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Monitoring and Responding to the Coronavirus Health Concern

Updated July 7, 2020

Dear students and families, 

As I shared in my last message at the end of June, Gordon College is committed to re-opening campus this fall—closely following the latest medical and state guidelines to ensure we can be together while staying safe. I want to update you on our latest plans, with additional information to follow again on July 21. If we’ve learned anything from a season of remote living and learning—particularly one in which the challenges have been compounded by an unprecedented global crisis—it’s that we need one another. Community matters. Gordon is committed to re-opening this fall because we believe in the importance of learning, growing, processing and engaging with one another in community. And we will do so with great caution and care for the well-being of the individuals in both our campus and local communities.

We have expanded our COVID-19 web resource into a more complete guide on re-opening—what we call “Scots Strong”—and you can find it here. This will continue to be updated over the coming weeks as new information becomes available. Additionally, I will be hosting a webinar for students and parents this week to answer any questions you may have. This session will be 8–9 p.m. on Thursday, July 9, and you can join using this link.

Our Scots Strong website will provide as many details as are currently available (and what information will be forthcoming on July 21), but here are the most important aspects to understand: 

  • The fall semester will begin on August 20 and conclude on December 4, with the final week being remote instruction following Thanksgiving break.
  • Courses will be offered in two formats this fall: In-person (with digital live capabilities) and online. We will work hard to accommodate specific requests and preferences from students. You can read more about these details here
  • All new and returning students will need to be able to provide a negative test for COVID-19 before moving into their residence halls. Because Gordon is requiring a negative test result prior to move-in, a 14-day quarantine for any students traveling from out of the state or country will not be required.
  • Dining Services and Physical Plant are both making adjustments to ensure safety and health in dining options and in using common spaces around campus.
  • Self-monitoring, mask usage, increased personal hygiene, applying social distancing principles—which remain protocols in Massachusetts—will all be required.
  • Christian Life and Worship credit will be a mix of in-person (with limited capacity) and online events.

Because of the complexity of planning for a safe and healthy fall, some protocols and procedures—such as additional plans for testing during the semester, protocols for self-isolation or quarantine during the semester if needed, how campus events will be managed differently—are still being worked out and will be covered in my next communication on July 21. For easier reference, these topics are flagged as pending on the Scots Strong website. Additionally, if you are able to hold off until after July 21 in finalizing your travel plans to campus, that may allow for the added flexibility in adjusting to the protocols that are in place by mid-August. While the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been making steady and encouraging progress in managing this health challenge—we are currently in the third phase of a four-part re-opening—the governor has committed to a flexible response in protocols depending on circumstances, which could change.

We are excited and greatly encouraged by the opportunity to provide a dynamic and responsive campus experience this fall. Our faculty and staff will continue to work diligently to anticipate needs and plan for contingencies to ensure a vibrant and safe Gordon experience for the entire community. We remain confident in God’s providence and in the faithful spirit and irrepressible hope we share as followers of Christ, which will guide us forward together. 

With blessings and appreciation,

D. Michael Lindsay
President


Dear students and families,

I trust that you are finding new ways to enjoy the summer months as we continue to adapt and adjust to new routines during the COVID-19 pandemic. While this remains uncharted territory for every individual and institution around the globe, we can take heart and draw confidence in the blessed assurance of God's providence for Gordon as—in the words of the psalmist—we trust the Word of the Lord to be the lamp to our feet and the light to our path.

As I communicated earlier last month, Gordon will be ready to reengage personally on campus in August, and we are eager to welcome you back. Over the past six weeks, we have been working through plans and new protocols on campus to ensure the health and wellbeing of our entire community. This complex planning process has involved a cross-section of highly engaged and committed faculty and staff from all areas of campus. We have also applied the guidelines and mandates provided by the state of Massachusetts while keeping both safety and the vitality of the student experience at the forefront. And we have consulted with peer institutions and medical experts within Gordon's extended network to draw upon shared data and best practices.

Today I want to share the contours of changes to the fall semester so that you can begin to plan accordingly. More complete details for Gordon's fall semester reopening will be shared on Tuesday, July 7, along with an expanded web resource that will be updated throughout the rest of the summer. I will also be hosting webinars for students and parents on July 9 (stay tuned for details on that opportunity).

As we work to protect the health and safety of our students and campus community, an important piece of the plan for the fall will involve streamlining our time together on campus to better manage our interpersonal engagement in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

Toward that end, we are adjusting the fall 2020 academic schedule—with classes starting six days earlier than originally planned, and all on-campus instruction concluding by Thanksgiving break, to be followed by one week of remote instruction (with no set period for final exams) and a close to the semester on Friday, December 4.

Specifically, this will mean that classes on campus will begin on Thursday, August 20. As such the timeline for returning to campus will look like this:

  • Thursday, August 13. Fall sport varsity athletes arrive on campus. (If you are a member of a fall sports team, you should expect more detailed information from your team coach by July 14 as the department and the Commonwealth Coast Conference continue to finalize their plan for the fall season.)
  • Saturday, August 15. New students will begin moving into residence halls on Saturday and Sunday. Orientation activities begin on Monday, August 17.
  • Monday, August 17. Returning students should expect to start their move-in process, which will run through Wednesday, August 19. These will be staggered arrivals through Wednesday evening to allow us to control the process and the number of people in residence halls during move-in. More complete details and instructions will be provided next month by Jeff Carpenter, director of residence life.

