Coronavirus Updates

recent updates

 

 June 2, 2020

To our Viking family,

 We are living in some of the darkest hours of our time—over 100,000 lives have been lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 40 Million Americans have lost their jobs, and there is social protest across the country because of the death George Floyd in Minneapolis. Like you, I am experiencing a multitude of emotions – anger, frustration, heartbreak – by the unjust events that recently occurred, and continue to occur, to African American men and women and other people of color in this country.

 I also am hopeful when I see individuals from all races protesting these social injustices, when I see citizens across the nation and around the world walking hand-in-hand advocating for change, and when I see those that are sworn to protect and serve kneeling in support.

 We are witnessing the enormity of our country’s pain, anger and demands for justice. People have issued the clarion call for change; however, we know sustained change takes commitment and perseverance.

 As an institution of higher education, it is our responsibility to educate and inform as well as to provide a platform for civil discourse and action. There is a continued need for strategies and actions to address racial and social injustices. No doubt, this is a crucible moment in our history.

 We have an opportunity for such dialogue tomorrow during the virtual meeting sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs—We Can’t Breathe. We will continue to offer opportunities for our faculty, staff and students to come together to give voice to these issues.

 Our resolve is together. As Vikings, we can conquer together – supporting and collaborating. I appreciate our campus community, now more than ever.

 ECSU prides itself in creating a supportive, nurturing environment for all our students. We remain committed to having an inclusive environment, while we honor and celebrate our diversity. It is with open hearts and open minds that we will be the difference.

 

My thoughts and prayers go out to each of you, our Viking family.

 

 

PREVIOUS UPDATEs

 

Greetings,

 This week, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 141 easing restrictions on travel, business operations, and mass gatherings as North Carolina moves into Phase 2 of the Governor’s reopening plan. The Executive Order also lifted the stay-at-home order, while encouraging individuals to continue to telework.

We are optimistic in our plans to return to campus for fall semester, and we will be releasing a new academic calendar for fall semester on Tuesday. Some of you are part of working groups and conversations addressing what adjustments are needed to keep our faculty, staff and students safe and healthy while providing a quality education and maintaining efficient operations.

These plans also include a strategy for our return to work. We do not have a definitive date for return to work or a final plan for what campus operations will look like; however, the plan will adhere to guidelines to promote social distancing and reduce transmission of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. We do anticipate things will look different in the fall with a hybrid approach of teleworking and in-office operations.

As soon as we have a timeline and plan for our return to campus, we will let you know. Thank you for your commitment and dedication to the success of our beloved ECSU.

Stay safe and be well throughout the holiday weekend!

 

 Greetings Campus Community.

 As we continue monitoring the federal and state guidelines concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, the ECSU administration is taking necessary precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of our campus community.

 In addition to the federal and state guidelines, the UNC System Office is providing guidance to ensure a coordinated and comprehensive System response to COVID-19. The university continues to maintain essential on-campus operations while a majority of employees work remotely.

 As restrictions are relaxed across the state and country, it increases the likelihood that one of our community members may contract COVID-19. If that happens, university officials will notify the local health department and follow their cleaning and other mitigation guidelines. The health department will conduct contact tracing to notify specific community members who may need to self-quarantine. This process will ensure we can continue to operate effectively as we maintain a safe work environment. 

 I encourage the Viking Family—faculty, staff and students—to not let your guards down as you might be tempted to get out of the house for leisure activity. Continue to stay at home as much as possible, maintain healthy hygiene practices, and observe social distancing.

 Let’s do our part to continue to slow the spread of the virus by following the recommended guidelines. 

 

Greetings, Vikings. During this unprecedented time, many individuals have been impacted by the coronavirus, including our students and their families. Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) received $1.06 million in funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for distribution to qualifying students to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 The assistance will be available to undergraduate and graduate degree-seeking students who are eligible to be considered for financial aid. According to the federal guidelines, funding will not be available to distance education students, non-degree seeking students, or international students.

 The funds will be distributed to students identified as having the highest need based on their most recent Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To receive funds, students must have been enrolled in spring 2020; be eligible to receive federal financial aid; and have filed a 2019-2020 FAFSA.

 Grant amounts will vary by student and will be unique to each student’s circumstances. We are currently processing the grants. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will email eligible students this week with the grant amount they will receive. While the process will take some time, we will begin delivering the grants to students by May 15, 2020.  

 Grant funds will be distributed by direct deposit to your bank account or by paper check mailed to your home address. Please be sure that your direct deposit information and home address are up to date via Self Service Banner (SSB) to avoid any delay in receiving your emergency funds.

