April 27, 2020-COVID Update to SHS Community

Dear SHS Faculty, Staff, and Students,

Emory & Henry College remains committed to ensuring the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty. The E&H COVID-19 Task Force continues to monitor the evolving pandemic to ensure the College’s COVID response aligns with the latest recommendations and guidelines reported by the CDC, Virginia Department of Health, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

We are sending this email today to provide an update on the School of Health Sciences’ plans for the upcoming summer semester. We ask that you please read this email in its entirety to ensure you remain up-to-date on the College’s COVID-19 response.

Update on Summer 2020 Semester
Governor Northam’s Executive Order 55, which was issued on March 30, 2020, extended Virginia’s temporary stay-at-home order through June 10, 2020. This ruling specifically requires colleges and universities to “cease all in-person classes and instruction, and cancel all gatherings of more than ten individuals.” Based on this timeline, the E&H SHS summer term scheduled to start Monday, May 18th will begin on time with online/remote classes. Based on the COVID-19 prediction model and the current end date of June 10th for Virginia’s temporary stay-at-home order, we are hopeful that the School of Health Sciences will be allowed to return to limited, on-campus instruction starting on Monday, June 29th. With this in mind, we ask that SHS students return to Marion by Sunday, June 14th to allow for 14 days of isolation/quarantine prior to any face-to-face classes on the SHS Campus. Students currently on their full-time clinical/fieldwork rotations will receive detailed instructions from their Program Director and DCE/AFC related to their return to their rotation. 

The SHS return to campus plan is contingent upon Virginia not experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19 during May or early June and on Governor Northam lifting the Virginia stay-at-home order on or before June 10th. We anticipate that our return to campus will include strict adherence to: (1) daily COVID-19 symptom screening, including temperature assessment; (2) use of cloth face masks; (3) social distancing requirements; and (4) limitations on the size of groups allowed to gather (most likely 10 or less). Our priorities, as always, will be to ensure your continued health and safety, while also providing the quality, face-to-face learning experiences that are synonymous with an Emory & Henry School of Health Sciences degree program. 

The E&H COVID-19 Task Force and the SHS Leadership Council will continue to monitor the pandemic between now and June 10th. Should we be forced to alter our back to campus plan, we will notify you promptly as these decisions are made.

CARES Act Emergency Grants for Students
The U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that funds will be distributed to colleges and universities to provide direct emergency cash grants to college students whose lives and educations have been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. The funding is available through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Students will be able to apply for these funds through Emory & Henry College. Please stay tuned for additional application requirements, guidance and direction regarding these emergency cash payments. 

Prevention of Community Spread of COVID-19
Social distancing efforts are making a difference in “flattening the curve” and reducing the level of community spread of COVID-19. We ask that you do your part by:

  • Staying home and ALWAYS practicing social distancing. If you have to go out, stay 6 feet away from others.

  • Avoiding public spaces, public activities, and group gatherings (including parties with your classmates or neighbors). 

  • Putting distance between yourself and others if you are sick. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, contact your physician. Call ahead before seeking medical care.   



The SHS Leadership Team
Dr. Lou Fincher, Vice President of Health Sciences
Dr. J.P. Barfield, Associate Dean of Health Sciences
Dr. Jean Irion, Chair, Department of Physical Therapy
Dr. John Jackson, Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy
Dr. Christy McGhee, Chair, Department of Physician Assistant Studies