Our expectation is that all residential students should be on campus by Wednesday evening, August 19. We understand there may be specific extreme circumstances (such as health concerns) that may prevent some students from attending class in person and we will provide more guidance on this process in our July 7 update.

Adjusting these “bookends”—earlier start and finish times— will entail some additional changes to the usual fall calendar, and we will share these on July 7 with the more expansive plan for how classes and campus life will function at Gordon within this new “normal.”

The benefit is that these adjustments will allow us to complete a full semester while limiting the major transitions that come with students leaving campus for extended periods (quad break and Thanksgiving holiday), and then returning to campus—which most experts feel heightens the risks currently associated with COVID-19 transmission. We believe we can better mitigate this risk with the majority of our students “relocating to home” at Thanksgiving to finish the semester and then beginning the traditional winter break a little earlier. (As we did this past spring, Student Life leaders will work individually with those students who need to remain on campus until December 4, or over the winter break.)

Again, more complete details will be shared on July 7—including how campus life will be conducted in residence halls, common spaces and dining facilities, as well as modifications in classroom instruction from personal space guidelines to a “hybrid” system allowing for virtual connections as needed.

While our “means” may have changed in the face of COVID-19, our “ends” remain the same—ensuring each student’s Gordon experience is an investment that will yield lifelong benefits personally, spiritually and professionally. Over the course of these challenging past months, I have shared regularly about the values I believe distinguish Gordon and bind us together—courage that stands its ground, hospitality that leans in, hope that persists and grows, generosity that costs us something and innovation that transforms us.

Quality, value and values. Gordon’s unique strengths—as a Christ-centered community where students are mentored through personal relationships in intensive intellectual, spiritual and professional formation—will carry us forward whether together in person or connected online. We are thrilled to plan for your return and pray that God blesses you during the remaining summer months. With blessings and joyful anticipation,

D. Michael Lindsay
President

The official move-out process began on May 19, 2020, and will continue through the first week of June. During this time, students and families are permitted to enter campus to pack up their belongings and check out of their residence halls according to the process below. To accommodate social distancing protocols, we are limiting the number of students on each floor at any given time by using a staggered sign-up schedule. Please practice appropriate health precautions, including indoor mask-wearing, while on campus.

Dear Gordon students and parents,

I pray that you are safe and well as we continue to adapt to the daily vicissitudes, uncertainty and anxiety wrought by this extraordinary pandemic. While we hold firm to the Lord’s promises to sustain and protect his people, we know how personally challenging this experience is for each one of you. Our family has meditated a great deal on Philippians 4 during this season. I pray that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

As we have prayerfully and carefully considered the most prudent next steps down a very unfamiliar path, two questions have guided the analysis: “What is best for our students?” and “What is necessary for the College in light of these challenging days?”

Our plans for the fall

Here is what I hope is encouraging news for you: We plan to welcome our new and returning students to campus this fall, and we will do so with wise, data-driven protocols that will ensure a healthy and safe residential college experience. For students with extenuating circumstances that would inhibit their ability to be on campus this fall, we will be happy to explore options with you as well. 

We eagerly anticipate your return in late August and will greet you with confidence and joy. We know that COVID-19 will be a part of a new “normal” at least until a vaccine is developed and fully deployed, so we are already considering the best ways to deliver an adaptable residential Gordon education. Toward that end, we will be applying the wisdom of our public health and government leaders in this fight to mitigate COVID-19. In the fall this may mean limiting contact between healthy members of our community and those in at-risk populations (such as those with asthma, diabetes and hypertension). The larger concern with college students has been that, even if asymptomatic, they may unknowingly transmit the virus. That is why we might allow vulnerable members of our community to work and study remotely as needed. And we are increasing the frequency and methods of deep cleaning our campus facilities as an added and sensible precaution in the longer run. 

Our faculty are already preparing for multiple instructional scenarios on campus that will allow us to follow appropriate health protocols while enjoying Gordon’s strong faculty-student interactions and vibrant academic community. We also intend to take advantage of our intentionally small class sizes and our suburban campus location to manage group interactions as needed. More details will be available as we get closer to August, but you can be certain of this: We are committed to implementing the best ways to keep our community healthy and to deliver the personalized education you have come to expect at Gordon. 

End-of-semester move-out update

Students with a room on campus should have already received an update from their residence director earlier this week on a further delay in the move-out process, as Massachusetts Governor Baker extended the business closure order and stay-at-home advisory from May 4 to May 18. As such we will need to wait until these restrictions are lifted before proceeding with the final move-out details and signup process. View the latest information here ?

Financial adjustment reminder

You should have (or will soon) receive information from Student Financial Services on how Gordon is making financial adjustments for those students who paid for room and board this spring semester and have been unable to return to campus. This process is also explained with helpful visuals online. As a reminder for those who have the ability and desire to help other Gordon students, we have created a way in which families can apply all or a portion of their room and board credit to the Emergency Fund for Students, which was launched with the generous support of several Gordon families to assist students most affected by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Families interested in supporting this fund by donating from their student account credit can fill out the donation form.