 We hope these grants will provide some financial relief for our students and their families. If for any reason students are still encountering financial difficulties, I encourage them to apply for additional assistance through the Student Assistance Fund. For more information on the fund, contact deanofstudents@ecsu.edu

 If students have any questions, they can email vikingsuccess@ecsu.edu

 

 

Greetings, Vikings. We have finalized the time frame and procedures for moving out of the residence halls and returning books and mailbox keys.

Residence Hall Move Out

To best ensure the safety of our students and the staff who will be onsite to provide direction and guidance, the Department of Housing and Residence Life will initiate an extended move-out process beginning on Monday, May 11, 2020.  This process will provide 1.5 hour move-out time frames beginning at 7:00 a.m. and ending each day at 5:30 p.m.  Each time frame only provides 10 move-out slots per building. The parameters we are implementing are designed to meet social distancing guidelines.

The dates for Residence Hall Move Out are Monday, May 11, 2020, through Friday, May 22, 2020. Residential students received an email that provided them with the links to schedule their move out.

 If you are unable to return during the designated times, you must make arrangements to have your items removed from the residence hall. The email you received from the Department of Housing and Residence Life included a list of local service providers that can assist in the move and/or storage of your items.  Unfortunately, Housing and Residence Life cannot store or take responsibility for the packing and/or moving of your personal items. If you choose to enlist these professional services, you must notify Housing and Residence Life in writing of the name of the service provider, your scheduled move out time frame, and your approval to grant the movers access to your currently assigned space.  

Finally, we are requesting that you follow the guidelines listed below to ensure a seamless, congestion-free, and safe environment for your move from campus for this semester:  

  1. Only one (1) person will be allowed into the residence hall to accompany and/or assist you with your move out.
  2. Each person who enters the building must bring and wear their own personal protective equipment (both gloves and masks).
  3. Upon entry into the building, a staff person will provide you an envelope to return your key(s). Write your name and room number on the envelope; place your key(s) inside the envelope; and, place your envelope in the receptacle on the front desk before you exit the building.
  4. You will be responsible for providing your own moving equipment. There will be no laundry carts and/or handcarts available during this process.
  5. Please be on time for your scheduled appointment or you will have to reschedule your move out.
  6. Please adhere to the 1.5-hour time frame for your move.

For any questions about this process, please contact ECSUHousing@ecsu.edu.  

Book Rental Return

You can return your books to the ECSU Campus Store when you move out of the residence halls. The store will be open Monday through Saturday, May 11-22, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you are not returning to campus during that time frame, you can ship your textbooks back to the store. To ship your books, sign in to your account and print a free FedEx return shipping label. On the Rentals page, click “Return all Rentals by Mail” to begin. 

Mailbox Key Return

There are also two ways you can return your mailbox keys. First, you can return your mailbox keys at the ECSU Post Office. The Post Office is open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. There will be a drop box at the Post Office counter where you can place your key in an envelope, include your name and student ID number, and place it in the mail slot at the counter.

The second way to return your keys is by mailing them to the ECSU Post Office. Keys should be placed in a padded envelope to ensure they do not fall out of envelope. Please do not mail keys in a plain letter-size envelope. Mail the keys to:

ECSU Post Office
Campus Box 999
1704 Weeksville Road

Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Available Assistance

If for any reason you are encountering financial difficulties in this process or since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I encourage you to apply for assistance through the Student Assistance Fund. For more information on the fund, contact deanofstudents@ecsu.edu.  

 

 

 

Greetings, Vikings. It is bittersweet as we come to the end of Spring term without your presence on campus. While our faculty, staff and students are healthy and safe, we continue to miss the energy you bring to campus. It’s unimaginable, yet real, how we will miss celebrating our graduates in the traditional pageantry; and we miss bidding our continuing students farewell for the summer hiatus.

Last week, Governor Cooper extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 8. He also identified a phased plan that will slowly reopen our state once specific benchmarks have been achieved. While the majority of our team will continue teleworking beyond May 8, we are hopeful these plans will bring us back to normal operations in the Fall.

This is an unprecedented time for higher education, and in this day of uncertainty, our goal is to exercise caution while remaining optimistic. ECSU is planning for several possible scenarios that include social distancing and protecting individuals most at risk. We will work with the UNC System Office throughout the summer to determine the best strategy for Fall semester.

We remain committed to provide a quality education to our students and an effective and efficient work environment for our employees. We have to make appropriate adjustments to ensure we achieve these goals. Rest assured, we will take necessary precautions to continue to protect the safety and well-being of the Viking community. 

