

We realize that these measures will undoubtedly cause inconvenience and disruption.  We are grateful to all of you in advance for your patience, support, and dedication as we work together to energetically address the challenges associated with COVID-19. 

March 13: Letter to Staff with additional flexible work details

Today, March 13, 2020, a campus-wide announcement was made regarding a Flexible Plan that will be in place for the rest of this semester.  This is a follow-up communication to specify how the Flexible Plan will apply to staff.

To support individual health and wellness choices, staff who have capability to work on flex time or from home may choose to do so, with the approval of their supervisor and the understanding that there are some minimum staffing requirements at the College. 

Some staff duties do not lend themselves to working remotely.  In these cases, individuals who are in a high-risk category regarding COVID-19 infection (age 60+ or have chronic medical condition) will have the opportunity to use benefit time or time without pay to remove themselves from campus.  

This practice will be in place until the end of the semester, after which time it will be reevaluated. 

The most effective ways to avoid sickness are –

·         Cover – cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or sleeve

·         Clean – frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water

·         Contain – contain your germs by staying home if you are sick

·         Avoid – avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

Guidance will be available next week for supervisors to support decision-making and management. 

March 13: Letter to the Campus Community: Campus Plan

Letter sent March 13 to Monmouth College students, faculty, staff and parents from President Clarence Wyatt: 

Dear Monmouth College Community –

We are living in an extraordinary time. No college or university has as a one-size-fits-all universal playbook which will help us get through it.  Yet we remain true to our twin commitments:  the quality education of our students and the well-being of our campus community.

Monmouth College’s greatest gifts have always been its dedication and its creativity.  At this time, its greatest strength also needs to be its flexibility.

As circumstances change, we continue to receive information, evaluate other models, and assess what is right for our students and our community.  Thus, our plans continue to evolve.  And those plans now show us that flexibility is our greatest need and our greatest opportunity, even at this tough moment. Although our plan was to begin classes on Wednesday, we have reassessed.  What now serves our community best is the ability for faculty, staff, and students to make choices about how they work, whether that work is teaching, or learning, or carrying out the other roles the College needs. 

Thus, on Monday, March 23, classes will begin again under a Flexible Plan.  Classes will be cancelled Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 20.  The Flexible Plan will be in place for the rest of the semester, as we remain open as a place of study and work.

This Plan allows for individual choice about how to work:

  • After consulting with their families, students can make the choice to return to campus or stay at home to study online. Our residence halls and food services will be open beginning this weekend, as planned.  If you’re studying online, professors will contact you about how that will work for their particular courses.  If you choose to stay at home and continue your studies, please notify Student Life that you are not returning to campus.
  • Teachers can choose to move their classes fully online. Those who prefer to continue classroom instruction can choose that, while addressing the needs of students who will be studying online. 
  • Staff will also have options regarding flexibility in their work. A separate note from the Personnel Office will provide additional details.

From now until March 23, we will be running workshops of various sorts to help faculty move materials and classes online, including those workshops already scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of next week.  Students are welcome back to campus this weekend, as planned, but classes will not begin until the next Monday, the 23rd.  For further updates, please continue to check your email regularly and to look on the Monmouth College Covid-19 Update page ( 

There is no perfect answer to the crisis that has happened upon us.  We believe this response affirms our twin commitments to quality education and to campus community wellbeing – even as we acknowledge that a pandemic has a way of throwing a wrench into that mission.  Given the information that we have, and that we continue to gather and reassess, this is the plan which serves all the members of our community best for the present, and the immediate future.

March 12: Letter to Chorale Students and Parents

Letter sent March 12 to Monmouth College chorale students and parents from Dean Mark Willhardt: 

Dear Chorale Parents –

COVID-19 is causing anxiety for everyone — our students who are abroad, the families waiting for their return, and those of us entrusted to make decisions for the entire College community.

As information changes, so do our procedures and plans, and that’s exactly the way that new information should affect our practice.  Thank you for your continued patience.

Because of new information and our evolving considerations, the College has decided not to require that students returning from Austria, Spain, Finland, and the Czech Republic self-quarantine.  Instead, we ask that asymptomatic students self-monitor for fever, dry cough, and upper-respiratory distress for a period of two weeks following their return.  If they are on campus and become symptomatic, they must contact Student Life immediately. (If after business hours, contact Campus Safety, who will in turn get in touch with Student Life.) 

Students can still choose to self-isolate or self-quarantine, off-campus at home.  Should they choose to, we will fully facilitate their continued academic progress during that period.

Why this change?  Inconsistent information from the federal government and other sources made decision-making a challenge.  This afternoon, we triangulated our information for a fuller picture of the situation.

Travel plans for our students remain the same – the flight will arrive at 2 p.m. Saturday at O’Hare Airport.  However, there has been a change of location where the bus will arrive on campus.  If you choose to pick up your student, the bus will arrive at campus by around 7 p.m. at the circle drive north of the Huff Athletic Center.

Thank you again for your patience and cooperation during such a trying time.

March 11: Coronavirus Update
Through the U.S. State Department, Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization websites, College officials have been and are continuing to monitor conditions in locations where Monmouth has students studying abroad and where study-abroad programs are being planned.
The College’s facilities and food-service staffs are following their normal procedures while also remaining in close contact with the Warren County and Illinois Departments of Public Health.
Members of the Monmouth College community who plan to travel abroad during spring break are encouraged to monitor the situation in their destination by utilizing the U.S. Department of State website as well as the Centers for Disease Control website.
Everyone is encouraged to follow the Centers for Disease Control’s advice about what we all should do every day to minimize the spread of any disease — frequently wash hands with warm, soapy water; cover your mouth with a tissue or crook of your arm when you cough and sneeze; and stay home when you are sick.
The College will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed.