College finances

As serious as are the health implications of COVID-19, the economic impacts of the pandemic will likely last even longer. It is no surprise that this coming year will entail substantial financial pressures for colleges across the country, including Gordon. We also fully recognize that the financial effects of the coronavirus crisis have impacted all of our Gordon families. As our leadership team has asked “What is necessary?” in proactively managing Gordon’s financial picture for the months ahead, we made a priority to preserve financial aid and other student support that we know is essential to making the Gordon experience an affordable one. At the same time, we need to vigorously curtail expenses as our usual sources of revenue (including facilities rentals and campus events) have disappeared during this time. And this inevitably requires sacrifices by our Gordon employees, including further streamlining normal discretionary spending, but also more personal measures—including staff members taking unpaid leaves this summer, voluntary pay reductions by College leaders and other steps that help Gordon withstand the period of uncertainty ahead.

While a college cannot rely on philanthropy to cover the costs of daily operations, we can thank God that we enter this unprecedented season with a stronger underlying financial foundation than Gordon has ever had. This is partly due to the wonderful results from our Faith Rising fundraising campaign, which has helped secure more than $100 million in gifts and gift commitments. The $10 million gift last spring that helped us launch Gordon Global, our digital learning platform, will also play a key role in Gordon’s future, as we will have a range of additional offerings to supplement the on-campus educational experience for our undergraduates. The steadfast commitment of those who believe in Gordon’s timeless vision (preparing the people of God for the work of God, as articulated by our founder, A. J. Gordon) will help sustain the institution through this difficult period. Gordon has a deep legacy of innovation that makes us strong and prepared, and we look forward to seeing how God will use our community’s creativity and entrepreneurial energy to make your college years even better than we can imagine today.

As a final note of encouragement, it has heartened all of us to see how the Gordon community has risen to meet the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 crisis in remarkable ways. You can see for yourself in this video that was shared yesterday as part of the annual Day of Giving. It’s a short and uplifting reminder as Christ-followers that the faithful spirit and irrepressible hope we share with our faculty, staff and students will lead us through this time of trial and testing.

With blessings,

D. Michael Lindsay
President

Governor Baker announced yesterday that the Massachusetts stay-at-home advisory would be extended until May 18. In light of this announcement, we will not proceed with our original plan of communicating an updated move-out plan (including sign-up sheets for move-out time slots) on May 5, as we had previously announced on April 15. Instead, we will wait until we have confirmation from the Governor’s Office that the advisory will be lifted before communicating the final move-out details and sign-ups. If the current advisory lifts when planned, we will commence move-out on May 19 and continue the process through the first week in June. During that time, students and families will be permitted to enter campus to pack up their belongings and check out of their residence halls. To accommodate social distancing protocols, we will be limiting the number of students on each floor at any given time by using a staggered sign-up schedule. We realize that this extension of the stay-at-home advisory may be concerning for students who need to retrieve certain critical belongings from their campus residence prior to the official move-out process. In those cases, students should reach out to their RDs to set up a time to return to campus and retrieve those belongings. Appropriate health precautions (social distancing and indoor mask-wearing) are required during return to campus.

Dear Gordon students and parents,

Even in the midst of the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, I hope you enjoyed a respite from academics and a time of spiritual renewal and recommitment during the Easter weekend. Rebecca and I enjoyed attending our church’s virtual worship service, and then our whole family had some fun rounds of Easter egg hunting on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

In the midst of facing great uncertainty about what the future holds, we take comfort in knowing that ours is a God who can redeem all things, bringing light out of darkness, even life out of death. As the spiritual song declares, “Because he lives, I can face tomorrow . . . I know he holds the future, and life is worth the living just because he lives.”  

As we finish this semester with virtual connections, we move forward with confidence that God will sustain each of us—and Gordon—as we travel this unfamiliar road. I write today to update you on several items regarding how we are managing this process as we journey forward.

Financial adjustments for residential students

We are now several weeks into our virtual experience, and the College is making financial adjustments for those students who paid for room and board this spring semester and have been unable to return to campus. (Only a small number of students remain on campus and utilize housing and meal services.)

When the worsening pandemic precluded a return to campus after spring break, we were just under halfway—in fact, 47 percent—through the semester. The remaining 53 percent of costs for room and board this semester will be credited back to each residential student’s account. The precise amount will vary depending on each student’s room plan and meal plan, and after taking into account the financial aid which had already been applied to these costs. Every residential student will likely receive a credit of at least $1,000, and in many cases, the amount will be higher. 

Each residential student will be receiving a letter from Student Financial Services, to be mailed out later this month, with a detailed breakdown of their particular financial adjustment. For graduating seniors or those few students who tell us they do not intend return to Gordon in the fall, the credit will be posted by May 1. At that time, any positive balance on their account can be refunded by completing a refund request. For all returning students, the credit will be split equally to be applied to next year’s fall and spring semester student accounts.

We anticipate these financial adjustments for room and board will amount to more than $2 million in credits and reimbursements from the College. Many of our peer institutions have implemented a similarly measured approach in making these adjustments, but we have sought to be as generous as we possibly can. At the same time, it is important to remember that these adjustments come at considerable expense during a time when Gordon is experiencing unprecedented financial pressure brought on by this pandemic. This has included the unforeseen and complete loss of rental income, auxiliary programs revenue and other forms of income that Gordon relies on in funding the financial aid we provide our students each year. So, we have sought to strike the right balance in a process that was entirely unexpected even one month ago, and we thank you for your patience and understanding.