We are navigating uncharted waters. You have been agile adapting to the changes with efficiency and effectiveness. You have been resilient doing whatever is necessary to stay the course. You have been strong, staying positive and making the most of this time that we are in today. We are Vikings!

I promise to keep you informed as we receive additional guidance. Be safe and well.

 

Greetings, Vikings. It was one month ago today that we released students for spring break and our faculty and staff to telework. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly impacted every facet of life—personal, business and social. And, we will have to adapt to a presently undefined new normal.

I want to thank our campus community for your agility and resilience. When the UNC System issued guidance for restrictions to travel and large gatherings, alternative course delivery, and teleworking, you made the necessary adjustments and did so with speed and efficiency.

This has been a challenging month, and I am proud of our campus community for rising to the occasion. Our faculty and students are adjusting to online instruction. Our staff are ensuring daily operations are maintained as they work from their homes, or those designated essential employees work onsite. We also are adjusting policies, schedules, and business functions to adhere to the guidance and proactively address the challenges.

We miss the energy that comes with our students, faculty and staff being on campus. We are saddened about the cancellation or postponement of events that would have occurred during these last three months of Spring term – athletic events, Viking Fest, and Commencement.

 For our graduating seniors, we are happy to announce the tentative date for your commencement ceremony is Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020. I say tentative because the date hinges on federal and state guidance dictating when college/university campuses can resume normal business operations with faculty, staff and students on campus for Fall term. We will keep you updated as we receive additional information. As a reminder, we will confer degrees at the end of Spring term, so you will receive your diplomas in the mail. The Division of Academic Affairs will provide further details.

 For students who were not able to remove all of their items from the residence halls before spring break, we are working on a schedule and process for you to return to campus to retrieve your personal belongings. The Office of Residence Life will update you as soon as they finalize the schedule.

 In addition to Spring term events being canceled, we also cannot host any summer camps scheduled for May and June. Camp directors are assessing whether camps can be hosted virtually, and if so, are making those arrangements. If you have any questions about the status of a summer camp, reach out to that camp’s director.

 As we plan for Fall term, we recently amended an admissions policy to align to the amended UNC System policy that changed the minimum admission requirements for the next three years. The requirement change allows for the admission of students with a minimum 2.5 weighted high school GPA, or a combined SAT score of 1010 or an ACT score of 19. This change will make college accessible for a greater number of students in our service region and beyond.

 Tomorrow, we are hosting a virtual open house beginning at 10 a.m. If you know of a high school senior you would like to introduce to ECSU, encourage them to register to participate and learn about all the great things we have to offer.

 

Greetings, Vikings. On Monday, March 30, we announced that students will receive prorated refunds for dining and housing that have been unused as a result of the university system’s rapid response to COVID-19.

 ECSU is working with the UNC System to provide these refunds as soon as possible. We are pleased to inform you that refund payment processes will begin this week and are expected to take no longer than 3-4 weeks, so all reimbursements are disbursed no later than the end of April.

 Per UNC System guidelines, housing and dining refunds will be based on calculations that begin on March 29. Housing and/or dining adjustments will first cover any outstanding charges a student may have on their account. Students that have no charges on their account will receive the full adjustment. Payment will be made via direct deposit or a mailed check, depending on how a student’s account is configured.

 We appreciate your patience as we work through this process. We are committed to issuing all refunds as expeditiously as possible.

Greetings, Vikings. As we continue to adjust our academic approach to support the public health mandates for social distancing and the challenges created by the COVID-19 situation, the UNC System Office has determined that all campuses will provide alternative course delivery for the Summer 2020 term. This means ECSU will continue our online course delivery through the remainder of this semester and for all summer sessions.

 Our agile faculty are already working to prepare courses for online instruction. Registration for Summer/Fall 2020 will be from April 6-30. First session of summer term will be May 19 – June 19 with final exams June 22 and 23; the extended session will be May 19 – July 13 with final exams July 14 and 15; and the second session of summer will be June 23 – July 24 with final exams July 27 and 28. Contact Dr. Chyna Crawford, director of Summer School, at cncrawford@ecsu.edu for additional information.

 While these circumstances are extraordinary, our faculty and staff remain committed to delivering a rigorous, meaningful academic experience for our Summer 2020 students.

 

Greetings, Vikings. Today marked an unprecedented day for Elizabeth City State University and universities across the country where our campuses are nearly vacant, and our students are learning through online instruction in the safety of their homes. While the health and well-being of our campus community is our top priority, we recognize the financial implications of these changes and the difficulties that have been created as students have moved out of residence halls, lost access to dining, and dealt with a wide range of individually unique challenges.