March 11: Letter to the Students

Letter sent March 11 to Monmouth College students from President Clarence Wyatt: 

Monmouth College has been carefully following the developments of the novel coronavirus and its expression, COVID-19. We understand you may have questions and concerns, and we want to reassure you of our commitment to the health and safety of our campus community. 

As of this email, Illinois has 25 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and none of them are in Warren or adjacent counties. But vigilance is key. 

Students will be welcomed back to campus as usual after Break, with residence halls and dining services opening this weekend as originally scheduled. However, as part of our ongoing efforts to address the many changes which the novel coronavirus has necessitated, we have decided to delay the start of classes until Wednesday, March 18.  All classes will be cancelled for Monday and Tuesday to give the campus time to continue preparations for our response to COVID-19. In-person classes will resume as scheduled on Wednesday. We are monitoring the situation hourly and will keep you and your families updated if things change.   

If you have recently been in areas with a high incidence of infection and are showing signs of fever, dry cough and/or shortness of breath, or you have been in close contact with someone who is known to have recently traveled to these areas and is experiencing these symptoms, we ask that you self-quarantine off campus at home for a period of two weeks and contact the Office of Student Life. If you have underlying health concerns, we encourage you to discuss any recommendations with your health care provider.  If you have additional questions or are being advised to delay your return, you are encouraged to reach out to the Office of Student Life directly, at 309-457-2114 or email Residence Life

March 2: Coronavirus Update

Letter sent March 2 to campus community from Vice President for Finance & Business Melony Sacopulos:

As news continues to develop about the coronavirus, I want to let you know that the College is closely monitoring the situation to determine how the virus might affect our: 

  • campus community;
  • College events and programs;
  • and study-abroad programs. 

Through the U.S. State Department, Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization websites, we have been and are continuing to monitor conditions in locations where we currently have students studying abroad and where study-abroad programs are being planned. 

Our facilities and food-service staffs are following their normal procedures while also remaining in close contact with the Warren County and Illinois Departments of Public Health.  

We encourage those of you who plan to travel abroad during spring break to monitor the situation in your destination by utilizing the U.S. Department of State website ( as well as the Centers for Disease Control website ( 

We encourage everyone to follow the Centers for Disease Control’s advice about what we all should do every day to minimize the spread of any disease — frequently wash hands with warm, soapy water; cover your mouth with a tissue or crook of your arm when you cough and sneeze; and stay home when you are sick. 

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed. 

February 28: Coronavirus Update
Letter sent February 28 to the campus community from Vice President for Finance & Business Melony Sacopulos:
Monmouth College is closely monitoring news about the COVID-19 virus to determine how the virus might affect the: 
  • campus community;
  • College events and programs;
  • and study-abroad programs. 
Through the U.S. State Department, Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization websites, College officials have been and are continuing to monitor conditions in locations where Monmouth has students studying abroad and where study-abroad programs are being planned.
The College’s facilities and food-service staffs are following their normal procedures while also remaining in close contact with the Warren County and Illinois Departments of Public Health. 
Members of the Monmouth College community who plan to travel abroad during spring break are encouraged to monitor the situation in their destination by utilizing the U.S. Department of State website as well as the Centers for Disease Control website. 
Everyone is encouraged to follow the Centers for Disease Control’s advice about what we all should do every day to minimize the spread of any disease — frequently wash hands with warm, soapy water; cover your mouth with a tissue or crook of your arm when you cough and sneeze; and stay home when you are sick. 
The College will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed.
January 31: Coronavirus Update

Letter sent January 31 to the campus community from Vice President for Finance & Business Melony Sacopulos:

Campus Advisory Regarding Coronavirus 

You all have heard of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, and that has spread to several sections of that country.  A small number of cases has also been confirmed in the United States.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are closely monitoring the situation and are providing continuing updates, which we are following.  We will provide additional information as the situation warrants. 

Please call your primary health care provider or your local health center if you:

·         Have traveled to Wuhan, Hubei Province, China OR

·         Have been in close contact within the last 14 days with a person who is under investigation for coronavirus while they were ill or has a laboratory-confirmed case. 


·         Have symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. 

At present, the risk of an occurrence of coronavirus in our community is low.  Information provided by the CDC, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and senior health care professionals at the Order of St. Francis in Peoria indicates that the largest health concern on campus remains common influenza.  In light of cold and flu season and this current outbreak, follow these best practices to help prevent the spread of illnesses: 

·         Stay away from people who are ill and stay away from others if you are ill.

·         Wash your hands often with soap and water.

·         Cover your cough or sneeze with tissue or in the crook of your arm.

·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

·         Use single-use tissue and dispose of immediately.

·         Do not share drinks, food, or utensils.

·         Get plenty of sleep and drink plenty of water.

·         Get an annual flu shot.

·         Clean and disinfect common-touch surfaces frequently.

·         Avoid large or crowded events if you feel ill. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide more information about coronavirus at

The Illinois Department of Public Health has information specific to coronavirus at  

Thank you for your cooperation.  Stay well.