Helping a fellow student in need

Knowing that everyone in the extended Gordon family is facing adversity amidst this pandemic, we want to provide an opportunity for students and families to demonstrate generosity toward one another as they are able. For those who have the ability and desire to help other Gordon students, we have created a way in which families have an additional option to apply all or a portion of their room and board credit to the newly established Emergency Fund for Students, one of two new funds developed in the wake of COVID-19. The Emergency Fund for Students was launched with the generous support of several Gordon families to assist students most affected by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Families interested in supporting this fund by donating from their student account credit can fill out the donation form. We ask that families inclined to complete this donation do so as soon as they receive their credit notification so that the funds can be administered in a timely fashion and proper charitable donation paperwork can be completed before the close of the semester. Please email Kathy Walker, director of parent engagement, at  with any questions you may have about this process.

A new “Credit or No Credit” grading option

In addition to pivoting to an online learning environment, many schools have also adopted a “pass/fail” option for spring grading to reflect the unforeseen stresses students encounter in managing their coursework in a virtual setting. Gordon students—working with the Gordon College Student Association (GCSA) and its president, Jonathan Frink ’20—requested that the College consider something similar, and I am pleased to report we have created a workable solution that responds to the GCSA request. With a creative and collaborative spirit among our faculty and a herculean effort on a tight timeline from our registrar, Alice Falcone, our Academic Programs Committee (APC) approved a new initiative that offers students needed flexibility while also upholding Gordon’s academic standards, even in this exceptional season.

For this spring semester, students will be given the option to take any course of their choosing as Credit/No Credit. This is a voluntary “opt-in” process by students, as faculty will still be required to submit a grade for every student in every class at the end of the semester. After final grades are posted on my.gordon.edu, undergraduate students may elect to review their grades and then apply this one-time grading policy to one or more of their spring 2020 courses. A student may choose to convert any grade from a D- through an A to “Credit,” and any grade of F may be converted to “No Credit.” This flexibility allows Gordon students to focus on successfully completing a class without worrying about how a particular letter grade might affect their GPA. Again, this is an “opt-in” process that students would need to choose. They should talk over their options with their advisor before making this choice. View the complete details, including an FAQ ?

Move out process—an update

At this point, the official move-out process is expected to resume once Massachusetts Governor Baker lifts the existing stay-at-home advisory and the closure of non-essential businesses mandate, which currently run through May 4. We recognize that this remains a fluid situation and many states have already extended similar rulings. 

Our current plan: If the governor does lift restrictions as planned on May 4, we will communicate the updated move-out plan, including sign-up sheets for move-out time slots, on May 5. We will then commence the move-out process at the end of finals week—starting on May 14—and run it through the remainder of the month. If the restrictions are not lifted at that time, we will communicate an updated plan as soon as new details become available.

College students and the U.S. Census

Several parents have asked whether to include their college student in their household count for the 2020 U.S. Census, since many are unexpectedly living at home as of April 1 this year. According to Census rules, the College will count any student who was expected to be living on campus during the spring 2020 semester (despite the change in those plans). So, as you complete your household Census count, please do not include your Gordon student(s).

Chapel credit and spiritual care

The traditional Christian Life and Worship (CL&W) program has been adjusted in response to the current remote living and learning arrangement. Rather than completing the required credits, students are asked to engage with the new Spiritual Care Inventory initiative, which offers remote Chapel services and spiritual development resources like devotionals and virtual prayer gatherings. As a part of this program, each student will be contacted by a Gordon staff member who will check in every other week and offer encouragement, prayer and spiritual care resources. In order to fulfill the CL&W credit requirement for this semester, students should plan to engage with the Gordon staff member who contacts them. We trust this will be a meaningful way to deepen our spiritual connections with one another.

Celebrating seniors

Finally, we share in the palpable sense of loss that many Gordon seniors are experiencing as the final six weeks of their college experience play out in a disconnected way. That is why we are pleased to confirm the Alumni Office, Student Life and GCSA Commencement Committee have been working together to find a way to honor seniors virtually on or around the originally planned Commencement celebration time in mid-May. You will hear more information about this soon.

Then, as we previously announced, we are planning for a campus ceremony during Homecoming and Family Weekend (October 2–3), and we pray that will come to fruition with God’s grace and blessing. I am pleased to say that while roughly half of schools we surveyed had cancelled Commencement altogether, Gordon has not only chosen to move forward with the celebration at a later date but also to find a way to honor seniors in the more immediate future. Even in the face of a fearful virus that separates us in the short term, we will still honor the bonds that will tie us together for the decades to come.

We are praying for you in this unprecedented season, and we invite you to share any specific prayer requests you may have. I also ask that you pray for our College as we seek to honor Christ and serve one another in these extraordinary times.

With blessings and prayers for health and safety,

D. Michael Lindsay
President

The move-out process that was communicated on March 25 and scheduled for April 8–26 has been amended following Governor Baker’s extension of the statewide stay-at-home advisory and closure of non-essential businesses until May 4. The move-out process will proceed once the advisory is lifted and guidance from government officials indicates it is safe to do so. We will provide an update on anticipated plans by April 15.

When we created the original move-out plan, our hope was to accommodate the majority of our campus community and allow students to retrieve belongings from their campus home in a safe and timely fashion that was in accordance with the guidelines laid out by public health officials at that point. Over the past week, those guidelines have rapidly changed, and we now recognize that the majority of our campus community can no longer safely travel back to campus within the guidelines of their local health officials. Until the move-out process can be completed, student belongings can continue to be stored as-is in students’ rooms.