 In response to these challenges, the UNC System Office and all 17 UNC System institutions are announcing that students will receive prorated refunds for dining and housing that have been unused as a result of the university system’s rapid response to COVID-19.

 The chief financial officers at each institution are working together with the UNC System Office to ensure uniformity of processes and calculations for determining refund amounts. We will send additional information on the prorated dates and the process for issuing these refunds to students, parents, faculty and staff as soon as we have further guidance from the UNC System.

 Thank you for your continued patience as we navigate and respond to the sudden changes resulting from the impact of COVID-19. I am thankful for our Viking family and your continued commitment to this institution.

 Greetings, Vikings. I know it has been an adjustment working from home, shifting from in-person meetings and touch points to virtual meetings and conference calls. I appreciate your great effort in maintaining the operations of our university--ECSU. To our essential employees who are reporting to campus, thank you for your dedicated service.

 This afternoon Governor Roy Cooper issued a stay-at-home order for the next 30 days beginning Monday, March 30.

 These orders should not and have not resulted in any significant changes for university operations, given the educational functions authorized in these orders and our reduced operations already at ECSU and across the UNC System.

 While ECSU remains open, we will continue to do so with minimal on-campus operations. Essential operations of the university must continue, and some employees who have been designated as COVID-mandatory should still report to work as instructed by their supervisor. Employees who are not on-campus essential and not COVID-mandatory should remain at home and follow instructions for completing telework assignments.  

 For those mandatory employees working on campus, make sure you carry your ECSU employee identification card at all times. If you are stopped by local law enforcement authorities, simply indicate you are designated as an essential employee at ECSU reporting to or returning from work. 

 Students who have been granted an exception will return to campus on Sunday, March 29 and will reside in a designated residence hall. They should follow all state orders and treat their residence hall as their home. 

 While the executive order lasts through April 28, 2020, we will continue to seek guidance from the UNC System on when normal operations can resume. For further information about how it impacts your life outside of work, check out the frequently asked questions.

 We hear the phrase, this is the new normal. While it is not ideal, we are fortunate to have the technology and resources necessary to maintain operations and continue to support our students.

 Be sure to adhere to the stay-at-home order, practice social distancing, and protect yourself. Be safe. Be well. Be the difference.

 

 
Greetings Vikings,
 
I want to provide you with a few updates related to our response to the coronavirus.

 For clarification, the university is not closing. We are continuing normal business operations. There are a few adjustments we are making to ensure the safety of our campus community.

  • We are extending spring break, which will start at the close of business on Tuesday, March 17;
  • Beginning Monday, March 16, all scheduled student events are canceled until March 31, 2020;
  • When students return to campus from spring break, remote instruction will begin Monday, March 30.

I want to invite you to a Coronavirus Response Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, March 17 at 3:30 p.m. The administration will provide an update on our response to the virus as well as answer your questions. You can submit questions prior to the virtual meeting at stopcorona@ecsu.edu. Please put Town Hall Meeting in the subject line. You also can submit questions to this email address during the meeting, and we will address as many questions as possible. You can watch the Town Hall Meeting at https://youtu.be/fQ8Vnt_vggQ.

 We will continue to update the campus community as we monitor the impact of COVID-19. 

Please continue to check this website for updates on our response to the coronavirus. Below are a list of events that are being canceled in response to the guidance received from the UNC System:

 

Greetings Vikings. The University of North Carolina System has released guidance to the 17 campuses regarding a systemwide approach to addressing the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak.

Here is the guidance released from the UNC System:

All UNC System institutions will remain open and continue to deliver high-quality instruction for our students. At the same time, we are working to maximize flexibility in how we deliver education in order to limit the potential impact of the coronavirus at our institutions.

  • All UNC System institutions will transition from in-person instruction to a system of alternative course delivery, where possible and practical, no later than March 20. Alternative course delivery will begin on March 23 and last indefinitely. Our goal is to return to in-person instruction as soon as reasonably possible.
  • University leadership will determine which classes, such as those with labs, will continue to require in-person instruction and attendance.
  • Outside events and gatherings of 100 or more people will be cancelled or postponed unless otherwise authorized by a chancellor or provost. 
  • University-sponsored in-state travel to gatherings of 100 or more people is suspended, and all travel outside the state is suspended, unless otherwise authorized by a chancellor or provost.

Spring Break

Spring Break will be expanded. Spring Break will begin at the close of business on Tuesday, March 17. Remote instruction for the majority of courses will begin Monday, March 30 and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. 

