Letter to Students and Parents – March 18

Dear students and parents,

Thank you for your patience as we work to understand the impact these ever-changing times have on our campus. At this time we are ready to communicate updates to our plan for the rest of the semester, knowing that the landscape is changing hourly. Please know that the information contained in this communique is subject to change as circumstances change.

Today, the Administrative Council, in consultation with other leaders on campus, made the difficult decision to move our classes online for the remainder of the semester. Two key factors drove this decision. First, in moving to this policy our international students now have the option to return home and finish their semester with their families without a negative impact on their ability to receive full credit for their courses this semester. This shift in policy will also allow them to maintain their current student visa status and return to the U.S. for their fall semester. The second factor behind this decision is so we as a campus have some sense of stability in direction on our campus through this time of much uncertainty.

Even though we are implementing this academic policy, we will continue to make housing available for international students who are choosing not to return to their home countries – the decision we are encouraging. We will also assist with summer housing for them and summer campus employment as possible. Some domestic students may also remain in our residency who otherwise would not be able to complete the semester successfully. Student Life is currently working on procedures to implement this new policy. Our hope is to have these new procedures in place by this Friday. Please wait for further communication from Vice President of Student Life Deb Roth before returning to campus to retrieve your belongings.

I realize the realities of the present have the power to produce a sense of uncertainty and confusion regarding what may happen moving forward. I want to assure you that Hesston College is working with your best interests in mind, and we are committed to maintaining robust student support for all students.

This link answers some FAQs (Academics; Housing, meals, employment, campus life) on our COVID-19 web page. Please read through this carefully as it may answer many of your questions. I ask that you also recognize that some questions are still being answered and we will communicate on those as soon as we are able.

As we live into these times, I want to remind us that our goal at Hesston College during this interim time is to:

  1. reduce transmission among faculty, staff and students;
  2. protect people who are at a higher risk for adverse health complications;
  3. maintain student support, and
  4. minimize adverse effects on other entities with which we have contact.

I know this is not what any of us had hoped or planned for, and we have all been inconvenienced because of the current reality. Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we navigate this path. May you find strength and encouragement knowing you are not walking alone.


Joseph A. Manickam