To the campus community and parents of Gordon students, 

My Cabinet colleagues and I are both deeply appreciative as well as encouraged by the shared hope and responsiveness we as Christ-followers are bringing to this extraordinarily challenging season. Thank you for all that you are doing to faithfully serve one another and to bless our community. I write today to share several important updates as we continue to navigate through this global crisis. Please see the details below for new information and the timing for additional updates, and please continue to check this web resource for regular updates and additional FAQ material.

Governor's Executive Order of March 24, 2020

As most of you know already, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker issued an executive order for the state which directed all non-essential businesses to close their "brick-and-mortar" operations at noon yesterday (Tuesday, March 23) through at least April 7. The Governor also issued a “stay at home” advisory for individuals during this same time period, requesting limited travel and personal interactions in accordance with CDC guidelines. An exemption provision in this order permits colleges and universities to maintain essential campus services, including the facilitation of the remote learning we implemented on Monday and providing the necessary support services to students who have to remain on campus. While these restrictions currently have a two-week timeframe, it seems clear the disruption in normal flow of business and personal interactions will extend longer than originally anticipated.

Remote Learning for the Remainder of Spring Semester

As such, the College’s leadership team has agreed it is most prudent to extend the remote learning and living program through the rest of the regular spring semester. Dates for Reading Day and exams will remain the same. Students will not need to return to campus to complete coursework this spring. (See below for the next steps regarding the process for checking out of residence halls.) 

While I know this disappointing and frustrating for all of us, especially graduating students, I am deeply grateful for each of my faculty and staff colleagues—and our students—who have responded with grace, gentleness and perseverance as they work with new technologies and develop innovative ways to meet the College’s educational mission. 

While there may be no substitute for the “real thing” at Gordon, our dedication to a personal educational experience and Christ-like pastoral care for each student remains as passionate as ever. We have also heard from many parents who had advocated for this course of action, as a common concern for many families was the potential expense of returning their students to campus and the uncertainty generated by the escalating national response to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Even so, social distancing will not mean disconnection at Gordon, as our faculty and staff have worked tirelessly, collaboratively and creatively to develop a virtual experience for the next two months.

Check-out Process for Residential Students

A comprehensive move-out plan for residential students is being finalized and will be communicated to students within 24 hours. Starting this evening, we will be in touch with students currently living on campus, as we are strongly recommending that they make arrangements to return home for the rest of the semester.  Those for whom this is not an option should see the extenuating circumstances section of the web resource page linked below.

For students already at home, the semester’s move-out process will begin April 8, unless circumstances in our area warrant a change. View complete move-out details ?

In order to work within local, state and CDC guidelines during this time, this process will be orderly and limit the number of people on campus and in the residence halls at any given time. Residential students will receive specific details from their respective resident director. This is obviously a far different process than a normal end-of-year checkout, so our team greatly appreciates your charity and patience during this effort as they work diligently to accommodate everyone. As a reminder, campus access remains restricted at this time. Contact Student Life ( or 978.867.4263) if you have questions.

Graduate in May—Celebrate in October

While some colleges (particularly the larger universities) in our area have chosen to hold Commencement in some online format, we did not want to deprive graduating seniors and our graduate students (and their families) of the opportunity to celebrate in person with each other and with their classmates. In collaboration with the GCSA Commencement Committee, the College’s leadership team will plan to hold Baccalaureate and Commencement on Gordon’s campus as part of an expanded Homecoming on Friday and Saturday, October 2 and 3. Given the extraordinary circumstances thrust upon the College (and the globe) by this pandemic, we believe this plan will offer the best opportunity for seniors and families to enjoy a well-deserved capstone experience to their time at Gordon. The fall date was selected after additional consultation with local and state health officials, who currently believe it will offer the best opportunity for a semblance of normalcy with a large gathering.

The Board of Trustees will still formally approve all degree recipients on May 16, so eligible students (all who have completed their graduation requirements) will officially graduate “on time,” with all rights, responsibilities and privileges as per tradition. As we do each year, diplomas will then be mailed to students over the summer. 

We all relish the pageantry and spring ambiance of a traditional May Commencement ceremony, but this combined event in October should be an exciting “first” for the College. It will also include our annual Celebration of Faithful Leadership event, and the opportunity for graduating students and families to meet and celebrate with generations of fellow alumni. 

We hope this rescheduling will help give Gordon families the extra time needed to revise original travel and lodging plans with enough advance notice to develop alternative arrangements. More complete details on programming will be added to this website as soon as available, and also communicated by email to graduating seniors and graduate student degree recipients.

Financial Considerations

The College leadership team continues to carefully assess the options regarding the process to prorate spring semester room and board payments for residential students who (like all of us) anticipated being on campus for the full spring semester. This is not a “one size fits all” process, as the situation is different for graduating students and returning students, and we are evaluating the best means of meeting this need while being fiscally responsible to the needs of the College operations in what is an extraordinary time for institutions around the country. 

We will share next steps on this process with students and parents by April 15. We appreciate your patience.

The Road Ahead

In the last few weeks, writers have been exhausting their thesaurus for new superlatives to adequately capture the stunning speed and scope through which the COVID-19 health crisis has touched every aspect of our personal and professional lives, both in the U.S. and abroad. This is a truly extraordinary time for all of us, traveling a road both unfamiliar and uncertain. Our GPS, if you will, is the same as it has always been—God’s eternal and unchanging promises to care for his people and to provide for their needs. As the College looks toward resuming normal operations in various capacities in the near future, I will be assembling a team of colleagues to work together in assessing and guiding the College down this road toward recovery and recalibration in the weeks and months ahead. We know many of you will be facing the same challenge on a personal level. We will uplift you in prayer, and likewise covet your prayers and support. 