Residence halls will close as originally scheduled at 12 p.m. Saturday, March 21. They will reopen at 8 a.m. Sunday, March 29.

We encourage students to take caution when traveling for Spring Break, especially if they are visiting areas that are in states of emergency due to the impact of the coronavirus. Continue to take preventive measures to protect yourself.

University Events

The continuation of university events scheduled in March will be determined on a case-by-case basis. If an event is canceled, it will be communicated to the campus community prior to the event.

The health and wellness of our campus community is of utmost importance, and we will continue providing a quality education while focusing on the safety of our students, faculty and staff.

We will update the campus community as we monitor the impact of COVID-19. If you have questions related to the coronavirus, you can email stopcorona@ecsu.edu

Greetings, Vikings. You may have seen that Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in North Carolina today in response to coronavirus (COVID-19). This type of declaration is typically issued before an emergency occurs to free state resources, alter state regulations and change authorities within state government to allow for a quicker response. It does not mean there is imminent danger to the university community.

Elizabeth City State University is in close contact with local, state and System officials. We will share more information as soon as it becomes available.

 

As confirmed cases of COVID-19 increase in the United States, our number one priority is the health and well-being of our campus community. With that in mind, I am sharing travel restrictions and guidance for faculty, staff and students.

At ECSU, we are committed to giving our faculty and students opportunities to enhance their teaching and learning, and we understand these restrictions will impede those opportunities. We also realize these restrictions may impact your ability to conduct university business.

Taking that into consideration, this was not an easy decision for our leadership team; however, the restrictions will help protect and mitigate the impact to our campus community.

Travel Restrictions/Domestic

The university is restricting university-affiliated travel within the United States to locations where a state of emergency has been declared related to COVID-19 and coronavirus. Currently, these states include California, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Utah and Washington. In addition, we strongly discourage personal travel to these areas.

Given the rapidly changing nature of the virus, if you choose to travel to these affected areas you may be asked to do a 14-day self-quarantine off campus upon return.

Travel Restrictions/International

All university-affiliated travel to Level 3 countries as defined by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to COVID-19 is prohibited. This currently includes China, South Korea, Iran and Italy.

In addition, the university is also restricting travel to Level 2 countries as defined by the CDC, which currently includes Japan.

Per recently revised CDC guidelines, any faculty, staff or students returning from Level 3 and 2 countries will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days off campus effective immediately. These advisories are subject to change so please be mindful of all upcoming domestic and international travel.

Returning to Campus

Any faculty, staff or students who have arrived or will be returning from Level 3 and 2 countries should immediately contact Student Health Services or their local health care provider and follow their instructions for evaluation. Students should reach out to the Office of Academic Affairs for assistance with coursework and for other matters contact the Dean of Students.

Employees in a 14-day self-quarantine protocol should work with their supervisor to determine remote working options, and supervisors are encouraged to be flexible with remote working arrangements and use of sick leave.


A North Carolina person has tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The test, conducted by North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health, is presumptively positive and will be confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lab. The person is doing well and is in isolation at home. The North Carolina person from Wake County traveled to the State of Washington and was exposed at a long-term care facility where there is currently a COVID-19 outbreak. Local health department officials are identifying close contacts to monitor symptoms and contain spread. While awaiting confirmation of results from the CDC, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will treat presumptive cases as positive and follow CDC guidelines to protect public health and limit the spread of infection.


Today’s announcement represents an isolated case, and COVID-19 is currently not widespread in North Carolina. Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, North Carolinians should take the same measures that healthcare providers recommend annually to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, including washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes.

Frequently Asked Questions about the coronavirus can be found here.

Spring Break Travel
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues travel health notices to inform citizens of the various health risks associated with those countries. Prior to traveling, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to check the list for areas impacted with coronavirus and other health issues. CDC Travel Notices
 
 
Protecting Yourself
It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals, if prescribed. According to the CDC, here is how you can help protect yourself.
 
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

  • 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.
  • 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.

CANCELED EVENTS

Per instruction from the UNC system, all institutions are restricted from hosting gatherings of 100 or more people. Consideration to cancel or postpone is based on the anticipated number of participants and the size of the proposed venue, taking into account the transmissibility of the virus in more confined spaces. Here are a list of canceled events at ECSU:
 

All Scheduled Student Events (until March 31, 2020)

All ECSU Athletics events (including all competitions and practices)

Alan Woo Piano Recital (March 17, 2020)

Music and Visual Arts Faculty Showcase (March 31, 2020)

Annual Jazz Festival  (April 7, 2020) 

Open House  (April 18, 2020) 

Viking Fest (April 14-19, 2020)

 

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