Our founder A. J. Gordon once wrote that believers are blessed who do not shrink from “the pangs of transformation through which Christ is to be fully formed in us.” This global crisis is an opportunity for a Christian institution like Gordon to stand firm with other believers in stepping forward in faith with perseverance, bringing hope and encouragement to friends, neighbors and colleagues, even in the face of uncertainty and anxiety.

May God’s grace, truth and the peace that passes all understanding strengthen you in these challenging moments. I thank God for you and look forward to seeing what the Lord does in and through us during this season.

With deep gratitude for you and prayers for health and safety,

President D. Michael Lindsay

To all members of the extended Gordon family,
As the COVID-19 global pandemic disrupts a sense of normalcy and even the cherished rhythms of daily life and personal interactions for many of us, I want you to know we are working tirelessly at Gordon to find creative ways to deliver on our educational mission to our students, and to model the same individual attention and care they would receive in person. Since I cannot speak with each of you personally, please see this short video message.
—President D. Michael Lindsay

The following announcement was shared with the Gordon community on March 16.

Dear Gordon community,

As we continue to grapple in real time with the contours of a dynamic global health threat, I write tonight to update you on the College’s response. The College’s leadership has determined that Gordon’s undergraduate classes will resume on Monday, March 23 in an online format and will remain online through Monday, April 13. Graduate education classes will move fully online starting this evening for the rest of the graduate winter session. Other graduate programs will hear from their program director and we will update this page with more specific information soon.

As we transition to a remote learning environment, some faculty have already started this process with their students. Faculty will be contacting their students directly with directions and details on next steps as soon as possible this week. Please see other, additional next steps in the bulleted list below. These are prudent and necessary steps consistent with those already taken at many of our peer institutions, and they reflect the rapid escalation of precautionary actions announced Sunday night in Massachusetts by Governor Charlie Baker and this afternoon by President Donald Trump.

Please pray for our government officials, agencies and health organizations as they work as fast as possible to provide health and safety guidelines for businesses, institutions and individuals in mitigating this COVID-19 pandemic—a rapidly evolving situation without much precedent. Your patience is also appreciated as we actively evaluate and implement needed changes or workarounds in normal processes at Gordon. I am so proud of the hard work and can-do attitude exhibited by our faculty and staff and am grateful for our students’ and parents’ gracious understanding in these challenging days.

In consultation with local and state officials, our top priority remains ensuring the health and safety of our campus community and the ability to continue our Christ-centered educational mission even as we experience unprecedented challenges this semester. Our web resource page is being updated regularly, and we will have more detailed updates based on tonight’s announcement by noon tomorrow (Tuesday, March 17). We realize there may be some questions that will be asked for which we do not yet have answers, but we are working actively through the issues and will continue to keep this web resource page updated regularly.

In the immediate term, here are the most important points to keep in mind:

  • As we had communicated on March 11, the College has strongly recommended that all students return home and now should remain home through Monday evening, April 13. Our current plans anticipate in-person instruction beginning again on the Tuesday after our Easter long weekend break (Tuesday, April 14). Should circumstances warrant that this planned return to campus needs to change, we will let everyone know at the earliest possible opportunity. In choosing this date, we are seeking to be as prudent as possible while also preserving the greatest chance for students to return to campus before the summer recess. We will, of course, monitor developments closely in the coming weeks and continue to follow the guidance of state and federal authorities. 
  • For students who are still on campus and who are unable to return home, we will work with you individually to ensure you receive the care and services needed, adhering to the guidelines established by the authorities and consistent with good health and safety practices
  • Starting tomorrow (Tuesday) morning, Dining Services on campus will transition to “grab-and-go” with no seating in the eating venues. The Bistro (in Jenks) will handle breakfast and lunch, while Gillie’s (lower level in Lane Student Center) will provide dinner.
  • While offices remain open at Gordon currently, staffing and essential services will continue to be evaluated in line with the latest state and national directives. Gordon staff should review the March 15 email from Chris Jones, associate vice president for human resources, for the current protocols. Should these be modified in the future, we will contact employees directly with additional instructions.
  • We have established an informational hotline at 978-867-4700 that will be staffed between 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. EDT weekdays to answer questions in real time, or to refer each caller (or voice mail message) to the appropriate campus expert to respond during this time. We continue to actively monitor the email account to be responsive to any questions that come to the College that way.

Again, this web resource page will continue to serve as the primary repository for updates and general information as it becomes available. Banners on the page will confirm the latest date of modification, and I encourage you to consult it first before calling or emailing with particular questions.

Finally, in what I realize is a time of growing stress and anxiety for many, may we draw comfort and confidence in knowing the God we serve has been, is now and will always be in control. May we as Christ-followers model his grace and love through our willingness to help our neighbors and each other during this global emergency. I do hope we can together live out four simple guidelines from Proverbs 3: “Trust the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” Additionally Psalm 46 reminds us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” The full Psalm is an eloquent perspective on the current situation that I encourage each of us to mediate upon in prayer as we navigate the uncharted course that lies ahead. Thank you for continuing to keep the College in your prayers even we are praying for you.

D. Michael Lindsay
President

FAQ ?
Health Precautions ?
Please direct additional questions to

The following update was shared with the Gordon community on March 11.

Given the uncertainties around the spread of the coronavirus and the need to further plan for contingencies in how best to continue the semester, Gordon College will delay the return of residential undergraduate students to campus by a full week, with the anticipation that classes will resume on Monday, March 23 in either an in-person or, if warranted, in an online format. Gordon joins a number of other universities in Massachusetts in taking additional action this week, as it is spring break for many, and the health risks of this particular illness are heightened by large numbers of students traveling back to highly residential campuses after traveling. The leadership team at Gordon and a task force drawn from a variety of departments continues meeting regularly and will be providing additional communications related to this decision as action steps are finalized. For now, here are the key aspects:

What is most important for me to understand right now?

  • We are asking all undergraduate residential students to return to or stay at home at the end of this week rather than returning to campus. Students who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to return home or are otherwise obligated to remain on campus should notify the College using this form and we will follow up with you.
  • Campus will remain open and operational. Healthy faculty and staff are expected to continue work as normal. The Library, Dining Services, Counseling Center, Academic Success Center, Health Center and other resources will remain operational to accommodate the small population on campus.
  • Should any faculty or staff member have current symptoms of flu-like illness of any kind, please stay home until you are symptom-free. 
  • Existing online courses at the undergraduate level will continue running during this time.
  • Graduate students will hear directly from their program director about any changes to their schedule.
  • Campus events, including athletic games and admissions visit days, prior to March 23 have been cancelled unless they have received permission from Gordon’s Senior Working Group (the key leadership team that is a subset of the President’s Cabinet). 
  • No overnight visitors will be permitted on campus during this time. 
  • Last week Gordon took action with students studying abroad through the Gordon in Orvieto, Italy, program bringing them back to the U.S. (but not to campus) when the CDC moved Italy to the Level 3 watch designation. Students who are studying abroad through third-party programs should follow the direction of those programs at this time. The Global Education Office is carefully monitoring all locations where Gordon students are studying and will be in contact with them on a case-by-case basis.
  • All official College travel to Level 3 countries has been cancelled. All other international travel is discouraged and requires advanced approval from the Senior Working Group. We encourage each person to weigh the risk of domestic travel and postpone any unnecessary trips.
  • As always, we continue to urge the Gordon community—whether on campus, at home or traveling—to continue practicing good health and hygiene habits as recommended by the CDC.

How and why did Gordon make the decision to delay students’ return to campus?

We understand that this decision greatly impacts our students and families. Please be assured that this was not taken lightly and was made for the health, safety and wellbeing of our campus community. A task force of staff and administrators has been meeting all week (and for several weeks prior) to monitor the situation and make plans. The situation on a national level is still very fluid, and the task force will continue to monitor closely and adapt as needed.

What is happening in Massachusetts?

This week Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency for the Commonwealth. According to the Governor this does not suggest our situation has reached a critical state, but the emergency classification allows for more flexibility to cancel large events or deploy resources to prevent the spread of and protect residents from the coronavirus. This decision—and the alternate arrangements that many organizations are making at this point—are intended to “flatten the curve,” to preemptively slow the spread of the disease well before it becomes a national crisis that might risk overwhelming medical care facilities. Gordon is following the lead of state and local officials whose actions are working to slow the spread of the coronavirus and keep its infection rate within the capacity of the healthcare systems.

What are the next steps?

The College is using this one-week “pause” to finalize plans for increased safety and protection on campus, including significant changes to Dining Services operations to convert self-serve stations into served stations and enhancing sanitation through Physical Plant with stronger cleaning products. The time will also be used to prepare for the possibility of moving courses online if the coronavirus situation requires a more significant adjustment to the spring semester schedule. The next scheduled update on the coronavirus situation and its impact on the Gordon community will be Friday, March 20.

FAQ ?

Health Precautions ?

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Situation at a Glance

Gordon College is closely monitoring the spread and related health concerns with the coronavirus disease—known formally as COVID-19. While there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Gordon College and risk in our area of Massachusetts remains low at present, we will continue to appropriately heed the advice of our local, state and national health officials as this situation evolves. We ask all individuals to practice good health habits to help maintain the health and wellness of the Gordon community.

Domestic and International Travel

All Gordon travel to a “CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice” country is restricted until further notice.

Students (and faculty/staff) traveling from countries designated by the CDC as having a Level 3 Travel Health Notice—currently China, Italy, South Korea, and Iran—need to complete a precautionary 14-day self-isolation and evaluation period off campus. Follow CDC guidelines whether or not you exhibit any symptoms. Travel to non-Level 3 locations may not include layovers in Level 3 countries.

Visitors to Campus

Individuals traveling from a country with a CDC Level 3 restriction may not visit campus until they complete a 14-day self-isolation immediately following their arrival in the United States.

Events on Campus

Gordon-sponsored events that bring together large numbers of community members will be closely monitored by college administration.

Leave from Work or Classes

In conjunction with recommendations from the CDC, we strongly encourage students (and faculty/staff) experiencing flu like symptoms to stay home until you are free from fever or other symptoms of acute respiratory illness for at least 24 hours.

Campus Precautions and Preparation 

As spread of the coronavirus worldwide continues, the CDC is advising health professionals locally to practice containment protocols. Given their suggestions, as of March 16, 2020, our Health Center will no longer allow walk-ins. An appointment will need to be made in advance and only those with appointments will be given access to the Health Center. This will allow the nurse to screen patients over the phone for potential risk factors of coronavirus prior to coming to the Center and inadvertently exposing others to possible infection. The phone number to call to schedule an appointment is 978-867-4300.

We have also convened a task force comprised of Cabinet administrators as well as staff from the Health Center, HR, Gordon police, College Communications, the Registrar’s Office and Student Life to prepare contingencies for managing the campus physical environment—such as taking extra measures in sanitizing living spaces and public areas around campus—and planning for any changes on campus should they become necessary in the coming weeks.

Further Reading

Common sense health precautions and additional references ?

Situation at a Glance

Gordon College administrators, Health Center medical staff and Student Life teams are closely monitoring the spread and related health concerns with the coronavirus disease—known formally as COVID-19—which originated in mainland China in December of 2019. While there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Gordon College and risk in our area of Massachusetts remains low at present, we will continue to appropriately heed the advice of our local, state and national health officials as this situation evolves. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) resources on COVID-19 serve as a “barometer” in both detailed information on the illness and updates on its spread globally, as well as a reliable means for the College to assess levels of risk and needed precautions to ensure the safety of Gordon students, faculty and staff both here and abroad.

We have created this resource as a real-time reference that will be updated regularly as needed as the College continues to track and assess the progression of this health threat. All Gordon students received a spring break travel advisory by email on Monday, March 2, which contained many of the updates and prevention tips below. As the situation develops further, they will receive additional information when they return to campus around March 15 (classes resume on the 16th). Similar updates have also been provided to faculty and staff. 

International Travel Advisory and Gordon’s Global Programs

The most immediate concerns involve international countries under CDC watch or travel advisory, and Gordon has taken steps to modify or change global programs and trips planned or in process for this spring semester. Students, faculty and staff impacted by these changes have already been notified and informed of alternate options. Here is the latest summary:

Gordon in Orvieto
The College suspended the spring semester’s program in Orvieto as of March 6, 2020, returning the 17 students in the program to their respective homes prior to spring break week. This decision was driven by an abundance of caution, as the students were less than two weeks into their semester program and had not yet traveled to other areas of Italy. There was also no active coronavirus health threat in Orvieto. However, the CDC had already recommended that universities consider pulling back students from international programs, particularly in countries with an active escalation of the coronavirus. Italy was added to the Level 3 (restrict non-essential travel) designation on February 29, 2020, which impacted our ability to send faculty as planned to Orvieto. Some northern areas of the country are already at Level 4 (essentially in a quarantine state). A majority of schools with programs in Italy were already taking similar measures in pulling out students. The main concern was the difficulty predicting the impact on Orvieto and our program should the local (Umbria) area exhibit signs of spread of the virus, with students then unable to travel outside the facility. A large appeal and integral part of the program is the ability to explore greater Italy. Students in the program (11 of whom are from Gordon) will be able to complete their current four-credit course online over the next two weeks. All students are pre-approved to join either the fall 2020 or spring 2021 cohort in Orvieto if they desire or will also have the option of returning to Gordon’s campus to complete the remaining 12 credits for this semester.  

Impact on Other Gordon International Trips 
A planned spring break mission trip to the Philippines was cancelled, as was a Gordon music group visit to Taiwan. A School of Education trip to the United Arab Emirates was postponed to a later date. Other trips planned for future months will be evaluated as needed. 

International Travel Advisory Provided to Campus
As a preparatory precaution, on March 2 we shared a secure and simple self-reporting database for international travel, requesting all students (and faculty/staff) with personal international travel plans for spring break to notify the College via the web form. It is important to for campus community members to understand that anyone traveling back after spring break from countries designated by the CDC as having a “Level 3 Travel Health Notice”—currently China, Italy, South Korea, and Iran— will need to complete a precautionary 14-day self-isolation and evaluation period off campus before they can return to campus. You can find complete details here, and a full explanation of how a self-quarantine process works.

Spring Break Athletics Trips 
As domestic travel is currently not considered a risk, spring athletic teams and coaching staffs will be traveling for competitions and will be more vigilant than usual in maintaining good hygiene and wellness practices while keeping apprised of changes in regional health advisories, if any, from state and local health officials. Women’s Softball and Men’s Baseball teams will travel to central Florida for the week. Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams will be in Hilton Head, South Carolina. The Men’s Lacrosse team will spend part of the week in Pennsylvania, and Women’s Lacrosse will visit for three days with Manhattanville College in Westchester County, New York. 

Campus Precautions and Preparation 

As spread of the coronavirus worldwide continues, the CDC is advising health professionals locally to practice containment protocols. Given their suggestions, as of March 16, 2020, our Health Center will no longer allow walk-ins. An appointment will need to be made in advance and only those with appointments will be given access to the Health Center. This will allow the nurse to screen patients over the phone for potential risk factors of coronavirus prior to coming to the Center and inadvertently exposing others to possible infection. The phone number to call to schedule an appointment is 978-867-4300.

We have also convened a task force comprised of Cabinet administrators as well as staff from the Health Center, HR, Gordon police, College Communications, the Registrar’s Office and Student Life to prepare contingencies for managing the campus physical environment—such as taking extra measures in sanitizing living spaces and public areas around campus—and planning for any changes on campus should they become necessary in the coming weeks.